Introducing: Digitone Keys


The Reface is a great synth, for sure. But I do feel the Digitone appears so complete in sound and concept, that I wouldn’t need another poly if I had that one. Only to be able to play it, without shelling out for a Digitone Keys, would be enough.

But I’m an FM idiot. I’ve tried it in the store. I have no idea what I’m doing. That might be frustrating in the long run. A friend tried to explain FM synthesis to me. Afterwards, we both wept and hugged but I was none the wiser. The store owner explained FM synthesis to me. I’ve heard he’s lost the will to live now.

So yeah. There’s that to consider, too.


Well, of all the fm i tried (weren’t that much) the digitone was my easiest one to grasp.
Volca fm was my first one. I hated it. It didn’t connect with me or other way around.
I had an reface dx, that was nice to program, but no space and too much keyboards laying around - it had to go.
Digitone: easier to program, and that fitering afterwards helps to tame that roaring beast.
There aren’t too much options you can fiddle around with it’s engine, i guess with a little bit of time everyone’s get it.
Well, and there are a lot of presets (you can download too) that you can take as starting point.


you mentioned that part of the design motivation was a nod towards the tradition of the SFX6 design. can you tell us why you opted for wheels over a joystick? I know many people (myself included) loved that aspect of the SFX6 and Analog Keys.


Looks like this will fit your needs?


FM is very simple implemented on the Digitone.
The Operator Models are Like the Oscillator from a Classic substractive Synth. They can be detuned and their Output can be Mixed, also Like two separate Oscillators. Than the Rate A and Rate B settings are Like setting the Oscillators frequency.
Additionally each Operator Part (read each “oscillator”) has its own envelope which Output can also be mixed into the Signal path.
Then you have a LPF and a HPF to further shape the Sound. Amp and Filter envelopes, two LFO per track for Modulation and three master FX Slots. Thats basically all you need to know. From there it helps to study the presets and See and learn which Operator Model helps with what Type of Sound. Thats it.

Here´s a nice explanation about FM Synthesis from Loopop:


Got much bigger. Wasted space for same components.

Original design wins.


Concerning DN and FM complexity I’m a moron when it comes to synths but the DN using just the presets is awesome. Love it!


I love the Dn. I got one a few months ago to pair with my digitakt. Such a fun and complete set up.
I just added a keystep too which opens up the Dn so much.
I think the keys looks pretty sweet. A little awkward but it’s alright.
I have no desire to buy one since I have the module and I’m not sure I’d pay that much for one.
I do know that I’m loving elektron boxes. My brain really clicks with the sequencer and workflow. The most fun, inspirational and logical workflow for me.
Looking forward to getting a few more at some point but for right now the dt, dn and keystep is perfect.


Several reasons! For starters the mod/pitch mod menus were already a part of the Digitone module, so we thought it would make sense to this time around offer controllers really dedicated to those menus. This design choice also makes it more straightforward to assign parameters to the wheels, since it allows you to work with natural shortcuts (press the pitch/mod buttons to access the respective mod menus). Everything just becomes a tad more user friendly!


Personally i dont like the joystick…glad you went for normal Wheels.


I think learning FM is much easier if you ignore the technicalities behind it and just turn some knobs, much like how you would ‘learn’ an analog synth. The Digitone is sort of designed to be possible to ‘explore’ timbrally, it doesn’t go quiet or super crazy just by tweaking some parameters.

Start with 2 operators and see how the modulation level, ratio, detune and feedback affects the sound of the carrier. Algo 1 is fine for this, ignore the B operators and focus on A and C.

You don’t need to know how it works (in a deeper sense) to use it, you can get a feel for it intuitively.


Very cool. Thanks. Makes sense. I learned all about subtractive by just keeping at it, until it all made sense. So I guess approaching it like this, would work as well.

Though I’ve missed a gate. But you just provided one, by your suggestion to go with 2 operators and that which followed. Now, I have a place to start.

One might say, I’ve found the entrance to the rabbit hole now, and am looking straight into it, one foot moving slowly forward.


One of the things that attract me to FM, is that I hear these sounds in my head, and I sit down with a proper analogue synth and tweak it, and don’t quite get to where I want it.

Then, I spend a few minutes with my Reface CS, specifically the more quirky engines, and I get there almost at once.

I think the stuff I’m hearing, is the stuff that’s common for the FM style and just not very analogue at all.


Now, if those voices in my head could start a choir, I’d have a whole band right under my scalp.


I did this a lot with my FS1r back in the late 90s when I was still at school and had loads of time. I learned very little about FM really but boy did I make some really cool sounds and happy accidents.

I agree with the sentiment though - no need to over think things, just jump in and start playing about with things.


Even when I know how this stuff works in general I do this all the time with Elektron machines due the sometimes very crypting parameter abbreviations. :wink:

It’s especially “bad” with the older machines where all parameters are just visualized as knobs and there are tons of them like on the A4 or the OT.


I actually Like that a lot about the A4.


I’m a huge fan of the MonoMachine keyboard… So I obviously would want to replace my DN with the keyboard version… But, I just can’t get past the fact that I can’t save my chained patterns…I play guitar and need my hands free from the keys most of the time…


PHRT is one of my personal favourite abbreviations from the Elektron machines. :grin:


Very inspiring!