Best synth to pair with Digitakt? If you only had one


Standards are always I proved upon through out all industries. Improving and making a new standard with more control, features and better sound quality. Youre talking about a standard from 30+ years ago. The Apple II was the computer standard back then.

While the DX7 was an instant classic in its day it was rendered obsolete by the late 90s digital synth boom. And whatever value it had outside of a museum was completly desyroyed by vst softsynths.

Ignoring the fact that you can actually run a picture perfect DX7 emulator on your computer, for free, with integrated midi control and an improved UI, the Native Instruments FM8 for does everything the DX7 could do x1000. Not to mention hundreds other FM soft synths and synth with FM features, many of which are obsolete themselves these days and can be had for near nothing.

besides collecting, or making a movie about the 80s, i really cant think of any logical reason a person should spend actual money on a hardware DX synth, or any digital synth with such a poor UI.


As someone who bought a DX7II and uses Dexed to program it I mostly agree. They synth is not that big of a pain to program, but it certainly isn’t a dream either. The only reason I see to owning one is I can pack it around and work with it separated from a computer, use it as a midi controller and if I need something to squat in a pinch the cord is like 10’ long and I wouldn’t even have to unplug it.

I’d like to use FM8 or one of the workstations with updated takes on fm synthesis but one takes me to computer land and the other is a $3k buy in.


And then you have the subjective thoughts on sound quality, not to mention that fact that the OP was asking for a synth, not a VST.

Although I like FM8, I do not find that it takes away from the DX-7, nor have I seen a physical FM8 made by NI.


i dont think theres too much subjective about sample rate and bit rate. i mean unless youre going for a bitwave retro sound, but thats not what dx7s do.

as far as a phyical synth Vmachine is like 300 bucks (same price as a dx7?) and paired with the digitkt as a controller or a cheap mapable behringer knob controller just seems like a much more efficent way to spend the monies.

i mean if you already have one ive got nothing against them they are cool, but unless you find one for $50 bucks id say save for money.


My Digitakt is arriving in a week and I’m looking at some hardware synths to go with it. This is my first foray into electronic production since the late 90s with MTV music generator for the Playstation (lol), but I’m having a lot of fun researching and reading and listening.

So I’ve sort of narrowed it down to two synth options:

  • Moog Minitaur + Waldorf Blofeld Desktop which seem like they would compliment each other pretty well.


  • Buy a slightly more high end poly synth like a Peak, or Prophet 8 rev2 module.

Not sure which approach would be more versatile.


very dificult question because every synth has a focus an a particular sound it’s depends of which kind of synths sounds want to add


Yeah that looks cool at $300. Now add the cost of the FM8 license at $150, a used BCR for $120 and $100-250 for a keyboard…

And unpopular suggestion is unpopular. I’m shocked. Not hating on FM8 either, I used to work for NI.


Just reserved an SH-01a. I’m not good enough with sound engineering for a 0-coast yet, so I figured I’d go with something that’s easier to do well. Plus I’m an arpeggiator fetishist so I will give the thing a workout in that respect.


But doesn’t every post Y2k digital hardware synth have solid FM sections that are at least as sophisticated as the DX7? Like everything from the alesis Ion, (around $300 used) to a waldorf blofeld ($400 or so) up to a vsynth.

I think FM kind of because a standard feature because of the popularity of the DX7 to the point where everything could do DX7, PLUS all the other analog modeling and or wavetable stuff…

Again I’m not saying the DX7 is a bad synth, I’m just wondering, is it really worth $300, outside of its nostalgia value? Especially with the common issues that come with their age (battery failure, dusty contacts etc…)


I don’t think you should worry about your programing abilities, just get the synth you want. Sure the 0-coast has some interesting, and “novel” additive concepts to learn, but it isn’t particularly complex. No amount of time and practice with subtractive synths will prepare you for additive synthesize, it’s just a whole different method.


The O-Coast isn’t additive. Not in the sense that you construct waveforms by combining partials as in the Kawai K5 or K5000 models from the 80s/90s. The O-Coast is basically subtractive though using an LPG rather than the more common VCF. Despite it’s name (implying not conceptually East or West coast) it definitely leans more towards West coast philosophy : wavefolder and LPG. Hardly novel, as Don Buchla was contemporary with Bob Moog.

The Kawai’s are the only h/w additive synths I’m aware of. They’re very expensive to make as you need loads of oscillators for each voice. There is the Verbos Harmonic Oscillator, but it’s just a single 8-partial oscillator. :-/

The O-Coast is a lovely compact synth. I agree that it’s not particularly complex, yet despite that, it is surprisingly versatile. It’s a very nice design in effective minimalism. :slight_smile:


I’ll admit I don’t have long standing synth knowledge, but I’m unaware of any hardware synth that tackles more than 4 operators outside of limited capacity. The DX series is unique and worth the $ they go for if you’re genuinely curious about FM a want a dedicated box for such. They lack in features and are getting old, sure, but there doesn’t seem to be much interest in the synth manufacturers to put out an updated standalone FM synth - probably due to the reputation FM has programming wise. Please let me know of any contemporary hardware synth that handles 6 operators or more with individual eg and amp envelopes.

Also, the DX is great with the Digitakt, but bulky. I’d get a reface or one of the Roland boxes for maximum couch sessions. I’ve also thought of building a super small modular with an Akemie’s Castle and some midi controls but that is hardly any affordable option.


PreenFM2 is a synth to have a look at :wink:


You win. OP asks for synths, you suggest I am wrong for not suggesting a VST that emulates a synth. I suggest a synth as per reading comprehension, therefore I am wrong. Also, while we’re at it, there are Jupiter 8, TB-303 and Minimoog emulations that sound great and also fail to meet the basic requirements of the OP.


Since when do the Ion and Blofeld have 6 operators with independent envelopes?


Jeez pretty salty and defensive about your Dx7 huh? Yikes!

isn’t the purpose of these forums to discuss and contrast facts and opinions?

It’s kind of odd you’d compare an analog emulator to a digital FM emulator. The difference is much more profound isn’t it?


The only reason the DX7 has 6 operators is because it was limited to sine waves. When you can use waveforms that are saturated in harmonics like squares and saw, and triangles, anything over four operators is redundant. Not to mention if you have feedback available on all 4 operators that gives you a LOT more to work with.

If there’s some use for the extra operators besides constructing harmonic overtones I’d love to be enlightened.


Parallel stacks of modulators and separate carriers are used to create a multitimbral patch - more operators, more algorithms, more sounds. But modern digital synths can handle more multitimbral patches so this is less important, but still useful overall. Once again, FM in contemporary synths is still limited and usually a “I suppose we could throw in FM” response to having digital controls. It’s hardly fleshed out or the focus of the unit.


Let’s try to stay out of the weeds on the merits of FM operator count and get back on topic folks;

Partner synths for Digitakt.

Thank you!


Waldorf Blofeld module and Korg Monologue. Both cheap and very versatile. Blofeld is also multitimbral. Used it with the Digitakt, before I returned it, and it worked great. Mininova also cheap, sounds great and good way to get into synthesis.