Quick tutorial on proper volumes on the Digitakt


#1

This is not a question, but rather a short tutorial/advice on how to achieve better sound.

The problem with the Digitakt that the values you can set regarding volume (track volume, sample volume, overdrive, master knob) are of unknown value. So you cannot just mix the tracks like it’s in a DAW where you have peak and other meters and concrete values i.e. dbfs or vu.

Also, things like overdrive can change the volume of something dramatically:

You can have unwanted results or just wondering why some people make it sound better than others.

So instead of the guess game you can use pink noise to get a good balanced track. People who have experience mixing know this trick but it’s not just a trick, its a mathematical balance between frequencies you can rely on because ears differ. For this in this case you need your DAW and the Digitakt hooked up on an audio IN channel.


How to:

0.

Obvious but maybe not for everyone: Route your Digitakt into your DAW and make sure you don’t clip the signal. For this I recommend turning physically down the main master knob on the Digitakt to somewhere between 50% and 70%. Your daw should be able to pick up the headroom i.e. -3db or so should be enough for now.

1.

Get the Melda Production Noise generator VST for free here:

https://www.meldaproduction.com/MNoiseGenerator

This plugin can generate pink noise, which we’re gonna use. BTW they have a lot of awesome free plugins in this bundle.

2.

IMPORTANT: turn the master channel down in your daw to like -24db, as the plugin can be loud first.

3.

Put the plugin on the track, set the knobs up like this:

Notice that the Dry knob needs to be on 0db otherwise you wont hear anything

4.

Turn all the track volumes down on the Digitakt except track one (or any single track)

5.

Set back the DAW master volume to a comfortable position so you can hear the Digitakt, around -12db usually. You should hear both the pink noise and your Digitakt at the same time. This is not an error but this is how we’re gonna mix.

6.

Now for the magic. Turn the volume up track by track on the Digitakt just until you can barely hear that particular track under the noise. This is important. Turn everything up juuust so you can barely hear it under all that noise. Do this track by track until you set every volume up. If you need to go over 127 then just turn overdrive up. The important thing is that you can hear that particular track.

7.

When you finish with this (noise is still on) you should hear every track nicely under the noise, but nothing should stick out or be too quiet.

8.

Turn the noise plugin OFF. You should get a very good starting point for a balanced mix.

7.

Now you can turn your audio input channel down if you need more headroom: the Digitakt tracks should remain balanced regardless of the level of the DAW track.


+1.

Rule of thumb: pink noise isn’t perfect and nor it means you cannot change volumes to make something stick out or be more in the background, but for frequency balance it’s better to lower volumes than to increase.

+2.

If you have multiple samples on a single track I’m afraid you’ll have to set volumes sample by sample there because frequency content matters here.

If you do this with each of your projects and apply compression and some eq’ing in your DAW I guarantee you that you will sound better than 80% of most people who never bother with this.



So that’s it, I follow this with my DAW projects and it’s not that hard with the Digitakt. Usually makes sense to do it after you have a basic pattern and every track has some sounds.

Hope this helps someone


Tips for "mastering" Digitakt-only production
#2

BTW if you like the science part and wondering how this works:

Pink noise is a type of noise which isn’t randomly distributed on the frequency range (unlike white noise).

So what you get is that each octave will have an equal amount of noise on the spectrum. When you look at a properly mixed track you can see its a downward slope from the bass parts to the high parts. Thats not just a random slope but it follows the same line as pink noise does.


#3

Not totally, the gain structure has been worked out:


#4

Thanks, that’s actually useful information, wondering why it’s not in the manual (yet)


#5

Thank you so much for this!


#6

Does anyone have an idea of which Noise option in the toolbox on the digitakt is closest to pink noise?