Deluge vs M8 tracker

Hi! I’ve been an Elektron boxes user for some time, the workflow, sound, idiosyncrasies, parameter locking, etc all clicked with me. The issue is I’m and will be for some time out of my little home studio and traveling, so the prospect of a all-in-one seems enticing for this period of my life. So battery powered and small size are top priorities, but also being able to finish a song from start to finish on the same device and on the road. I don’t really like the MPC solutions for instance so I’m currently trying to choose between the new Dirtywave M8 tracker and the Deluge.
Some pros of the M8 seem to be screen, size and quality of synth engines and very decent FXs. Also I think the tracker workflow is something I would enjoy but limited to so little keys to play and move through the interface I’m not sure. Also is 8 tracks monophonic only. But monomachine is monophonic too and it’s enjoyable as hell.
On the other side the Deluge seems to be a definitive all in one. The grid seems to be wonderful to build up ideas and complete songs but the synth engine seems to be pretty limited, and the FXs of low quality and with little flexibility. To be honest I have not heard many songs done with it that sound to me interesting and there is something to the sound quality that bothers me. The lack of screen on the other side is not a problem to me and everyone seems to agree it offers a quick workflow.
Can anybody add some new POV on this that will help me to decide? Thanks!!

Deluge. 100%. I’m currently not a fan of the tracker workflow… so keep that in mind. I’m also a Deluge owner since the original batch. :grinning:

I watched a couple videos on the M8. It looks cool, no doubt. But, to me, all that clicking and navigating to little parameter areas would become THE experience of that device, and that seems tedious as hell. I just have zero interest in that. If a tracker is what you’re interested in, it seems Polyend might be the better choice (though I’m not sure of the battery status on that).

The Deluge… all I can say about that is that it’s the most flexible device I own. One day you will look at it and think… “ok, today I’m going to make a song”… and it will really excel at letting you move through it, adding musical ideas and song structure. Another day you will look at it and think “I’m going to design a synth patch”… and you can spend hours doing that.

I actually designed a synth patch that uses the internal microphone as the oscillator, and that synth then uses self oscillation of the filter that I can play polyphonically on the built in note grid… so… I can sit anywhere with the Deluge and essentially play the sounds of my environment with pitch control… in real time… and record that. So, I guess I’m saying it can also be a very experimental device which will keep your mind and curiosity occupied.

I myself have plans to sort of create a performance drum machine by combining a pad controller and making a combination of drum tracks that are sample or synth based. The visual display of the tracks or “patterns” of 8 parts at once (plus instant scrolling to many more) is kind of unique to all drum machines out there, and with the addition of Euclidean, separate track lengths within a kit, play direction for each part… all coming in the next update… it’s just going to be a super unique and fun drum machine for me.

Finally… the Deluge is going to be a lot of fun on its own, but it also excels when mixed with other gear… both from a MIDI and audio perspective.


Had a Deluge for a bit. Have a first-run M8 and it’s a forever-keeper (in the way that, say, my old 101 is). Can’t say it more strongly than that, but a personal thing rather than a point-by-point teardown if such a thing were possible.


what kind of music do you make?

Deluge owner here. Don’t forget sampling features, makes you virtually bring some of your studio hardware out with you, sampled as loops or wave forms

Mostly (at least trying to) more IDM style (
Think Quaristice and earlier Autechre), very rhythm based and focused on sound design (always learning in this, I’m not expert) with 30% more oriented to some kind of ambient (I have been enjoying Max/MSP to some extend for periods for instance).

Get both as they are quite cheap.

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yep both as sabana suggested or just the Deluge because if you are only going to be using one instrument for all in one production for long periods of time while traveling the deluge has the more well rounded workflow.

I dont think M8 is in many hands yet, but it does seem extremely portable and capable on its own. There is sort of a sequence launching mode from external midi from my understanding, which seems like it could be a great way to flesh out and record in studio after writing a song on the go.

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Oh that would be great of course but even the Deluge alone is dangerously almost exceeding my budget (blame Elektron for this haha. And the import fees ofc)

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I don’t own either but I would choose the M8. Work on tracks and then stick it in your pocket!
But then I love the tracker workflow from LSDJ…

Also, if you’re going to have a laptop with you anyway, you can run the M8 software using only a teensy and SD card, so you can try it for about $40/£40: M8 Tracker - #196 by glooms


I have headless for the m8, my unit is on its way and am a long time deluge user. This isn’t a typical gear head “get both” answer, but seriously, try to get both. They inspire very different ways of thinking.

The deluge is the ultimate embodiment of a computerless daw. It’s a big unlimited piano roll, and synth, sampler, recording device and arranger. It works if you’ve used daws and write music in that way, to free you from your screen. It’s really a one of a kind device that doesn’t get enough credit considering it’s less than 1k. The biggest dig on it is the synths are only “okay” but every single track can become a midi track with the touch of a button and so you can dial in whatever sound source you want once you’re done making ideas. I will never part with it.

The M8 is truly a tracker in all that’s good and bad. It gives you 8 mono tracks, but it has some great synth engines (braids oscillators are built in, has a very competent 4op fm synth that can also be used as a 4 oscillator synth, a chip tune synth) and a powerful sampler. All of those can go through a number of filters, and you get two envelopes and LFOs for each synth.

But when you write with a tracker, it’s a much more left-brained type of creativity. It promotes being thoughtful, working within the limitations and planning what you want to do. Some people in the discord have made entire tracks just from using tables and a single note. It’s the sort of machine that makes you feel excited when you figure out that killer equation. It’s also even more portable than the deluge. Battery powered, speakers, audio and midi over usb (and you can hook it up to your computer and enjoy it on your monitor with a simple web display).

The deluge is amazing because of it’s unlimited playground mentality. You can push it until you set the cpu on fire, and so you can be lazy (creative) and just throw down tracks and variations and build a very long complex track in the box. But, it’s not that easy to get all of that work out of the box. It gets bonus points for being an incredible midi sequencer.

The M8 is amazing because of it’s compact and rewarding limitations. You only get 8 tracks, but you can resample them quickly and easily, and can put a different instrument on every single step. Sort of elektron-esque in that way. It also handles midi tracks and is very easy to pull your stems/tracks off of it when you’re done, just pull the sd card and drag the files where you want them to be.

There is very much room for both of them in a set up, and if you can only have one it comes down to the kind of workflow that inspires you to be more creative. You can also 100% spend 20 bucks on a teensy and try the m8 for almost no money before deciding, just search for M8 headless.


@Khidr9… thanks for the detailed response! i didn’t know the m8 could resample. makes it a viable little freak machine, haha. it’s not really similar, but the TE PO-33 is similar in the left brain department, you can make insane stuff if you have the patience.

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Does headless work with a Mac?



Does the M8 have sample slicing?


outside of the lfo triggering?

I guess by lfo triggering you’re referring to pseudo timestretch.

m8 has sample slicing. one of the most elegantly implemented I’ve seen. it’s ultra fast to slice on m8.

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was referring to stuff like this, but you mean it has a slicer like the polyend tracker?