Elektron Digitakt - impressions vs the OP-Z

Just received one in the mail yesterday, and wow, what a great machine! I was nervous about it because I hear a lot of people talk about Elektron gear and how weird the workflow is. I love the OP-Z workflow and I bought the Digitakt because I basically just wanted a bigger, sturdier version of the OP-Z in terms of the sequencing abilities and the Digitakt looked the most similar in that regard. I almost went with a Pyramid, but I also wanted drum/sampling abilities, and honestly for as much hype and praise the Pyramid gets, it just looks kind of boring to me. That, and the conditional trigs on the Digitakt really sold me on it.

Anyway, after playing around with it for a few hours last night, I can safely say that I absolutely love it. It definitely is very ‘program’ heavy, but I like that. The OP-Z is like that too. I am guessing that a lot of people that don’t enjoy the Elektron workflow also don’t own an OP-Z?

One of the main downsides is that punch in effects don’t exist on the Digitakt, but you can kind of achieve the same result (thanks to Cuckoo for this trick). Basically, the ‘control all’ lets you apply parameter adjustments to all tracks at once. You can then make a copy of the adjusted version and have it stored in the temporary memory. The Digitakt has a button that restores the original version, so you can use the restore button (which holds the original version) and the paste button (which holds the tweaked version) to jump back and forth to basically apply a ‘punch in effect’. It works really well, but of course you only have one at a time vs the many different OP-Z ones. This does have a major benefit though in which you can basically create your own punch in effects, which I am super excited about. I was really surprised at how cool this was and I am sure it will be really fun to use in a live jam situation.

The Digitakt also doesn’t have mute groups, but with the way the pads are laid out, it is pretty easy to mute/unmute multiple tracks at once.

The Digitakt doesn’t have a song mode either, but honestly I never really used that function on the OP-Z anyway. I would always just manually change patterns live whenever I wanted to record a full song.

Other than that, I really don’t see too many downsides. The OP-Z obviously is able to fit in your pocket and has built in synths, but I am really diggin’ the Digitakt and it actually has quite a few big pros. It is larger, which is a plus if you are in the studio because it is more playable via the much larger buttons. You get 8 audio tracks vs 4 of the OP-Z, and of course MIDI sequencing is built in without having to purchase an OPLAB module or a USB midi hub. And lastly, the ability to tweak samples is much more in depth with the Digitakt. I’ve barely scratched the surface, but I’ve already taken some basic samples and tweaked them into some crazy stuff. And it’s quick too! Not a lot of menu diving.

Overall, I am really happy with the Digitakt so far. The workflow is very similar to the OP-Z at first glance, but I am sure I will start to see more difference once I use it more. But so far, it really does seem like a bigger, studio version of the OP-Z.

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Thanks for the feedback. Now I want one :smiley:
I love the punch-in effects on my Z (they are still limited… but really fun for jams), too bad there isn’t something similar on the Digitakt.

Did you tried to control it with the op-z ?

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I haven’t tried controlling the OP-Z with it yet. My OP-Z and OPLAB module are both out for repair right now (in transit to Teenage Engineering), but once I get them back I am going to see how well they play together, which will be really fun.

And yeah, punch in effects are one of my favorite features of the OP-Z. On the Digitakt, the control all with copy/paste/restore is a fantastic alternative, but requires a bit more effort to pull off smoothly. I will say that the paste/restore does apply the changes immediately, so you can switch back and forth in the middle of a pattern just like with the OP-Z punch in effects.

So I would say that the Digitakt basically has a single, create-your-own punch in effect slot.

I did a quick, simple jam last night with some other hardware. It doesn’t use the control all feature, but if you’re interested in the Digitakt you can check it out. All samples are the factory loaded ones.

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Also, the Digitakt has no step components. On the other hand, it does have 8 independent Midi tracks.

And sampling is easier on the Digitakt. But chopping up samples is harder — the OP-Z drum sampler is amazing.

Yeah, the OP-Z sampling is super fast. I love how you can have a single .wav file that includes an entire kit, and the OP-Z automatically slices up the sample and assigns them to each note.

And yeah, no step components on the Digitakt, but it does have trig conditions and parameter locks, which is almost the same thing. Just requires a bit more programming effort really. I really like the fill trig condition on the Digitakt.

I love the trig conditions. I just wish they could apply to effects, and not just triggers.

The surprising thing is just how capable the OP-Z is, considering how tiny and basic it looks.

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I have an advice: get yourself something like the XTPower XT-20000QC2 and go play outside :slight_smile:

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Better bring something to drink and eat as well, since that will last for a while…

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Haha, I actually want to start working on getting a nice portable setup made. Battery powered would be cool, but I would probably need a pretty large battery haha.

I know a setup is never ‘done’ (my girlfriend always laughs when I say my setup ‘complete’), but with the addition of the Digitakt, I feel like the overall footprint for my setup is complete at least. I think it would be cool to create a ‘pedal-board’ style setup, and swap out different synths/effects every once in awhile to mix things up. I like to limit myself to a few devices. I have an 8 channel mixer that I purposely don’t upgrade because of this reason. It would be like building a deck in a card game. You only have so many slots to work with, so what synths/effects/sequencers do I want to add to the setup? It would be a good way to have a lot of neat gear but not get overwhelmed by it. Only use a handful of devices at once and just rotate stuff in/out to keep things nice and fresh!

