Need help in selecting the first Elektron device

Yo. I need some help with finding the right Elektron machine for me, and any input would be much appreciated.

At the moment I don’t own any Elektron gear, but I was always interested in them. Nowadays, I’m into modular and comparable software synths (such as pd or Bitwig Grid), but I also like sequencers and I’ve watched a lot of videos on Syntakt, Digitakt and Octatrack to know that they’re a bit “special” in this regard, or, at the very least, people do treat them as such, so I got curious and I’d love to get my hands on one of these, to learn what is so special about it (to be clear: I’m genuinely very curious and not at all condescending or antagonistic; also the clicky buttons looked very satisfying in the videos).

I’m considering investing in an Elektron device for two purposes: solo jamming and using it as a part of my whole setup. Apart from my modular sequenced by Vector I also currently own a Polyend Tracker, a Dirtywave M8 and a Synthstrom Deluge, all of which I love (well, to varying degrees).

I’ve considered the following Elektron devices:

  1. Digitakt - cheapest (I think?) and the most popular one (I think?), also like that it has the song mode now. No kits is a huge bummer. My main issue with it is that I’m not really used to sampling workflows :frowning: I always either jam with factory samples or build my own sounds with the provided synths. I might get into this later, but it feels like a whole new area to explore, so does somewhat reduce the likeability of the device.
  2. Octatrack - feels like Digitakt+, so probably not for me. That A/B slider looks like the killer feature of the machine and it seems to be the brain of the studio for many/some, but I wouldn’t want to blindly switch to it just yet…
  3. Syntakt - feels like Digitakt but analog/digital voices instead of sampling? This sounds up my valley, but OTOH I’m a bit scared of adding yet another bunch of voices to my setup - learning that AND the new workflow might be challenging.
  4. Analog Rytm - feels like hmm… Octatrack but for drums? I don’t have a dedicated drum machine (apart from an Erica Synths LXR module), so it might be interesting, but I don’t really know anything about this machine except a few bits of info I’ve read (no videos). Doesn’t seem to be as popular as the other three mentioned?

Genre-wise, my main interests are IDM (think Squarepusher), industrial (think NIN) and, for the lack of a better term, ambient (think most modular videos on YT :slight_smile: ). I’m also more interested in drums/percussion than synth voices as I’ve got plenty of those.

Sorry for the brain dump, but I was looking at these machines for over a year by now and still can’t decide which one I could or should try.

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You don’t need to sample (there is good factory content, including single-cycle waveforms, and you can transfer samples from a computer) but the ability is there if you want.


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My first Elektron machine was the Digitakt. I’ve had it for a few years, and I am still very happy with it.

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If you have a little bit of reservation, go Digitakt which is fast and intuitive. After learning more about the “Elektron workflow” you would be in a better position to know what’s next (if any). However, if you like being more adventurous - you can plough straight into the bigger Elektron boxes not difficult to use either.


Digitakt all the way. Or, if you’re really unsure about it but want to try the workflow on a budget - get a model:samples. I was fortunate to have a friend loan me a digitakt, which ultimately lead me to get a samples (cheaper, and still wasn’t sure sampling was for me). I spent a good year with it before getting a digitakt.

The workflow is nothing difficult, it’s just a different way of doing things. Once you get the approach you’ll be fine.

But really, I’m glad I went the sample route first. It’s far more rewarding for me to mangle samples than to try and create interesting things on my digitone. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a killer little drum machine as well if you want it to be, but when I’m looking for those sounds that are just…off…I find myself taking samples of my digitone and letting the digitakt do it’s magic. I am now looking at an octatrack for even more weirdness. Musically it sounds like we are in to similar things for what it’s worth.


Digitone - FM is ubiquitous in both genres, and the Digitone seems to be a refinement of the Monomachine’s FM engine. (I have a MnM, but not a DN. I don’t recommend the MnM unless you have recently won the lottery)


I think you have done a good job describing why you are considering various boxes OP. I think it would help if you really narrowed down for yourself which would bring you more happiness, and compliment your current kit better; samples or synthesis?

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+1 for the DN’s global overdrive!

But but… OP say clickety clickety seems so satisfying :smile: :smile:

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Life was so much simpler when there were just three choices.
Machine Drum

Honestly, I chose the octatrack as it seemed like the easiest one to pick up.

Any of the sequencers will drive your other gear. If you want to sample then there are some major downsides to the digitakt compared to octatrack. If you’re into performance then the choice is obvious.

The one thing in common with your list is they are all drum machines, that can be used in other ways. Some are better at some things than others. Good luck on your quest.

