Help deciding on cheap synth and/or fx unit to pair with digitakt

TLDR - $300 budget. options i’m most strongly leaning toward in no particular order :

volca fm or ik uno or modal skulpt + zoom ms-70cdr
micromonsta 2


i could really use some help trying to figure out what to pair with my relatively new digitakt. i wasn’t planning on getting anything new for a long time since i fairly recently got into the hardware side of things with a 404 mkII and digitakt, but my birthday is coming up and i can’t really think of anything else that i NEED more than some new gear. i originally saw a video on the zoom ms-70cdr spicing up a synth that got my gas going because the 404 fx have been a little underwhelming, especially the reverb. so i was thinking that pedal would be nice and i haven’t really gotten into midi on the dt yet so i probably need a synth to sequence too. i was originally thinking volca fm before going down the synth research rabbit hole. i like the analog sound a lot so the typhon with its fx looks really appealing, but i kind of think a poly synth might be more useful since i can do some monosynth stuff on the dt. i’m not really a musician at all so i think i’d prefer something without a keyboard, but i’m not totally opposed to it. ideally i’d like something that’s fairly immediate since i’m still learning the dt, but i really like the elektron workflow, so that’s kind of where the m:c comes in even though it doesn’t help with effects or really using the dt midi. i have read a lot of people say they outgrew the m:c fairly quickly so i’m kind of hesitant, but i maybe i’d sell it and put the money toward a dn at some point possibly. the mm2 maybe seems like the best synth option, but i’m impatient and i don’t think it would help with fx either. so basically i don’t really know exactly what i want. thanks if you’ve read this far and thanks for any suggestions

get some keys. Mopho is a nice way to start in analog synth world… can get a decent price on a used one… maybe not 300 but close.

1 Like

Some ideas here: Companion for my Digitakt, cycles?

I have an MS-70CDR for sale in the Marketplace here, if you’re in the US. The new Volca FM mk2 looks more compelling than the mk1. My conclusion on Typhon was that the core sound was thin and usually it is covered up with the onboard FX. M:C has a very distinctive sound and you have to like it; it’s also not really a poly (I think its strength is in FM percussion so less of a desirable addition to the DT). MM2 is quite a plausible DT companion (the reason I originally got it) but no audio in, and yes, you do have to be patient on supply. There aren’t a lot of good options in your price range.

1 Like

Korg Monologue.

1 Like

Arturia Microfreak could also be an option.

Ik uno and modals will be severely underwhelming. I wouldn’t touch them.

Dreadbox Typhoon or Nymphes is cool though. Worth every penny.

There’s also Microfreak. I know someone will also recommend it. It’s not perfect but it kills every competitor in terms of innovation, modulation possibilities, randomness, sound sources and so on. Also, it gets frequently updates with new features.

Though the Microfreak really needs an FX unit to shine (and one with more character than the Elektron boxes offer, which are more tuned to richer source material).

I personally love the 404 for its effects, and the Digitakt has some nice reverb and delay. Maybe you could look into some older, classic effects units (Alesis Quadraverb, Yamaha FX500, Boss SE-70, Lexicon, etc.).

1 Like

So I have or have had 3 of the synths you’re considering. I used to have the Model: Cycles. I still have a Skulpt, and an Uno.

I also have a Digitone. And with respect to the Cycles, if you wind up eventually going that route I would say that the Digitone doesn’t really replace the Cycles. They’re both FM but it’s two different things. I also think you can have a lot of fun with the Cycles and the Digitakt together. But I don’t think I’d recommend it over anything else you’ve mentioned unless you’re really into getting that particular sound.

The Skulpt and the Uno are very different but one thing that they share is a weird interface. With the Uno it’s just a matrix thing with a lot of shift functions, some of which were added after release so there’s no label for them. And the Skulpt’s is just kind of weird.

You can definitely navigate them without the companion apps but they help a lot. The Skulpt’s is very good. The Uno’s less so. And you can run the Skulpt’s on your phone.

As far as the synths themselves go, I like the sound of the Uno more. But the Skulpt is a lot more versatile even aside from it being polyphonic. I think I have more fun controlling the Uno from my Digitakt.

So yeah, I don’t know what you’d actually like. But that’s my experience with these.

I can vouch for the Model:Cycles if you’re ok with being limited to monophonic tracks. It pairs perfectly if you line up MIDI channels correctly. I always line it to channels 1-6 on the DT with my Minilogue XD and Subharmonicon on 7 and 8.

What it opens up for me is the option to have a drum synth for backbeats that could use some movement (automation on decays, shape, etc.) while freeing up 8 sample tracks on the DT for percussion, found sound, or just triggering loops. It’s also really solid for basic synth leads, particularly if you like the basic sine sound with minimal harmonic additions.

Yeah, it does. A reverb mostly, though.

Used Dreadbox Typhon for 300.

One of many videos of this combo:

Audiothingies micromonsta used?

Standard Apple iPad $329. (Plus ~ $30-40 for USB adaptor) Connects audio and midi via USB - one cable solution.

Can add a multitude of synths and drum machines to sample from or sequence from the DT, external sequencers, DAWs for arranging and finishing songs, extra LFO’s and midi CC controllers, FX suites such as those from Eventide and FabFilter among many others.

You can slowly add exactly what you want or need - just AUM and Drambo along with A few choice Eventide and FabFilter FX, and a couple soft synths and you will have endless opportunity for sound design, sampling, mangling, and finishing.

Design an Octatrack like experience in Drambo to compliment the DT. Use the Koala sampler for an SP404-like sidekick workflow. Add a couple FM synths to sample from so you can hold off on getting a Digitone for a while. Get BeatMaker 3 if you lean towards an MPC workflow, or Cubasis 3 if you lean towards a convention DAW for extra tracks and song structure creation.

Create your own drum kits for the DT through synthesis, use granular synths to sample into the DT. Use the iPad as a master out FX using FabFilter Saturators and filters. Sample off of global radio apps, YouTube, and virtually anything you can find in the inter webs.

As soon as the DT became a universal audio interface I married an iPad to it and it never leaves.


hows about a second-hand deepmind 6? or a 12D if you can stretch it…

(or nord rack 2x, although possibly a bit more pricey)

i may be interested depending on what i decide on and if you’d be willing to sell it to someone that doesn’t have access to the marketplace

i watched a bunch more videos today and i think i’m pretty set on either the mm2 or typhon. thanks a lot for all the thoughtful responses, especially considering a nearly identical question being posted recently