69 thoughts on “Elektron Digitakt First Impressions

  1. I have an A4 and RYTM so this probably wouldn’t been have interest to me, but I guess it may server as a gateway drug for electron style sequencing (which is superb)

    I am pretty sure they ‘could’ have put a few of the Machine Drum engines in as its digital…particularly as they don’t sell those products anymore….if it had machinedrum/monomachinme built in I would have gone for it (even though I really don’t need it!!) perhaps in an update…..Elektron are very good at adding great free features in updates (my RYTM has had a lot of love)

    Also battery power would have appealed to many people (as an alternative OP-1)

  2. very many questions about midi sequencing, live recording, total sample time and midi interactions. but it does look fun.

  3. Just ordered mine yesterday.

    I think it’s gonna be a nice addition to my Monomachine, as I’ve been looking for something similar to the Beatbox machine for a while (for those who know the Mono a little bit).
    I usually use two tracks (over 6) just for drums, so I guess I’ll let the Digitakt do that instead.

    Plus, it would make a pretty decent MIDI sequencing setup, If we take into account the Mono capabilities in that field.

    Sample-based drum machines are so cool.

  4. User interface: scaled down to the barely useable
    Sound: Meh

    Elektron have proven they can do much, much better than this. They should be wary of getting dragged into the budget gear craze. Cutting costs to deliver something cheap apparently means ditching many of the features that make their products special.

  5. Kinda obvious that Elektron made this solely to cash in on newbies as its cheap to build and looks cool but it is severely restricted and most buyers will probably get bored of it and its limitations quite fast. Would have been better smarter and more honest to make a smaller somewhat cut down Octa with some more requested features. That machine probably would have sold better to more happy customers but of course it wouldn’t have been as profitable for Elektron as this DigiToy is.

    1. Last time I checked Elektron were a relatively small company that had to make a profit so it could reinvest in themselves, in order to remain a going concern.

      When I get mine next Wednesday I’ll be feeling very grateful for their business strategies, not lamenting them. I for one can’t afford their bigger boxes so this is absolutely perfect for me.

      Those who get bored and blame missing features either didn’t do their homework before buying it or lack the imagination necessary to master it. I’ve seen it and it’s a shit ton bigger on the inside than the spec sheet may have you believe.

      1. Bigger on the inside? What are you talking about? On the inside of the DigiToy with 80’s specs there is a weak cheap processor a small amount of RAM and several really bad design-decisions. If Elektron had upped the ante and not just focused on how cheap they could build it ie how much money they could make on this toy selling it to newbies who doesn’t know better they could have had a real winner on their hands.

        1. Me a newbie? Nope. But even if I don’t know any better, then Elektron’s marketing strategy is a winner, because they have extended their reach to people like me who have no previous experience with their kit. And you are knocking them for doing this rather than make a box that you think would work better for you.

          How long do you see this marketing strategy work before they start to find it difficult to balance the books? It’s a very competitive market.

          And have you even used or heard one in the flesh yet? I have and I would hazard a guess you would be surprised by how good it is. If not then your argument falls apart and as for specs, well, a lot less tech than this got people to the moon. Perhaps I should have said it’s bigger than the sum of its parts.

          1. Yep I have heard it and its got nothing particularly attractive about it that can’t be done with older samplers or sampling groove boxes and a multieffect . Heck even an 10+ years old Roland SP-Box beats the digitakt in many ways and is way cheaper by the way.
            Elektron could have shrunked the Octa and improved it considerably and still be able to sell it at an affordable price. But they chose to build a severely inferior product instead.

    2. Personally I think it was a really smart move on their part. I’ve wanted a Rytm since the first day I heard about it, but I don’t foresee one being in my budget for a long, long time.

      This gives me an opportunity to try out the Elektron workflow now, for under $1k. If I like it they will have very likely earned a faithful customer.

      Yes it’s quite constrained, but they say constraints can be a catalyst for creativity. Really, it’s not that much more constrained that the Rytm, and pretty much all of its shortcomings can be solved either by Overbridge or additional gear.

      I’m sold.

  6. I got mine Friday. I already have Octatrack, Analog Rytm, Analog Keys and Analog Heat. there was zero learning curve for me. This thing sounds awesome and is super fast to use. It’s an awesome complement to my existing setup and a great stand alone device for writing. As with most Elektron stuff, it’s a great “instrument.” Sure there are devices out there with bigger, badder specs… but this works as an instrument, it sounds great and encourages fun.

    1. This might be comparing apples to oranges, but with the Digitakt beeing an 8-track sampler/sequencer, how do you feel does it stack up against die Octatrack? What would you miss when choosing the Digitakt over the Octatrack or vice versa?

      1. The flexibility of trig conditionals on the digitakt and quick CC setup make it a better midi sequencer. Octatrack cross fader and sample manipulation is superior. I don’t use song mode so that makes no difference to me. They both sound great, and “the experience is greater than the sum of the feature specs” if that makes sense.

  7. Don’t forget Overbridge Premium for this will cost more. With A4 and AR, it’s free. Very restrictive compared to what Octatrack 2 will probably be. This is Octatrack Jr, because 1GB of internal storage makes sense in 2017.

  8. On the one hand, the thing looks really cool and there’s very little on the market that samples and sequences.

    But on the other hand, I paid $600 11 years ago for my mpc1000 with 64 tracks on a possible 64 programs with 128 voices of polyphony.

    It’s just a real shame this this particular market was neglected for 10+ years and we’re now seeing regression. Imagine the technology that could be in those little boxes if they’d kept making them.

  9. What’s really interesting, is this statement in the description of Digitakt’s Overbridge Basic:

    “Audio streaming of Main outs over USB (time limited sessions)”

    So, as i suppose, if you will not pay Elektron for full version of Overbridge, you can’t stream USB-audio from your own device for a long period of time?

  10. I agree with the yellow highlighted comment! Fully agree. The screen is as small as all of the other elektron gear so it pretty much retroactively renders all of their gear useless. The sound sounds like almost every digital. It, sounds like what you put into it since it’s a modern sampler. They are clearly making gear for people with small budgets which I think is good since I’m a hobbyist but again, I just agree with the yellow comment:)

    1. Yeah, all elektron gear is useless, no one is even buying it because of the small screens. Have you ever see anyone use elektron gear? Me neither, cause the screens are too small to be used. Especially on Digitakt, cause they made it even smaller than before.

  11. Be interesting to see how these are looked at in 10 or 15 years.

    As an MPC replacement it’s lacking some features (especially compared to the X and Live). As a live box it’s missing stuff too, like a song mode. As a portable device it’s competing against my iPad (no pressure sensitive pads on the Digitakt, no battery power, limited functionality). As a studio device it’s up against their own Octatrack and MPCs and it doesn’t look good there either.

    Seems like they made it for the beginners, but at $650 it’s a big jump for them too. You can buy an iPad and tons of apps and sounds for that kind of money. And if music doesn’t work out for you, you have an iPad that can be used for almost anything else you want.

    I love my Octatrack, A4, and MachineDrum. For Elektron’s sake I really hope this does well. I was excited until more of the specs started to leak. Now that I’m seeing end-user demos I’m really searching for a reason anyone would want this vs the other awesome hardware and software offerings we have today. Maybe we’ll see the Digitakt’s big brother some day.

    1. As an OT owner, the only thing that appeals to me is the fast sampling workflow. Other than that, it’s not very tempting. That said, I’m hearing great stuff on all the demo videos, so if someone didn’t want to buy an OT and wanted this, I think it would be a fine choice.

      But just save more and buy an OT! You’re going to want the extra outs, cue abilities, crossfader, “Parts”, arranger mode, more effects, more LFOs, stream from CF card… it’s worth it.

      1. Or get one second hand for not much more than a Digitakt

        Yeah I agree on the sampling thing with the OT

        Can be a bit of a ball ache

        1. Yeah, right.

          But this was designed as a drum machine sampler, not as a sampler in itself (dunno if you get me). That would explain the rather “limited” sample memory.

          Of course, an OT is much more powerful. But the point, with drums imho, is to work fast.
          And that’s what this little box does, I guess. That’s also why I was hesitating between an OT and this, and, considering the planned use, I took this. ‘Coz I don’t plan to get a looooooong learning curve, and i just want something straightforward. At least, Elektron kinda managed to do it this time.

          PS : remember all the OT bashing at the time…

  12. “Maybe we’ll see the Digitakt’s big brother some day.”

    This is correct. I talked to Cenk at NAMM this year. We were both all smiles since he couldn’t, ya know, say anything.

  13. I love the design, but it wont be a buyer from me.

    I already got an Emu Ultra E64000 and I find this sampler a bit weak in comparison, seen on modulation options.

  14. Guys, your opinion…

    “Elektron Transfer automatically converts all audio files to 16 bit, 48
    kHz, mono audio files, the Digitakt native audio format.”

    Anyone else feels underwhelmed by this? Not sure what’s the point of having the 24-bit AD/DA if their intention was to cut corners that much when it comes to playback. Having recently bought Driven Machine Drums (analog drum library), which is offered in 24/96, I was half-expecting to be able to hear them in full fidelity if I upload them to a modern-day sampler. OK, I understand, I might be asking too much given the year (2017, & all: no flying vehicles and self-tying shoes), but at least 24/48 seems reasonable, no?

  15. I don’T get it. Yes the machine is nice but it is a sampler with sequencer. Nothing new about it at all.
    I have an octatrack. What is new about it???
    An octatrack 2 with overbridge inputs to mix rytm and a4 would have been way cooler…

  16. It’s a redesigned machinedrum. New interface, they’ve corrected things that were annoying about the old interface

    1. But without the synthesis, which is the very core of the MD. Had the Digitakt had some updated digital synthesis machines in there it would be a killer. That is perhaps what the big brother to Digitakt will have.

  17. Oh great. Now we can be subjected to even MORE mindless, formulaic, 120 bpm, 4/4 syncopated backbeat DISCO crap. Bump-tat bump-tat bump-tat bump-tat bump-tat bump-tat bump-tat bump-tat bump-tat bump-tat bump-tat bump-tat …ad nauseum.
    Music by and for ROBOTS.

    1. Yep. Drum machines caused 120bpm 4/4 music and that’s all. No one was doing 120bpm 4/4 music before drum machines. No one. /s

  18. Wow, the negativity has a knack of eternally surprising me with every new comment posted. It’s got it’s pluses and minuses just like every other product. Why can’t people just accept that and either buy it and enjoy it or ignore it and move on? News flash here, there will never be a perfect enough product to please all of your “expectations”. After a while it just comes off as snobbery. If you want something…here’s an idea…stop posting comments and build it!

    1. I’d say people here are both negative and positive about this product. My negativity stems mostly from the fact that I know that Elektron EASILY could have produced a much better version of Digitakt than the one they released. But they cut to many corners to make more money on it, Maybe Digitakt MKII will be what the original should have been?

      1. I hope Elektron are widening their product range to include cheaper more focused instruments like the DT but that they will also create new premium instruments like an OT mk2 with overbridge, scenes for the midi sequencer, conditional trigs etc. There was a quote from their CEO doing the rounds saying they planned to introduce a whole suite of new machines so we’ll see…

      2. Are you aware how product design works. I worked for a large MI company and you have fixed budget for any particular project and that factors into what is possible. You can reuse tech from previous R&D budgets but not always. The key is not to go over budget or over the deadline. You do, and you might be out of work. Given infinite time and budget, they could easily create what you think they should. The world doesn’t work that way though.

        1. Yes I am very much aware how product design usually works but Elektron unfortunately doesn’t follow those rules. WIth Digitakt they simply cut so many corners that it became a bad product for 2017. Yes it will be bought and used by some newbs but it could easily have been so much better if they hadn’t been too focused on building it with low cost components to make more money from it. Shame!

          1. Stop arguing ’bout newbs. So what? Is that a problem if people try to make affordable, yet not so complicated instrument?
            I don’t hear any complain about guitars and stuff like that, which stays more or less the same every year.

            Just stop complaining because Elektron is trying to do something different for once.
            Eeeeh, it’s exactly like artists who try to change a little bit, and then all the fanbase is complaining… Until you wait few years, and the album becomes legendary.

            I dunno why people dislike this box. Too simple? I mean, as always, the most important part is the sequencer: this is something you don’t have on any other machine, and it makes miracles.

            1. The Digitakt has so many flaws that its almost insane and remember that for a far lower price than Digitakt’s one can get a higher specced truly portable and modern iPad with large touchscreen faster processor & much more memory plus a suitable controller and a dozen or so great apps.

    2. The problem Elektron have lately is that they don’t listen to their users/buyers, but sit in a small lab somewhere in the forest of Sweden and make what they think people want instead of asking the users/buyers what they really want.

      Asking the users is the step ahead of perfection!

      1. Biggest problem for Elektron is that the people behind their products are engineers and not musicians and unfortunately not very good engineers either as they often overcomplicate their designs. But who knows maybe one day they’ll actually make a product which is both good and easy to use,

    1. If anything, it needs more cowbell. I would have liked a song mode, though, that’s kind of a dealbreaker for me.

  19. Good grief. I swear if a new product doesn’t launch with every single potential user’s full list of pet features implemented, it’s a POS.

    People need to lighten up, man. Not for you? Okay, cool. Move on. There are other choices.

    1. There are not other choices though. There is the MPC Live and X, which from early reports is another Akai Turd, and there’s this. Which is like having half of an MPC1000 (a product released 17 years ago).

      The standalone sample/sequence market has been barren for a decade. Hopefully we are seeing that change in the next year or 2.

      1. “There is the MPC Live and X, which from early reports is another Akai Turd, and there’s this.”

        Where are you reading that, crall?

        EVERYTHING I’ve read from people that have used either of the two new MPCs is that AKAI got this right – and that the MPC X is especially cool if you’ve got analog gear.

        “The standalone sample/sequence market has been barren for a decade.”

        Only if you disregard all the sample/sequencers that have been released in the last decade, ranging from sample sequencers like the volca sample to the Electribe 2 to the Novation Circuit to the Synthstrom Deluge, etc, etc, etc. And you disregard all the innovative sample/sequence Apps for iOS.

        It seems to me what really has happened is that manufacturers are focusing more of their attention on making more low-end, mass-market devices – whether it’s minisynths or volca samples.

        1. 1. The Electribe and Volca are toys. To each his own, but they could never fulfill my needs.

          2. The deluge only started shipping in these past 2 weeks. It’s probably the best option out of all of them, but it’s brand new and designed by an 18 year old kid. There’s still a ton of unanswered questions.

          3. The Circuit was a midi controller exclusively until Novation added the standalone feature. And only in the past 6-months to 1 year.

          4. And computers ? standalone.

          5. You also neglected to mention the other Elektron product that priced me out of the water.

          So tell me again about all the options I had in 2014 or 2015 to purchase a standalone sampler/sequencer.

          Now let’s take a look at my MPC1000 that was $1000 new in y2k:

          128mb of sampling ram
          4 samples per pad
          64 pads per program
          64 programs
          endless sequences
          128 voices of polyphony
          song mode
          I could go on but those are the important basics (for me).

          There is absolutely 00 reason that 17 years later I shouldn’t be able to have all these options and more, and with at least some slight level of reliability above your typical $200 inmusic product.

          As a consumer, I really don’t think that’s too much to ask.

          And there’s plenty of other complainers in this thread, too, so I’m sure at least some of them agree with me.

          1. You do get the product you always dreamed of, it’s the Mpc live. Buy that. Not ever gear from 2017 on is going to out shine ever piece of gear ever made. Doesn’t need to. Some of them go backwards like the Mpc 500, some go forward like the octatrack when it was released. Once you understand that companies make products for millions of people, a few stragglers complaining about 1 device that doesn’t suit there needs isn’t a good business model to follow. It’s fun to complain, I get it, but the complaints should be about the device and how well it’s features are and not that they didn’t make another Mpc. Also makes those, elektron does p-locking and builds tanks that allow experimentation. Novation follows the market along with Roland and their 80th 808/909 machines. Korg makes some fun products. It’s the market, the price point and the size of the wallets for the audience your trying to reach. DSI and MOOG ain’t for everyone. This will be once we stop acting entitled and just buy or move on.

            1. “with at least some slight level of reliability above your typical $200 inmusic product.”

              There are already several complaints on the Akai message boards (which are probably gone because Akai spends more money curating complaints on their forum than they spend on R&D). I just don’t trust it. Maybe in 6 months or a year.

        1. Jeez man, I even numbered the list to make it simple for folks. It’s #5.

          Trust and believe, I have done an endless amount of research on this subject and I am aware of all the options.

          1. So, the argument is that the Octatrack is too expensive? It’s a premium device, of course it is going to charge a premium. That’s not a fault of the Digitakts.

            It’s cool if YOU personally don’t want it but there is a segment in the market for this device. If you want something more substantial, break out the $1000+ for the Live or the Octa or the Toraiz. They’re all comparably priced and featured (with differences obviously).

            Also.. “3. The Circuit was a midi controller exclusively until Novation added the standalone feature. And only in the past 6-months to 1 year.”

            That is just flat out false. The Circuit was launched to be and has always been, first and foremost, a stand alone groovebox. Sure, it has Midi and you can sequence other things with it but that is an add-on feature (also available at launch). They do continue to support and update the product though.

            Your arguments seem to contain a lot of personal subjective opinions and rhetoric and in some cases inaccurate assumptions.

  20. for jamming and studio (i don’t do “live”) I prefer my drum machines super simple..loops are gonna get chopped up in ableton, no reason to go all crazy chaining patterns and whatnot.
    tbh, the korg volca sample would be great if it had 1/4″ outputs, filters, effects and sample input….oh wait, that’s the digitakt!

  21. I have bought NI Maschine Mikro about a year ago, I hardly use the hardware itself as I hate fiddling around in its endless menus. I was actualy looking for something a bit more intuitive and quicker to work with as the Elektron Digitakt (from what I can see in the videos so far) BUT mmmmmmm
    All this negativity is a real buzz killer, I was almost ready to go and buy one but after all the negative comments above I doubt that I will…
    I don’t own any other Electron product but I do agree that it is 2017 and they should have put a bit more effort in terms of adding some interesting effects and at least adding the ability to work with stereo files…

  22. And one more thing, those plastic bottons are really stupid!
    I would have like to use it at 11 at night wearing headphones without waking up my wife…click click click click click, well, someone should probabely sample it 🙂

  23. I really love elektron but some things are so out of date… the same mistakes are made on the ot… they dont want to learn because everyone is hyping elektron… I will not say digitakt is a bad product but for this price tag I except something more than a pimped volca sample… i think the right price tag would be 499,- for a 8 voice sampler with 64mb project space…

    64mb omg

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