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Elektron Digitakt


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Does either the OT or DT have per-step effects? As in, oh, I want to parameter lock a reverb on one particular step on one particular track, is that possible?

 

 

 

Depends on what you mean.  If you mean parameter locking what effect is assigned to that track (so, say, a reverb in slot 2 on one step but a chorus on the next step) then no, but you can plock the effect depth for every effect where a depth makes sense, and plock the parameters like gain or cuttoff to their neutral values for the effects that don't have wet/dry.

 

Incidentally, even though send effects aren't an official feature on the Octatrack, it's still possible to configure a track to work as a send effect through some trickery involving sampling from the cue in studio mode.

 

 

https://www.elektronauts.com/t/octatrack-master-track-8-send-effects/47552/13

Edited by RSP
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Thanks for clearing that up. I figured it was more likely to be routed like that but I wasn't sure.

 

Also nix the question about the spatializer on the DT, don't know why I thought it had one. Maybe a ping pong delay with an extremely short duration could imitate it.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I picked one up about a six months ago. Not too impressed with it. Mono sampling. Having more fun with SFX60 and Akai s2000 sampler combo. The Digi can write patterns without qauntization. Though I've already got an MPC sequencer for that. Hoping to find a fun use for it later down the road. We'll see. Might chuck it.

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It'll be interesting to see how Elektron reacts if the profits for the OB full version end up being lackluster, or they end up pissing off a lot of loyal customers and realize they've made a mistake. What if they end up backpedaling and ultimately offer it free - how will they compensate the few people who shelled out for it, then?

 

Interesting... I guess I called this one! I didn't look into what they did for folks who paid for it, though.
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I'm looking to start performing my music live and i'm thinking the Digitakt might be the place to start. 

Would running 2 synths off the sequencer and feeding the 2 audio tracks back in to the Digitakt be a viable option to get started without having to get a mixer involved? I want to get the OT eventually but i could get the Digitakt and a couple portable synths for the same price as that beast and get started sooner. Money is definitely an issue for me.

Can the Digitakt change sample banks without stopping to load??

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The Digitakt doesn't work like a true bypass mixer.. if you're sequencing a synth, the only way to process its signal with the Digitakt is by the sampling / monitoring function. You'll need a mixer with Aux send(s) to process (sample) the synthesizer, while simultaneously playing it (out to monitors / speakers etc.) - or multiple outputs on the synth.

 

Using single-cycle waveforms, along with samples, the Digitakt can function as a limited synthesizer.

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I'd get a MKI Octatrack, I haven't checked in a couple weeks but recently there were still NOS MKI's selling for only slightly more than a Digitakt (although I just poked around and that seems to have dried up, but you could still get a used one for $850-$950 on Reverb).  I've got a MKI and I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything significant enough in the MKII to justify the current price difference. The secondhand market is really depressed right now because of the MKII so it's a good time to buy a MKI.

 

The Digitakt seems like a cool, streamlined sampling drum machine but for what you want to do I don't think it's the right tool.

Edited by RSP
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I'd get a MKI Octatrack, I haven't checked in a couple weeks but recently there were still NOS MKI's selling for only slightly more than a Digitakt (although I just poked around and that seems to have dried up, but you could still get a used one for $850-$950 on Reverb). I've got a MKI and I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything significant enough in the MKII to justify the current price difference. The secondhand market is really depressed right now because of the MKII so it's a good time to buy a MKI.

 

The Digitakt seems like a cool, streamlined sampling drum machine but for what you want to do I don't think it's the right tool.

Agree, you can get your money's worth out of the OT ignoring the sampling and just using it as a sequencer and mixer. The effects are not the most exciting but are good to excellent as utilities and are quite powerful combined with scenes, locks, and LFOs.
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The effects aren't high end studio stuff but they're very, very useful and musical once you start messing with parallel effects chains and complex modulation and scense etc. etc. etc.

 

I've actually been using it more for the arpeggiator and effects than for the sampling the last couple months.

 

Anyhow, it's one of the most inspiring instruments I've ever used.

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Thanks for your help! I think i might need to go for the OT, the Digitakt is only more appealing due to the price and size. Sounds like the OT would suit my needs better. Otherwise I will get a laptop and perform using that with a hardware sequencer (I have a beatstep pro currently). So many people i admire use laptops but it still feels wrong/lame to me. Maybe the Digitakt could be a good companion to a live software setup.

