Is This The Ultimate Elektron Performance Setup?

In this video, Matthew Piecora (aka EZBOT) discusses his take on the ultimate Elektron performance setup.

“I’ll be discussing what I believe is the ultimate Elektron performance setup,” explains Piecora, “providing a detailed explanation of my thought process.”

While the Elektron ‘Dark Trinity’ combo of the Analog Four, Octatrack and Analog RYTM has long been recognized by fans as a classic setup, Piecora’s rig is weighted towards more recent introductions.

Piecora pairs the Octatrack with the Digitakt, Digitone & Syntakt:

  • The Octatrack is Elektron’s 8-track dynamic performance sampler. It’s insanely powerful, but comes with what many consider to be a high learning curve.
  • The Digitakt is an 8-track dynamic performance sampler. While it loses some of the power and flexibility of the Octatrack, it’s arguably more immediate and easy to use. It offers 35 sound-generating machines, covering a wide range of drum and melodic sounds.
  • The Digitone is an 8-voice polyphonic digital synthesizer that features a combination of FM sound generation and subtractive synthesis across four synth tracks.
  • The Syntakt is a 12-track drum computer & synthesizer. It features 35 sound-generating machines, covering a wide range of drum and melodic sounds.

Audio Routing:

  • Digitakt – Inputs A/B on the Octatrack
  • Digitone – Inputs L/R on Syntakt
  • Syntakt – Inputs C/D on the Octatrack
  • Roland TB-03 – L/R on the Digitakt

Is this the ‘ultimate Elektron performance setup’? That’s hard to answer, because it’s ultimately a subjective perspective.

What’s interesting about Piecora’s video, though, is that he makes a good argument for the performance power of this setup, and he goes into enough depth so that viewers can understand both how this rig works, and why it specifically works so well for his needs.

Check it out and share your thoughts on the ‘ultimate Elektron performance setup’ in the comments!

Topics covered:

0:00 Hello
0:19 Sound Examples
01:10 Digitakt Duties
02:06 Why I MIDI Sequence with the Digitakt
04:25 Digitone Duties
05:54 Syntakt Duties
08:53 Playing over a side-chained synth line
09:53 Octatrack MK2 Duties
00:11:53 Where is the Analog Rytm and Analog Four?
00:13:15 Don’t write in 4 bars!
00:14:14 Who is the master here? MIDI routing explained

8 thoughts on “Is This The Ultimate Elektron Performance Setup?

  1. This guy’s videos are great. He knows these machines inside out. I’ve learned so many awesome tips and tricks from his Octatrack videos not to mention any of the other Elektrons

    His music is absolutely dire though πŸ™

  2. EZBOT knows his stuff! I sold pretty much everything I had and went Elektron only but unfortunately my setup doesn’t feel complete yet with only Elektron gear.

    I’m still hoping Elektron releases a USB multitrack recorder and performance controller/mixer type thing. No more hassle with piles of cables or the need for a computer, just a few USB cables and done. That’ll be something I preorder in one nanosecond after it got announced.

  3. If anything we can learn from this video, it is how brilliantly the marketing genius works that drives the Elektron product development.

    If you listen carefully (some experience with Elektron boxes will help) you will understand how he is actually just circumventing the many limitations of the Elektron hardware – by buying even more hardware from the same company, that will introduce even more limitations…

    These limitations do exist for exactly this reason: to make you buy *all* of their boxes.

    Yes, I have some of them, too, and went deep into understanding every detail of them – my conclusion is that I feel punked by these guys. All of the limitations just do not make sense and could very easily be avoided in the development stages of these products. It only starts to make sense when you realize that they are just playing their game with you, the consumer sheep.

    What is brilliant, however, that people still love it! Someone used the term “Stockholm Syndrome” – yes, a swedish company must be master of doing that. And of course, when you spend so much money for a box, it must be great! You are, of course, not an idiot – right?

    Note that his setup still has painful limitations, e.g. a MONO sampler (Digitakt) in 2023 (but hey, he has Octatrack for that, which does NOT do the Overbridge thing, haha), or just four notes of polyphony for each track, what seems absurd, every old Korg Workstation you can get used for 300 Bugs has a better sequencer… also very limited FX choice, and note that Digitakt only has 64GB of RAM, what is not a slap, but a kick in your face. Would be so cheap to add a little bit of more RAM… I hear these guys laughing…

    Very important: no RANDOMNESS in the sequencer! This makes the typical Elektron sound very stiff and mechanical. Since many years of course every producer adds some little randomness on the tracks nowadays, usually one or two mouse clicks in any DAW – not possible with Elektron gear. Every single note will always hit at the exact same point in time. Cumbersome workarounds with random LFO on velocity or decay will eat your LFO – oh, did I mention you have only ONE LFO per voice – yes, feels like a 100 Dollar box suddenly.

    Also the video shows how the inconsistencies in the design of their different instruments are hitting users hard, he mentions the different midi track selection behavior – however, he still believes he is clever combining several of their boxes…

    I think it is really time for independent journalists and youtubers (do they exist or are these all just paid marketing bots?) to deconstruct that Elektron hype. These boxes are not bad, but they are mediocre at best, and the sequencer is a joke, really. The Analog Four MK I is a good classic synth I can recommend buying used, but many of the new boxes are too much marketing driven and at the point when you understood that it gives a bad taste when using these boxes. You just keep asking yourself “why did these idiots not add X or Y or Z” until you understand that it is the way it is because they think YOU are the idiot. Reality shows that the concept seems to work.

    Recommendation: just ignore these boxes. If you want to save a lot of money and still go “dawless”, just buy a MPC One – can do STEREO samples, can access gigabytes of samples, midi tracks with automation and has A LOT of effects that also can be used for mastering, you can complete your tracks on one MpcOne without external gear. Additionally, if you believe that it is needed for some analog sweetness, buy some of the newer analog makeups by Behringer or instead of throwing out too many dollars for four voice elektron synths buy a used DSI synth – much better investment, much more real bang for the bucks!

    1. No randomness? lol

      It sounds like you need to RTFM before you start complaining about ‘Sheep’ and ‘marketing bots’.

      The reason people go for Elektron boxes is because they’re flexible, powerful, and they have tons of features.

      The #1 complaint that people have about Elektron gear, though, is the learning curve. That’s a real thing, and it seems to have limited your understanding of what the boxes can do. It seems obvious that trying to add every feature to every device would just make them more confusing to noobs.

    2. I came to the same realization. Luckily I was only in as deep as the Digitakt so it was easy to sell and move on to using samplers with fewer restrictions and more character. It’s interesting how elektron users tend to blame the user, making it sound like an elektron is some enigma machine that only certain dedicated people can understand. Maybe that’s true of elektron machies I haven’t used, but the Digitakt was easy to figure out. I actually loved the *idea* of the machine, sounded really cool on paper, but in practice I couldn’t make anything I liked with it. I had it for two years and just ended up with piles of shitty IDM because the machine kept blocking my moves and pushing me in one direction. The music by the dude in the video above is an advertisement for the limitations of the elektron workflow/sound. I know there are people who love this sound though and that’s cool, elektron is perfect for them, and I admire their willingness to work through the inherent limitations. Everyone has different needs and expectations.

  4. Big box trinity forever

    AR + OT + A4 is a much more powerful performance setup IMO. Digitone & Syntakt don’t even have proper perf macros. Ezbot is aight but these clickbaity topics are tiresome

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