Elektron’s machines are so beloved, they’re almost an electronic instrumental category all their own. But much of that love is focused on the hardware workflow. The challenge lately has been how to make the latest generation of Elektron hardware fit better with other gear – and specifically, the computer.

Some of those improvements are coming from Elektron. But some, too, come from third-party developers. And that’s the case with a useful Mac app.

sdsscreen

This one will be really easy to write up, because the app is – as it should be – stupidly simple.

Take a sound. Drag it to a pad. It loads on the pad.

That’s it. The app handles all the file conversion and loading and configuration for you. An upcoming version, provided in advance to CDM, also does batch transfers.

Here is in action:

This isn’t the first time a third-party developer has done something like this for Elektron. In fact, the last time, it was the same developer – Jakob Penca, with the lovely iPad app STROM, seen here previously.

There’s some cool non-obvious functionality. Drop audio, and you get Elektron-native audio. Drop video, and it extracts the audio and converts it. But drop an unsupported file – like an image – and you’ll get noise as it encodes that data directly. Very, very cool for building glitchy pad sets.

The app is ten bucks in the Mac App Store.

This sort of feature – direct sample loading – is coming to Overbridge. But there’s no reason to wait for that, when this is available now for this price. And I imagine that movie and non-audio data support might not make it into Overbridge, either.

Updated: In comments, readers point to the US$99 OctaEdit. I love the simplicity of SDS Drop, but OctaEdit gives you more power … I could easily imagine using both.

Features:

Copy and merge Banks, Patterns, Tracks, Part, Scenes etc between different Sets and Projects.

Library to store presets of virtually any aspect of the Octatrack, from Project settings to Machine configurations to FX Chains.

Sequencer module exposing every element of the Octatrack.

Dedicated Sample management module.

Chainer module to create Sample Chains.

Arp and LFO Designers.

Now, sure, readers are also complaining that they aren’t getting this support from Elektron. On the other hand, once you’ve invested in the hardware, these software add-ons surely don’t cost much. And I think third-party developers may always have a different take on how to do things than the original manufacturer, which sometimes is refreshing.

octaedit

http://octaedit.com/

Meanwhile, in Sweden … Elektron owners are seeing some additional improvements to Overbridge computer integration and the Analog series itself. Elektron reps I saw at NAMM last month were quick to emphasize that they’re focused on bettering this software side. There’s a video showing the new stuff from our friends over at Sonic State:

The banner feature is, Overbridge is no longer limited to Ableton Live. That was certainly the most popular DAW pick, but Elektron users use a lot of other DAWs, too. There’s also sidechaining and multiple outputs in AUs, plus improved performance and a better UI. In fact, this is more like 1.5 than 1.1.

Meanwhile, Analog owners get free-running LFO modes, because you don’t always want to sync, and some cool sequencing features.

To see just how passionate the Elektron user base are, just follow this sprawling forum thread in response to the Sonic State vid:

Elektron Overbridge 1.10 Review [elektronauts.com]

Thavius Beck was on-hand to show how Bitwig and Overbridge can work together at NAMM, too, and it’s always a pleasure to watch Thavius demo anything:

  • I love the Rytm, but I can’t understand why load samples has been so complicated. This is great. Easy $10 decision! Thanks for the tip!

  • This is coming to Overbridge, and what’s more is they’re adding a native protocol for transferring samples that Overbridge will use for transferring samples – they won’t go over MIDI like this method does. This will fix one of the biggest complaints people have about it, which is the really slow sample transfer speeds.

    • drp

      not going to happen anytime soon.

    • John Gorton

      Yeah right in your dreams man. Maybe in a year!

    • Well, bottom line – right now, this works. So you don’t have to wait. 🙂 (well, you do have to wait on transfer times!)

    • Virtual Flannel

      SDS drop works over USB 🙂

      • Over MIDI over USB, it’s still slow.

        • drp

          bro, name a faster alternative that’s available now or in the foreseeable future. ;D

        • Adam Jay

          Twice as fast as C6, using the same protocol.

    • Adam Jay

      How’s that wait working out for you? Yet another month without this functionality in Overbridge – which is still very much in a beta state, so who knows how long after they get the bugs out that they’ll ADD features? (In fact, Simon from Elektron said himself they won’t add sample transfer until the basic functionality kinks in OB are ironed out.) Meanwhile those who brought their lunch to work for one day, to spring the whole $10 for SDS Drop, have been enjoying the improved workflow and sample transfer reliability.

  • John Gorton

    Great but Elektron should be paying for this not us. This company is a big disappointment reall.

    • Patrick Allison

      Personally I think Elektron are great. They are only a small company, and since owning my Elektron analogs, they have both grown in functionality with each update. How many hardware synths even have 3rd party apps available anyway? To me it’s bonus that someone like Jakob Penca loves these machines enough to design apps for them completely separate from Elektron. And it speaks volumes that Cenk from Elektron uses the Strom app too quite publicly. Elektron like innovative ideas even if its some 3rd party. How many other companies would have that attitude?

  • m fischer

    it’s great to see people taking this on themselves. have you seen OctaEdit? – http://octaedit.com
    10x the price of SDS Drop but there isn’t anything else like it for the Octatrack. on another note, I wonder if Elektron is done adding features to the Octatrack? I keep hoping that they will update the pickup machines but it hasn’t happened yet.

    • I was going to comment on that as well, OctaEdit is a game changer for the OT, makes EVERYTHING a lot easier to set up. FWIW Elektron told me at Ableton’s Loop event that from here out any updates for the OT are going to be bug fixes only, no more features as it’s already running at the limit of what the CPU is capable of.

      • m fischer

        bummer. i wasn’t even hoping for anything huge. just to fix some of the behavior options of the pickup machines (ability to disable time stretching and master/slave automatic bpm jumps) it seems like those things would not push the CPU any further.

    • Thanks for the tip! Yeah, it’s really amazing, OctaEdit – adding that.

      • Rusty OctaEdit

        Hi 🙂

    • Rusty OctaEdit

      Puts hand up sheepishly…. yeah, that would be me…

      I’ve recently rewrote OctaEdit from absolute scratch to be cross platform Windows and OSX….

      And just released a new version on Monday, that includes a whole bunch of new functionality for handling samples, trim/slice points, transient detection etc.

      Lots more stuff and things to come yet 😉

  • Eoin Coughlan

    The idea to keep SDS sample transfer alive with Rytm has to be one of the strangest new product decisions ever. I’m convinced it has to do with the hardware design and how Overbridge was going to be implemented at a later stage. €10 app is a no brainer until Overbridge sorts out anything better

  • Rusty OctaEdit

    Jakob / Void does awesome work. Massive amount of respect for him.

    Really looking forward to picking this up when I get a wee bit of spare time.

    Already a Strom customer, so this is just more goodies for me.

    Absolute no brainer if you ask me.

  • Virtual Flannel

    Proud supporter of both Octa Edit and SDS Drop. Both game changers for Elektron users.

  • Grey De La Drionne

    10$ LOL

  • mercury

    Nothing for Windows users still, is there?

  • Rusty OctaEdit

    Thats a very old screenshot…

  • Rusty OctaEdit

    A *lot* has changed since then, thats for sure.