Elektron Newb: Day One with Digitakt

I normally wouldn’t find an initial impression of a device like this a very valuable thing. But, there’s a reason why I’m bothering. I was very afraid when I hit the “order” button that I was going to wind up hating this thing. You see, I don’t tend to get along well with menu driven stuff in euro land. Menu’s just take it out of me. On top of that I’ve heard of some people being flummoxed and frustrated by the Elektron way at times. So, I figured some thoughts from a complete novice might be of value to someone else whose struggling with the decision.

So, how am I getting along with the Digitakt? Well. Very well. I had expected a week of pain before I came anywhere near having fun with this little guy. But in my first few hours with it I feel I’ve gotten a fair grasp of the basics and have even put together a few fun little jams on it. I give major credit to Cuckoo for this. He has an amazing tutorial, with time-stamped links in the description to get to whatever you’re looking for.

While I don’t claim mastery at this point, or anything like it. It was pretty easy (with some help from the tutorial) to get a project up and started, and quickly learn my way around the grid.  After that I learned how to swap out samples and how to set conditional triggers (which are amazing) and by that point I was actually familiar enough with the system that I made my own way to doing things like adjusting the level of samples and setting up filters on different tracks.

There’s still plenty more to learn, chaining patterns, using delays/verbs (which for some reason I don’t seem to have succeeded at), bringing in my own samples, and going deeper with P-Locks. Yesterday, when I opened the box, these things all felt like they were far out of reach. Today, I feel like they’re all close by, waiting to be grasped. And even if it does take a bit of time, I have a solid grip on the basics and am having a lot of fun!

Being a eurorack guy, I’ve been thinking of what it’d take to do this modular style, and I honestly can’t really fathom it. You’d need thousands of dollars worth of sample players, sequencers, switches, logic, clocks, filters, envelopes, LFOs, and effects. The Digitakt takes all that, wraps it up in a neat little box, and lets you engage it with an interface, which takes a bit (but not too much to grasp) and once grasped turns out to be very playable. Seriously, all those guys on youtube just jamming on the Digitakt, I thought, oh, well that’s cool for them, but that will never be me. Yeah, that’s kinda me now, after like four or five hours, the interface is that good.

Anyhow, if you’ll excuse me, it’s day two now, and I have a synth to power up because it’s time to learn how to use the sampler.


Honorable Mentions:
Elektron Digitakt
Cuckoo Digitakt Tutorial

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