Digitakt vs Octatrack

Apologies beforehand, this is probably the 9000th time this question’s been asked around here.
I am looking around for a drum machine / sampler, for a new music project/band.
Industrial / Noise / Sludge / Punk, and whatever floats in between.
I’m looking for a machine that can fullfill live duties, maybe combined with vocals.
To write songs together with a guitar/bass player, and eventually play live…

Have been drooling over Elektron gear for the past few years, and am finally able and mentally ready to dive in.
I mainly dabble in harsh noise, and have limited expierence with synths/FX.
Most of my knowhow comes from just trying out stuff, being amazed and having fun.
Elektron gear always scared me a little bit, because of the steep learning curve.

But now that the idea of starting a new band has become a concrete thing, I am ready to dive in.
So please, can someone advise me on what machine would suit my needs best?
I know the OT can be used as a drum machine, to create songs from scratch, I’ve seen people do it. At the moment, I’m leaning more towards the OT side, mainly because of the huge live potential.
Am I overlooking something?

Thanks a lot, in advance.
Hope this message finds all of you well.

One love.

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As currently OT owner and ex DK owner, I’d say
— try DK at first, it is cheaper and newer technology, and maybe will fully satisfy you.
Also it is easier (you write “Punk”)so you less likely will be stressed during the performance.

I switched to OT, because I wanted to

  1. be able to make dj-like transions between my songs — not possible on DK
  2. cut my old Ableton music into stereo stems — DK consider all samples as mono

I make mostly techno, but sometimes play ambient-drone with a friend and for such a “wall of noise” approach I like OT’s “slots” mode, where you can choose from up to 128 samples, loop them on the fly and layer using 8 tracks, maybe even with resampling, maybe it will be valueable to yours “Noise” music.

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Difficult to say, will depend on how much you’ll like/hate the learning curve. OT is doable if put in the work, but it needs that work. Digitakt is first of all also quite capable, and second way more affordable second hand. And really quick and fun to learn. So maybe start and try with the DT. It might prove enough, it might not. For live the OT is definitely better, but it’ll take more time to come to grips with it to play it live comfortably, compared to DT.

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As a drum machine, DT is much faster / easier to start from scratch. With OT you can make drum kits in sliced sample chain.

OT is much better for recordings. 8m28s max vs 33s for DT. And you can use it as a looper.
You can go much further and finish a song with it.

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This is a good point. For what you intend to do, is 33seconds enough as max sampling length, or do you imagine needing longer stems/recordings?

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In general, apart from the specific 33seconds sampling limit of the DT, I’d personally also say the DT feels more like it’s supposed to play/sample one-shots; vs. OT that’s fine at one-shots but also does quite naturally play/record longer loops, lóng background samples/stems/pads/noise, etc.

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Yes, record a loop with DT requires editing.
All recordings are automatically normalized.
That can be problematic if you record an instrument, dynamic is not repected.

You can record perfect loops with OT without effort, played directly as soon as the recording starts, which means you can mangle incoming audio directly. Impossible with DT.

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I don’t have an Octatrack, but get a ton of mileage out of my Digitakt. While it’s definitely said to be simpler and more streamlined, I understand it has fewer barriers to making something that sounds good, relatively quickly – can tap out a quick drum beat and build from there, layering over other samples and effects.

If longer samples and live performance is going to be foundational to your music, however, I’d consider the Octatrack. I find with conditional trigs and soundlocks you can get a lot out of the DT, and work around the limitations to some extent.

Some have said the Digitakt has a much “cleaner” and Hi-Fi sound. Whether that’s a good thing or not amounts to personal taste.

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Thank you all for these insightfull replies already.

Well, the learning curves scares + excites me at the same time.
I don’t really have a musical background, main focus has always been vocals/backflip combinations. :wink:

I just feel the OT will open up more gates to worlds I want to explore some day.
For example, techno - Honestly I have no idea how I’d start out on a track today, but can’t wait to give it a try, if you catch my drift.

The 33s sample length might be an issue tho.
Also, from what I understand - OT has much more internal storage. Wich could prove necessary if I ever want to put it to use in multiple projects…
the pricing is the biggest hurdle, but I have a chance at buying a nearly new second hand one for only €150 more dan the DT, so kinda feel like I have to decide soon.

