Fx for Digitone

I am sacrificing my Analog Four for a Digitone (again). This is the 3rd time I will be buying another Digitone and I wont have any purely analog gear aside from the Rytm to mix in my recordings now. I did have a Prophet Rev 2 , so I thought a Digitone would be better suited for sequencing 8 voices via midi, but i realized i wasnt using the synth engine at all because it was so opposite the raw analog (dco) sound of the Rev2. So i sold that for my second A4.

I have since replaced the Rev2 with a Peak, and it’s not nearly as harsh/bright/analog. I am also finding that I use the A4 much less for synthesis now, almost not at all, so I decided I’ll get the Digitone again for sequencing the Peak and using the 4 digitone synth engines to compose full polyphonic tracks like I used to.

I have used effects with my synths in the past, but they always seem to be more of a distraction than an aid. I had a Ventris for reverb, which was beautiful, but too big for my live stereo recordings from the Octa (via thru tracks) to stereo track in Ableton and redundant with the amazing digi reverb. I had a small eurorack setup for synth fx processing with granular (nebulae) and other fx processing (analog mmf, mi warps, mi rings, nlc dispersion delay) for my synths, but that distracted me way too much from making actual music and i just spent all my time doing weird sound design that no one wants to hear. I had Rooms from DBA which was even better than the Ventris, almost “analog” sounding, and has almost every other effect i could ask for (chorus, bitcrush, delay, resonator, bp filter) and very nice gain for wet and dry independently. At that time, I also had the Earthquaker Plumes because I wanted to make the Digitone sound more gritty and saturated alongside the Rev2. Plumes was nice, and it sounded great with the Rev2, but i didn’t find it very helpful with the Digitone. I’d still have Rooms, but I cant justify holding onto a pedal that has the same effects as most of my other gear, even if they are better quality. it became a distraction as well, and made everything i put it through sound too large for my busy mixes. Also at one point or another had a dd-7, bastl thyme, cooper fx outward. i do also have the ehx platform after my synth sub-mixer and before the octatrack to glue my synths together before summing to the octa thru track.

Now I’m wondering if anyone has any tips that may help me enhance the Digitone. I don’t think it is necessary to put it through anything but I’m curious if anyone has had any particularly nice results with anything in their experience. I am not very familiar with distortion and overdrive but i know that a lot of them are not necessary or just dont sound good at all on synths, especially digital ones, but if there is a certain kind that does, I would be interested. the Plumes was actually good, but not good enough to justify taking up space and money that could be spent elsewhere in my setup. In my experience the only really good saturation for synths have been the overdrives built into them (A4/Circuit Mono Station [BS2]/Moogs)

I am considering the Malekko Downer, the OBNE Alpha Haunt, or just a Portastudio 424 mk1. Would a wavefolder be better than an average distortion pedal designed for guitars? Does the Haunt’s odd harmonic fuzz and eq give you enough control to adequately and musically saturate an oscillator signal without just drowning it in dirt? is it worth putting external effects like this after the dn?

I’ve also considered rackmount graphic eqs or eq pedals but im not sure how useful they would be on a synth. The Analog Heat is the obvious answer here but Reverb fucked me over so hard with fees that im gonna have less than $300 to work with after I buy the dn with my a4 money and i would rather not dump more money into my setup (money that does not come from selling existing gear)

Deco, mf drive, analog drive, downer, haunt?

Too bad on the heat not being an option. However I only seem to use saturation with DN but holy moly does it bring it to life.

Any stereo saturation pedals with EQ you can think of?

A stereo EQ pedal (or a stereo drive with EQ) could go far if you aren’t processing into a DAW.

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I guess we all go through different phases with sounds we prefer, but I have most of the synths you mention and I use them together.

I really like the Digitone, but it has a particular voicing/tonality to it that doesn’t sit as well with the others.
Whereas my A4, Rev2, Peak and AR are always easy to weave in out of each other sonically.

I also don’t think the Digitone plays the best with external voices because of its 4 sounds… when you have all 4 going it’s tricky to find anything other than subtle fx that’ll suit it’s whole output. Luckily the inbuilt fx are pretty sweet. If I want specific fx on specific tracks I’ll usually use Overbridge to get them out for further processing.

Sorry if this isn’t really answering your question… personally I don’t think I’d buy an fx unit specifically for the Digitone.