Do any of you perform with laptops? Sometimes i think i should just say 'fuck it' and start DJing instead and keep my equipment safe at home.

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only thing is the OT sound engine sounds like shit compared to DT.

 

OT sounds fine. DT's output isn't flat (boost at 5k an some roll-off of the highs), which may or may not sound better depending on your taste.  The DT has some pretty nice effects onboard but the idea that the OT's effects are "bad" comes more from their default settings being kind of bland than it does the actual quality of the effects.  They're not going be putting Valhalla out of business any time soon but I'd take the Dark Reverb over something like Waves Renaissance Reverb any day, and the comb filter sounds great for digital.  TImestretch is far from transparent but it's no worse than Ableton Live.

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TImestretch is far from transparent but it's no worse than Ableton Live.

Going to have to disagree there, although I dislike both.

 

 

Yeah, I actually haven't used the latest version, I'm sure it's better.  At the time the OT came out it was definitely as good as or better than the current version of Live but I'm sure Live is much better at it now.

 

I actually don't have any problem with the OT's time stretch but I rarely use it for straight tempo matching or anything, it's always a creative effect for me and there's no reason for it to be transparent for that. 

 

For that task I don't like it as much as the time stretch in Sound Forge 4, which always sounded great to me for doing stuff like stretching out a single snare hit into a 6 minute drone.  Newer, technically better time stretch algorithms don't have the same effect.

 

 

Anyhow, not trying to claim the Digitakt sound engine isn't an improvement over the OT in some ways (based on demos at least, I've never used a Digitakt in person) but to say the OT"sounds like shit" in comparison is a huge exaggeration and I'd hate to see somebody scared off from an instrument that might be perfect for them.  It can take more practice to learn how to get it sounding its best but it can sound really good once you get the hang of it.

 

I'm saying that as a borderline audiophile-in-the-pejorative sense, too, mainly held in check by lack of income and overall cheapness.  For context, last night I discovered that having one of these sitting on top of one of my stereo speakers was dampening a lot of the high end and generally messing up the stereo imaging (to my ear) and it had to be removed:

 

frg-d8.png

 

 

So I'm picky enough to hear and care about things like that (presumably it was phase interference between the inaudible sympathetic resonance of the wooden frog with the speaker cabinet and the direct sound from the tweeter) but the OT's sonic footprint is completely acceptable to me for an instrument (and can actually be a good thing in the right context).

Edited by RSP
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TImestretch is far from transparent but it's no worse than Ableton Live.

Going to have to disagree there, although I dislike both.

Yeah, I actually haven't used the latest version, I'm sure it's better. At the time the OT came out it was definitely as good as or better than the current version of Live but I'm sure Live is much better at it now.

 

I actually don't have any problem with the OT's time stretch but I rarely use it for straight tempo matching or anything, it's always a creative effect for me and there's no reason for it to be transparent for that.

 

For that task I don't like it as much as the time stretch in Sound Forge 4, which always sounded great to me for doing stuff like stretching out a single snare hit into a 6 minute drone. Newer, technically better time stretch algorithms don't have the same effect.

I actually thought Live's timestretch was always more transparent; usually it's really hard for me to pick out in a mix. But Live seems to make everything sound weaker and more plasticky in general.

 

I also like timestretch better as an obvious kind of thing.

 

Fortunately you can fake that on the OT with a fast retrigger and an LFO assigned to sample start, but it sounds pretty buzzy. I figured out a workaround a couple months ago. It involved a second LFO of equal period to the retrigger, assigned to volume, and a no-feedback delay of half that interval. I had it kind of working, but I was too baked to work out the kinks and got sidetracked.

 

Haven't used SoundForge. My fave timestretch I've worked with was the S2000's "intelligent" one which was beautifully buzzy with insectoid screams. That was about 15 years ago, though, and I only vaguely remember now.

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The old Sound Forge one (this is before ACid 1.0 was released, when they were using a very basic timestretch algorithm) was buzzy but had a kind of rounded quality to the buzziness, if that makes sense.  It sounded very, very digital but not in an overly bright, harsh way.  I have a feeling some of the most CPU-light timestretch algorithms available in Reaperare probably pretty close to the same thing but I haven't messed with them.

 

I'll take your word for it with Ableton, I was using it for about a year a while back but never really liked it.  It's powerful an I get why people use it and wish I got more out of it but wasn't very inspiring for me personally. This was version 7. I also tried 1.0 and 1.5 back in the day and I actually think I'm one of those weirdos who liked 1.x the best, it was just so streamlined and did things nothing else could really do in that way at the time.

