Single synth obsessions

I used to do the same thing I myself with each completed repair/restoration I did. As soon as one was completed I was making a track solely on that synth. If I couldn’t squeeze all the parts out of a single instrument (drums sounds on a string machine is particularly tricky!) I’d use the bare minimum of just what I needed. Sadly many of the tunes and parts were lost in a HD crash and I hadn’t backed them up. It’s a really good exercise in getting to know a new synth and finding new ways of programming.

For me the natural progression was to replace some of the weaker parts but still base the song around one synth, trying to get what I could out whilst still trying to come up with a ‘rounded’ end product. That led me off in more new musical directions!

Some songs that stick in my mind (and didn’t go to the big HD in the sky) we’re an unashamedly 80’s sounding JX8P tune, a darker progressive house tune done on a DW8000 and quirky little ditty on a Korg PE1000. All different and all ultimately influenced by the instrument and me experimenting and finding agreeable noises! Good fun and highly recommended.

Currently (re)obsessed with the Analog Keys by itself. I’m thinking three or four tracks on my next album will be AK only.

Overbridge makes joystick assignments so effortless and that’s where this thing gets fun, especially for drum tracks. It can really get into Octatrack crossfader territory, but with some distinction.
Once the sequence is ready for playback, the left hand on the joystick and right hand on performance macros makes “playing” an arrangement a pure delight.

The routing flexibility of running the kick track out through a transformer pedal and back into the external input is a lot of fun to exploit, as well.


One of my latest tunes is majority AK. Followed the one synth principle but then started adding with a couple of other bits and bobs. 3 synth parts and the bass line wasn’t too bad out of the AK, just mulitracking each and building the tune around them. In fact the song starts and ends with an AK piano type preset.

From memory the only other instruments were AR2 for drums and DN for some of the synth bits.


Arturia Microfreak only; multitracked and effected in ableton:


Aaaaaaaand the Digitone is here.

What … a … BEAST! Just a couple of hours with it (I read the manual and watched a bunch of tutorials before it arrived) and I am absolutely LOVING this as a fantastic sounding self-contained box for electronic music.

I am seriously considering selling my MPC Live now because as powerful as it is, it never ever “sparked joy” in the way the Digitone has in just a couple of hours of of digging in.

The sound quality overall is so “alive” and setting aside the variety of lovely-to-nasty melodic sounds. I have to rave about the drums, oh god the drums … THIS synth makes me want to get up and dance!

I have a couple of live sets coming up next week, and maybe it’s too aggressive a goal, but I would LOVE to show up with just the Digitone, plug in and GO!


The best single mono synth track ive ever heard(even if it is a remaster).


Just following up, over the past week I’ve managed to learn to use the Digitone well enough to sequence about 10 “jammable” songs worth of patterns spread out over a couple of banks. Some of these patterns have empty tracks with specifically assigned sounds to let me play some live keyboards using an Arturia Keystep. I have also mapped some Circuit Mono Station material to these patterns and have preset volumes and FX set up for the input to the Digitone.

I have a small gig tomorrow as the house DJ/performer for a monthly event, so given the fact that I’m up and running, it looks like the Digitone is going to be making an appearance. Amazed at how well the decision to get one is turning out.

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I have to say, the Digitone was love at first play for me too. I’ve been busier lately, so I had a month or so without touching the DN. However, I was up and going, feeling inspired, in a matter of minutes. Still more to do with those patterns (think I’m gonna bring them into the Octatrack and go nuts) but it’s all gonna be fun.

Gotta say, I think I’ve been overdoing it a bit with my Digitone patterns, in terms of sound locks etc. I played a gig last week and while it sounded great over the venue’s sound system, I found myself a bit stuck in terms of varying my patterns live, just because they’re so dense and I tend to forget how to edit things due to being in the moment of playing live. Think I might need to scale it back a little! :smiley:

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I just use two Digitones now, it’s a sweet combo.

