Anyone considering the OP-Z? (need recommendation advice)

Greetings community.

So im in a bit of a dilemma currently.

Before I explain, was curious if anyone here is set on getting an OP-Z and if you could share some reasons why it’s a good device to add to your setup.

I’m asking because I’m in the process of overhauling my gear. Starting from scratch.

So rite now I only have;
-DN (digitone)
-old school drum machine that’s very limited with sounds

I’m very focused on drum tracks and also looking for something to sort of manage everything to make a complete song.

I have roughly 500-1,000 usd to spend on something to fill that void.
(1,000 is really pushing it)

So here are my choices thus far (w/ explanation).
looking to get some feedback or new choices in which route I should take.

  1. OP-Z
    (so I did some research and it has 16 tracks I believe. Correct me if I’m wrong. Like I stated previously I need something to make drum tracks and complete songs. So was thinking use the Z for all my drums and sync it with my elektron gear) But not sure how limiting the drum sounds are with the Z and also if it’s practical to complete full songs with it.
    Seems it has a good sequencer.
    600 usd price point so it’s in my sweet spot price range.

  2. SP404A
    Yes it’s a sampler but it does have the ease of use live performance appeal to it which is a plus.
    Not sure how many tracks it’s capable of (if anyone knows please tell me)
    The effects seem really nice. Also which favors this device for me is the drum pads as I’m deeply focused on my drum tracks.
    Only down side is that it’s a sampler. Not really into sampling these days but was thinking if I throw some wav drum kit elektron sound packs in there I’ll be good to go. And if I need to free up some tracks with my elektron gear I could sample a track and throw it in the SP. But the sampling editing is very minimal and a turn off.
    Not sure how good the sequence is either.
    It’s only 500 usd so it’s being considered.

  3. MPC Live.
    This seems like the best choice for my needs currently but also the most expensive.
    Has enough ins/outs to connect my gear.
    16 drum pads and extensive sample editing.
    But also only has 8 audio tracks in stand alone mode just like the digitakt.
    Don’t currently have a computer so it seems like a good choice to complete songs with.
    But the price point of 1,000 plus usd is really reaching for me.

  4. Octatrack mk2 / Digitakt
    Had the digitakt but traded it for a digitone as I needed more sounds to finish songs. Both machines have roughly 8 audio tracks but I know from owning a digitakt that it’s a bit confusing to complete songs. It’s great for being creative and making up ideas as you go but for me and what I’m doing, I like to have a solid drum tracks that I know how I want them and being able to easily edit and work around them. I felt with the digitakt I get lost in the sequencer and trigs. Where as something like a MPC or even a SP is more streamlined and easier to understand everything going on within your drum tracks and arrangement.

The OP-1 was kind of in my list but I took it off as it’s only 4 tracks. I could work with that but still 4 tracks at much. And the other plus is the synthesis it I have my A4mk2 and digitone for all my sounds so it just seemed way too expensive for what I need.

If there’s any other gear you think that might fit well with the setup I’m after please feel free to recommend some or just any advice in general would be appreciated.

Go for the Digitakt as Drummie, you can sample whatever you want for your Beats and it’s a fantastic device…

1 Like

I think the op-z is not the best choice for what you need. It has only has 4 tracks dedicated for drums and these are sample based as far as I know.
I haven’t tried any mpc, but I have the digitakt, the original sp 404 and an op-1. Although the op-1 is a lovely machine, it’s not very convenient for syncing it with other gear. The op-z is apparently better in that regard as it is a midi host.
Since you already have the DN and A4 to synthesize drum sounds, both a sp404 or a digitakt might suit your needs. Digitakt has an awesome sequencer but samples are mono (not really a problem for drums imo). Sp404 can take stereo samples and can be sequenced via midi from your DN. Sample editing is not the most convenient thing on the 404, but if you want to go for pre-made wav files anyway, they can easily be loaded into the machine via the sd/cf card.
Someone correct me if I’m wrong but the sp404A also doesn’t feature velocity sensitive drum pads (I’m sure that the original sp404 has no velocity sensitivity on the pads), but it reacts to velocity messages via midi.

I have an op-z on pre-order, as it seems like a fun machine with great portability, but I think it’s not what you are looking for.