I also have to admit, this digital world is kinda new to me. I have a good feel for technology and computers, so I guess I’ll manage. But n00b question, can I make a beat with the OT out of the box? Or do I need to go beg my drummer friends for sample packs? :smiley:
Will my Zoom recorder suffice to sample field recordings. Will my microbrute + shitload of pedals suffice to make some interesting sounds? So many questions hehehe…

I literally feel like I’m inside a toy store and have to decide on Christmas presents. It’s exciting.

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You are probably asking this question for the 9000th, but I’m surprised still no one is talking about Sampling Quality between those two.

Has anyone watched this yet? I suggest listen with Studio Headphones or Monitors to find out the answer in the video.

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Yes, I understand the Octatrack does have some factory samples installed in it. That said, it won’t take you very long to want to fill the machine with third party samples. I highly recommend loading up on the classic drum machines via Samples from Mars. You’ll get a huge variety of sounds you can use, and the quality of their recordings is top-shelf. I’ll note they have a Black Friday sale on their drums bundle today, in case you’re looking to save some coin :).

The only thing holding me back from upgrading my DT to an OT these days is the hope (perhaps foolishly, we’ll see) that Elektron might – announce a refreshed version this winter, given their recent refresh of their A4 and AR MKII boxes. I suppose we’ll see, but either way the OT is something you can grow with long-term - a modern and future classic!

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I share my choice. Digitakt is fine and smart enough for everything. But it has big limits (no polyphony, no looper, no stretch audio, no SD card, no song mode) that can be overcome by combining it with a Blackbox and a cheap versatile synth like Blofeld. Cost equal to OT but save the extreme simplicity of use. For now I’m going like this, when my line is saturated and making a nice investment of time and money I will switch to OT maybe with the next MKIII … which is not that far away if you think about it.

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…if ur new to all this, u better pick a takt…for now and to get started…
might do ALL the trick for u already, anyways…

You may be better off with the Analogue Rhythm by the sounds of it. More limited on the sampling side but for live playing much easier if coming in wanting quick results.

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Nah just an extra high eq. Maybe flattering but NOT NEUTRAL as OT, which have eq fx if needed.

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Yo dude, you want to make noise skip straight to the OT, no point messing around! You gonna get far more mileage, OT you have four inputs and with cue and thru tracks you can route everything through everything, 8 simultaneous live recordings that you can feed into each other too.

Something i’ve been loving lately is feeding FX pedals back into themselves :crazy_face:

People talk about the learning curve but imo it’s because aren’t giving it their full attention. I picked up 2nd hand OT mkI for £600 (barely more than a DT), my first (and only) sampler/drum machine/expensive box and it’s been gravy.

Make sure you watch some of max marco’s technique videos to get a proper idea of all the sonic fuckery that’s possible. But as someone into making similarly aggressive music, I’m extremely glad I skipped over DT and went straight in with OT. I think the chances you’ll regret it are far slimmer.

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No disrespect meant to Rickey Tinez but that isn’t a very good comparison outside of showing that DT adds a bit of high end. You can easily add a bit of high end EQ to a sample on the Octatrack, but good luck getting the DT to sound neutral, and it is of course only mono, the summing of L&R is no substitute for stereo samples when needed.

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Damn that’s the reply that’s probably going to put me over the edge hehehe.
If I’m understanding correctly, I’ll be able to also use it as a simple drum machine with or without external samples?

And, also pretty important, would I have big needs to use my laptop? I’d much rather mess around on actual hardware tho…

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I agree 100%

Ah, if these things bother you, definitely go with the OT. I started off using my DT as a little DAW by recording loops I had sequenced and was always running out of project memory and then I ran out of internal memory after about a year. The OT has much more wiggle room thanks to static tracks, which stream off the CF card and don’t use project memory. NICE.

Yeah, you get some factory samples. But if you have drummer friends, definitely get some samples from them.

yeah, all of those things will fit much better with the OT than the DT.

I wouldn’t really put too much stock in Mr. Tinez in regards to technical explanations. What you hear in the video is the difference in an aliasing filter between 44.1kHz and 48kHz sample rates. The 48K sample rate accomodate more upper frequencies when you pitch it up and resample then drop it down again. If you sample the same sound on both machines it will sound the same at normal playback. If you like lo-fi sounds, you can get lo-fi on both boxes but the OT has more tools.

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