Digitone users - are you liking it?

Hi!

After nearly three months of release, I didn´t find yet a wrote down review of Digitone (no SOS or even Music Radar etc), just Youtube videos. Digi users here, are you liking it? When you compare with the OP-1 FM or even Volca FM, what do you you think? As I got a MPC Live, I´m planning to switch my Digitakt and try a Digitone.

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Comments

  • It's beautiful. It has its flaws (no portamento/legato mode for live playing, some issues with handling of polyphony) but it's a concise little unit with a big lovely sound. I'm a bit conflicted at the moment because it's making me neglect my Monomachine even more, to the point where I'm considering selling it and concentrating on Digitone (and Nords) as my main synth.

    It's similar in concept to the OP-1's FM engine, actually. Not exactly, but it's been simplified to (imo) a happy medium between ease of use and being able to get really wacky. Most of the complaints I've seen about the FM engine have been about the inability to dial in odd ratios.. which is actually kinda wrong because there's a detune parameter which works differently depending on which algorithm is selected. And one thing people tend to gloss over is that even a simplified FM engine, when paired with the Elektron sequencer, can get far more wacky than "traditional" FM synth engines.

    I've found the sounds I've been making so far have been generally pretty musical, but definitely more interesting than anything I've made on any other FM synths. I've had a Reface DX for around a year, but these days only use it as a MIDI controller, as while it's not as difficult to program as previous FM synths, it just doesn't inspire me to keep designing. The DN really pushes me to make new patches; in fact, I've found that I'm getting a lot out of making super expressive patches designed for live playing, and just spending hours playing it with a keyboard attached. The pitch/velocity/modwheel/breath/aftertouch controls can each be assigned to affect 4 parameters at once, so things can get very dynamic (and weird!) very quickly.

    From next week I'm gonna start pairing it with other machines like my Nords (G1 modular and Lead would be great for this with the 4 MIDI channels/parts matching the DN's 4 MIDI tracks).

  • I totally love mine, to the point I've been considering it to be my favorite synth since I've had it a cuple months ago.
    I've played live with it and it was really stable. Sonicwise it's a beast, you have a large palette and I was really impressed to see how low it can go, when playing on a gig system.
    Filters are great to tame the top harmonics added by the FM synthesis.

    It feels like it is very well conceived, every aspect of it designed to make it an accessible yet powerful FM synth.

    I should do a review :D

  • I'm a bit conflicted at the moment because it's making me neglect my Monomachine even more, to the point where I'm considering selling it and concentrating on Digitone (and Nords) as my main synth.

    Wow. I'm currently feeling opposite: a desire to sell off pretty much everything but Monomachine, with Digitone being among the first to go (if I go down this path).

    I still haven't gelled with Digitone all that much. But, as I've probably said elsewhere, this could be a symptom of burnout (I've hardly touched any of my gear in weeks). Everything I was making on the Digitone ended up sounding the same. It may be that I'm not as clever as a sound designer as I thought. I also struggle with the Analog 4. Whereas I have a lot of fun with the 'shallower depth but broader range of engines' synths like OP-1 and Monomachine.

    I've made it a point while in burnout mode (since I'm not really working on new material anyways) to try and focus on the Digitone and spend some time with just it and the manual. There are things on these new (A4 and later) Elektrons that I'm just not used to (mostly around sound management). But I still haven't really made much progress yet.

    Initial feeling on Digitone are "underwhelmed." but, again, I do think a good chunk of that is my own burnout. And maybe I'm starting to realize that I really may be wanting more physical modeling style techniques in my setup where I thought I wanted FM.

  • Getting one today! Hoping I feel more like @LyingDalai and @pselodux than @jshell about it!

  • edited April 17

    JUST got one ... digging it - BUT, is it just me or is the octatrack midi sequencer still superior to the digitone sequencer? i really don't understand elektron in that regard... never understood why you could divide/multiply for individual tracks on the OT only but not on any other elektron (to my knowledge). such a strange omission and actually kinda bugs me

    oh, and I hope they up the algorithm count.. I knew about the limitation when I bought it. I dislike it being dumbed down - the volcaFM has it quite right IMO

  • ^^Elektron want you to buy an Octatrack of course. It's been their strategy for years, pisses me off too.

