"Song mode" Digitakt


MIDI OUT to IN on another machine, then THRU back to the DT lets you at least master or slave another device via MIDI. You can then either filter out or make use of the program change messages in the other machine.

But yeah, the OUT port has to send MIDI, not DIN sync.


I’m already playing guitar (and stomping on a lot of fx pedals) and singing. I can’t be stepping on another switch every 15 seconds to switch a pattern. I could see how that would work if you were only using the DT or DN though.


Just offering solutions and answering your question of “how would a guitar player, or drummer, or bassist, change patterns while playing live while their hands are busy?”

This is how they do it.

Again, where there is a will, there is a way.

If you’re doing all that, it really sounds like you would get on fine just playing on top of a CD or MP3 player, playing back your Digitakt songs.


One button, on a footswitch, if you are staying with the context of the conversation you are quoting, and follow the Tech 21 MIDI Mouse recommendation…

Not a straw man argument. Just a logical continuation of a conversation.

I don’t refute that you can do more with a Digitakt than a backing track.
I am saying that if you can’t be bothered to use a footswitch to change patterns because your hands are occupied with a guitar and it’s just too much, then why be bothered with any of the other non-footswtich functions (filter sweeps, etc.) of the device?


I understand that people want to use Song Mode, nothing wrong with that…

But to say you can’t play instruments and use Elektrons without a Song Mode is simply not true…
Yes, you do have to lift hands off the instruments occasionally, but if you look at the devices as just as important to your music as the instruments and adapt to controlling and using them to their advantages, it becomes quite easy to adapt a playing style that leaves you room to control the machines… I could also say I don’t want to take my hand off the OT slider to play guitar, if I considered it equally important to the music, why not both?

How do I switch patterns while playing guitar? I take one hand off the guitar and press buttons on the OT.
My style is now different than that of a singer songwriter that plays the entire song as I have adjusted it to be both the musician and some sort of dj of the just recorded live music at the same time. I play instruments continuously through the performance, I play all my bass lines, rhythm, lead, vocals, etc., live and loop them for every song, the only thing pre-programmed are Rytm patterns. I go on extended guitar improv jams in the middle of the songs. My style and approach however I have adapted and modified to allow me to not have to play the instrument %100 of the time. At any time there is so much sound that can be coming out of the machines it’s no big deal for me to stop playing a live instrument for 5 seconds or even a few minutes as long as my focus goes to something else creative that makes for an interesting performance…

I do have song mode and arranger but those do not fit into my flow of making music. I’ve found I don’t even need a foot pedal for the pickup loopers, I just reach a hand over, press a button, record the loop, reach over and press a button, start playing guitar again… Works absolutely phenomenal for me and in 25 year of guitar playing have never been so happy with the setup…

Am I telling people they should do this and not use song mode? Absolutely not, that’s what that first sentence is for… I’m saying this because it is absolutely way more than possible to play lots of instruments along with Elektrons without song mode, if one is willing to do so…

For the umpteenth time, nothing wrong with song mode, I hope those that want it get it, and also you don’t need it to play instruments with Elektrons… :smile:


can you use an OT to trigger/change patterns on the DT?


Yes. Bank 1 and Program 1-128 triggers the DT patterns. See p. 114 of the OT manual for how to send them to the DT.


Thanks for the page number :hugs::hugs:


I’m not saying that it can’t be done - for some people. For those of us who are playing guitars/bass guitars/keys/drums/singing AND trying to put on an entertaining show at the same time, it isn’t a reality. You just end up looking like you’re working as a clerk or doing data entry instead of putting on a show.


4 posts were split to a new topic: Distraction from topic


I’ve been thinking about how to use the Digitakt as a “track arranger” lately and this is my plan. Haven’t really seen anyone talk about this so just putting it out there. Yes, it has its drawbacks too, but might be good enough for some people:

DISCLAIMER: I haven’t actually had time to do this yet, so at the moment it is only theory. I think it is pretty solid, but there might be some “gotcha” somewhere that ruins the whole thing!

Resample or record each track as an audio loop. 1 bar, 4 bar, 8 bar, whatever. 33 seconds is enough time to do this.
Reduce pattern scale and/or tempo (both if necessary) to the point where trigs no longer represent individual steps, but entire measures.
Use each trig now to sequence when each audio track will play.

Since the DT doesn’t time stretch audio when changing BPM, you keep your original audio BPM.

