Critique My Process?

Been tying myself in knots trying to figure out the best way to jam/record with my setup, and I figured I could probably get some wise words from a few of the experts on this forum. It has been a lifesaver so far.

I’ve been expanding my rig quite a bit lately, and currently I’m using two hardware synths along with a Machinedrum. Digitakt will be added to the mix before long. The way I see these are the most straightforward options:

  1. Onboard Sequencers for All:

I use the onboard sequencers for each of my two synths, along with Machinedrum, to live jam a main structure. Basically fading the three elements in and out, as well as altering them on the fly using mutes and effects. Neither of the synths have the ability to chain together sequences however, so it may get a bit static? Machinedrum is the clock.

  1. Digitakt as brain:

In this scenario I would be using the Digitakt to sequence drums, as well as the two synthesizers. This way I can do my mutes AND make sequence changes in one place, while using various effects boxes to make additional changes live. Digitakt would be the clock.

  1. Ableton as brain:

This is similar to the first option, except instead of controlling changes on each respective machine live I would simply record three long loops in to ableton. I would then go back with my little MIDI controller and do mutes/fades/effects. This feels slightly limiting since I won’t be using the onboard trickery of my three machines, but maybe limiting is good in this case. Maybe I’ll get more done if I don’t feel the need to have 8 arms to capture the “perfect” jam. I could always overdub more changes later for any of these three options.

If anyone has experience with these specific methods, or otherwise have insight as to what I could do differently, it would certainly be appreciated!

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A lot of it comes down to what you enjoy doing this most. I do everything I can do keep the Elektron sequencer in my workflow because it is fun and goes so much faster than anything else.

I’d sequence the two synths with DT and MD by itself. The DT midi sequencing engine isn’t as potent as the sound engine sequencer but it has a chain mode!

Keep in mind, that even if you are using the MD internal sequencer for pattern building, you can still use the LFOs on the DT midi to control whichever parameters you want. However, I have had issues with pattern chains using this technique. The midi “latches” my AR perf controls at whatever the value the LFO was at when the pattern changed. I don’t know if MD would behave the same. I can almost guarantee the other synths wouldn’t be affected though.

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Thanks - to be honest I was leaning towards this as well.

Micromonsta and Korg Monologue.

If you like what you’re doing and you like the sound. That’s All that matters. You can have a lot of people tell you otherwise but it’s better to hear a badly recorded and mixed good song than a well recorded and mixed but a bad song.

I totally agree with what you’re saying, and to be honest I’ve gotten good results from all of the above, minus the DT method since I haven’t bought one yet.

I guess what I’m looking for is outside perspective, and a feel for what most people consider best practice. Sometimes what “feels” right is simply the easy way, and I’d rather invest my time in a method that will ultimately produce the best results, even if it’s not as natural at first. Proper finger placement and posture while playing the piano come to mind. Oh how I hated that at first…

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I understand where you are coming from. It sounds like you want a DT in your setup. Go for it. My only advice is keep things in a comfortable posture.

Music is like bitcoin mining. You’ll have the computer on for hours/ months until you get somewhere.

Ive been using a machinedrum as the brain/main sequencer for tons of other hardware synths for years. I am looking to switch to digitakt/digitone for sequencing external synths but keeping md as my main clock. THe only real limit to what i currently do is lack of trig conditions which makes some tracks feel dead and calculated unless you really put some work into the expressive side of things.

I really enjoy the way i do things currently due to the speed and ease of going from a blank slate to a fairly decent track within an hour or so.

If I had a thousand bitcoins for every track I’ve happily completed I’d be a poor, poor man :skull:

I’ll keep digging for gold. Thanks!


I like onboard sequencers for all… I prefer manual switching patterns on all of them because I do improv but that’s just me… After you get used to things you can make alternative sequences on the midi sequencer, and send those over to the other units. At that point for a few tracks you can have basically three sequences per track: the internal, mute internal and send midi, internal+midi mashup. I don’t do that for every track of a device but it’s fun to do it for a few… I use all performance features on devices and mute things on those, instead of treating the whole unit as a track to mute and unmute…

The thing is there really is no preferred best method. It might help to start simple but as you go and learn stuff you end up in your own workflow… Hope you have a good time and hear some cool shit on your journey to finding yours!


Somewhat similar vein…

I was wondering how many people on e.g. Digitone lay down drums first, or bass, or everything else first.

For me, doing drums too early can lead to a formulaic sound (plus the endless repeats tire my ears).

Interested in the process of others…

How about MD as master DT as slave. Sequence the synths out of the DT. You could even assign 4 midi tracks each of the synths and mute and unmute to create more movement within each pattern. MD is a good master device because it has a proper song mode available.

I just realized this 2 years old :joy:


Workflow is always relevant :smiley:

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Haha seeing as this got necromancer’d from two years ago I figure I’ll give an update. Been using my Digitakt to sequence a Virus and Moog, which has been really fun. The Elektron sequencing/workflow is all there and super quick. Once the rough jam is in Ableton I usually remix things a good bit (adding transitions and additional effects, recording overdubs, editing the arrangement etc). Sometimes it mostly ends up sounding like what came out of the hardware, and other times it turns into something totally new and unexpected. A healthy mix of improv and DAW editing is definitely the way to go :mage:


If you are just noodling, try record a few minutes of the drum pattern playing with a filter or something, hi/lo pass for 30 second sections. And then use the result to jam over. I find it easier to come up with different feeling sections from the other instruments that way and any sequenced bass line will still fit the pattern. Otherwise I struggle to have 2 sections sound cohesive and I get bored/fatigued by the process pretty quick.

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