  • I have one and I'm liking it so far. I need to dive into it though as I don't think I've really spent enough time with it to know if I REALLY like it. Too much gear and not enough time . . .

  • @ghostly606 said:
    ^^Elektron want you to buy an Octatrack of course. It's been their strategy for years

    This has been officially denied a few times.
    And speaking with Olle or Simon once in a while, I believe it is genuinely the case.
    From what I witnessed, they do try to make the best machines, focussed on the idea it's been designed from.
    Propagating this rumor that Elektron kind of cripple their gear to ensure more sales is deeply dishonest IMHO, it's not backed up by neither their acts nor by their own words. It's just a matter of design choices.
    E.g. what is the most important : plockable FX or high quality FX ? MIDI ARP or 96kHz audio treatments ?

    It's just been said they sold more Digitakts in a year than OT in its whole life, so there seem to be some need for more focussed machines out there.

    I find Digitone quite coherent already, not "dumbed down". There are 4 operators but you can add 2 LFOs to create more FM complexity, or tame it with filters.
    On the sequencer side, you can now pilot 8 voices at the same time, which is new to Elektron ecosystem.
    Of course, MIDI plocked arp such as OT would be great. I just believe will see significant improvements in the next few years (Elektron has done this several times in the past). But it's already quite a great instrument.

    Digitone actually supports MIDI tracks, which neither of the Analog did. I was positively surprised to discover this : DT / DN combo can really make use of all these LFOs now :)

    Anyway, what matters most to me is the palette of sounds I can synthesize with this and how fast and pleasant it is to look for new sounds or play live with it. And I really love it, to the point that I bought myself a portable battery and bring it with me when I'm away instead of the OP-1 ;)

    @jshell if you feel like you turn in rounds, try to avoid using the filters and work on the FM envelopes, I found it a good way to properly understand how to work with the synth.

  • edited April 17

    I still would have liked more algorithms. the volcaFM does sound quite musical to my ears with 32(?) alogrithms. and why one couldn't pLock the arpeggiator leaves me baffled

    I have to agree with @LyingDalai though, the synthesis is something special

  • I love it so far ! I'm off topic but I'm considering getting a Digitakt to pair with my Digitone but can I run the outputs of the Digitakt to the input of the Digitone ? My audio interface has only 2 inputs that I'm already using for the Digitone.

  • @Tony said:
    I love it so far ! I'm off topic but I'm considering getting a Digitakt to pair with my Digitone but can I run the outputs of the Digitakt to the input of the Digitone ? My audio interface has only 2 inputs that I'm already using for the Digitone.

    Yes you can! Got my Digitone today so I have this combo now. The only thing is, the inputs are mono, so you will need to pan hard L/R on each to have the stereo signal of the Digitakt come through.

  • edited April 17

    @sammyjams said:

    @Tony said:
    I love it so far ! I'm off topic but I'm considering getting a Digitakt to pair with my Digitone but can I run the outputs of the Digitakt to the input of the Digitone ? My audio interface has only 2 inputs that I'm already using for the Digitone.

    Yes you can! Got my Digitone today so I have this combo now. The only thing is, the inputs are mono, so you will need to pan hard L/R on each to have the stereo signal of the Digitakt come through.

    Thanks for the tip ! But I thought the Digitone has a stereo through ? (unlike the Digitakt which is mono?)

    https://www.reddit.com/r/synthesizers/comments/7tspo6/digitone_monitored_input_is_stereo/

    EDIT: I just checked the digitone manual at P.67: the setup for using both together is well explained !

  • @Tony said:

    @sammyjams said:

    @Tony said:
    I love it so far ! I'm off topic but I'm considering getting a Digitakt to pair with my Digitone but can I run the outputs of the Digitakt to the input of the Digitone ? My audio interface has only 2 inputs that I'm already using for the Digitone.

    Yes you can! Got my Digitone today so I have this combo now. The only thing is, the inputs are mono, so you will need to pan hard L/R on each to have the stereo signal of the Digitakt come through.

    Thanks for the tip ! But I thought the Digitone has a stereo through ? (unlike the Digitakt which is mono?)

    https://www.reddit.com/r/synthesizers/comments/7tspo6/digitone_monitored_input_is_stereo/

    EDIT: I just checked the digitone manual at P.67: the setup for using both together is well explained !

