Already have FM synths - what extra would a Digitone bring?


I like FM synthesis and so am interested in getting the Digitone but I’m not sure how much new it would bring to my current setup. For FM sounds I currently use Monomachine, Reface DX, Electribe VPM and if I need more, add in a Volca FM. As far as I can tell the Digitone would add the following:

  • Sound locks - great but I don’t tend to use them really. They’re good for adding drums etc if using very limited gear but I’m not so wouldn’t use them much.

  • Filters - My current FM synths either have filters already or I can patch them through an Analog 4 and use its filters on them.

  • Conditional trigs - don’t use them much but again can already use them to a limited degree patching FM synths through the Analog 4.

So am I missing anything? The Digitone sounds like a nice 4op FM synth with a great sequencer which would certainly be nice to have but not sure it would add that much to my current setup - thoughts?


You answered you own question


sequencing midi tracks
overbridge (joke)


I can already midi sequence with the Monomachine ( with arp which I think the Digitone can’t currently do?) and I can’t use Overbridge. I thought of something else Digitone can do which is the XY morph between 2 Carriers but can similar be achieved by controlling 2 Carrier volumes on Reface DX using midi CCs from the Monomachine?


digitone seems not to be superior of existing fm engines on the market. The idea is to have tight integration of sequencer and the engine for better sound design/performance. If you don’t use the locks, trigs and modulations of inbuilt seqencer, I don’t see you doing anything different with digitone.


I’ll be bold and say that IMO the Digitone even in its current early OS is the most complete and fun workflow of any Elektron box. If you consider the mission was to “simplify” FM I’d say they’ve nailed that without compromise in depth. It’s the quickest most intuitive FM workflow ever, period. A very rewarding package if your not hung up on specs and just wanna create.

Edit: think macro not micro

You can go from 4 initialised sounds to a working idea in literally minutes. My advice would be to find a store where you can try one and start from an empty pattern - dial in some sounds by hand and marvel at the speed and how you don’t have to think too much but just listen aided by a really well thought out UX.


If I already had various ways of doing FM synthesis, which to be honest, I do, then the most compelling reason (for me) to get a Digitone would be because it’s in an all in one, four-track hardware box… versus a number of worthy devices and software apps that can all do FM synthesis in some form, spread across what little table real estate I have.

The thing is, for the past couple of years, I’ve been all about the digital. So I like using the Nord Modular/Micro Modular, Volca FM, Max, PO-32 tonic, etc.

But still… all that fun, in one little box.


I’m also a Monomachine owner, and the same thing crossed my mind. There is definitely some overlap, but the Digitone’s engine has significant differences. It’s closer to Ableton’s Operator in some ways. I don’t think I could get some of the sounds from the Digitone demos from the Monomachine.

I’ve ordered a Digitone, and I think I will be a much better machine for live, if only for the reload kit and control all features. Once you start using those, it’s hard to go without them.


If you already have another elektron box to sequence, then nothing. Except the digitone sequencer has more polyphony. I wouldn’t bother - better off getting some other sounds in your repertoire - Blofeld or D05?


These things are never about specs and features, are they? The magic’s in the machine and how you wield it, not a rational conclusion of feature comparisons.

Try it. Within the hour, you’ll know it’s for you or not, specs be damned. These things can only be subject for intellectual debate for so long.


Restaurants often spec out their meals the same, Pad Thai for example…
Same specs on every menu, but some are just much better than others…


Yeah, and you won’t know if their way of doing will work for you, until you’ve tried it, despite reviews and advise.


Ironically, I’m not following my own advise. I’ve got no interest in the new Digi, and yet I might love it if I tried it. I just can’t be bothered to.



I didn’t say I wouldn’t use locks or trigs. I mentioned that I personally wouldn’t get much use out of sound and conditional locks but certainly would use parameter locking as I do already on my Monomachine and Analog 4.


Was about to say pretty much everything you did! The speed that you can make great sounds is incredible. I also wouldn’t underestimate how much the harmonics in the operators expands traditional dx pallet. The overdrive and filters are also lovely and built in, which again is a huge workflow improvement of running other synths thru the A4.


It’s tricky. If I didn’t have any fm synths already the Digitone would already be ordered as an all in one fm box as you say. Just trying to figure if it would add much to my existing fm synths. I did think I could sell some of my existing fm synths to make room for the Digitone but they all have strengths that the Digitone doesn’t have (eg portability, battery operation, more synth machines/oscillators beyond just fm, more operators, nice keyboard etc.)


I agree there are lots of fm sounds that the Monomachine isn’t capable of as it’s very limited in that regard (still love it though :slight_smile: ) and if it was my only fm synth a Digitone would add a lot but I use a bunch as mentioned so not sure. Hadn’t thought of the control all feature. Could be nice but is it £700 nice? :slight_smile:


To me the most obvious advantage of the Digitone over most other FM synths is the way that the sequencer becomes part of the synthesis (all parameters) via parameter locks, so you can at one extreme have each step drastically different from the rest, or at the other extreme subtle shifts of selected parameters to give additional movement not easily attained using most other FM synths. So in summary ease of use and ease of articulation of the sounds.


Sure, but again, as I use a Monomachine, I can already do this to a large degree. Not as flexible or as far ranging as the Digitone but can do a lot and midi sequencing other fm synths with the Mono’s 4 CCs can create extreme differences per step with them if wanted.

Ease of use is something to consider but then I don’t find the Monomachine or Reface DX or Electribe hard to use presently. Even the Volca fm is Ok really considering.

I’m interested to hear from people who already used a number of fm synths and also bought a Digitone. What extra did it bring? Was it worth getting? Was it worth the price? Did it end up replacing any other fm synths and if so, which ones and why?


IF FM’s what excites you I’d forget the Digitone and buy a Yamaha FS1R.