So, I got a Rytm a while back and I was initially pretty psyched about it. It is an amazing machine that covers a lot of ground that my Tempest does not. It has a much more immediate synth engine for creating drums and the sample functionality is out of this world, with analog filters, delay, reverb and overdrive per sample. Add to that the Elektron sequencer and it was a dream come true for me for awhile.
But when you try to dig really deep into the analog engine, you’ll hit a ceiling pretty quickly. It sounds great, for the most part, but I found the range of sounds you can squeeze out of it to be fairly narrow. So, no big deal, you have a sample layer to work with to make all kinds of interesting transients and even some great bassline sounds, right? Well, yes, but there are a couple of problems with this system. Keep in mind that I am writing this in June of 2015, so it is entirely possible that the issues will be taken care of in an OS update and history will show me to be an impatient little whiner. 😉
First of all, you should know that, while you can save any kit you want (analog + samples) within the project you are working on, those kits are not really available for you to use in other projects. When I say “not really,” I mean that you have to load up the project that the kit is a part of, copy the kit, re-load the project you are working in and then paste the kit into the pool. Even at this point, I was feeling that it was an inconvenience but not a dealbreaker. But the dealbreaker for me came when I realized that, once I pasted the kit into the new project, it doesn’t work properly unless you have the same samples loaded into the exact same slot number that it was in for the original kit! I’m really dumbfounded by this because the Rytm easily allows you to save a ‘sound’ that uses a sample and, when you load that sound onto a track in a different project, it automatically loads the necessary sample into the next available slot and it plays as it should. So I just have to wonder, why is it that the Rytm can not load a full kit of sounds in this same manner?!
Now, for some people, this is not going to even be a problem. For instance, if you just want to load up a default kit and shape each drum sound from scratch, this will not hinder you. But I, personally, like to save some basic kits and tweak them as needed. I just feel that it saves me the trouble of creating the same sounds over and over. I get a starting point and follow wherever it takes me from there. It’s definitely a “your mileage may vary” situation but it is also something you should know before jumping into one of these.
My other problem with the Rytm also has to do with the kit system. Say you make a cool pattern and get everything just how you want it. So you then move onto the next pattern and the Rytm, rather handily, loads the kit that you were just using so you have the same sounds ready to go in your new pattern and you can set about creating some variation. This all sounds wonderful and simple, right? Well the issue with it is that, if you go back to your first pattern, the changes you made to the kit in the second pattern have carried over and your first pattern now sounds completely different. The Rytm does give you 128 kit slots per project and the logic is that, as soon as you start a new pattern, you want to save the kit (not via the shortcut, as that will write over the original kit) before you start making any changes. Not the worst thing but I am definitely used to saving things after I’m done making them. And it’s very easy to forget, in the heat of the moment, to save your kit first thing when you start your pattern.
The way that I would like to see it work would be for the Rytm to carry over the kit sounds as it already does but make the kit for the new pattern independent of the kit for the previous pattern. Maybe tie those 128 kit slots to the 128 patterns automatically.
So, for these reasons, I’ve decided to sell my Rytm for now but I do fully expect that these issues will be addressed in an OS update eventually. If/when that does happen, I am fairly certain that I would come crawling back to the Rytm. And I honestly don’t mean to be doing an internet bitch fest here, I just think that others might find it helpful to know about these things before they buy. Really, the Rytm is a stellar product in a lot of ways and these things that I have taken issue with may not even bother some people.