    Yup, that's what I was going off of! Have the Digitone in hand, but still at work for another 45 mins :(

  • @sammyjams said:

    @Tony said:

    @sammyjams said:

    @Tony said:
    I love it so far ! I'm off topic but I'm considering getting a Digitakt to pair with my Digitone but can I run the outputs of the Digitakt to the input of the Digitone ? My audio interface has only 2 inputs that I'm already using for the Digitone.

    Yes you can! Got my Digitone today so I have this combo now. The only thing is, the inputs are mono, so you will need to pan hard L/R on each to have the stereo signal of the Digitakt come through.

    Thanks for the tip ! But I thought the Digitone has a stereo through ? (unlike the Digitakt which is mono?)

    https://www.reddit.com/r/synthesizers/comments/7tspo6/digitone_monitored_input_is_stereo/

    EDIT: I just checked the digitone manual at P.67: the setup for using both together is well explained !

    Yup, that's what I was going off of! Have the Digitone in hand, but still at work for another 45 mins :(

    I know the feeling :(

    My only concern now is if I connect my keystep to midi in of the digitakt, is it possible to switch between one or the other and how ? :|

  • edited April 17

    @Tony said:

    @sammyjams said:

    @Tony said:

    @sammyjams said:

    @Tony said:
    I love it so far ! I'm off topic but I'm considering getting a Digitakt to pair with my Digitone but can I run the outputs of the Digitakt to the input of the Digitone ? My audio interface has only 2 inputs that I'm already using for the Digitone.

    Yes you can! Got my Digitone today so I have this combo now. The only thing is, the inputs are mono, so you will need to pan hard L/R on each to have the stereo signal of the Digitakt come through.

    Thanks for the tip ! But I thought the Digitone has a stereo through ? (unlike the Digitakt which is mono?)

    https://www.reddit.com/r/synthesizers/comments/7tspo6/digitone_monitored_input_is_stereo/

    EDIT: I just checked the digitone manual at P.67: the setup for using both together is well explained !

    Yup, that's what I was going off of! Have the Digitone in hand, but still at work for another 45 mins :(

    I know the feeling :(

    My only concern now is if I connect my keystep to midi in of the digitakt, is it possible to switch between one or the other and how ? :|

    Easy enough. You just have to set a midi track on the digitakt to send to the digitone. It would be better just to be able to switch on the fly. You could use a midi splitter too, but then you'd have to switch channels on the keystep whenever you want to switch instruments. With the digitakt, you can set it up so the keystep just plays the active digitakt track. So, 1-8 for the digitakt sample tracks and the midi track(s) of your choosing to play the digitone. That's what I'll be doing.

    EDIT: ALSO, using the keystep to play the active digitakt track allows you to play your samples chromatically with velocity. But the best part is, you can enter note p-locks with the keystep. Currently, entering notes on the digitakt in grid mode can ONLY be done by changing the note parameter with a knob. To change a note with the keystep, you just hold the trig and hit the note on the keyboard. Allows you to also hear what note you're playing before locking it. It's an absolute must have for me.

  • And to switch MIDI channel on Keystep, you just have to hold Shift and press the key corresponding to the device channel. Pretty easy. So yes, Keystep > Digitakt > Digitone is a pretty cool combo.
    :)

  • Perfect ! This convinced me to order the Digitakt, thanks guys ! :)

  • @sammyjams said:

    @Tony said:

    @sammyjams said:

    @Tony said:

    @sammyjams said:

    @Tony said:
    I love it so far ! I'm off topic but I'm considering getting a Digitakt to pair with my Digitone but can I run the outputs of the Digitakt to the input of the Digitone ? My audio interface has only 2 inputs that I'm already using for the Digitone.

    Yes you can! Got my Digitone today so I have this combo now. The only thing is, the inputs are mono, so you will need to pan hard L/R on each to have the stereo signal of the Digitakt come through.

    Thanks for the tip ! But I thought the Digitone has a stereo through ? (unlike the Digitakt which is mono?)

    https://www.reddit.com/r/synthesizers/comments/7tspo6/digitone_monitored_input_is_stereo/

    EDIT: I just checked the digitone manual at P.67: the setup for using both together is well explained !

