What do you need your boxes to do? For a lot of people, that’s making grooves, producing nice-sounding drums, manipulating samples, and playing sequencing – and then mucking about with them and breaking everything. You might call that a “drum machine.” You might call it, in fact, a “laptop.” But the faster mucking around gets, the more fun you’re likely to have.

On this scene, enter the Elektron Digitakt. Part of why I wanted to share Cuckoo’s friendly, accessible videos on the Elektron Octatrack yesterday was to help set the stage for the Digitakt. Does it do everything the Octatrack does? No, not quite – but it does do most of what the older flagship does, in a smaller form factor, with a nicer screen, and more accessible hands-on controls, and a much lower price.
digitaktcloseup

So, in fact, you might even have missed that one of the things the Digitakt has borrowed from the Octatrack is the ability to play eight sequenced tracks.

And, sure, while the Digitakt doesn’t have the massive effects section from the Octatrack, it does serve the “play stuff and mess around with it, maybe without a laptop” use case.

Here’s that hands-on – in a video that’s “almost a tutorial”:

It’s a bit weird to skip to sound samples for a digital sampler (hey, it’ll sound like whatever you want), but here’s that, too:

And finally, here’s an extensive live jam:

More:

https://www.elektron.se/products/digitakt/

  • André

    Does it have a song mode ?

    • Ruben

      I don’t believe so. You can save/load patterns and kits though.

      • Polite Society

        No kits for DT as far as I can tell, everything is saved as a pattern.

        • Ruben

          That’s the formal data structure indeed, but even though you can jam around with a kit and make new patterns – that is what I understand from the manual (chapter 9).

    • Polite Society

      The chain mode is supposed to be more comprehensive than the other boxes. Haven’t seen any demos of it yet though. I assume they just finally let you chain the same pattern more than once finally.

      * Edit: i just checked the manual, and yep, they finally let you choose the same pattern more than once, what a revelation 😛

  • Polite Society

    Just for a quick rundown of the benefits of the DT compared to the OT

    DT
    * Step probability/fills including on midi tracks
    * Can save bpm and swing per pattern
    * Has plockable loop settings (though you can kind of make this work with the OT retrig/rate options)
    Can pitch samples up and down 2 octaves (OT is only 1, though rate lets you pitch down to 0 in a non-chromatic way)
    * Every track has filter and bitcrush/overdrive, plus reverb and delay are send-able (on OT you have to have fx at the end of the chain which means if you don’t want filter + delay, you have to sacrifice them for something else, or use up a track as a neighbour fx. You can sacrifice track 8 as a master fx, but you don’t get to choose how much send you get, everything is 100%. Though on the other hand, you can’t set up a custom delay/karplus thing on each track like you can on the OT)
    * The reverb, bit crush and overdrive sound way nicer than the OT versions.
    * The LFO goes up to audio rates 2k compared to 256(or is it 512)hz on the OT (though you only get 1 of them compared to 3)
    * The sampling process looks nice and streamlined, and the waveforms look great on that screen.
    * You would get the most recent pattern editing features like multiple trig copy/paste
    * I could be wrong, but it looks like you might be able to plock the midi channel/bank/program D:
    * Will have overbridge for sample management / syncing to DAW / fitting

    The OT has so many things that the DT can’t do, but it really comes down to what’s important. I definitely wouldn’t give up my OT for a DT, but I am more interested in the DT than I expected to be.

    • Shawn Muench

      And you can set P Locks to occur according to a percentage chance– so your ends of phrases could have some variation and sound different at random times.

  • griotspeak

    Can you use it nicely *with* the Octatrack?

    • Polite Society

      As nicely as any other elektron works with others via midi clock sync (and they do sync tightly, historically) you can also sync bank/pattern changes, but I think most people don’t. You could probably also sequence the DT from the OT midi if you preferred to go that way, basically expanding your sample tracks by 8.

    • Dante

      Yes . Don’t forget about Elektron Overbridge , Which is compatible with Every piece of Elektron Hardware (Which is at least in the market rn)

  • Ed

    I know this isn’t really the point, but the fact that watching yet another of Cuckoo’s utterly terrible videos (still struggling to understand how he’s become the most popular music gear reviewer on YouTube?) hasn’t put me off buying a Digitakt is a feat in itself.

  • Itaro

    After seeing all a few videos I became really fond of this little Digitakt. I don’t own any other Elektron devices and trying to make up my mind if it would be a wise purchase, it is cheap compare to…but not that cheap if you know what I mean.

    It is not criticism but rather my point of view of what would have made it a definite purchase for me.

    1. Sampling in mono? (as well as only 16bits) thats a bit odd for me, especially considering where technology is this days, needless to say the 1GB internal memory.

    2. I’ve attended superbooth 2017 and tried it a little and thought, mmm, those plastic push bottoms, surely they could have made it better, if not rubber then at least something that wont sound like an old typewriter, I’m not playing live but I would have like to use at 11 at night wearing headphones and not wake up my
    wife, or even sit in a coffee…

    3. I’ve heard so many good things about the effects of Octatrack and in Digitakt it seems neglected, except the usual filter, bit crusher and an lfo.

    I do think that the company could and should have made the exta mile to perfect that machine. The closest example to that is my NI maschine mikro, I do like to use the samples/software
    of it but the hardware is useless to me.

    Other then that, it is a really cool machine, I really like the quick workflow, it looks inspiring!

  • DrüMünkey

    CDM, do a compare with the amazing looking synthstrom Deluge. That thing seems amazing.