A pattern I was working on for my live set last weekend


There should be a discount for buying in bulk. :thinking:

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I understand the actual interest, but that involved too much unused midi tracks.
I would like Elektron doing variant units with no sequencer and no midi, like little soud xpanders


2 Digitones = consistent device workflow, 16 voices, 8 audio tracks, more opportunities to mix-and-match material from different patterns live … pretty sweet.

I’m doing dance music + ambient with a minimal retro scifi kind of vibe, so a single Digitone (plus my Circuit Mono) is doing it for me right now. However, if I start feeling cramped with 8 voices/4 tracks in the future, I would seriously consider just getting a seconds Digitone.

Some years ago i was obsessed with Madrona Labs Aalto and wrote a lot of stuff with it. Here’s an old live-take that use only Aalto… filthy raw but i still dig it :smiley:


Love that clap sound!

I think I’m gonna finally pair my Digitone with my Nord Lead (mk1) soon; I think the Nord’s gritty, aliased sound will work nicely with the Digitone’s high fidelity.

Not quite a single synth obsession anymore, but I have made a few tracks with just the Nord on its own, in the tradition of LP5 era Autechre :smiley:


had the 2x but would love to try the mk1. seems to have a unique sound. People say it has a different, more agressive character than the later models
Lp5 era vibes :slightly_smiling_face: and NIN fragile

yeah the 2 was the first synth I ever laid hands on, and loved it. when I had to give it back (was on loan from a friend) I bought a 2X and was disappointed that it didn’t sound as good. it still sounded good. just…cleaner.

edit: thanks for mentioning LP5, haven’t listened to in a while. enjoying now :+1:


The stuff El-P did with Company Flow with only an Ensoniq EPS 16+


Following up on the follow-up.

Last night I did the entire show with just the Digitone, a Circuit Mono Station and a Keystep to play live parts.

It went better than I could have hoped. I guess I’ve built up enough muscle memory on the Digitone over the past week to keep the flow going in a live setting. It helped that I put together some coded notes on paper to remind me what each pattern was about, which sessions on the Circuit Mono synced with which patterns on the Digitone, performance notes like what tracks were “open” for jamming on the Keystep, key signatures, tempos, etc.

I didn’t have an ordered set list because I wanted to keep things fun based on audience reactions, but being able to see at a glance all of the keys/tempos and more let me intelligently select what patterns/songs to transition to next. The Circuit Mono was fantastic in providing “through lines” in the music between songs without my having to pre-plan song transition patterns on the Digitone.

I overheard people saying things like “best DJ ever” (not a DJ despite the moniker) and one of the performers said, “I don’t even want to get up now after hearing that.” … another person said “Now that is some next level s**t.”

I’m not sure I felt it was worth THAT much hyperbole, but it was fun knowing that everyone was enjoying the music that much.

As the “house” performer for this regular event, I basically perform before, after and sometimes between sets from other performers, giving me an estimated 2+ hours of total performance time. I hadn’t yet plowed through full practice sets beforehand, but it turned out to be easy to keep it interesting the whole night with just the Digitone/Circuit Mono combo.

One thing I noticed during all of this was that the Digitone/Circuit Mono combo sounded consistently much more “beefy” and rich than the other performers’ material. One guy had a performance sampler, that sounded pretty good, but was kind of sterile in terms of punch. Another performer sang and played to some pre-produced tracks, and while she sounded great and the music was great, it too lacked that punch. The Digitone in particular gave me moments of low-end rumble that were still musical and made my little minimalist thing feel like it belonged in a bigger venue.

Some of the people thought I was DJ-ing tracks and were shocked to find out I was performing it all live. Then to find out that no samples or loops were involved was mind-blowing.

One of the more satisfying performance experiences I’ve had in a while, and the Digitone was magic. There were plenty of cameras and phones out, so I’ll see if I can find and post a clip or two.


Would love to hear some of this in action for sure! Congrats on the good set, 2 hours is no joke to fill!