    Yup, that's what I was going off of! Have the Digitone in hand, but still at work for another 45 mins :(

    I know the feeling :(

    My only concern now is if I connect my keystep to midi in of the digitakt, is it possible to switch between one or the other and how ? :|

    Easy enough. You just have to set a midi track on the digitakt to send to the digitone. It would be better just to be able to switch on the fly. You could use a midi splitter too, but then you'd have to switch channels on the keystep whenever you want to switch instruments. With the digitakt, you can set it up so the keystep just plays the active digitakt track. So, 1-8 for the digitakt sample tracks and the midi track(s) of your choosing to play the digitone. That's what I'll be doing.

    EDIT: ALSO, using the keystep to play the active digitakt track allows you to play your samples chromatically with velocity. But the best part is, you can enter note p-locks with the keystep. Currently, entering notes on the digitakt in grid mode can ONLY be done by changing the note parameter with a knob. To change a note with the keystep, you just hold the trig and hit the note on the keyboard. Allows you to also hear what note you're playing before locking it. It's an absolute must have for me.

    I see the potential of using a midi track on the digitakt but according to it's manual: "Each MIDI track can trigger a chord of up to four notes with adjustable parameters such as velocity and length, control pitch bend and aftertouch, as well as eight freely assignable MIDI control change parameters (MIDI CCs)."

    So if I do this way I could only play chords up to four notes on the digitone ?? Isn't it a little bit limited ? The midi tracks on the digitone allow chords up to eight notes according to its manual.

  • @Tony the 4 note limit is only if you’re using the digitakt to sequence the digitone. The digitakt will pass all 8 notes from keystep through to the digitone. Just tried it :)

  • Hi! Thanks a lot for all the input and opinions so far. About the algorithms, one of the Elektron guys posted at Elektronauts that they handpicked 8 very musical and diverse ones - in contrast to other hardwares where most algorithms are just variations.

    Said that, I was just feeding my MPC Live with some samples from the Volca FM and he's right: I can tell clear differences in maybe 6-8 of the 32 algorithms, but most of them are just variations - and subtle ones - of that main core. I don't think that this is a phyisical law, but I believe that under a more controled/tamed universe of fm synthesis, with arbitrary choices to make it more musical (as happened even with the Volca FM), reducing the algorithms to the most interestings appears to be a good idea!

  • Indeed. And keep in mind that Volca FM and DX7 only use sine waves : from PreenFM designer, I've learned that some of the algorithms and in particular feedback had been introduced to simulate richer waves.
    the fact that PreenFM or Digitone use different shapes as oscillators compensate for the reduced number of algorithm, and in my opinion make it more comprehensive to dial sounds.

  • Anyone able to compare their feelings on DN to using Dixie on iPad/iphone? Ignoring the hands on aspect and sequencer. Just focusing on the sound design. Obviously the quality of the elektron filter and drive will add a lot. But how much so?

    I actually quite like the sound design UI of Dixie, even on an iPhone SE. The way the envelope sections light to show you which operator is active at which stage of the sound etc. Does DN vastly better that for sound design workflow, with equal depth?

    I really like DN from what I've seen as a standalone FM for my studio setup. But as I don't personally need the midi sequencer or the mega high quality (I trash 99% of my sounds with tape/pedals in any case....) I'm struggling with justifying the price, are people feeling like there's £700 worth in terms of contemporary sound design depth/bang for buck? Or is it overkill if I'm ok with the workflow of sequencing ios FM via ios sequencers/OT?

    Any feel there are cheaper recommendations that would make more sense considering my requirements? Volca FM + OT? Preen FM + OT? Or just stick with ios + OT/ios sequencers?

  • As an aside.. I really wish Elektron would implement the Minilogue sequencer feature where you can run the sequencer and have it only sequence automation, which modulates while you play sounds live on keys. That's not possible on DN right?

    And +1 for elektron giving all their boxes tempo per track in future. I hate the workarounds I have to use for long chord sequences/melodies on my AK... Total vibe killer.

  • @Callofthevoid said:
    As an aside.. I really wish Elektron would implement the Minilogue sequencer feature where you can run the sequencer and have it only sequence automation, which modulates while you play sounds live on keys. That's not possible on DN right?

    And +1 for elektron giving all their boxes tempo per track in future. I hate the workarounds I have to use for long chord sequences/melodies on my AK... Total vibe killer.