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This plus your current lack of a dedicated drum machine plus what you said about building your own drum sounds all has me thinking Syntakt. I’m only familiar with its machines from the Model:Cycles, but they really are a great set of fun, playable, and crunchy sound generators that I think could suit your stylistic inclinations well (especially with the FX bus).

I wouldn’t worry too much about the additional voices. While there is some good depth to the machines, they’re super easy to get up to speed with.

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Hmm fair. Coincidentally, I’ve just finished reading your FIMS, thanks a lot for writing it! :slight_smile:

Ah, I should have said explicitly that I’m not interested in Digitone - with the modular I’m more than covered for FM stuff (and melodic voices in general). I also have a Hydrasynth so I’m covered for harmony too.

That’s the hardest part :frowning: I was mostly torn between Digitakt and Syntakt most of the time, finding it rather hard to decide which one’s better without getting my hands on both to compare. I’ve never owned a comparable device, plus I’ve already been burned by choosing a sequencer in the Eurorack land - very often it would look great in a video (or even several), but the workflow wouldn’t feel right when I got my hands on it, so I had to sell it and buy the next one :confused:

Thanks :slight_smile:

That’s kinda why I considered it too, but Digitakt has its pros too :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Overall, this thread went approximately the way I thought it would - I thought most people would suggest a Digitakt, with a few other options. Thank you all so much for taking the time to respond, all good info! I’ve thought about this a bit and ordered a used

mostly because it’s so very popular and seems to be a good baseline for the workflow, and also because I’ve never owned a dedicated sampler (of non-tracker variety at least).

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Alright then, I’m going to say Digitakt. You already have some modular and other synthesis cooking, so I think the DT will work in a variety of ways with your current setup. You could use it as drum machine along with your other gear, or you could sample your modular sounds into it, and sequence and shape those sounds inside of the Digitakt. With its envelopes, LFO’s, filters and FX, there is a lot to do inside of the DT. You can also load up some single cycle waveforms and go to town there.

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You’re welcome! And I look forward to hearing what you do with your Digitakt.

This might be worth examining - not only is digital FM very different from modular-analog FM, but you’d need a truly epic modular system to equal a 4op digital FM synth. Also, a modular system that can do DN FM should also have the Syntakt covered as well. :man_shrugging:

The big differences between Euro and Elektron are:

  • quantized, recallable settings
  • plocking sequencer
  • compact, low cost

OT and A4 pair well with modular, but you really can’t go wrong with any of the Elektrons.

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…whatever u choose…their sequencer is always half of the whole thing, an instrument of it’s very own kind and pretty much the very same thing in all of them…

sounds like, u got the sampling planet already more than covered, so i hardly suggest u pick a swedish device where the plock each trig for itself stepsequencer treats synthesis…

syntakt is their mainfocus at the moment and will see the most next new gimmicks this year…
and u’d get truu analog vibes hand in hand with truu new digital synth ideas…all dead simple as universal complex at once…


Syntakt is pretty much a greatest hits box with aspects of everything (except sampling) in the current Elektron product line, so I would probably go for that. It’s kinda the main reason I don’t have one, since I already own loads of other Elektrons, but it seems like a winner in terms of a My First Elektron because of that.


Digitakt, Syntakt, or a Model. If Melody is more your thing you could be a little frustrated by the sampler devices unless you have other gear you’d like to sequence.


I’d get an A4. So many ways to use it…great drums. If you ever need a basic sequencer, it can do that. Ambient all day.

I bought a used A4 Mk1 for 600 after having the Mk2 for 6 months and selling it. Just a great deal and the thing is super for so many things.


Congrats OP on ordering a Digitakt. It is a solid choice for a first Elektron box. The Digitakt is a great and great-sounding device. I use mine for drum duties primarily as well and it’s great for that. Load up a few samples you like and start making patterns with those and get used to the workflow. My tip would be to stick to those sounds for a while and just treat them as “fixed” to each track, so that you can familiarise yourself with the functions of the device and how the parts come together as a whole.

After you start feeling very comfortable with Digitakr’s capabilities, you could then begin sampling & manipulating your own sounds to make things that are uniquely yours and sound up your ally.

Not exactly accurate, but I like to think of samplers as synths that use complex waveforms as OSCs (ie the sample :)), then approach it like subtractive (envelope, filter etc) or additive (add samples on multiple pads, manipulate them, resample the whole lot onto a new track etc) synthesis.

so load something up or sample a sound and consider that the sonic foundation of your further exploration…it also helps to try n forget what it was you actually sampled (eg “this is a handclap”, “this was a C2 on the Moog” etc) and instead really focus in on the sonics of your sample…abstract advice maybe, but it’s the sort of stuff that made me gel with samplers beyond using them as romplers.

Good luck & let us know how it goes and if you need any advice down the line!