 

/derail

Edited by RSP
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I'll take your word for it with Ableton, I was using it for about a year a while back but never really liked it. It's powerful an I get why people use it and wish I got more out of it but wasn't very inspiring for me personally. This was version 7. I also tried 1.0 and 1.5 back in the day and I actually think I'm one of those weirdos who liked 1.x the best, it was just so streamlined and did things nothing else could really do in that way at the time.

Oh I've never cared for live in general. I've just always been impressed with the transparency of its timestretch, based on what I've heard from friends' use. Definitely not enough to make me actually use it, though.
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time stretch is  something i rarely use these days, but "sounding bad" is something i've always embraced about it. if you want to make a beat sound way better, just pitch it down 6 steps in ableton via complex or pro warp. each warp mode has it's own textural properties that i utilize when i want that color. my favorite pitch shift/time stretch alg is audacity.

 

i honestly like the OT as a live jam hub, but the OT really does sound several shades worse than DT when it comes to playing drum hits. and when you go to chromatic mode, forget about it, DT wins big time. bugginess is another matter though.

 

are the bugs really THAT bad on it? i wonder. i want one because i hate Part functionality and am glad DT does away with it.

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I'll take your word for it with Ableton, I was using it for about a year a while back but never really liked it. It's powerful an I get why people use it and wish I got more out of it but wasn't very inspiring for me personally. This was version 7. I also tried 1.0 and 1.5 back in the day and I actually think I'm one of those weirdos who liked 1.x the best, it was just so streamlined and did things nothing else could really do in that way at the time.

Oh I've never cared for live in general. I've just always been impressed with the transparency of its timestretch, based on what I've heard from friends' use. Definitely not enough to make me actually use it, though.

 

 

 

I'm probably unfairly comparing it with stuff like Melodyne and the VP-9000 that I also probably give too much credit but boy does it sound good.  Maybe not the most transparent but so good.

 

But yeah, ultimately I don't care if a timestretch algorithm is transparent, that's not what I'm using them for (if I use them at all, I still like plain old speed adjustment with no pitch or time correction at all, because of what it does to transients when you slow something down that way.

 

The Digitakt seems like a really cool drum machine if they get the bugs worked out.  Maybe too clean and hi-fi sounding for my taste (that 5k bump!) but if that's what you like then it seems like a really good option. I always find myself trying to roll off highs and smear transients and generally mess up the phase coherency in the highs a lot when I mix so clean and hi-fi is the opposite of what I'm after.  I usually want stuff that sounds like a foggy evening and the OT does that really well.

Edited by RSP
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I'm probably unfairly comparing it with stuff like Melodyne and the VP-9000 that I also probably give too much credit but boy does it sound good. Maybe not the most transparent but so good.

I thought I had heard that Ableton bought Melodyne's transpose algo and assumed that's why it sounded transparent (to me)

But yeah, ultimately I don't care if a timestretch algorithm is transparent, that's not what I'm using them for (if I use them at all, I still like plain old speed adjustment with no pitch or time correction at all, because of what it does to transients when you slow something down that way.

 

Agree, it keeps the colors intact that way. Also fast one shot LFOs are great for processing transients separately.
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I thought I had heard that Ableton bought Melodyne's transpose algo and assumed that's why it sounded transparent (to me)

 

 

Didn't know about the new Live using Melodyne's timestretch algorithm, so in that case disregard everything I said about it above! 

 

 

EDIT: unless you have a time machine, in which case go back to 2011 when I still stand by my opinions re: Ableton's time stretch algorithm's.

Edited by RSP
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Got one a few months back. Smart little box, prefer it over the OT. 

 

Also got it for live use (mainly sequencing) but lack of performance mode is a let down. Hoping for something in a future update though.

 

Good for a basis of a track i.e. getting away from pc to start. Possible to program everything you need. 

 

When I first opened it up, it was like techno in a box. Very fun to just get lost in.

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i don't really understand why people complain about lack of performance mode. it has mute mode. just plug it into a mixer and get some aux send effects. you can midi map a fader box to the volume levels if you want.

 

it's a live performance. people don't care if there are a few seconds of silence. it is supposed to be raw. and no reason you cant be smooth with some skilled fades and delay feedback/reverb flourish pattern transitions. mute states are saved etc...

 

just not that hard m8!!!

Edited by sheathe
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