1 Like

I guess it depends on the type of drum tracks the user is going after, I feel like I got kinda light/low tempo so 4/5 midi tracks with sound locks is enough for me but if someone is really going nuts with drums I kinda feel like 4 midi tracks for sequencing is not going to cut it and keep your music easily preform able.

@pgrm.woof sp404 is pretty heavy on resampling with fx to really edit up your sample. People tend to hate its built in squencer. You could resample your own finger drumming into loops on it… that’s the general work flow people tend to use on it.

Digitakt, I kind of use for this but I make sure to organize my patterns into well thought out easy to intuitively chain little sets. It has all the pattern changes for the other gear that needs it on midi also. Sounds like it was maybe not working for your work flow though.

Octa, should be able to fully manage song modes I think, might not be as good for just grooving out and tweaking drum sounds though. Maybe it’s a better fit.

Mpc live… most daw like, seems like a good fit also, maybe the least “live” of the options. Seems more heavily focused on samples and less on synthesizer type features.

Buy a laptop probably shouldn’t be ruled out, especially with overbridge incoming. 1000$ will get you something nice. You should probably own a laptop even if you are dawless.

See here’s another issue I probably should of stated in my original post.

issue*- I don’t currently have a computer at the moment.
My old one was running Win Vista and wasn’t able to update any elektron gear and it was far to slow for today’s standards, also had issues.

-And here’s the problem with not buying one with the money I said I had to spend.
That price range is only for financing music gear from online music stores in payments.
There’s a couple sites where they let you pay your gear in 3-5 payments with no credit check.
So 500 divided by 5 payments for let’s say an SP404A is only 100 a month so that’s not a problem.
But coming up with 400 plus dollars at once for me rite now will take some time saving up so I’m trying to have a mini-setup in the meantime to make beats and the computer will come later down the road.
So that’s that.

Also to reply to your digitakt advice it seems like it might be a good fit but what didn’t work for me was not having pads.
Let me explain further real quick.
Ok let’s say I have a drum idea and want to lay it out. (boom…tack…boom, boom-boom…tack)
I want to be able to play the drum and snare at the same time, sometimes maybe even the hats also so I could get it down how I want it rite away.
I felt with the digitakt I could t do that.
I had to manually insert a drum in the step sequencer and other drums one by one which threw me way off.
Also I tried programming it live but it only let me do one sound at a time which trough me off as well.
Not sure tho if it was possible to even record a track playing a drum and snare at the same time recording it like a traditional pad layout.

So that was my concern with the digitakt and made me which to the digitone.

And about the SP.
So is the sequencer really weak like a daw in terms of the overall feel/flow?
That’s one thing I don’t want. That’s one reason I moved away from computer daw recording.
I felt my drums and overall feel of the song felt robotic. Even if I added swing it still didnt have a nice flow and tracks just felt stale.

My general advice - dont buy anything. With A4 and Digitone there is really no place you can’t go. Make tracks or play live or whatever you do. Only thing I would suggest is recorder to record you music. Something like Zoom h4n that you can get used for less than 100eur.


I usually finger drum on the Digitakt : Live Record mode is made for this (and tweaking knobs live, :yum:)

I’d steer clear of getting into debt for any non essential items, save the money instead and buy something used, you’ll end up spending less and not be shackled with the stress of making payments.

In the meantime learn what you already have inside out, you can make drums with both the DN and A4 to get you up and running.


Listen to the wise man! @darenager is speaking truth!
Wholeheartedly agree.

With DN and A4 you have already plenty enough to make drums : start from here, and develop your own style!

BTW @lingouf made this album with the A4 only:

Good thing is the time you’re proficient in synthesizing amazing drums on both synths, you’ll have both many sounds to sample and the money to get a decent sampler :wink:


The OP-1 is really what your after. I know you said it lacks great synthesis like the A4 and only 4 tracks(overdub can help) but if you sat down and though about that you would see that it is what you need not what you want. An all in one dawless song creator. Isnt that what you really need and not want?