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No that’s a good point, I have that problem too. And I 100% agree on mixing those synths and the Digitone’s unique timbre. I was hoping it would gel more easily with the Peak but maybe not

@selfup not stereo, but I was looking at the ehx graphic fuzz. Pretty sure that won’t be what I’m after though. The Malekko Downer is not stereo but has saturation/wave folding params + Lo and hi pass filters. I assume and hope it’s all analog but not sure. I’m not great with weighing different guitar pedals and 98% of the demos are impossible to gauge from because it’s all the same boring shitty guitar tone through all of them

Maybe I will wait and get an mk1 heat. I saw that those were becoming reasonable again ($550-ish). But what about the Analog Drive? Any pedal (apart from the heat) would likely go in my pre OT sub mixer’s send channel, so mono would be ideal. Or maybe DN>pedal>submix in would be ideal, I’m not sure about that. I wonder if the Drive can achieve the same type of saturation or similar to the Heat. I do like the eq on it in theory. I imagine the mid band can be used sort of like a non resonant filter

I do process the final stereo recording in the daw with my little mastering chain which has Decapitator, softube Weiss, ssl x-comp, ssl x-eq, smooth operator, blyss, melda mbdynamics, 358Enhancer mkii, mjuc, pro q 2. I think I would prefer to swap all of those for hardware alternatives but that’s expensive and tough to figure out. Although heat would take care of a huge chunk of those duties if I had it post OT and pre Interface/ob

I appreciate the suggestions

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The Erica Synths Acid Box 3 gives stunning stereo gain/drive and some movement.

Stick it on a send post-eq or in series.

Nicer than the Heat imho.

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Nice one, I’ve strongly considered that. Good to know

I wonder if the fusion box is nice with synths

I’d bite the bullet, sell more/save more and get a Heat MK1. It really is a magic machine.
I have a pair of Bogner Harlow Neve transformer boost pedals that do some great things as well, but they’ve gone largely unused since I got the Heat. And the more I use the Heat and find additional nooks and crannies to find some color, the more I consider letting those pedals go.

I can’t imagine my OT without the Heat on the output. It’s just so versatile. I’m considering getting a second unit.

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The Digitone can do distortion quite well too:

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The Red Panda Bitmap 2 is a bit crusher / sample rate reducer with stereo I/O, a built-in LFO, and an envelope follower. It also has a waveshaper that works VERY well with synths.

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Damn that makes this decision even harder. Thanks for the recc

How about this question: analog drive, alpha haunt, malekko downer, or bitmap? Not just for the digitone, but for the Peak too. Let’s just say ‘for digital synths’ or for synths

(Yea yea, the real answer is analog heat)

I’m leaning heavily toward the Downer after listening to their ig demos. Has anyone tried that one?

This is true. It’s really a great price for a hardware unit that is comparable to the culture vulture or vertigo vsm. For some reason I keep getting drawn toward the Downer pedal. I think it’s appealing because of the more extreme wave folding but it’s a matter of musical master bus saturation vs more malleable sound design distortion

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Get the empress zoia and customise then save all the effect and synth patches to go along with all your digitone projects
. I don’t have one but but I imagine it’s be a great pairing for digitone as standalone pedal

That does seem like an interesting pedal but I have a norns, so that would be kind of redundant

Anyone using DN with ext Chorus / Flanger / Modulation pedals … ?

if you are interested in an external eq, this is definitely a good choice. In the end I couldn’t do anything with the digitone because it just didn’t fit into the setup and the painful sound, which was difficult to control, was annoying. I think tinkering a track with just a digitone is definitely possible.

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I don’t use my Digitone Keys with pedals, I do use it with dozens and dozens of different FX, modulations, loopers, samplers, midi controls, etc., through USB audio through my iPad.
I do the same with my Digitakt. Saturation, Tape FX, flangers, tremolo, lofi/crushers, compressors, filters, stutters… the list goes on and on.

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I just saw this recently. looks awesome but i also think the mxr 10 band might be enough since it’s only like $60 used.

I agree with you on everything else, but i just pulled the trigger on the Analog Drive, so if i can’t manage to find a good subtler setting on that for a send channel on the main digi output, ill just use it on my Peak.

@Tajnost I was strongly considering the Klark Teknik 3rd Dimension Bbd-320 chorus for this . i like the dn’s internal chorus but something like the super chorus or small stone might even be nice. i wonder about this too. Malekko also has one called “Thicken”, which looks interesting

@Suspect_Frequency not even with the separate outputs? seems like it would be fine in that case

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It’s been out for what, 2-3 years? Damn.

i switch out things in my setup a lot. trying to figure out what works. it’s usually just switching between the A4 and the Dn. I’ve owned 3 Digitones and 2 Analog Fours

I don’t use my Digitone keys in that way where I would need the physical outputs sending simultaneously.
I use the DT (and other gear) to record into my Akai Force one track at a time. Buying individual pedals to do everything I can achieve through software would be thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. It would also have the disadvantage of many of the pedals not being midi sync’d which I prefer.
So for me the software solution works great and adds in all the sampling/resampling/looping options as well as exporting stems.