Why do most people make similar music on Digitone?

Why do most people make similar music on Digitone? There are some really nice exceptions, but feel like most Digitone tutorials and jams revolve around pretty much similar sound design techniques and sounds. I feel like FM synthesis is way more complex and diverse than that. Am I wrong for thinking that Digitone still needs some time to age, in order for someone to use it’s true potential?


That´s an interesting question. I think, it might be the other way around: musicians from a certain genre of music use the Digitone for their music.

I´m a guitarist and imho, many guitarist play a similar style (and the electric guitar is way older than the Digitone) and there always were exceptions (Tom Morello, Hendrix …).

Maybe this kind of music genre, that you hear most people do on their Digitone is popular. Or the Digitone is to young to find it´s way into another music genre.

(Sorry for my bad english, but I hope that you get what I mean) :slight_smile:


This is an interesting question.

Can you share an example of two different producers making similar music with DN? Not that I don’t think it’s out there; I’m interested to know what you’re seeing and hearing and thinking of when you ask this question.

I have a lot of thoughts on this topic, but I’d like to share the ones relevant to you.


Even though you can make a diverse range of sounds on the Digitone/using FM, there’s an equally large range of (electronic music) sounds that it’s unable to make, which I think might make it sound a bit samey in some examples. It’s certainly been my case when just using the DN.

I think the Digitone really shines when paired with a good subtractive synth and/or a sample-based instrument (in my case an Octatrack and Novation Peak).


One word: presets.


I would also like exemples if avaliable.

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I feel a little bit obnoxious for namedropping some of those guys, so I have to make a disclaimer first. I think they are great sound designers and I really like their music, I just don’t resonate with making that genre, if that makes sense. That’s all. They are elektronauts too, so I hope that they won’t see this as me criticizing or throwing a shade.

I watched Tiny Wires, Funkavy, Substan, some of the Read means recording videos. I feel like the way they approach the melodic part (as arps, pads etc), has a certain similarity to it. It always sounds ambient.

Krypt, K Dwyer and Vague Robots made something close to what I would like to do when I get comfortable enough with my Digitone, which is a really powerful and capable machine in my opinion, but it probably needs to age a little bit more. Maybe I’m wrong, and this is a hot take.

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…because many people only take the most obvious sonic routes with it…
…right behind that border a whole other sonic universe is waiting to be discovered…
…but as with sooo many other things in life…the vast majority always likes to follow just the well known, familiar and already walked out as laid out path through all the sonic jungle…unknown terretory remains…well…unknown terretory…

some people love that…while many others just don’t dare to take a look…
and to start thinking out of the box for real…


Yessir. I did.

I totally agree with some of your points, but I am almost 100% sure that Digitone is way more capable than just doing ambient arps and pads.

This is probably the key bit. Many YouTubers want to cover things that they think will be popular and tend to stick to things that are simple to show to their audiences. How to make the most nasty, grinding, extreme noise sounds with Digitone won’t be as popular as how to program a plucky bass sound - although I would click on the noise one!


sure it is.
But it’s just very good at ambient arps and pads. It‘s easy, it‘s fun, it‘s satisfying. Nice ambient sounds just jump out of this thing.
Many musicians just want to make a nice sounding tune I guess, and don’t try to find the true sonic potential out of everything, whatever that might be :upside_down_face:
For example, I often don’t find a place in a track for heavy modulated, evolving sounds. I often prefer super simple mellow synth basses and leads, without any p-locks, lfo‘s or envelopes at all


Because while it’s an easier interface, if you don’t know what you’re doing you’ll always gravitate toward the low hanging fruit of fm (bells, lately bass etc.)

The album @Ess did is still the high water mark for the digitone in my eyes.


Because their lazy. Thats the easy answer. Not going beyond the presets and using 4/4. People prefer the easy road with quicker results. There a few like Eaves who break the chain though.


This is true.

Former Elektroneer, @Ess, does some great stuff! Superior sound-design!

By the way, this is my all-Digitone album (aside from tracks 5 and 9), “Digitalis.” Hard to describe, but it definitely doesn’t fall into the “just arps and ambient pads” category.


There´s also these two guys for example:

But I know what you mean, a lot of people seem to make more ambient-ish stuff on it (not saying I dislike it, but would love to hear more hard stuff made with it).



I have an example that’s not typical either. All sounds (except vocals and guitar) including drums, chords, and that industrial ‘string’ sound are from Digitone (and processed by Octatrack):


I guess just one thought:

YouTubers need to spend lots of time setting up cameras, placing succulents near the gear on the table, adjusting lights, editing videos, etc… This takes time away from sound design. They will gravitate toward either presets or sounds which are near the init sound. The presets and sounds near the init sound excel in this kind of synthwave-y blade runner-y soundtrack genre so the DNs on youtube go this way.

You seem like you’ve got the right attitude, dig in, and find your own sounds.

The machine is certainly powerful (that’s not a hot take), but I think as it ages we’re discovering that the design of the interface implies that finding unique and different sounds requires nontrivial effort.


I’ve done all sorts with my Digitone. Noise, shoegaze, drone, krautrock.

I agree with the OP, but I think you could say the same about a lot of synths getting released these days.


Yeah, Ess made an incredible record. I really liked it. And, ugh, I really like your sound design. The structures are not something I would personally strive for (I have that poppy, sweet, predictable side of myself that I like to feed), but everything is so harsh, grandious and hard - how I like it to be. Thank you for sending this, I would like to know more about the process of making those sounds. Great job.