I just got Digitakt, my first Elektron about 3 months ago, but have hardly used it because I got an Analog 4 Mk-1 a month ago; I liked A4 Mk-1 so much that I just Upgraded to Analog 4 MK-2, and sold the Mk1. Looking forward to getting the Mk2 plus Machinedrum, both coming this week. That said, I will probably be selling the Digitakt. The older Elektrons: Machinedrum, Monomachine, Octatrack, Analog Four and Rhythm are Iconic. The newer Digitakt and Digitone leave much to be desired in the ‘Depth’ department. They are ‘gentler’ versions of the original Elektrons. They are meant for those who like ease of use, no head scratching, punch-one button and turn-a knob; without deeper menu dive and exploration, one size fits all box, like the DX-7 that replaced the great older synths in the 80’s. Simpler, (yes, complex also) but not necessarily better.

I bought a brand new unopened OP-1 this summer, it was non-functional- biggest headache ever and I’m deathly afraid of getting an OP-z because of how flimsy its built. Not for me.

IMO the OP-Z sequencer bloss elektron out of the Waterloo. The only upside elektron boxes have are trig conditions. Other then that the op-Z is a much more flexible “organic” sequencer.

I have owned a DT, MnM, MD and currently own a DN and OT, so I have had my fair share of elektrons.

With that said, the elektrons offer a much deeper set of parameters for its synths and samplers then the OP-Z and that is both a blessing and a curse.

At the end of the day I think both worlds are awesome and different from each other.

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This is absolutely not true for the Digitone! It’s very impressive the variety of soundscapes you can get from it.

This track was made solely on the Digtakt, , don’t call it gentler :smiley:
I got really crazy on Bit Reduction and internal Distorsion, as well as the pretty interesting compressor.

With the following track, also pure DT, I made use of the BPM and Mute per pattern, and this is only available on Digi series so far.

Add CTRL-AL and Menu randomizer, and the easiness to reload your pattern, you can really explore and interact with the instrument during a live performance, same as MD mk2 UW+ btw.

I really love this little groovebox, their apparent simplicity hides a lot of power IMO.

I have had an OP-Z in my hands for a week only, and while I love the PO ways of playing with FX, I was really disappointed with the lack of parameters for the synths…
Now there’s sample, but at that moment I was under the impression OP-Z limitations would narrow my sound, somehow.

yes, your tracks sound awesome. I was referring more to how ‘deep’ the controls are on the early Elektron instruments, and how much complexity evolves because of this. The new smaller boxes (Digitakt, Digitone) cover a lot of ground but are simpler in design, easier to learn and make tracks quickly on. There are features on both that excel and lack vs. each device :slight_smile:

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kenfromspace, well said there. Budget wasn’t an issue for me but I still choose the Digitakt over the Octatrack. I also came from having Ableton Live 2 Suite with Push 2 and loads of sound packs, which I was rarely ever productive enough with to construct full ideas. Too much fiddling around. Limitation can be a good thing, and the Digitakt provides just enough of that, while also being extremely powerful. The quick workflow was also a huge bonus for me. I feared that I would just be back in ‘endless tweaking’ land if I went with the Octatrack.

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Yes. I am holding off from getting Octatrack MK-II, not enuff time in a day for A4,Digitakt and Machinedrum. Let alone my Eurorack and Buchla.

(Just got the Machinedrum MK2 UW yesterday, basically learned the whole thing in 4 hours.
The sound explodes out of my JBL 4411’s, never heard anything like it. (A4 isn’t bad either).

My first challenge is to just get the 3 Elektrons running as a Daw-less setup with MIDI.
I did MIDI stuff up until 15 years ago, caused me to hate music. Then I discovered Eurorack in 2016 and doing music was a breath of fresh air for me again. Now I want to attempt using Elektrons and other hardware boxes, that looks really enticing to me.

Thanks Mich, Always been tempted to try an OP-Z… probably will someday when I can find one that is guaranteed stable, etc.

I definitely don’t think the OP-Z blows the Digitakt out of the water when it comes to sequencing. In fact, the Digitakt has a pretty big advantage when it comes to entering and editing steps because you have access to 64 individual steps (by using the page button), where with the OP-Z, you only have access to 16. You can make sequences longer on the OP-Z, but you have to play them live, and you can’t ‘zoom in’. On a 64 step sequence, you are cramming 4 steps into each physical button which is limiting if you want to add step components or parameter locks or make quick edits.

I agree that the OP-Z is really organic though. The ‘flow’ is really nice when creating sequences, and things come together very naturally, which is really nice when you don’t want to fiddle around too much. I mean, I got the Digitakt over the Octatrack because I was worried that I wouldn’t like the Octatrack workflow and would fiddle around too much, so I appreciate and value quick workflow. Actually getting something thrown together on the OP-Z does seem to be a bit quicker than the Digitakt.

And yeah, each has their own personality. I’m looking forward to getting my OP-Z back. I have just been really surprised at the Digitakt. I think it is really underrated when it comes to its sequencing abilities in my opinion.

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Thats a valod reason for sure. But i guess i dont find the sequence length to be a big deal. If i want 8 bars its usually chord progressions and then i can easily input That.
Usually if I want to go beyond 16 steps on sequence with the same increments, I use step components to add variations and that usually adds happy accidents.

The OP-Z is much more of a song writing pad for Me then the elektrons, because it can show me new ideas in a way the elektrons cant.

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How do I use a single file and have Op-z automatically slice it? I thought that were one of the wanted features that were missing, and the ability to edit the key-zones as in Op-1 :slightly_smiling_face:

Aight my mans. As long as you enjoy :+1:t4: