Is the Digitone a good first synth

I’d maybe suggest playing around with a few FM softsynths first. it is a radically different method of making sound than the others on your list. The Digitone probably can make the sounds you want, but the route there could be a lot easier on other synths. On the other hand, the DTone can make sounds others can’t.

It’s possible you’d be better off with something like a Behringer Deepmind, or the Minilogue, or a 2nd-hand Nord Lead. Polyphonic, and you’ll learn a more ‘classic’ way of sound design. OTOH the Elektron sequencer lets you use the DTone as a complete groovebox in a way you can’t with the others. Maybe a used Analog 4 for a similar price as a DTone, if you want more of a classic analog synth sound with a great sequencer? The thing with Elektron is, you’ll spend as long getting to grips with the sequencer as you do learning how to operate the sound design parameters. Which is great, if you want a very good sequencer, but annoying for some people who don’t.

so I would take advantage of the wonderful opportunity software offers to dig a little deeper into FM vs subtractive synthesis, and if you find you really like the sound possibilities of FM then the DTone is probably your best option.


The Digitone is certainly one of the most accessible FM synths I’ve ever used. It removes much of the complexity of FM synthesis while retaining much of the power and giving the sound designer quicker access to FM “sweet spots”

Also on the plus side, additional waveforms and analog-style filters, envelopes and LFOs make it a powerful hybrid beast, but with most everything accessible with one or two button presses.

A “true” beginner who hasn’t ever done anything with hardware or software synths might be overwhelmed at first, but that doesn’t sound like you.

For your style of music, I think the Digitone has more potential to grow with you over time than some of the others you mentioned.

You mentioned analog, and while the Digitone is a digital FM synth, its sounds can have a richness like analog, and can be easily tamed to sound fat and juicy with the lovely well designed filters, but it is also capable of unique crystalline hybrid sounds that are difficult-to-impossible to achieve with pure analog. What I’m saying is, this thing is flexible without sacrificing sound quality.

Speaking of “growing with you”, the Digitone with its 8 voices and multitrack Elektron sequencer takes this device to the level of “electronic music studio in a box”. Yes, 8 voices shared between 4 tracks might seem limiting, but in practice, unless you’re doing massive big room EDM, the Digitone has a lot of juice, and it is very strong on drums and percussion too. The word I keep hearing from others in my circle about the sequenced drum sounds is “dope”.

That said, with a controller, you can always just “play” the Digitone as a synth without ever getting into the sequencing, but then you’re losing out on a lot of what makes this box great. However, be prepared for a little bit of “Elektron Way” learning curve. Me, I got it pretty quickly, but others sometimes don’t have as easy a time of it, so maybe watch a few tutorial vids and see if you can build some confidence that the Digitone and Elektron way of doing things is going to click for you.

A keyboard controller is highly recommended. I use an Arturia Keystep and love the combo.


All valid points and a good counter to my post.


It’s my first Synth and I’m in love with it. Only had it for the last two weeks, along with the Digitakt, but I’m already comfortable with the menus on both. YouTube lowers the learning curve quite a bit.


As far a a first synth goes, I think you might want something that has more of an interface and a direct link the the design.

The FM controls on the Digitone are split across 4 different pages, and with FM synthesis each parameter wildly affects the sound depending on the other settings.

I think a good first synth would probably be a neutron or a Roland system 1. Each offers direct control to get you comfortable with simple subtractive synthesis- the Neutron will give you plenty of opportunity to reimagine the structure of the synth with its patchbay.

Then again, my first real synth was the analog 4- so these aren’t stead fast rules, but it would definitely help you calibrate your mind to sound synthesis


I think the graphics on the digitone are much more user friendly and represent whats happening to the sound when you turn a knob in a much more straight forward way than any direct control synth, especially in comparison to other FM synths. One of the downsides of getting the digitone as a first synth is that it will probably spoil many other synths you might want to get further down the line, as the digitone is much more flexible and versatile in comparison to most of what’s out there, at least in my opinion.


The Digitone is super quick to program an all wonderful, but if you have never used a synth I would rather start with something more simple (just as and example I find the Korg Volcas to be great for beginners, and not only).
An analog subtractive synth would be a better choice. Just to help you understand the structur a synth might have and it’s modules (VCO, VCF, VCA, enveloppe, etc…).

Take a look on the second hand market! I wouldn’t take a new unit if I were you, being a newby.

Arturia Brutes are very cool synths. and you have access to all their parameters on the front panels.


These days there are loads of helpful video’s on youtube, my take on this is go for the sound. Wrapping your head around individual bits of equipment is just about spending time learning and time spent learning is totally worthwhile.
I don’t think it’s an overly complex box, but for the money you get a lot and going back to my first point, from what I’ve heard it sounds fantastic.


Digitone indeed sounds fantastic. You can get a lot from almost nothing but you can also dive like crazy. All in all, it’s pretty straight forward, everything is right there in front of you. You can not go wrong !


