Greetings. I’ve been digging deep in forum posts here and I’m amazed at how encouraging and supportive y’all are. Thanks in advance for reading this and chiming in.
I just purchased an Akai Force and am looking for one of the Elektron synths to pair with it. I just love that electron sound and those phenomenal effects, and however wonderful the Force is, it doesn’t capture it. I make mostly house and techno music. Have never owned an Elektron device.
I’m looking at the Syntakt, Digitone and Analog Four MK2 as options.
Anyone out there with some guidance to help me make the best decision? Or at least the best one to start with to complement the Force?
BTW - I’m stuck with the Force as a sampler because it links to my Denon gear when I DJ, which is rad. (I only wish Octatrack or Digitakt could directly sync up with Denon gear!)
Much love to all.
This is very dependend on your preferences.
I’d take a Digitone, because it’s small and multitimbral, and it’s possible to make “analoguish” sounds on it too, if you take your time.
The Syntakt is a good all rounder, I have it paired with the Mpc and they’re a great combo.
In addition to everything the Force gives you, I’d say the Digitone would be the best choice.
You could sync it live with the Force and/or sample it as you need.
I think the Digitone sounds are the most inspiring and instant for house/techno, and more versatile than the Analog Four (which is fantastic too, but 4 mono voices).
I would avoid the Syntakt personally… I’d say a TR8 or TR8S running alongside your Force would be a way better to go if you want to live seq drums.
I’d say the most redundant are probably the Digitakt and M:S, being purely sample-based, but even there you benefit from the advanced sequencing capabilties. I guess the Octatrack is in the same boat (even the crossfader is matched on the Force), but at the same time, y’know, it’s the Octatrack and I’m not sure anything could make it redundant.
So unless you’re spending MD/MM money, it really comes down to analog vs. FM. The A4 does make a good addition - I don’t think any of the Force synths can really compete with it, even though they may be ‘good enough’ in a lot of instances. It’s a great source of samples and waveforms, too (and drum sounds).
I haven’t tried the Syntakt or the Force’s own FM plugin, so I can’t really compare the other options properly - but I think the Force is very well equipped with pad and keys sounds, which may be a factor where the Digitone is concerned, depending on how you want to use it (but again, it’s a very versatile sample source and probably more fun than the A4 to use on its own). And I suspect that the Force’s drum synths, layering features and flexible FX mean it can cover a fair amount of the Syntakt’s territory.
My feeling is still the A4 adds the most overall, but I’ve no doubt that any Elektron would be a great partner, because I think what you’re really gaining is the immediacy and power of p-locks and conditional trigs, which the Force can’t match (though the Macro features mean it can also do a lot of stuff the Elektron’s can’t offer - so the benefits are mutual).
The danger with the Force is that you end up thinking well, I can get close enough with the onboard features, so why not keep things simple? So the best approach is to work out where the Force isn’t quite cutting it for you, and identify the best solutuon to fill that gap. If it’s pads or gonzo sound design, Digitone. If it’s synth depth or analog authenticity, A4. If it’s clobbering people with beats, Syntakt. If you can’t quite pin it down, maybe dig into the Force a little more before making any decisions.
Awesome. I was leaning towards Syntakt. Seems like folks with Digitones are going more in that direction. Have you used a digitone? Any insights on your end with the differences if so? Thank you for your time!
That’s great insight. Thank you.
Why do you say to avoid Syntakt? There’s some mixed stuff about it online. Some say it’s kinda like the best of elektron synths in one device. But others say otherwise. Would love to know more if you’re able to share. Appreciate your time.
You’re awesome for the sweet and detailed response. Great points. Lots to think about.
I’d chime in for the Digitone as well. If you were looking for a single techno box I would probably suggest the Syntakt, because it is so versatile between its analog and digital voices. But you already have the Force, which can handle a lot of that stuff really well. The Digitone simply does stuff that I haven’t heard other boxes do, and can range really far. The UI helps to create endless happy accidents and there are so many sweet spots to be discovered in it. Plus it can do some crazy percussion/noise/crazy FM weirdness, which all makes great sample fodder.
If you’re looking for a value more purely percussion machine, you might consider getting both the Digitone and. Model:Cycles…altogether would cost a bit more than a Syntakt alone but quite a bit less than an A4, and the Cycles can create some especially huge kicks, along with a bunch of other great sounds for techno.
Super helpful! Thank you. I also have years of piano experience. Was considering pairing syntakt with a keyboard, but I recently became aware of the digitone keys - which seems like it might be a nice combo to go with the Force.
