Machinedrum: good companion for the Digitone? What should I look for in an used unit?


Sorry for the “double trouble” question.

Previously owned OT, AR, DT and AH. Currently absolutely in love with the Digitone. Amazing synth, which I´m using a lot not only for melodic and ambient textures but also for percussive sounds - I´m liking it even more for those massive kicks and weird percs than the AR.

Because of this, I started thinking about the digital percussive masterpiece of Elektron: Machinedrum!

I spotted some reasonable deals for Machinedrums UW MK2 here (around 700 USD - both looks clean, beautiful and functional).

Do you think that they make a good couple?

What do you say about the drum sounds of the MD in comparison with the Digitone - in the end of the day the MD will make an specific kind of FM drum sounds or the machines sounds are really singular?

Sometimes I pair the DN with the OP-Z so the sample capabilities (not the sampling RAM techniques, which looks amazing) aren´t a must - although I´m interested in the 12-bit SP-like textures.

And what should I look for after buying an used MD unit? There´s something that can have problems after some years of studio use that i must check ASAP?

Thanks a lot!

Run a test mode, check all knobs / buttons.

If you want more than 128 patterns, you need a MD with +Drive.


I use both units in combination. I think they are great for a live- and producing setup.
I use to jam with it a lot and use both for producing. At home, everything runs on an Interface, using the individual outputs of the MD and overbridge of the DN.
During a live situation I often use the audio in channel of the Digitone and the Machinedrum as the MIDI clock.
I am really happy with the sound combination, playing Minimal, Electro, Techno or IDM kits from the MD
and combine these with the diversity of the Digitone. Mostly Basslines, combined with soft leads and on one track some percussive elements. The parameter locks and the huge possibilities of trig conditions can stretch the sound capacity a lot!!! It is worth it …


You can also sequence MD tracks with DN, to have trig conditions, and / or sequence DN multimap with MD, randomizing notes with lfos…


Thanks a lot, @sezare56. The Machinedrum UW MK2 already come with the +Drive, our am I wrong?

Thanks a lot for the details about your setup, mate. Do you think that the MD sounds are distinct enough from the sounds that I can made with the DN?

don’t own a DN but from what I can tell they have completely different sonic signatures - MD is rather old-school, whereas DN is very modern - I think they’d make an amazing pair if you’re really into these kinds of digital percussion. MD will give lots of options for processing/sampling DN, and you can process MD with DN fx


It’s the most fun and immediate combination I have in my studio! Lately I’ve just been making patterns and recording stereo takes with the two of them, essentially just jamming on the fly. The MD sometimes needs a little tweaking to take off some of it’s digital edge, internal eq and comp can help that. Or post processing. Digitone is digital, but can sound close to Analog at times and has a fairly large pallete for sound design. I wouldn’t sell either of them, they’re too good. I feel the make a great complimentary pair.

If you have other gear, the Digitone makes a great midi brain as well, so I send notes to my Yamaha Reface CS for thick super saw chords. That sound seems to glue the MD and DN together for me lately. The Reface CS is ran through the DN to utilize the reverb.

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I’ve said before I think they’re the best digital combo, very very fun and not any overlap in sound.

I highly recommend the UW for resampling tricks (and one shots etc), and +drive if possible as you can have different sample sets and more patterns.
I’d avoid the MK1 unless you find a ridiculous deal. The power isn’t as good, nor is the signal to noise ratio, and it only does 2 bar patterns, not 4 like MK2.


Definitely get the +Drive model. It makes working with/managing your own samples easier, and is worth the typically $200ish premium.


It´s possible to randomize notes with the LFOs?! Amazing. I will look for it in the manual.

Thanks a lot, @AdamJay. The units available here are the UW MK2. I understood that all already come with +Drive. Am I wrong?

There are MKII UW without a +Drive.

only if it says UW+ does it have a +Drive

(unless it was installed by Elektron as an after-purchase upgrade, but there are only a few of these, and people have put a lot of money into them, so they rarely come to market. If someone tells you it has a +Drive and it doesn’t show on this graphic beneath the LCD, they need to show you a shot of the +Drive manager in the MD OS)

no + Drive = UW%20no%20plus

with + Drive = UW%20Plus%20Drive


@AdamJay MANY thanks, mate! Only one of the MDs availabe have the +Drive - exactly the one that I wasnt negotiating :stuck_out_tongue: Will change my focus.

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I don’t think it’s explained in the manual. It’s a bit tricky because MID machines lfos are not working on themselves! You need a CTR 8P for that. Here is the principle. I won’t explain more, I don’t have MD anymore (I have OT/A4/AR, don’t need MD anymore).


Thanks a lot, @sezare56. I can get the idea and will save your post for further tests. When you say a MIDI loopback is MIDI out > MIDI in, right?

Yes, but this principle can be also applied to external gear, like midi out to DN with Multimap > random drums / sounds. :slight_smile:
Randomize notes for both (MD and DN) is also possible with midi loopback and MD midi thru (it will reflect what comes in, hence MD out).

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@Cepheid I´m very impressed with the deepness and variety of Digitone sounds. Indeed, to be honest, I´m thinking more about the MD because it´s an opportunity to test a classical - well, the most classical Elektron machine - than for an specific sonic need, as DN (and TE gear) cover all my needs.

Said that, is good to know that you think that they sound complimentary and glue well.

They sound awesome together; maybe even better than the monomachine + md. Maybe it´s the clarity of the Digitone + the grittiness of the MD… dunno…


Be carefull though, some have seen +drive chassis mounted on non +drive unit to scam people…Not tons of them but definitely some…

In the global menu :

the plus drive is clearly mentionned ask for it ! :slight_smile: