Elektron Model:Samples vs Digitakt

The latest loopop video offes a detailed comparison between the new Elektron Model:Samples and the Digitakt.

By now, you probably know that the Model:Samples is Elektron’s entry-level sample-sequencing groovebox, and that it sacrifices much of the depth of the Digitakt and Octatrack in exchange for knob-per-function simplicity.

The video dives into the details of this trade-off, and also offers 10 performance tips and hacks for getting more out of the Model:Samples.


0:00 Intro
1:10 Architecture
2:05 Filter options
3:00 Project scope
4:00 Sound vs. sample
4:55 Encoder controls
7:55 Control all
8:15 Sampling
8:45 Editing samples
10:10 Pads & layout
11:10 Sequencing
13:30 Param locks
14:40 Conditional trigs
15:30 Chance
16:05 Save/reload
16:30 Retrigs/ratchets
17:30 LFO
17:55 Sample locks
20:55 MIDI sequencing
22:00 Kits
23:25 USB audio
24:25 Scales
25:50 Build & summary

29 thoughts on “Elektron Model:Samples vs Digitakt

    1. I don’t think that I would be able to buy a used Digitakt for a reasonable price over here. Ebay, is not really an option, if I find someone actually willing to ship here, the cost for said shipping might be unreasonable high.
      Also, I am not really a fan of buying gear used that I could buy new.

      With all that said, I didn’t watch the video yet, but I think I’d prefer hands-on over menu-diving ( that’s what I have the ES2 for and I don’t like it).
      Stimming made it look like that the Model:Samples is actually fun to use, which is something I am looking for.

    1. It is kind of obvious actually, this step. In the past they were convinced that complex machines with lots of options and a complicated user interface was a thing. And of course it was,.. back then. The Octatrack was quite a hit, altough still not really mainstream.

      But then they introduced the Octatrack Light, for the more casual user or ‘hipster’ which they called Digitakt. The main differences compared to the Octatrack are:
      – Cheaper
      – Less functions
      – Easier to use
      And they pretend it to be a different machine with different a use case, which might or might not be true, that does not matter for this argument.

      They have noticed that the new product has sold more items in the same period of time than the previous more complicated product did. So they extrapolate this into the next phase:
      – Even cheaper
      – Even less functions
      – Even easier to use

      And sadly for the more ‘hardcore’ users that like complex machines with lots of functions… this might be true.

      Either one of two things can now happen:
      1. They were right and they sell even more Model:Samples units than they did Digitakts, in which case we can expect an even simpler unit somewhere next year.
      2. They have crossed the delicate balance between price/features and the Model:Samples will be less popular than the Digitakt, in which case we might see them return to a more Digitakt-like product in a year or two.

      In any case, economics prove that they won’t return to their old, more complex, product design, since it is less profitable.

    2. There is actually a pretty good case for them to go about it this way.

      In the past they were convinced that complex machines with lots of functions were a thing, and they were right, the Octatrack was sort of a hit, although not really mainstream.

      But recently they tried out a new product design aimed at the more mainstream or ‘hipster’ crowd, a sort of Octatrack Light which they called Digitakt. The main differences with the Octatrack can be observed:
      – Cheaper
      – Less features
      – More user friendly
      They state that it serves a different use-case, which might or might not be actually true, that does not matter for this argument.

      They have observed that the Digitakt sold more units in the same amount of time as the Octatrack did, so they concluded that the Digitakt was a more popular and thus more profitable product.

      Following this conclusion they have extrapolated this and created a new product with the following differences compared to the Digitakt:
      – Even cheaper
      – Even less features
      – Even more user friendly
      They might even state that this serves a different use-case, which again might or might not be correct.

      Elektron obviously hopes that this will result in even more popularity and thus more sales, which equals even more profit.
      Sadly for the more ‘hardcore’ users that prefer complex machines with lots of features, they might be right. I conclude that only one of the two following things can happen next:

      1. The new product becomes more popular and results in more sales, in which case we will probably see a new even simpler product from Elektron in about a years time.
      2. The new product crossed the delicate line between price and features and the new product is not as popular as the Digitakt, in which case they will most likely return to a new Digitakt-like product that we might see in about 2-3 years time.

      In any case they will probably not go back to their old days of more complex machines since it simply is not as profitable as the simpler machines. The R&D expenses are higher, the amount of units sold is lower.

      1. That was serious dedication to write that out twice since it’s clearly not just a double post. And while I do agree with you and get Elektron’s offerings from a financial standpoint since they were invested in bu that venture capital group it seems like their products are a bit of a race to the bottom. Which is a shame IMO because their earlier products are great for the most part (lack of midi on Rytm/A4 and no swing on the arp in any product are their only real misses up until Overbridge and simpler devices became the focus.)