If you don’t already have a midi keyboard, the keys would be great. There a bunch of additional performance controls it has over the module. You could use it to perform on the DN but also to play your Force
Force is enough,i just got one.Lots and lots to learn and perfect.A few sound sources to spice things up could be nice.Im gonna concentrate of the one machine now tho.Its impossible to say which elektron as they all have something unique.
This is probably the best bet……I just hooked up my OG bass station and assigned some of the knobs.Great compact system.Replaces the computer for me…
I never really clicked with the Digitone and comparing the two, the Syntakt is more immediate and varied.
Plus you can use the analog circuit to warm up/crunch the Force, I use the analog section of the Syntakt with the MPC all the time.
It is not sure, but as the MPC now has an FM synth, I would expect the Force to get it too, but at this stage it is just speculation.
Truthfully, you can’t go wrong with the 3 options you’re looking at. All great instruments that will give you a huge variety of sounds to play with.
I’ve personally played the Digitone and Analog Four, ended up selling the Digitone but only in the interest of focusing on fewer machines. Every time I switched on the Digitone, I was struck by how great it sounded. The A4 feels a bit more open-ended to me, it gives you a ton of tools to shape the sound (could be a blessing or a curse depending on how you like to work). Syntakt seems really cool and probably the most immediate of the three, if you want quick results.
Good luck, let us know what you pick!
I said avoid the Syntakt because of what it is, and what you have in the Force.
If I was going to have only ONE Elektron device, to use standalone, I would look at the Syntakt.
But, at it’s core, it’s a drum machine that gives a taster of the A4, AR and Digitone (in a compact/limited way). As I said previously, I think it’s Elektron’s TR8S, and I think the TR8S is a lot better personally.
If you have the Force, you have access to a world of drum sounds, including the Drum Synth plugin it comes with that is really good (and would overlap with the Syntakt a lot).
What you don’t have in the Force (yet), is the Elektron sequencing approach… so, the Digitone gets you that, gets you great drum sounds to seq or sample, gets you great synth sounds to seq or sample, and gets you 4 midi channels that you can use to sequence ANYTHING inside the Force.
It’s sounds fit in well for the music styles you are making.
This is why I think the Digitone is the best companion to the Force for you.
My second choice would be the Analog Four… but you lose the polyphony and you lose the 4 midi tracks to sequence other gear (ie the Force… (although you can use the A4’s CV channel to sequence the Force too)).
The A4 does sound fantastic though… it might be 4 mono voices, but it’s amazing how quickly you can pull full tracks together with a couple of A4 tracks.
I’d expect if you got either the Digitone or the A4 first, you’d soon be wanting the other one.
I’d still go with the Digitone though in your position.
I own an Akai Force, an Analog Four MK2 and a Syntakt and I am really happy with this setup. (That being said, I am still thinking about getting a DN too for its poliphony and its small size)
I produce techno and used to make some House too.
@CCMP’s point of view really makes sense even if I don’t totally agree with the “overlap” point (Force vs Syntakt) as I see the Force much more like an OT alternative that also makes me able to work DAWless (which is pretty cool) than a drum machine or a synth.
I like the “all-in-one” capabilities of the Syntakt as it’s small and allows me to start full tracks on it (while the Force takes much more space and isn’t easy to travel with). It’s great for drums but also for analog and digital synth sounds. (just search “Syntakt Techno” on youtube and you’ll see plenty of videos)
Regarding the “drums” part, it depends of your workflow but in my opion the Elektron sequencer makes the Syntakt faster than the Force to get some punchy techno rythms. (Force is missing real parameter locks to be honnest as I tried some workarounds but couldn’t achieve anything close to the Syntakt)
For the Analog Four MK2, it’s so powerfull and amazing I will never get rid of it. If you’re looking for analog sounds, go for it and you won’t be disapointed.
For your information, what I am planning to do (but haven’t done yet) is to add some “audio class compliant” sound card to my setup (Behringer UMC1820 which seems to be the best option with the Force) and that will allow me to get the 4 separated tracks from the A4 into the Force (together with the Syntakt). Thinking about this for a few months now and I think I am gonna give it a try
Great to resample through, and to use the arp on the force. I use it to step sequence and arp my MPC Keys, as well as to capture and mangle MPC loops. It’s also my fx mixer that I route my incoming synths through.
Such a helpful response. THANK YOU.
Reading all of these I’m thinking I really do need both the A4 and either the Syntakt + midi keyboard or Digitone Keys. Gonna do some more digging.
Would you agree that OT and Digitakt are kinda redundant then?