I love the cycles and feels it inspires me. Should I invest in the digitone over the cycles since its more robust? Help
I don’t own either but the fact that the Cycles is percussion oriented has slowed me down on getting it because I’ve got drums well covered in my setup and the Digitone costs more than twice as much new.
I own both, and I will never sell my digitone. Id love a DK one day too.
My thoughts are: Although digitone isn’t as immediate and takes longer to master to any extent, I think it sounds better in almost every department.
It’s way more expensive granted, but as you say it’s more robust: it’s got metal enclosure and better knobs; but it is also got loads more functionality (overbridge, Midi sequencing, more voices, better effects, audio in, etc, much deeper synthesis).
For me the DN only lacks the Chord machine (which is a really inspiring function, and almost worth buying it alone); and the dedicated kick drum (although the DN can produce a much wider range of kicks, its perhaps not as snappy as cycles).
My cycles is boxed and I will sell it when I get round to it (although I flip flop on this intention fairly regularly).
The Cycles is more percussion oriented as @InTheAM mentions but you can squeeze out textures and slow attacks out of it as well. The synth engine is more limited but that also contributes to the immediacy of it. You are more focused on the sequencing than sound design in a good way. The LFO is the gateway to sounds beyond what the knobs allow. The pad velocity setting can also contribute to randomness. It has the ctrl all feature as well which is nice to get you into unknown territory on patterns. Its sequencing capabilities are as good as the larger Elektron machines.
The Digitone is a really nice but requires a bit more know-how of FM synthesis to get to where you want to go from a sound preset scratch. You can of-course tweak your way to great and unknown results or start from a preset. The learning curve is longer but if you put time into it you will be more rewarded at the end. Its a well crafted and versatile machine that allows you to do a full track within the box. Same goes for Cycles but within its synth engine palette which differs a bit from what the Digitone can do.
Your choice should depend on your know how of Elektron boxes and FM synthesis but in the end you will probably want to own both. I have two Digitones (more polyphony if you love unison) and a Cycles. Currently my best synth/grooveboxes.
Cycles sounds great and it´s reverb is beautiful. The infinite setting has a really long decay. The casing of Cycles is really well made and knobs fell great. It feels more portable because it is also much lighter in plastic.
Digitone might have more voices but it is still limited to 4 channels which will cut sounds in a mono way if you parameter lock in different sounds while Cycles have 6 channel and can also para lock sounds as well.
DN can also do chords and scales but not with a single twist of a knob and add inversions which is great on Cycles. Limited sound palette though.
You can achieve snappy drums with the Digitone as well. You have to think of how a drum is constructed with an initial click which can be recreated in a number of ways. Pitch envelope through the LFO with a quick speed setting on a single cycle decaying shape or adding an envelope with no attack and short decays to the modulating oscillator and adjusting it´s level to taste will get you there.
The M:C inspired me to get a Digitakt and a Microfreak. Here is my reasoning. While I appreciated the immediacy of the M:C, I bumped up against some limitations pretty quickly. I find the track pads hopeless for live use, LFO/trig/retrig menus are a touch too deep, workarounds for quick attack are awkward, snares and claps really don’t work well, and in general I wanted faster access and more control. Present me would probably advise past me to get a Digitone instead.
I originally avoided the Digitakt because of cost (I am just starting this particular musical journey, and while I can afford much more, I have parsimonious habits from early life) and because I didn’t want to chase samples. Then I read/watched more and realized that I didn’t have to; there is good factory content and wonders can be wrung from a single sample, so I can ease into that world. I can use DT and M:C separately or together. The MF gives me the control over synthesis that I missed, and paraphonic voices (I have piano in my past). It seems a pretty wide palette and I can focus on parts of it on any given day, as I see fit.
Maybe none of this is relevant to you, but the point of my story is: perhaps consider how you might complement this box that you love, instead of supplanting it.
I’ve decided to buy a cycles after all the helpful responses.
I would suggest, take both.
I love my Cycles for immediate jamming fun. But when i work on Ableton i love the overbridge-function and the possibilities of the digitone.
I think DT more versatile but less convenient for percussion. A focused feature set it so nice to have.
Digitone is a super lush machine and even though I rarely use it, I can’t bring myself to get rid of it just yet.
Cycles is my favourite quick idea generator. Nothing else comes close in terms of how instant it is for making things up on the spot in one box.
Nah, you can get 3 sounds on one step in a channel if you program it right (ie. using microtiming), and as of the last firmware update, they don’t have to be different notes in order to ring out. And then there is the multi map mode!
I misunderstood your original post; I thought you had a Cycles. You love it based on experience of someone else’s, or just from watching videos? Either way, you can do a lot with it, but be warned, it’s a gateway drug for sure.
Based on elektron web site only and demos
I love my Cycles. Open the gate, add infinite step length, up the delay and reverb = FUN! I had to separate it from the rest of my hardware (along with a Particle pedal) because of what you can do with it on its own.
Have fun with the MC
I have both, they really are quite different…
DN hands down is the better box, being able to filter your sounds is the winner for me and i would say that the DN is the better drum machine… especially symbols and snares…
Saying that i have An A4MKII as well but im not letting my MC go…i have it running through an Electro Harmonix LPB tube pre and Electrix filter factory and its staying right where it is…
I’m an owner of both too and I love them. And they play really well together, thankfully. Initially I was worried there would be too much of a sonic overlap and I might resent getting a Model Cycles first.
I’ve found that if I let the MC do its thing and focus on rhythm, and get the DN on melody and soundscape duty there’s some real FM magic going on. Audio out from MC into the DN, MIDI keeping things in sync, USB into my phone for recording.
MC is so dang immediate. Awesome value. I really need to get an adapter to power it in my car on lunch breaks.
I don’t think there could be any regrets getting the cycles. It’s the best value currently on the market imo. It’s not too far off from a mini mnm/md hybrid.
Motorcycles every time.
I started out with a M:C this past summer, got a DT this past November and recently, like this past weekend, got a Digitone. And I must say, i’m very surprised and pleased with how different Elektron made these two devices. The M:C has some advantages (retrigs, 6 tracks, ease of use) and the DN is just far more complex. It seems they actually set out to create different gear as opposed to the Octatrack/Digitakt/Model:Samples line
I was thinking of this same idea last week actually… it’s great to work with when you want to do something different from a full studio setup. just grab it and start playing. fun, immediate, and inspiring. kind of what I like about Volcas too, but it’s more complete and doesn’t just immediately frustrate you. I use it in full tracks too but it’s also fun to just toy about with.
I was actually going to recommend picking it up in the “how do I get over writer’s block” style thread (forget the actual title) but when I suggest “just buy some new stuff” people seem to frown on that
I sold my M:C to fund a DN. I don’t (yet) regret it. I liked the immediacy and fun and reward of the M:C but prefer the DN as an instrument. I think a skilled/patient user will get immense (and different) value from both. For my needs the DN suits better.