Digitone VS. Reason "Algoritm" FM Synthesizer

I’ve lately been trying to recreate my favorite Digitone patches in software, more specifically the new-ish Algoritm synth in Reason. My findings:

Digitone sounds totally different in even simple patches! As soon as you add feedback and higher levels of modulation, the FM “distortion” sounds much, MUCH better in Digitone. I have no idea why this is, because at the base level FM synthesis isn’t actually that complex.

Has anyone had satisfactory results getting that DN sound in software/VST’s? The Algoritm has really been a big disappointment for me, you need to be much more careful in designing patches than with DN, although of course there’s much more complexity in Algoritm.

I love the sound of reason in general, but it was my first synth so I’m biased. The digitone is kind of an FM dark horse though, everything it does sounds unique, hate it or love it (and I love it).

That’s very interesting. I was actually choosing between Algoritm and Digitone at some point (basically I was doing some soul searching to justify going the hardware route because I really wanted to go that route). I felt like I was picking the slightly inferior FM synth but I justified it with many other reasons: I’d be much more fun to use, if step outside the DAW, learn how to jam more hands-on, etc.

I guess you’re saying that I picked the best FM synth in the end though. That kind of makes me feel good. :blush: But it’s also confusing. Like you say, FM synthesis at its core isn’t overly complex. Could you share some examples or how they sound different?

Well, I don’t know about best, I see the whole situation more as Algoritm having some serious sound quality issues. But I do love my Digitone.

My trial of Algoritm ran out, but I encourage you to A/B even some of the most basic FM routings, like operator A with feedback modulating sine wave carrier C, nothing else. Now sweep up and down the feedback level of A, for example. The difference is immediately obvious, nothing subtle going on. Algoritm has a really shrill, piercing quality to it, Digitone is much more softer and more “musical”.

I believe it has a sound just like the Digitakt. For some reason I really enjoy the FM sounds of the Digitone and I’ll get a Keys some time in the future. Digitakt is sample magic, Digitone is FM magic. Add your recording chain, the hardware itself…

Maybe you could output Algoritm to an external reverb and record it as audio to see what you think after it becomes an “instrument”.

Regardless, the DN has a smooth yet gritty sound to it. Smooth grit, soft fuzz, subtle grime, a really pleasing sound.

Isn’t Algoritm the next iteration of the PX7 DX7 clone? That would mean there’s some of that sound in the operators, which would make it quite different from Digitone, which has a very clean FM sound to my ears. PX7 was great, Algoritm looks like a mess TBH.

While we’re here guys:
Can we talk about Dexed for a sec?
For the price, to me, it seems to be a very well appointed FM synth VST.
I wouldn’t attempt to compare it to the digitone, because I don’t have a digitone, and I’m basically a white-belt, know-nothing, knob-twiddler in the FM space.
as far as VSTs are concerned do we think Dexed is “good”? How would it compare to Algoritm? What’s it missing? What are its strengths?

Just did a search and it looks like PX7 is discontinued sadly. I had purchased this and downloaded the 2GB (I think?) DX7 patch library from them as well. Just re-purchased Reason while it was on sale as I was on 10 and had dropped it altogether. Sad that the PX7 is not longer available.

I made a few of the presets for Algoritm and noticed that it does have a slightly less polished sound than some more conventional FM synths. I can only guess, but I suspect that Reason try and keep their synths very performant, so a structure like Algoritm would probably have to cut some corners here and there.

After all, it’s a lot of oscillators and filters to run per voice, and it certainly doesn’t struggle with polyphony. I think the structure itself lends to a lot of areas that are hard to explore with conventional means, so it’s a fair trade off.

I wouldn’t use it for the same sounds I would make on a Digitone though. Then I’d go for something like Sytrus or Ableton Operator.


Yeah, they pulled it earlier this year i think. Stupid move really, it’s good for what it says it is: a DX7 clone with full integration into Reason rack system. I’m glad i got to buy it just in time. Dexed is ok in its place, but VST is not as CPU friendly as native Reason devices/REs.

If you still have the PX7 licence in your Reason account, you should be able to download it with the RE manager, even on the new versions of Reason.

Can it still be downloaded? I purchased it years ago but I dropped Reason when no discounted upgrades were offered to Reason 10 users. Just took advantage of May sale and upgraded (also get 12 for free when it comes out).

Yes your Purchased rack extensions are always in your account, just log in, sync all.

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I am very much interested in FM-synthesis and I like my Digitone a lot.
I have a Reason 11 licence but haven´t made much use of it because I am mostly working with hardware nowadays.
But I find this one: F.'em Synth | 11-Operator FM Synthesizer Audio Plugin - Tracktion
quite interesting. It looks like the evolution of the FM8 which is my alltime-favourite VSTi