Sequence drum machines with Digitakt

Dear Elektronauts,

How would you approach sequencing a drum machine like roland 909 or tr-8?

It would be very cool if Electron developed a MIDI sequencer page/mode for drum machines and one for chromatic synths.


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Hi there,

these modes already exist. Route your DT-midi to the coreeponding TR-channels, select some CC’s and there you go.
You can switch on audio and midi track to chromatic mode and ist possible to record your trigs in real time or in steps.

As long as there are some syncing probs in the current OS I recommend DT as master.

Hi and thanks for your response.

I know you can do this. However to trigger different drums (ex BD, snare, hihat etc) you will have to use different notes (from my understanding). For example: A0 for BD B0 for SD C0 for CH and so forth.
So theoretically you can’t trigger more than 4 drums at the same time cause you would have to create a 4 or more notes “chord”.

Moreover the sequencer will not show each note separately (each percussion separately) but it will provide an aggregated view of all the triggers.

It would be very cool to have a mode where you could see the trigs of only, lets say, Note A0 (which corresponds to the kick). In this way you’ll have a different sequence for every note/percussion of the drum-machine.

Hope I was clear. thanks!

where is the problem to place one note on each midi track?

Agreed. If you want just the kick on 1 track, just sequence that note on that track. So on for the rest.

You just have to set the note on the Trig Parameter page

Right. Furthermore it make no sense setting up an external sequencer for a dedicated drum maschine - unless you will need this 32th ‘ssst’ in bar 1024 on step 3, page one.

The problem is that if you have 2 drum machines +other external synths you ll run out of midi tracks quite easily.

or you want to use conditional trigs, which only few dedicated drummachines offer

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TBH the sequencer of the TR-8 is kind of basic (2 velocities, no parameter lock/recording, no trig conditions etc).
I would have expected the DT to be able to solve this by fully controlling the TR-8 using only one midi channel. I know that Cirklon Sequentix has a way of doing so with just one midi channel.

Anyway, as for now i am happy about DT sequencer but as we all love Elektron because of their sequences capabilities I would suggest them to develop a new hardware midi sequencer to compete with the cirklon sequentix.


that would be something :slight_smile: midi and cv. half the price of the cirklon :wink:

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hm ok, I think I can follow. I really thought the TR-8 is capable of such (imho) basics of a drum maschine.

Spontaniously I would think of beat step pro, pyramid or even the cyklon (in the order of costs). Since the DT was announced as a drummaschine itself, its midi track capabilities seemed to be optimized for synth sequencing (i.e. chords). Drummaschine sequencing is surely possible but inconvinient.

why inconvenient?

You can always sample down audio from the midi tracks individually or as sub-mixes and use them on an audio track to free up more midi tracks…

not in a live situation

I am rather new to the Elektron world, so please excuse when this question makes your teeth grind. I have the Keys and i am thinking of buying the Digitakt. Would it be possible to set up several drumsounds on one track on the Keys in Multimode, sequence these on four Digitakt-Midi-Tracks (i know, the sounds will cut each other off ) and benefit of the possibility to mute the Digitakt Midi Tracks, or will muting result in silence, because the Keys Midi Track will mute ( and Not the specific sounds on the Digitakt Track? Thanks for your help! :disappointed_relieved:

For different notes (=drums) on one (or more) track you will always have to perform some translation work: press trig to remember wich note was assigned, wich drum was F2#, wich parameter was assigned to CC102. Do this for 8 different notes on a track and you will have fun. Even placing the trigs, consider CH/HH sharing one maschine/soundengine, could be tricky. It will need some sophisticated planing and an amount of time for a simple groove whereas I could get it instantaniously from a capable drummaschine.
Really - if the TR-8 sounds were so precious I would sample each drum (maybe 3-5 variations), place them on an audio track and use DT’s origin features for sample manipulation.

You can buy a second hand MD, non UW, for 500 (EUR).

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Yes you made some true points. Needs some preparation but gives still more options sequencing wise than many drum machine sequencers. Not everyone needs them though

I’m still waiting for this feature which would transform my tr8 into an Elektron monster.
So easy to implement too.
A game changer.

I think sequencing a Drum Machine, that has a rather limited sequencer can greatly benefit from sequencing it from an Elektron.
Of course, if you’re mostly using simple drum patterns in your music anyway then maybe it will just complicate the whole thing unnecessarily, but in general I think it’s worth trying.

Using lots of midi tracks can indeed can get pretty confusing. Imho it’s best to develop a certain structure for sequencing and then just stick to it.
For example kick on midi track 1, snare on midi track 2, open/closed hat on track 3, ride cymbal, shaker, claps on track 4 and toms, congas on track 5. Something like that. Then map the same midi cc parameters, using the same layout for all tracks.
For the parameters, that are unique to certain voices, you could try to map parameters that make sense together to the same encoder, like distortion for the kick, snappy for the snare, stereo spread for the claps etc. - which are kind of ‘variation’ parameters - always on encoder 8.
So the last encoder always gives you a kind of timbral variation.

Btw, I just thought wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to assign colours to the midi tracks on the Elektrons that have the new buttons?
Kinda like you can change colours on the TR-8s.