Digitakt + SL MK3 workflow question?

I posted this yesterday so thought I’d post it here too:

First time logging in here so first off, hi all!

I’m looking to buy my first Elektron product - the Digitakt, as I love the sequencing capabilities, workflow, and I don’t have a drum machine currently. It seems to tick a few boxes in one machine for me which is quite handy.

My question that I initially posted over on Reddit is this:

Is it possible to sequence external synths from the digitakt, and the drums whilst using the Novation SLMK3 to control the synths? I’d like the SLMK3 to be the brain for my ableton and synth control, patch creation and also inputting sequences into the digitakt. But then I want to move to the digitakt to do the fine tuning of the sequences from there on?

I like the conditional trigs with digitakt and the ability to extend sequences for long periods with things like chance triggering by percentage and by measure, and as I’m making downtempo ambient music I feel benefits me greatly in creating a lush and evolving composition.

Thanks in advance!

Hey, welcome to the forum!! :slight_smile:

Not exactly sure what functionality you are ultimately looking for (in your setup), but in general the answer is YES! you can sequence your synths via Digitakt and still use your midi keyboard to control your synths.

The Digitakt has eight Midi Tracks (8-16) and for each midi track you can set an inbound midi channel and an outbound midi channel.

So your SL Mk3 could be going into the digitakt‘s Midi in and you could set a different inbound Midi channel for each Midi Track on the Digitakt (eg channels 8-16). Each track then gets also a dedicated outbound channel (eg 1-8) one for each synth.

Now if you switch midi channels on your keyboard (eg from 8 to 9), you also switch which synth you control directly (so from the one that‘s sequenced on track 8 to the one that‘s sequenced on track 9). Makes sense?

The Digitakt will pass through all midi messages from your keyboard EXCEPT pitchbend and modulate (mod wheel)…that‘s a really dumb limitation but it‘s manageable (the Octatrack has the same midi sequencing capabilities and then some + it passes through pitchbend and mod wheel midi messages as well).

Hope this helps.

EDIT: just read the selection of synths you have…1. AWESOME! :slight_smile: 2. definitely you‘d have mad fun with the Digitakt sequencing those! each midi track On the DT also gives you 8 freely assignable CC midi controls, so since I think all your synths support incoming midi CC msgs, you could eg P-lock your Hydrasynths Filter Cutoff on the Digitakt. I should also add that the Digitakt (or any other Elektron sequencer for that matter) can sequence max 4-notes per step, so if you play a chord, a four note chord (eg a 7th) is the most it can handle.


Thanks for the explanation! So essentially I can just route all my synths through the digitakt via midi thru and so when I want to play my synths from my keyboard it routes through the digitakt anyway.

Shame about the mod wheel and pitchbend! Is there a way around that? I haven’t touched much with MIDI in general as I’ve mostly just been sending audio to Ableton, but would it be possible to send mod wheel and pitchbend midi information over USB from the SLMK3 to the individual synths I have? I don’t have any old synths so they’re all usb connected? That may be a really silly question but I thought I’d ask regardless! Was just wondering whether that would work whilst you’re recording a sequence from the DT, and just using USB midi information from ableton to the individual synths sending pitch bend and mod wheel info.

It’s helped a tonne to visualise the setup so thank you! I’m looking at selling my DM12 as I don’t like the interface all that much. I thought I’d get on with it but it just isn’t as immediate as i’d like, so hopefully selling that will fund most of the money for the Peak. Hydrasynth is absolutely amazing though.

As for the max 4-notes per step, that won’t effect me too much with what I’m doing. I tend to use Omnisphere to lay down some larger chords on a space PAD patch :slight_smile:

And to answer your comment about the functionality i’m looking for, I guess I want to be able to sequence a fair few synths with the digitakt’s workflow, whilst also using a large keyboard with immediate ableton and software synth control. I want to get away from the looking at the screen so much but not completely seperate myself from the DAW. So this hybrid scenario seems to fit the bill for me!

Thank you for your help :slight_smile: Really excited to get into sequencing and the DT looks so fun.


As far as I know there‘s no way around the pitch bend & mod wheel limitation of the Digitakt. So if you want to record your playing in the DT sequencer / if you want to sequence your synths via Digitakt, you’d have to make do. It’s annoying but a price I’m willing to pay for the joy that the DT is otherwise :slight_smile:

The way you’d connect the digitakt is as follows:

Keyboard MIDI OUT into Digitakt MIDI IN.
Digitakt MIDI OUT into first synth MIDI IN.
First synth MIDI OUT into second synth MIDI IN.
Second synth’s MIDI OUT into third synth’s MIDI IN.

Each synth needs to be set to its individual midi channel for this to work. And each of the DT’s eight midi tracks (or: those that you use) need to be set to their own midi channels (incoming). You’d usually use one midi track per synth, so a track’s MIDI output channel would have to be set to the same midi channel as the synth’s it is supposed to control. Now you can play any of your synths by selecting the midi channel on the SL Mk3 that corresponds to the midi channel of the DT’s midi track that’s linked to the synth you want to play.

Alternatively you could go via USB:

Novation SL3 via USB to your computer
Digitakt USB to your computer
Setup Digitakt as External Instrument in a midi track in Live
Route the Novation SL3’s Midi to the digitakt track in Live.

This way you can still use your keyboard to control soft synths etc while also controlling the Digitakt.

Not sure if you can mix/merge midi signals (DIN and USB) with the SL mk3, I’d assume not.

I hope this helps!


That’s super helpful thanks! I think the SLmk3 has an “incontrol” feature whereby it switches from controlling the sequencer and synths to Ableton control including soft synths. So I think if I were to set it up the first way, I can just press this button to switch between controlling Ableton tracks and soft synths and then midi sequencing with the digitakt.

At least now I know it’s possible, so time to start saving! Cheers :slight_smile:

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Anyone knows if the Novation SL Mk3 can be mapped to the Digitakt?

I´d like to have the SL Mk3 faders always pointing to the DT´s mixer (or equivalent, each track level), and the pads pointing to the tracks as well.

You can sequence pitch and mod wheel from SL. Any continuous parameter change is better to be sequenced from SL, Digitakt jumps the values between steps rather than smoothing then out. SL also does more than 4 notes per step.

You can map the faders the way you want. Regarding pads, I am not sure I understand what you want.

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