I’m a total noob with making electronic music, so please be patient with me. Also, this post has evolved into a big rambling brain dump, so apologies in advance if it’s too long or jumbled to get through. All good if you don’t bother… just typing it out has helped me understand it all better, and any responses I do get I’m sure will be super valuable.
I bought a Korg Monologue about a month ago, to start my tinkering with electronic music hobby. I quickly realised that the sequencer on that was not going to make it easy for me to make full arrangements, so I bought a Digitakt, which I’m loving. Getting to know how to use it as a standalone device has been heaps of fun.
I’m now at a point where I’m starting to look beyond the Digitakt a bit. Like how can I use my Monologue with the Digitakt. Or should I buy a Keystep or Keystep pro to expand my setup, and provide a better keyboard base to extend those skills?
Please note I’m working DAWless at the moment - just want to play with the hardware before I introduce a whole new level of DAW complexity to my workflow. I’m open to being told that this is actually make it more complicated than it would be to just introduce it, but for now I’m digging not having to use a computer outside of work hours.
Today I pulled out my only midi cable and had a play, and soon realised the following (please correct me if i’m wrong about anything):
- By routing from the Digitakt (out) to the Monologue (in), i could control when the Monologue plays it’s sequence (start/stop), the tempo, and (haven’t done this yet but assume I can) assign CC values to the parameter controllers in the Digitakt to control the corresponding values on the Monologue.
- Midi does not transfer sound at all (I kind of knew this, but was disappointed to confirm it), so if I ever want to hear the actual sounds being generated by both the Digitakt and the Monologue, I’ll need some kind of mixer (is this correct)? Is it at all possible to route the sound from the Monologue into the Digitakt, and have that come through on of of the tracks? That way I could kind of use the Digitakt as a mixer… is this possible without recording samples on the Digitakt?
- If I route the midi from the Monologue (out) to the Digitakt (in), I can control the Digitakt using the Monologue. Most useful here, I guess, is being able to play keys of the selected sound using keyboard keys instead of in Chromatic mode using the pads on the Digitakt. But then I lose all the oscillator and sound manipulation goodness of the Monologue.
- Is it possible to send midi to and from the same device (eg: Digitakt in/out to Monologue out/in) to be able to control devices in both directions?
All of this is what got me thinking about adding a keyboard (such as a Keystep or Keystep Pro) to my collection. I could then route that into the Digitakt, and the Digitakt into the Monologue. Again, will this workflow even work, and will I be able to use the sequencing capabilities of the Keystep alongside the Digitakt, and how would this look?
Can I do any of this without a mixer or DAW? Or is having one of these an absolute necessity? In which case, what’s the cheapest/ easiest way to get these devices working together?
I’m considering selling the Monologue and getting a Keystep Pro to replace it. The benefits that’ll offer me (from my perspective) are:
- Bigger keys to work with - I’m finding the tiny keys on the Monologue hard to use and it’s sucking my motivation to keep practicing learning to play the keyboard.
- A more usable sequencer to sequence melodies, drums etc
- I can use some soft synths (on computer or iPad) to replace the Monologue until I’m ready for a hardware synth again
Is my logic sound on this? I’m liking the idea of learning the basics of keyboard use, creating melodies etc, and some simple arrangements, so I think the Beatstep Pro would provide a great base to do this… then, when I’m feeling adventurous, I could either introduce the Digitakt back and start playing with samples alongside the Keystep sounds, or a synth (hard or soft) to create new sounds to add to my arrangements.
If you’ve read this far, I commend you, and thank you. Looking forward to seeing what advice you can offer to help me over this little hurdle/ knowledge gap.