Digitakt - what's the magic?

I read by someone in this forum that the Digitone is “FM synth magic” and that the Digitakt is “sampler magic”.

As a new owner of the Digitone, I have to agree that there’s something very special about this instrument and I’m having a lot of fun exploring the synth engine and learning about the unique ways a sound can morph from a preset to something entirely new - and I keep thinking “I wouldn’t even know where to begin if I wanted to create this sound effect in my DAW!” (Reason 10)

In other words, the Digitone has really added something unique to my sound palette, along with a workflow that gives me new ideas. The way Elektron is blurring the line between the synth engine and the sequencer is really inspiring and allows me to generate sounds and effects that would require a complex array of effects, instruments and automation lanes in the DAW. It’s also blurring the line between percussion and notes, and I find myself creating rhythms that I would never attempt in Kong.

But what about the Digitakt? Compared to its one-of-a-kind FM sibling, isn’t the Digitakt “just a sampler”? I’m intrigued by the idea of pairing my Digitone up with a sampler and I can see the benefit of separating the drums, bass and maybe some effects to free up more voices for pads, arps and lead sounds on the Digitone. But I’m struggling to really see the full value of the Digitakt and how it’s living up to its price tag. On paper, it actually seems to be a fairly limited sampler. No time stretching, no granular synthesis, and seemingly nothing special that would make me work with a sample in ways that I couldn’t easily do in the DAW. It’s not even sampling in stereo! And it’s limited to 16bit samples.

Overall, it just seems very limited and therefore very expensive for what it is - unless I’m missing something substantial here.

Which leads to this thread: owners of Digitakt, and preferably owners of both the Digi* machines, could you share your love with the Digitakt for me so I can appreciate the “magic” a little better? How has the Digitone changed how you work with samples compared to what you could already achieve easily in the DAW? (I’m less interested in responses from those of you who are dawless for the sake of it - I’m definitely not planning on abandoning the computer but instead see hardware as a creative extension to the DAW.)

Basically, what’s the Digitakt sampling equivalent of turning a knob on the Digitone and going “OMG I just created something completely unique and cool that I had never heard before!”

Note, this is far from a rant - as I said, I’m already a happy Digitone owner and I’m genuinely intrigued with the Digitakt too. I just struggle to see what it brings to the table that could push me into new territory if all it is is a mono sampler with another Elektron sequencer that I already own.

I do not sequence from a computer, too bad, I’m responding anyway :smile:

I think you hit the nail on the head… you don’t need the external sequencing powers which many of us utilize and which you already have, slightly different, in the DN anyway.

So instead of an FM synth engine, imagine what you’re doing on the DN but utilizing samples and single cycle waveforms through a subtractive synthesis style engine. Only 1 lfo, but 8 tracks and an onboard compressor, to note some other obvious differences.

If that or the hand-on aspect of having a hardware box for samples/drum programming doesn’t excite you I’m guessing many others will try below but probably best to save your money for something else.

Thanks. I was more interested in hearing about what you think is magical about it. But of course, your goal isn’t necessarily to push yourself into new territory that you couldn’t reach easily in a DAW, because it sounds like you’re not using one. :blush: That’s fine, I’m still interested in your input.

Out of Interest, have you watched many Digitakt videos on YT?

And what styles of music are you interested in making?

Hello, it me, OP inspiration.

After trying out the entire realm of modern hardware instruments to see what’s good for me and what’s not, I’ve been able to quickly determine now whether an instrument is or not through one question:

Does it get out of the way?

As to what makes these two black boxes sound good… It’s some Swedish magic. Can’t be the converters because it sounds the same through OverBridge… Software magic.

If you want to finish learning black magic you could snag the Digitakt + Analog Heat. Buy the DT used or from a shop and return it if you don’t like it. The DT is streamlined. It gives you what makes Elektron unique and removes too much choice. The device pushes you and steers you in certain directions. It’s a push-pull between you and the machine. It wants, you want.

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Very well put, and bookmarked.

And this is why I prefer the Digitakt over the Octatrack.

When I want to be reminded of the magic of the Digitakt I’ll watch YouTube videos by @dustmotes or Keinseier.

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Absolutely this.