        1. Yeah I really wanted some comments on that, but it wasn’t posted by Synthtopia.. So eventually I also put my reasoning in fb-group ‘synthesizers and drummachines’ and I got some good conversation out of it.

          But I agree with you yes.

  1. Elektron should take note at this simplicity and instantaneous functionality and implement it for their next Octatrack, all whilst maintaining it’s depth. With an added onboard sequencer they could really have something special on their hands.

      1. i can get 4*16 + cond. trig with a midialf for about $150 so with the Volca let’s say this is$350, generously taking shipping etc. into account. 2x CV/Gate out, no stickers tho.

        1. “i would like to see a Korg Volca Sample and Elektron Model:Sample side by side comparison please.”
          that does not mean
          “i would like to see a Korg Volca Sample+another Gear and Elektron Model:Sample side by side comparison please.”

          you seem confused

    1. Yes, color scheme and stickers is obviously trying to recruit Volca Sample demographic, but their price point is out of that range, so they will have a mismatch unless they reconsider price. They may well be prepared for this after early adopter sales decrease.

  2. I don’t know if you guys have been watching but the Octatrack mk2s are flying off reverb and eBay at about $1000 USD. It’s been game of cat and mouse trying to get one at those prices. They’re gone within an hour of listing.

  3. 1. someone show me a used digitakt for $400. i’ll wait.

    2. anyone who thinks the digitakt is ‘too complicated’ should choose a less challenging hobby. might i suggest candy crush?

    1. for real. I think people are confusing “list price” for eBay sale vs Final sale price. I see $400 digis on eBay but they sure as hell don’t end up selling at that price, more like $640

  4. I see a lot of butt hurt, people claim they still haven’t mastered the octatrak and the same people complain that elektron has made more accessible machines, et digitakt, and model samples…. If the octatrak’s depth is so bottomless and you’re still learning new things after all of these years then why complain about other instruments, go play with your god the omnipotent octatrak, or is it that some people want only themselves to have access to conditional trigs and other elektron core functions without being buried under everything else in the octatrak?

    obviously if you’re one of those people then the Model Samples with it’s more function per knob workflow and easier access to the elektron sequencer was not made for you, it was made for somebody else who would actually like it… there is no crime in ‘not being you’, it does not make someone a hipster because they are ‘not you’… all it does is make them not you, playing an instrument that was not made for you.

    1. Dude true I’m still learning my Moog voyager, I’m not complaining it’s an awesome instrument. Maybe people need to change their point of view on Elektron gear. Easy to hate something you don’t understand. Great post above.

    2. Somehow I feel you are talking about me, since I used the word hipster. Which in my book means something like ‘person who likes to follow new trends’, which I don’t believe is a negative word. Maybe I’m even a hipster myself so saying someone is a hipster because he is ‘not me’ might simply be untrue. You make a lot of assumptions based on things that are not there.

      Even more, I sense a lot of anger in your post (at least if you respond partly to mine), since I have never stated anything negative about the model:samples, but you talk about complaining. I might even end up buying an M:S, simply because it is a more immediate machine.

      A lot of people have not yet mastered the Octatrack, including me, and that’s what these cheaper alternatives are made for. Personally the only gripe I have against the Digitakt and MS is that they cannot play samples in stereo. And for the casual player that likes to trigger drum sounds this might be ok, but for using it on more FX or synth sound samples this is a no-go.

    1. Seriously! I love my Analog Keys, but a Model:Analog Synth with knobs for everything would be awesome.

      The A4/Keys is fantastic – but mainly for the sequencer and the internal effects routing. The synth voices aren’t that fun to program.

  5. The fact that people are somehow *upset* over living in a time where you can get an OctaTrack, a Digitakt, OR a model:Samples at the same time is bewildering to me.

    I consider myself a hardcore gear nut. I really dislike both the OctaTrack and the Digitakt. I like this unit a whole lot.

    Does this make me a hipster? Or does it simply mean that Elektron approached the market differently with this one and is finding a new demographic?

    Cmon, we should be celebrating this diversity in gear. ***CELEBRATE IT***. You’ll get the Elektron Komplikator II in due time, don’t worry 😛

    1. Bravo!!!

      The more instruments there are to forge creativity, the better.
      It could be on a computer, a pocket operator, an mpc, a controller with FL Studio, the Akai Force…. an old Mirage Sampler…. whatever.

      “back in my day….” well… back in my day… you were very lucky if you could afford something very very very basic that barely did anything.

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