I am a proud owner of an Analog Keys…superb synth…sometimes I found annoying having a 3 oct keyboard, thats why a 61notes controller is always connected when needed even if it’s just 4 notes polyphony. I guess that 3 oct for 8 notes polyphony isn’t the best option.
How is it practical to have the desktop unit glued to the side of the keyboard? Wouldn’t it make more sense to have the display and sequencer in front of the keys so it could be easily used while playing the keys?
I would buy it in a heartbeat if the pads looked more playable, I used the mk1 and it’s clearly not exactly designed as a finger drumming unit, it’s a techno drum machine. People may stray from that but at its heart it is what it is. Plus I don’t really need the analog drum synth part of the…analog rytm. It is gorgeous though
Operating the sequencer and keyboard are 2 separate things, you dont need them layered, as you don’t focus on them at the same time. You have configurable knobs on top of the keys for the control you need. Done
We experimented with a lot of different designs for the Digitone Keys, including variants oriented towards more traditional layouts. They didn’t feel quite right though. One reason was that, as we wanted to keep pretty much all the aspects and features of the Digitone module intact, the traditional layouts came off as a bit fragmented. The current Takt/Ton layout works well in terms of focused workflow, and they’re familiar to a big portion of our userbase. Especially this first point came to serve as an influential guideline when designing the Digitone Keys.
Another reason was the legacy of the venerable Monomachine SFX6. That design might at first glance appear strange, but actually works pretty well from an Elektron workflow perspective. For example: this sort of layout makes it really easy to add notes/chords to the Digitone Keys sequencer, all while retaining the focused workflow of the modules. When in grid rec mode, hold a trig key + press a KB key = done. A side bonus of the SFX6 throwback: it makes the Digitone Keys appear and look quite alien. The weird retro-futuristic, Gibson-Ballardian, look suits the character of the sound engine quite well methinks.
Then you have all the other little tricks made possible by the monolithic form factor, such as being able to place other gear behind the Digitone Keys and still having those units within arm’s reach. Setups where such external units are being MIDI controlled by the Digitone Keys, and/or processing audio coming from its dedicated track outputs, can be rather compact and powerful.
Continuing the Elektron workflow excursion, this matter was of course a major consideration for the Digitone Keys. How to keep it, and how to expand it? Our take was to design the Digitone Keys so that it consisted of 2 main parts, the KB section and the module section.
The KB section is pretty much dedicated to playability/quick tweaking aspects. Use this section to experiment with melodic ideas or to quickly create the rough outline of a sound. For example, the group of 5 buttons are all controlling playability aspects in one way or another. Hold, portamento, arp, multimap, chord on/off toggle etc. The User button, located to the right of the aforementioned button group, offers quick sound design possibilities. Use it to toggle between the 2 parameter sets (where 1 is predefined, and 1 is user assignable) of the 8 encoders located above the keyboard to be able to quickly create a sound sketch you think sounds nice. These controls, in conjunction with the new OS 1.20 randomizer feature, form a great sound design starting point.
Once you’ve created something you like, move on to the module part and edit this raw sound in detail with the parameters found on the track pages. Then sequence it, warp it, transform it. I.e. the regular Elektron approach.
This KB section - module interaction flow is one of the strong points of the Digitone Keys. Starting out in the KB section, then moving on to the module section is a very rewarding little journey. It opens up new vistas so to speak.
Really? When I had Analog Keys, I used the keys to program the sequencer all the time while I was playing. I also manually adjusted various settings and at least with AK, you really needed the display to be able to navigate through the myriad of settings available. With Digitone Keys, this seems to be really cumbersome to do.
Can you share images of these experimentations of traditional layouts? Would be interesting to see.
Nothing to add after what Jon said. Interesting post, and yeah as always, any sneak peek on old discarded designs would be such a treat
Other than the missing song mode, I think it physically looks cool, and the new added features look cool too.
I bet it would look sweet to attach some aluminum side cheeks (JP8/JP6) onto the DigiKeys.
So everyone who dislike this design is automatically a hater and not creative, interesting.
To me, it looks like a keyboard was glued to the DN so Elektron saved a lot of costs because they didn’t have to redesign the faceplate (which makes sense from a company point of view).
That said, I liked the design of the Digitone, I sold it because of other reason. So your “hater” comment makes no sense to me.
I’m happy for all people who like this design and appreciate their opinion. Mine differ from theirs and is also valid.
??? The faceplate is completely new. Take a close Look. In fact its a much bigger faceplate now that is not cost saving at all. I am sure that is big part of the higher upgrade price. Full metal faceplates with color and printing are not cheap to manufacture. The Fatar Keyboard is not a cheap one either. So if Elektron would have gone the cost saving route, they would have chosen a total different Design and probably a mini sized China keybed. Instead they went for quality. I think when you See the Digitone Keys under the aspect as a pro performance Instruments, that decision is totally valid. Ppl May not like the Design, but at least they should give Elektron some respect for trying something different and with quality and professionalism. E.g. i really dislike the Volkswagen Design, but i must admit that their vehicles are of a ver, good quality and they put a lot of thought into their products. That Diesel scandal aside…
“Seems” indicates no experience with said item.
Probably best to try before coming to conclusions.
If you got to try it, and found it was not a good flow for you then, sure…the findings would have support.
Try it out in a shop first…you might just dig it.
Those experiments sleep peacefully on our servers - and should probably continue to do so. They represent unfinished work, and I think it’s better to keep the discussion revolving around the finished work.
And i am Sure…If Elektron would have chosen a cost efficient approach … Some ppl would dislike this too. So …one can’t please them all, which means…keep on doing your Thing.
By haters I meant haters, not everyone who dislike it, there have been several thresholds of dislike through the thread. Feel free to not feel like one
We can have different sense of design it’s fine, it makes sense. But conservative tastes are boring to for sure, I have sticked to Elektron through the years mainly because they are not.
Pretty much puts to rest saying it is the same as DN and was basically a lame cost driven move. Kind of funny how some of the previous posts were so sure they were the same faceplates …
Including my own early on !