Digitone versus Ableton Live Operator

Hi all.
Please can any owners of both Digitone and Ableton Live’s Operator FM synth advise if sound-wise, Digitone does anything notably different/better than Operator (leaving aside parameter locks and control knobs (I have Push 2)). Their architecture seems quite similar and I can add separate chorus, reverb etc. effects to Operator.
Thanks in advance for your comments.


Operator can have fixed oscillators with is crucial to do good percussive sounds. Digitone doesn´t which I guess is part of the simplification for people to dial in sounds that sound “good” without ending up in the inharmonic space to easily.

Operator has more oscillator options, filters types and drive options which adds a lot to the character of the sound.


Hard to say if the Digitone can beat Operator and Ableton soundwise - there are endless possibilities to tweak the sound in the software. For me the workflow is more important. I like the simpler interface and the less possibilities on the Digitone very much. It inspires me more than the software. I don’t have experience with Push and can’t imagine in which way it is possible to break down such a complex synth to have a good overview and access to parameters.


Operator has definitely more options to create different sounds. The Digitone is much more restricted, but therefore more “accessible” for inexperienced users.

Neither of them beats FM8 sound-feature-wise.

And about Push2: sound design with Operator and Push2 is cumbersome. Each single operator has it’s own multiple parameter pages (no page to influence main parameters of multiple ops / for example the ratios!). So you have to always switch back and forth even during the first stages of sound design. For small changes this is okay, but for the overall design of a sound it’s a hassle. Usability on the Digitone is perfect in this sense.


Two things I dislike in Operator :

Impossible to pitch down (!!)
No global volume envelope

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the biggest architectural difference would be that the digitone has two outputs on every algorythm and you can crossfade between them. its a cool idea but definitely not the selling point of this machine though.

the selling point remains the sequencer. If you think you can achieve the same with a Push2 then I strongly disagree. I like my Push2 a lot but programming Operator with it is not fun, I’d rather go with the mouse tbh.
I really hope they will update the Push2’s Operator interface so that its on par with the new Wavetable instrument because this one kicks ass! Also parameter locks on Push2 are just not the same as with Elektron machines, its not comparable at all :confused:


It’s possible to operate operator from push but always going to the first page and choosing the right operator is a workflow killer. You are faster with the mouse!

and this.
I don’t get it, there are so many great advanced sequencers in M4L and the 64 grid controller could be greatly used for sequencing (e.g. various monome apps).
But they have the most boring melodic sequencer implemented (I think it was a M4L sequencer for launchpad in the beginning).
Always hoped they do at least the M4L monosequencer for Push.
If you ever used Numerology with Push or a launchpad, the native Push sequencer looks like a bad joke.


Don’t forget Dexed! It is a free DX7 clone VST.
It is compatible with DX7 libraries which is a huge asset if you consider all the patches available.

Check out the Squarp Pyramid

I’d say Phase-4 in Bitwig is the closest thing to the DN in the softwaare world right now.

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Two things I dislike in Operator :
Impossible to pitch down (!!)

Operator has a separate pitch knob for all oscillator as well as a pitch envelope.

No global volume envelope

That´s the point with FM. You can have one or more carrier envelope(s) controlling the master volume depending on the algorithm. You can right-click the envelope screen and copy the envelopes or the entire osc setting from the the other operators if you like them to be synced.

the biggest architectural difference would be that the digitone has two outputs on every algorythm and you can crossfade between them. its a cool idea but definitely not the selling point of this machine though.

Operator can do that in a way with the LFO or Pitch Env. set to OSC Crossfade on destination B with all destination deselected on destination A.

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As I wrote, you can only pitch up in Operator.
I consider a global volume envelope far from useless. And Digitone has one.

I fail to see how this is a problem, curious, I opened operator and at the bottom left key of my push it reaches the lower edge what is audible to the human hearing. And is scales all the way up to the top of the range of human hearing. Just because the pitch isn’t bipolar doesn’t mean the range is not more than adequate.

Edit: Also if your operators are fixed the frequency range is 10hz to 20khz. Again I don’t see what the problem is.

All that said I still want a digitone because of the combined workflow with my A4, and familiarity with the Elektron structure. Just not until they release Overbridge for it :wink:

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Operator pitch down
Enable the Pitch and set Pitch env to +50% and sustain to -48 st.

Nobody said it was useless. You asked for a global env. and I gave an answer/solution.

Thanks. For this i’d just use a MIDI Pitch effect, though.
I was referring to the “Detune” that only goes up. Sorry if it was unclear. It has no reason to be so, and, amongst other reasons, it makes it hard to tune when playing with non 440Hz instruments.

What are you guys talking about? There’s no comparison! Operator sounds flat harsh and uninspiring. I never wanted to use it and found good sounding VST synths instead.

Digitone sounds big, full, organic, amazing and has lots of character.
Try to listen to the sound demos on the Elektron Digitone page and see if you can get the same with Operator…


In regards to changing from the 440Hz tuning, there aren´t any native Ableton synths or instruments that have micro tuning. Look in to the U-he synths which have built in microtuning. If you are looking for FM I would suggest Bazille.

Detune can be achieved through the Fine knob. It can go down if you set the Osc that you want to go down to a lower Coarse and then adjust the Fine to a high value close to 1000. Like this:

Digitone is the Operator with easy knobs and some FXs.

Have you tried the fixed check box?