Hardware fun vs. DAW productivity


only the mk1. i really liked it. sold it when i got my OT.
i remember controlling softsynths was not very well thought out back then… and integration into live was sometimes a hassle i believe.

might have changed with nks. and the drumsynth looks cool.


i always used hardware MIDI controll surface for controlling software synths.
because all that mouse fiddling is just horrible.

anyway, it’s very different feel even comparing to controlling, say, my Blofeld with exactly the same MIDI control surface (i always had only one model, Novation ReMOTE Zero SL).


that’s my point, don’t ever attempt to use more tools than you absolutely need if your goal is productivity - personally this is a win-win for me as it generally becomes more fun this way (to a point)

if I use Elektron box, I tend to just use 1 at a time

similarly, if I use DAW, it is sans hardware, and I will use primarily stock plugins/native features

for me it’s all about streamlining/efficiency, and doesn’t have anything to do with software vs. hardware, which ultimately present the same fundamental artistic difficulties that transcend any particular medium or method


Latency and effects


I feel the opposite about multiple Elektron machines being “hefty” or too complex to manage. Pairing my Digitone and Machinedrum and having them work together is such a breeze. They sync perfect and I can come up with ideas extremely fast. You would want to save patterns on each device with the same names, to obviously not get confused. Using more than 2 Elektron devices would probably ruin my workflow though.

This setup has made me much quicker and productive with my music currently. Now if Elektron would just release Overbridge 2.0 for Digitone, then I could have a much faster time multi tracking my songs into Cubase. But that’s a story for another thread.


Indeed!! But man, the UAD world has a way of sucking you in and somehow their solutions are never completely right / they lack a little bit of that flexibility that would make them perfect.


When I have time, I enjoy painting in oils. The very first thing to go onto the canvas or panel is a pencil drawing. The next phase is an underpainting done in acrylics. Finally, the oils are applied over the acrylics and pencil.

I cannot imagine blaming my lack of productivity or poor execution on my choice to utilize mixed media anymore than I could blame a lousy painting on my choice to skip the acrylics stage. When it comes down to it, nobody cares how it was made as long as the results speak to them.

The results are all that matter and poor results cannot be blamed on the tools. The artist or craftsmen owns that.


That’s not really what I intended to express… You are right, but I’m just saying that I’m having more fun with one kind of tools, but I might reach my goals better with another tool.
I don’t blame anything


btw. thanks for all the input. I really like reading your opinions on this topic


definitely depends a lot on the person and the project they are working on at the time as to what exactly constitutes too many tools - is challenging to balance avoiding having too many choices/things to think about, while still having a minimum of the tools you feel you need to accomplish what you had hoped

unnecessary attachment is suffering, especially with artistic workflow :sweat_smile:


Lack of automation comes to mind. But I like their effects and their interface is light years ahead of the MOTU I previously owned


I have more fun painting than doing tattoo work. I get it.


Ableton Live is my DAW of choice. After many years of using Cubase (and not really liking it) I discovered Live 6 and gelled immediately with it.

So I was a reasonably seasoned Live user when Push 1 appeared on the scene (Live 9). I had tried an APC 20 but preferred using Live without it. It was the same story when I bought Push 1, I am far more efficient using Live with a mouse, computer and MIDI keyboards and I don’t need to buy Push 2 to know it would be the same.

Push sort of shoehorns users into using Live in a specific way and it certainly does not let you access all aspects of Live. Though I suspect people who bought both Push and Live at the same time are probably happy with Push.

I also use Maschine but find that software/MIDI controller combo works better, probably because not only was the MIDI controller designed to control the software but the software was designed to be controlled by the MIDI controller. This is not the case with Live/Push. But, as they say, different strokes for different folks


yes, I had the same experience.


Just curious what you like more about Abelton than Cubase for a daw? I use Cubase, but am not opposed to switching.


That’s a rather sweeping statement. So before daws came about all music was crap? Not being argumentative here but that is a rash statement to make.


I dont think putting things in boxes like ‘professional’, ‘amateur’, ‘producer’ or ‘musician’ is in any way the answer to this issue. In my opinion, you should decide for yourself what your goal is in making music, and which gear is best suited to help you do this.

As stated above, you might decide you’re just in it for the enjoyment of jamming on hardware devices, or you might get the most fun out of finishing tracks in ableton without using the fancy boxes the incrowd is using. There’s no right way to do it except for the way you like best.

The narrative that you have to have a certain way of working to turn into a pro is complete nonsense in my opinion, as most of the truly great music is the product of people using technology in ways that were completely original and unorthodox (ie: jimmy hendrix, king tubby, Grandmaster Flash, RZA, madlib). If any of these guys were thinking of the right and professional way to use their gear they wouldnt have come up with most of their classic music.

As for me: i like to see my digitakt as a sketchpad to jam on, which is a lot of fun and sparks creativity, and then track out and mix in a later stage, which is more of a chore needed to actually finish the track. Looking at this like seperate phases is very liberating to me.


I came here to say mostly what @Sleepyhead just said so well.

I’ll only expand upon thinking about your goals in making music: This includes what kind of music, what you want it express, and to whom. These considerations will drive what instrumentation and process you choose for a given project: HW, DAW, mixture, acoustic, banging on garbage cans, etc…

I think you will find, once you are clear on what you want to produce, you’ll be able to finish(*) it no matter what the means.

(*) And remember: finish doesn’t always mean “track on SoundCloud” or “label released album”. For some music, finished means 60s jam snipped played for my friends at lunch.


Ha! Sorry, came back late from a gig and was probably a tad overserved! I think your topic is totally valid and interesting…it was just a few comments that put me off, so apologies!


no problem