BPM needs to be reduced in half subdivisions of whatever your starting BPM is for things to match up. So make sure to use a BPM that can be divided at least a few times. Like 120 to 60 to 30 to 15 to 7.5

From the math I’ve done, if you start with a 120 bpm pattern and that’s what you commit to audio tracks, you can reduce pattern scale and pattern BPM to the point where you have 8 minutes of time to work with until the pattern tries to repeat itself. That’s more than enough time for most songs.

You can “subdivide” it even further if you want each trig to represent MULTIPLE measures. Like, 1 trig = 4 measures worth of time. This then moves from a measure-based view to a multimeasure phrase-based view. Then you end up having like 16 or 20 minutes of time, I forget exactly, possibly even more. I stopped figuring out the math after the 8 minute calculation above. I was only concerned with figuring out if you could get it to a point where you have a full song’s worth of time to work with.

You can lock AMP and FILTER envelopes to do automated fade ins or fade outs on a per-measure basis with parameter locks. Can probably use LFO for the same purpose. EDIT: Actually not sure about the amp/filter envelopes as they might not slow down with the BPM/pattern scale, so they might not end up slow enough to do long fades. Will have to test this. But still should be able to use one-shot LFO, I think.

My main concern is how it will affect Delay and LFO times with super low tempos, but I have yet to experiment with that.

Also you lose “per-step” parameter locks such as panning. If you had panning jumping all around in your original pattern, on an individual track, you’re gonna lose that when you resample (cuz mono). You can still pan the entire audio track and I assume you can still use LFO for automated panning. You still have parameter locks obviously but it becomes a “macro” level, per-measure lock, rather than a per-step lock.

Can still live-perform stuff like filter sweeps and quick reverb/delay spurts and stuff like that. Actually I already tested this and even when after a long audio file is triggered, you can turn up reverb and delay and it will still “take effect” on whatever part of the audio is playing at that moment.

So yeah, that’s about it. Basically, “zooming out” from a micro-editing perspective, once you are done with all the micro editing and polishing and want to move on to arranging the tracks in a sequence, just resample as audio, “zoom out” by reducing BPM in subdivisions, or pattern scale, or both. Then use the trigs to sequence the full multi-measure audio tracks.

I guess it would make sense to copy to a new pattern before changing “modes” like this so you don’t lose your original “individual steps” sequence.

The only other thing I can think of is this will probably use a lot of drive space, but so be it. :slight_smile:

EDIT: Also forgot to mention, you can record different variations of each audio track (or hell, an entirely different kind of instrument or whatever), and each new measure, trigger a different audio clip. It doesn’t have to be same thing over and over.


This is basically what I’m doing to make ambient stuff. I actually love that the DT doesn’t time stretch or beat match specifically for this type of workflow.


Right, I see where your coming from. I’m not a song mode hater and I honestly hope you and whomever else wants it will get it or at least something useful at some point… I just get irked about once every six months and feel compelled to explain that it is still possible to play instruments with Elektrons… :smile:

I get being an entertainer on stage too. For me in my area we’re about 50% electronic acts and 50% live… In that light the people around here will know that when I put down my instrument and get behind the OT with a serious mad scientist funkateer face on, that I must be up to something, and will probably be quite curious and interested in what I’m doing even…
I can see in general though as as entertainer/musician putting on a show, one might not want to go get behind some electronics for too long or at all, and if that’s your thing that’s your thing… :slight_smile:


The DT doesn’t really seem suited to the things a lot of people are trying to use it for methinks. Some sort of sample player and a few effects might be better perhaps. And it also seems that some people in this thread should get a buddy to play with, but as a thoroughly solitary being with control issues, I get it :slight_smile:


My dream stage setup involves things like a big fuzzy velvet captains wheel and various ropes, oversized levers, and contraptions around that are somehow hooked up to my fx and parameters… Haha
You don’t even see the gear I’m just reaching around pulling ropes and levers and things, steering the ship…

Until then I’ll probably at least have a lab coat and goggles there on the stage, that I only don when I put down my guitar for extended OT tweaking sessions… :smile:


I’m picturing a weird mix between Frank Zappa, Primus, and Cap’n Crunch.


Oh absolutely, you just have to set up the PROG CHG (Program Change) MIDI channels to the same channel on both devices


another non-reader echoes the echo




I really am a victim of their promise to provide an alternative to song mode… I thought I was investing in the future of the device. Being able to save pattern chains should have already been implemented by now… In my opinion of course…