I would get the ARMk1 if it’s mostly for drums. Doesn’t get much better and the prices are great these days. The Digitakt is also a good option. I’ve preordered the op-z as well. For me it’s to fulfill the dream of a super light very portable setup for really small gigs:)

1 Like

Yup AR MK1 is the way to go- It is one of the best drum machines available and with the analog engine and p-locks is limitless for expression, it also plays samples and the new OS also gives you a synth…great process to be had on the MK1 and of course instant overbridge :wink:

1 Like

ATM I pair mr DN with a 404 and it’s awesome. 404’s sequencer is way limited but very useable, not like a DAW at all. If you planning on a 404sx they can be had new on Amazon for $389.

1 Like

I would recommend the same. Save your dough and learn the gear that you have in the meantime. The Digitone is so deep and capable already. Sure the workflow “throws you off” but if you take a weekend to learn it, you’ll soon see how great it can be. Then, you’ll have learned a new workflow to add to your skills set.


If you are after finger drumming an mpc is the best bet imo.
You also haven’t really said what kind of music you want to make, which can lead to more or less obvious choices.
Maybe look into a refurbished mpc 1000 with jjos.
Or just get yourself a used mpc 1000 off eBay and trick it out yourself, it’s pretty easy.

In live record mode you can definitely finger drum on the dt. Additionally, if you connect a midi controller with pads like an mpd the pads can be set to trigger each audio track and you can finger drum that way.



My style of music would fall under “future beats”/ electronic hiphop/ retrowave-hop.

And yeah I was really considering a MPC 1000 (my top choice), but in order to buy used I would have to pay the total in full at checkout which I don’t have and like I stated previously I can only purchase newer gear from online stores that allow payments plans. Only have a max of 200 month to spend on gear and used my allowance for this month already so even if I would save I would be looking at December/January to buy a used MPC.
I almost did buy a used MPC 500 but would want to upgrade always rite away with the lack of features it has compared to the others.

But I think I’m going to go with either the MPC Studio or the MPC Touch because now I have a computer.
But the thing about this is I would have to buy them new to get the payment plan and the Studio is 400 and the Touch is 550-600 and at that price range I’m just about where the Digitakt is almost at. So that’s another decision.

I’m familiar with the MPC Studio software and actually really like it. I prefer it way more than the Maschine software.
I just love that classic “MPC swing” and also being able to layer sounds easily. And just the overall sequencing is what I also like too.

I think I’m going to rule out the SP404A because I’m just not a fan of not having a waveform display and also the “resampling method”. Plus not having a full 16 pad tradition layout isn’t helping much either.

Really? That’s awesome.
When I tried it only let me use one sound at a time in live mode. Probably should of asked around when I had it before trading it for a digitone.
Ok so you’re telling me I could have a drum kit laid out on the first 4 pads and record live finger drumming all the sounds? AND also with a mpd ? I need a second confirmation because this new info to me might make me purchase one lol.
Do you know of any videos showing this in action? Not that I don’t believe you, I just want to check it out myself first before committing to a purchase.
I seen lots of videos but none of finger drumming/ recording a drum kit in live mode with multiple sounds at the same time.

It isn’t but there’s compilations/ projects I already committed too that are soon.

So I want to chime in on a few things.

I had the digitakt for roughly a year. I sold it to get a more immediate drum machine (I hardly used it as a sampler). I hated rummaging thru samples to find a decent drum sound.
I have the Digitone as well and getting the Digitone was one of my main reasons for ditching Digitakt, I just loved using Digitone as a groovebox.

I have on several occasions used it as a groovebox and found it to be extremly intuitive and FUN. I basically use two of the tracks for drums, one for BD and one for snare and other percussive elements. Using Sound locks really lets you create straight up wicked beats. I could easily do a set with just Digitone.

I am getting a OP-Z for three reasons.

1: awesome on the go sequencer, also non intrusive since it doesn’t take up any space.
2: the visual side, I work with 3d CAD and I am familiar in the 3d world, so I’m looking at creating my own 3d visuals and sequencing them with the OP-Z.
3: to pair it with my Digitone. I plan on running Digitone and OP-Z to sequence each other.
The OP-Z will sequence Digitones 4 tracks. And Digitone will sequence OP-Z transpose track and mute group track.
With this set up I can set the Digitone sequencer to 1/2 speed (or 1/4 1/8) and change the sequence the transpose track. This will make it possible to have really long song structures within one pattern.

I think this set up will be super cool, small and very flexible.