Elektron Analog Heat
The Analog Heat is a deceptively flexible box of analogue effects that partners perfectly with a modern digital set-up. After more than 15 years in the hi-tech hardware game, Elektron has released its first effects unit.
Sliding into the brand's 'Analog' range, alongside the Analog Four and Analog Keys synths and Analog RYTM drum machine, Analog Heat is a stereo effects processor pitched as an "audio enhancer and audio destroyer".
At its core, the Heat is a combination distortion, EQ and filter, of which the former section is the star of the show, offering a range of eight different stereo analogue distortion circuits.
Selected via a large rotary to the left of the unit, these circuits are labelled Clean Boost, Saturation, Enhancement, Mid Drive, Rough Crunch, Classic Dist, Round Fuzz and High Gain.
Pleasingly, these eight variations offer a decent amount of sonic variety, both in comparison to one another and within themselves depending on how hard each is 'pushed' using the associated Drive control. Toying with these two parameters alone, it's simple to achieve anything from a nice mid-range 'warmth' to transient destroying fuzz and harsh high gain.
The two-band EQ does a lot to add to the individual character of each distortion type. While the unit offers Low and High cut/boost in all situations, both the base EQ settings and the specific set-up of these controls changes dependant on the distortion circuit selected. For instance, in Clean Boost or Saturation modes the EQ's initialised state is simply a flat line with no cuts or boosts; in Mid Drive mode, however, the EQ always features a low-pass curve, the extremity of which is changed by turning the High cut/boost rotary.
Similarly, in Enhancement mode, increasing the Low rotary adds a general low-shelf boost, yet for the Saturation circuit the same parameter control adds a more precisely targeted frequency boost at around 50Hz.
The filter, meanwhile, can be switched between seven different modes, offering 6dB or 12dB low- and high-pass modes, band-pass, band stop and peak filtering. There are cut-off and resonance dials for shaping the chosen filter type and the filter select buttons double up as an on/off switch for instantly bypassing the filter circuit.
The filter also features a pair of 'hidden' parameters accessed via the screen and settings rotaries. The first of these is frequency pan, which can offset the cutoff point in the left and right stereo channels, the second is an additional drive circuit, which can push the input into the filter, adding extra, subtle distortion.
Beyond these core effects elements, the Heat also features an envelope and an LFO for shaping sounds. The envelope has three modes: Attack/Decay, Attack/Release and Follower. The LFO, meanwhile, offers seven waveshape types, can run in sync'd or unsync'd modes and features a phase control for offsetting the wave's start position.