Who would want something smaller, simpler, and more affordable than an Octatrack?

Well, uh… lots of people. So while Elektron’s elder flagship Octatrack gets up in years, the Digitakt is satisfying existing Elektron owners (including those augmenting their Octatrack) and newcomers alike.

I haven’t talked to anyone who got their hands on Digitakt who didn’t immediately fall in love. It’s not hard to see why.

It’s a powerful drum machine with loads of control.

It adds eight audio tracks (making up for the limited sample memory, since you put audio on tracks, not as one-shot samples). And it’s got eight MIDI tracks, to boot – making it a nice hub for other gear. Use a nice internal sound bank, or easily load your own samples.

Then there are the little touches. Think DIN sync and independent MIDI. Take the LFO available on each track, and assign it to any parameter – even sample select (hello, IDM glitches). And all those little touches come together in a really simple, accessible workflow.

In other words, less might be more. I’m still trying to get hold on a review unit, because I think the real story here may be the hacks people find to make this an effective performance instrument – just like the Octatrack and the Analog line and, well, anything Elektron.

In the meanwhile, I’ve loads of respect for Hamburg’s Stimming, a talented producer and performer, so enjoy his obsessive hands-on:

  • fluffy

    just a little question about this little beast: can the digitakt include any rec function to behave as an realtime looper? i don´t own an octatrack, but i´ve seen vids from the ot catching incoming audio in realtime, sync´ed to its internal sequencer. just curious about this function. thanks so much!

    • Tony Scharf

      Nope. Elektron is very clear that the Octatrack is for looping/mangling and this thing is for building rhythms. The Digitakt lacks any kind of time stretching/beat matching like the Octatrack has and the performance looping is another thing stripped off.

  • Quentin Lamerand

    I’d say it’s more a stripped down (with a few workflow improvement) version of Analog Rytm than an Octatrack.

  • Tony Scharf

    I like what i’ve read about it, but I’m going to wait till the OS matures (no song mode?? WTF???) and they are all over the second hand market.

    • enparticular

      i seriously doubt that they will add a ‘song mode’ every elektron machine came with the song mode on the first version of the OS. the digitakt not having it clearly sounds like a planned idea. i think people don’t use it much at all.

      • Tony Scharf

        And a drum machine without a song mode is a drum machine I’ll never own.

        It’s stupid. You bill something as a powerful midi sequencer and then remove an essential feature of powerful sequencers. I can see why the TR8 doesn’t have one, but this is just dumb.

      • jefurii

        Looks like there are “chains” which could function much like a song mode except you can’t save them. They seem pretty easy to set up so I could see setting up chains during a performance. Some sort of progress indicator would probably be helpful. Also, it would be useful to be able to control what happens when the chain ends (loop the whole chain, loop the last pattern, etc).

  • Jason Job

    Peter, I think this is misinformation, “It adds eight audio tracks (making up for the limited sample memory, since you put audio on tracks, not as one-shot samples).” This wouldn’t even really be true of Octatrack because you can load one-shot samples with it, just like you can with Digitakt. As far as I have found, one-shot samples are the only way to work with audio on Digitakt.

  • foljs

    I hope his music is better than his reviews…

  • Niall

    Even though it was a little tricky to read subtitles and follow the images at the same time, I think Stimming makes for an excellent reviewer. I’d happily watch another in future. He’s a wicked producer as well.