I sold my Digitakt to fund an Octatrack, but I used it extensively alongside a Digitone.

The magic for me was in using the Digitakt as a kind of backup for the Digitone. I could sample one shots, pads and drums from the Digitone onto the Digitakt and really push out through the limitations of both machines by making the best use of both sets of limitations, if that makes any sense.

I think the Digitakt, much like the Octatrack, is best seen as a performance sampler, a job it does extremely well. The magic is really in how easily you can do what it does and how well it plays with other gear.

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Hi! I may have watched all of them. :see_no_evil:

I enjoy electronic music, trance, techno, and in betweens that I don’t really know the genre name of. I love Röyksopp and their playfulness. Take their song Andromeda for example - magic!

What’s a performance sampler, you mean playing live? How does it do that well, what’s an example of how it’s making this easy and fun?

well put.
I see a lot of discussion around feature requests for different equipment that “needs” X feature to be complete.
There’s no doubt some some gear does some stupid things or misses the mark in some way. But, if you separate yourself from the pursuit of one perfect device, and embrace what a device does well, you’ll be happier and probably more proficient all around.

If [after investing the requisite 40+ hours] you click with the Digitakt, you’ll get it. If you don’t click, unload it and try something that “gets out of your way” as @DIV1NITAL puts it.

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Personally I wouldn’t use a Digitakt to make that kind of music. And it baffles me when I see people doing it. You can of course use whatever you want though.

Spot on.

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Yeah, whether that be in a club or at home. It’s designed primarily to be played.

Well, subjectivity aside, I think the main point is that it removes a lot of what you don’t need in order to perform with it. By that i mean that they chose to sacrifice flexibility and features in favour of creating a focused instrument that, once you’ve figured it out, is easy enough to build muscle memory quickly but not so simple that it gets boring.
Yes it’s limited, but if what you want it for fits within those limitations, it’s the shit.

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I’ve never bookmarked one thread so much, so early.

I’m currently gearless. Had OT’s and DT’s before, but I’ve been planning on getting another DT. All these great comments have given me a real confidence that it’s definitely the right choice and the right time.

…yup…and THAT’S the magic about it…it’s nothing but a simple sampler…

it’s mono only and normalize dead simple overall by default…
that’s why it has THE monopunch…

it has only 8 voices at any given time…superstatic stiff…but even down to one snippet of a tiny single waveform…a fragment of a second…
and that’s why it mutates to huge sonic events, whenever u just switch on the loop option…

while ordinary lfo’s can be adressed to move anything…but in so many various single simple ways and multipliers again…that anything could happen…

while all that gets driven by the famous plock it babee swedish sequencer engine u already know from ur tone…and u might already realized that THIS damned thing is already an instrument of it’s own…no matter what kind of soundengine it’s adressing…

as dead simple as also endless…so yes…u can call it also magic…at least when it comes to sonic bliss… :wink:

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I would say the magic is in the flow. If your preferred use of samples is to throw them onto a grid, get some sequences going and that’s that…the DT is probably not worth the investment.
Buuuut, if you want both your samples and your sequences to feel like they’re alive: everything through a synth engine style signal path, begging to be tweaked and shaped every step of the way; global controls for every parameter that can be undone as quickly as they happened (including sample selection); a workflow that is so fast and creative.
I bring intention to it all the time. I sit down thinking “I’m going to do this” and within 10 minutes I’m on to a sound that is way beyond what I intended to make. And that leads me into new and exciting territory. Which is what I crave when I make music with this type of gear. It’s a special box. And I think it sounds incredible.

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What would you use instead for that kind of music? (I already own an FM synth and a great 4 bar sequencer, clearly).

Wow, THAT sounds like magic. Thanks for your input!

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I love the Digitakt, probably my favorite sampler I’ve owned. But there is absolutely no “magic” in it lol. The only thing that is magic is how the person using it puts its sound manipulation options to use.

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This thread reminds me a bit of the scene from Spinal Tap when Nigel is showing the documentary maker his Les Paul… ‘just listen to it, the sustain…’ :sunglasses:

The point being, it’s generally the user who brings the magic to the tool… those with less magic think it’s the tool. :v:

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