I would suggest something like a Roland SH-01a to start with synthesis…
Digitone might be a bit higher a step for a beginner. These FM tones need some shaping, like you know what you’re doing !

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@olibol 30% of defective units is very impressive ! Such luck reality doesn’t reflect these numbers…
This said, you might want to find a more appropriate thread (or forum?) to spread your rumors. And get your facts checked this time. Let me tell you this crusade of yours is getting tiring.


Why set the bar too low, when you can leverage your “investment” (yes, that is how i think you should consider spending hard earned money on expensive outboard gear) to also elevate your future opportunities to create and PLAY out music?

The OP has mentioned he/she’s already using software synths, and with the wealth of good software synths available - i think spending a month or two ONLY making music with something simple as Ableton Analog & Operator, or Logic Es 1 & Retro - will offer enough of an understanding an mileage to appreciate how synthesis works and sounds come together to then take the step to an Elektron. You own the Monark soft synth, it’s perfectly laid out and has resemblances to a Moog which is one of the most timeless synthesizers ever designed.

I owned one of the 1st Minilogues to reach UK soil and decided to sell it this year. As interesting and capable as it is, i actually found it quite limited (and even boring!) contrary to the multi-functionality and further depth a machine as Digitone offers.

  1. Your knowledge curve is very exponential, it CAN increase dramatically in a short amount of time if you set your mind to it.
  2. Assuming you dont sit on mountains of cash and rationally buy one piece of equipment at a time, to really learn it well, you should be careful with what you spend money on
  3. You clearly have some sort of DAW. Use one or two synths and learn them well, or just use the Monark. Why buy a volca or SH-101 clone with the purpose of learning synthesis, if you can do it almost for free using your DAW?
  4. Spend your money on something which bridges your time spent on basic synthesis in a DAW, and leverages your opportunities to create A) music in the direction of your taste B) cool sounds C) play live (this is a BIG win with Elektron machines)

Analog vs. Digital. That’s a limitless discussion. Possibly not what makes the biggest difference to you at this stage in your development.

Keep it simple :wink:


DN was my first over a year ago and still play it almost daily. If you buy second hand you’ll be able to re sell for close to what you payed if it’s not for you.


Great reply.

@CallASpadeASpade I agree with Reframe, you can just use soft synths to learn synthesis, but at the same time you could also benefit from learning on hardware depending on what you like, how you like to learn, ect.

Personally I learn more & enjoy myself more when using hardware. Part of it is due to the fact that I work on a computer 40 hours a week for my job, but I’m also really hands on, I love twisting knobs, pushing buttons, ect.

If you really enjoy using software, it might be better to invest in something different given the amount of soft synths there are to choose from & the quality of them.

It doesn’t sound like you’re a complete beginner either since you’ve been making music on a computer. & even if you’re a beginner, if you learn fast & you’re really passionate about music production you could start on just about anything.

If I were you I would put a lot of thought & research into it. I started on the hardware route not knowing what genre I was going to make, what workflow I like, what sounds I like to use & make, I knew nothing. I did a ton of research & even tho I still made some bad choices due to not having experience the research helped A LOT.


I personally recommend going for the Minilougue or an old Microkorg based on the easy to use interfaces and genres you make. I’ve seen the Minilougue make some reallll tasty lofi Patches and the pitch/mod stick on it is wonderful for expression. And it’s a bit less costly compared to the DN which you could always trade up for later on.

Not saying Elektron boxes are bad or hard to use ( I f**king LOVE my Digitakt) but there are quirks to their boxes which are easy to get lost in. I spend a lot more time noodling with ideas on my DT than actually finishing projects (obviously YMMV)

Learning the Microkorg back in 2012 with the MKCookbook was one of the most enjoyable ways to learn synthesis while being hands on, and when I was over it I sold it for almost as much as I paid for it. It also made using soft synths a lot easier because I knew what each and every function already did.

Just some food for thought! You really can’t go wrong with any of your choices tbh.


OK, after reading @Reframe above, I’d say : please forget what I told earlier !
What makes the Digitone amazing is not just the soundscapes, it’s the sequencer !!
You shouldn’t find that much fun building loops with your regular synth…
It will need some patience to tame the FM tones and get to a point where you really know what you are doing, but still…

Get yourself a Digitone and come here to tell how it works for you ^^


Digitone is the right synth at any point of your synth journey :sunglasses:


The microkorg was my first synth. While I really loved it and also sold it at almost the same price I bought it for, I wouldn’t ever recommend it to anyone if they intend to learn how synthesis works. The editing matrix and the minimal display makes it very unintuitive. From all the people I know (in person) that owned a microkorg, all of them just used and messed with the presets a bit.
You can do lovely sounds on it once you get the hang of editing on it, but I’d never call it a pleasurable experience.
It is a pleasure on the DN, much more so than on any other synth I’ve owned so far.


I had the same experience with it as my first synth. I sold it for a nordlead 2x in order to have a knob/function interface.
Any nordlead/rack would be a great first synth btw.


Same. I kept seeing it get recommended and I was like wtf?

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