Live jamming, which Elektron to start with?

Hi all. Hobbyiest who has been using Ableton and VSTs (Analog Lab, Pigments, etc) for several years for music creation (Progressive House and Down Tempo music mostly). I’ve gotten bored with the computer/mouse side of things. I recently got my first groove box a Roland VersaLab MV1 and am enjoying jamming out on it, but the interface is a little deep divey and I only have 1 knob in using 90% of the time to do all the navigation and controlling of most settings. So I’m happy to be away from the PC, but still wishing for more immediacy in sound tweaking for live playing/jamming. I just ran across all the Elektron stuff the past few weeks and have been watching YouTube to see what they are all about and looks really interesting. I’ve been reading lots of threads alike each one gets different recommendations, Digitakt, Digitone, Syntakt.

Looking for recommendations on which would be the better first box to start with and possibly add on to my MV-1 or add more Elektron boxes down the road. I’m not looking to put out full songs, more just jamming and having fun in the moment.


I’m an Elektron user since 20 years now and when the Syntakt came out, I immediately thought that this would be the first Elektron box to buy if I didn’t have one. Of course, it also depends if you prefer Samples or Synthesis.


Syntakt if you’re mostly on a synth side or Digitakt if you’re mostly on a sample side.


Maybe the Model cycles/samples if you want more dedicated knobs.

Although I’d give a +1 vote for Digitakt too


well, M:S is sort of Digitakt’s younger sibling, but that’s not true when it comes to Syntakt vs Cycles, because Syntakt is Cycles + dumbed down AR/A4 + dumbed down Analog Heat.


True, Syntakt over the Model Cycles for sure. :+1:t2:

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I’ve mostly been doing sample stuff, so would like to get more into the synth side to build out sounds by tweaking params.

Digitakt, very intuitive.

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There is no right answer. They’re all good :slight_smile:

The flagship ones have more performance options (scenes, macros, etc). The mid-range ones are super quick. The Models are great value for money and more powerful than they appear. (Based on my experiences with AR, OT, ST and MC).

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The OT is like Ableton Lite in a box.
The rumors that’s is complicated is extremely overhyped. Same with all the comments about the effects being bad.

The OT is the most unique device elektron has ever made, simple to use once you get acclimated to the muscle memory. Extremely simple project management, and it’s the gift that keep on giving.

It also excels as a brain for multiple devices and integrates seamlessly with all other electrons.

Ideally an MKI dark Trinity set up is like having Ableton in a hardware format.
RYTM = Drum Rack
A4 = Synth plug-ins
OT is the multi track routing interface with 6 supirior midi tracks, and the ability to stack effects with neighbor machines give you the ability to create mind blowing effects.
All of them together is a massively powerful performance rig.

However the OT is the best one to start with.
Truly the most fun unique piece of hardware available.
At tge price tge MKIs are going for, it’s unbeatable.

Also, the A4 is an incredible drum machine, with amazing sounds that sit perfectly in the mix.
The RYTM is also a brilliant synth as well as a drum machine.
It’s endless possibilities that can inspire you for years to come

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I agree with this.



I mean I only have the Models boxes but they’re both awesome to play live, forces you to be really performative within the limitations given.

Also the M:Cycles is one of my favorite instruments for jamming with other musicians and improving!

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Just watched a RedMeansRecording video on YouTube of him using the Syntakt to make a from scratch Downtempo groove. Was really cool, but man, he can move through that UI quick.

From what I’ve read from you, I don’t think OT would be the right choice for you. It’s fun and awesome but I also think syntakt or digitakt would be the right way to go, depending on where you want to go with it.

Watch videos and see if you can connect to one of them. Best would be to go to a store and play with them.

Some don’t click with you. I have rytm and OT, tried digitone in the store and didn’t like it. Even though alot of videos I’ve watched were really cool. But it feel right in my hands.

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I would’ve picked up the Digitone first. I bought an Octatrack before it, and a Syntakt afterwards. I really wish I’d bought a Digitone years ago; it’s a proper desert-island groovebox for me…

It has huge sonic versatility, and its polyphony and voice-sharing must be taken into account when comparing its seemingly meagre four synth tracks with the Digitakt and Syntakt. Four tracks is of course still a constraint, but I’ve found it to be a healthy one while learning the Elektron sequencer.

It also plays well with others. The four MIDI tracks are really well integrated and also share another eight voices. There’s also an arp, though only for the synth tracks.

I’m sure you’ll have great fun whatever you choose!

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+1 Syntakt. I’ve owned all the elektron stuff (besides mono machine and Sid) and for a beginner it is very versatile and simultaneously immediate. Very jam worthy. A4 as a close (albeit more expensive) second imho.

I wouldn’t recommend an octatrack until you’re more comfortable with the elektron workflow. It is a bit of a commitment and might turn you off at first.

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Thanks for all the replies so far!
Do you gain/lose anything going with both the Model Cycles/Samples instead of the single Syntakt box?

It’s surprisingly easy to learn how to move quickly in my experience. The thing that slows me down is more often than not hesitation, because if you do it wrong, you risk erasing lots of work due to the lack of undo. I func+yes and save very frequently, and even then, I make sure to slow down so I don’t accidentally func+no or save incorrectly.

If proper undo existed, you could be as fast on this thing as in SSFII.

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You’d gain:

  • sample playback
  • a second reverb and delay
  • simplicity
  • about £70

You’d lose:

  • analog machines
  • external input for mixing in other devices
  • flexible fx routing
  • song mode