    You can use “lock trigs” as they call them to do minilogue style automation sequencing

  • @sammyjams said:

    @Callofthevoid said:
    As an aside.. I really wish Elektron would implement the Minilogue sequencer feature where you can run the sequencer and have it only sequence automation, which modulates while you play sounds live on keys. That's not possible on DN right?

    And +1 for elektron giving all their boxes tempo per track in future. I hate the workarounds I have to use for long chord sequences/melodies on my AK... Total vibe killer.

    You can use “lock trigs” as they call them to do minilogue style automation sequencing

    Thanks for info, sweet! So you can play keys live and just have automation looping? Is there any option to reset the automation loop each time you press a key?

  • @LyingDalai said:
    And to switch MIDI channel on Keystep, you just have to hold Shift and press the key corresponding to the device channel. Pretty easy. So yes, Keystep > Digitakt > Digitone is a pretty cool combo.
    :)

    This is also my set up...works great!

  • @Callofthevoid said:
    I'm struggling with justifying the price, are people feeling like there's £700 worth in terms of contemporary sound design depth/bang for buck?

    I think so. Then again, I've been wanting something like this for a long time, or at least since I found out about the DX200. I think Elektron have really hit it out of the park with this one. Sound design is much quicker on the DN than any other FM synth I've used. With the filters, LFOs, plocks etc, it's very easy to take it into areas that aren't even possible with other FM synths.. or aren't easy without external gear.

  • @sammyjams said:

    @Callofthevoid said:
    As an aside.. I really wish Elektron would implement the Minilogue sequencer feature where you can run the sequencer and have it only sequence automation, which modulates while you play sounds live on keys. That's not possible on DN right?

    And +1 for elektron giving all their boxes tempo per track in future. I hate the workarounds I have to use for long chord sequences/melodies on my AK... Total vibe killer.

    You can use “lock trigs” as they call them to do minilogue style automation sequencing

    This is unique to DN right? I tried using trigless locks on my AK to make sure I hadn't missed it before. Sequencer automation doesn't work on live keys? Maybe I'm doing it wrong. Or is it a new trig type on DN (&DT?) ?
    Thanks

  • edited April 19

    @pselodux said:

    @Callofthevoid said:
    I'm struggling with justifying the price, are people feeling like there's £700 worth in terms of contemporary sound design depth/bang for buck?

    I think so. Then again, I've been wanting something like this for a long time, or at least since I found out about the DX200. I think Elektron have really hit it out of the park with this one. Sound design is much quicker on the DN than any other FM synth I've used. With the filters, LFOs, plocks etc, it's very easy to take it into areas that aren't even possible with other FM synths.. or aren't easy without external gear.

    Yeh, DN looks/sounds great. Just totally skint these days so I've gotta hyper scrutinise on purchases :/ Had £700 sat in bank for months now waiting to feel like Im sure where to throw it.. I know for sure I'd dig DN but just not sure how much it'll make a difference for me in terms of finished tracks/workflow/new sounds...over the FM options I have already.

    Too much gear out there! Currently weighing up between -

    -Digitone
    -Behringer model d + neutron (should be pretty fun for modular with my Dominion 1)
    -Behringer neutron + empress zoia
    -OP-Z + chase bliss condor
    -Deluge

    And really digging working in ableton 10/softsynths + push 2 + vcvrack lately.. which is making it hard to feel 100% about buying any new hardware at all.. First World problems all round ;)

  • @Callofthevoid said:

    @sammyjams said:

    @Callofthevoid said:
    As an aside.. I really wish Elektron would implement the Minilogue sequencer feature where you can run the sequencer and have it only sequence automation, which modulates while you play sounds live on keys. That's not possible on DN right?

    And +1 for elektron giving all their boxes tempo per track in future. I hate the workarounds I have to use for long chord sequences/melodies on my AK... Total vibe killer.

    You can use “lock trigs” as they call them to do minilogue style automation sequencing

    This is unique to DN right? I tried using trigless locks on my AK to make sure I hadn't missed it before. Sequencer automation doesn't work on live keys? Maybe I'm doing it wrong. Or is it a new trig type on DN (&DT?) ?
    Thanks

    Sorry, but you’re correct there. Lock trigs only effect note played with trigs :(

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