Prophet 12 with Digitone?


I’ve been lusting for a Prophet 12 for years, and finally found the module one (my preference) at a bargain price. It’s still within the return period, so I haven’t yet committed to keeping it.

I love it, everything about it. Sounds great, amazing interface, and the bi-timbrality is really well implemented.

I find, however, that what I like most about it is when it goes to strange and distant places. I’m not after a classic analogue (clearly, as I went for this one), but more one that can do more quirkier things without being just weird. The P12 fits the bill perfectly for the purpose.

However, so does the Digitone. As I’m getting to know the Digitone, I’m finding that what I like about the P12, the Digitone does just as well, sometimes better. So I’m wondering if the two together are just one synth too many?

Is there anyone here who has experience with both, that can share their opinion? Obviously, pairing the two, sequencing the P12 from the Digitone and routing the P12 through the Tone’s line in, is an awesome setup. But I like to keep it tidy, and prefer to make do with what I can’t do absolutely without, rather than indulging myself in options. That’s why I think the two are perhaps so close that the P12 might have to go back to the store.

Thoughts on this?

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I am currently using this combo. I’m sure you’ll get some advice and some questions about what you’re going for, but I doubt you’ll get a ton of replies from Nauts who actually run this pair. I’d say it’s a pretty rare setup. :sunglasses: I’m chiming in because I’ve had the same question from time to time. These two do cover a lot of the same ground, however, their basic sonic signatures are still pretty different. My issue is that whenever I think of offloading the P12, I dive deep into programming it and it just puts a big smile on my face every time. It just sounds like some kind of rare alien artifact, and for me, something about it makes it difficult to get rid of. My wife, bless her, says that every synth doesn’t need to be used all the time, and that when you want that “something special”, it’s good to have it (even if you need to take it out of the closet). But I still struggle with the thought. I don’t find the P12 to be a bread and butter machine. Since I too like a lean setup, this bothers me sometimes.


That’s exactly how I feel about it. The interface is ingenious, especially in relation to the synth’s depth, but I know for a fact I can get a lot of shit down with just the Digitone and a decent drum, say the Rytm. In that setup, I’m good. And not having stuff around, does mean you’ll focus on what’s left. Even if it’s stored away in a closet, it’s still there, you know?

Having said that, there’s more body to the P12, I’d say. It’s one of those synths that just fill up the room on its own, no treatment required. Elektron’s sound has always been a bit more on the thin side, though I think that’s a quality of its own, not a bad thing, when you’re going for that.

After further thought, I’ve decided the Prophet goes back to the dealer’s.

It’s a complete refund, so should I change my mind, it’ll still be there.

Fair enough. I might be more inclined to keep mine and later on add some vibey analog poly like an OB-6. But of course then there’s still the “too many machines anxiety”. Well, enjoy your new streamlined setup!

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Thanks, I will :slight_smile:

Aeons later, where did you end up with this @Zac_Kyoti? :slight_smile:

I’m in that place again, realising how much space and cash I’d save if I just got deep into the Digitone instead of the Prophet 12. I wouldn’t need an external sequencer and a way smaller footprint module.

I’m feeling I never gave the Digitone a proper chance. But the body of the Prophet 12 can’t be denied. Still, though, once you get a good track going with mixing and all, perhaps that wouldn’t matter? It’s a difference mostly relevant when you play just the Prophet 12, just one patch.

Hey @circuitghost. It’s funny you ask - I’ve been following your Prophet 12 journey with some interest. I actually ended up selling my module. I didn’t take it lightly, and I still sometimes wonder if I would like to give it another shot one day. Don’t get me wrong, I think the module has has the most brilliant interface for a synth of that depth, hands down. I also think it’s a fascinating instrument - nothing else sounds like it, and it can make some truly unique and inspiring sounds. BUT - I realized it was taking me far too long to program patches of high caliber. Most importantly, I always got the sense that I was trying to dial something OUT of the sound, rather than simply enjoying the basic character of the instrument. Not sure if that is just that I don’t dig the Curtis filter, the raw oscs, or something else. Basically, I felt like I spent much of my time trying to avoid a large not-sweet-spot. That experience taught me a lot about what I really need from an instrument and what I’m willing to sacrifice to get that. I also felt like the DN and P12 had a lot of sonic overlap, and often wasn’t thrilled about how they sounded together.

I’m still obsessed with Sequential synths. I have one, an OB-6. It did not replace the P12. It’s harder to slot it into the mix when there’s a lot going on, than the P12 was. But man do I love playing that thing, like every time I turn it on. That relationship is key to me. I still have the DN, and find that it can fulfill a lot of that sparkly metallic territory that the P12 is good at. But they don’t really compare, they’re different. My current combo (OB-6, DN, AR, OT) is getting a ton of mileage, and is providing the right balance of analog weight and digital sheen for me.

I would still like to get a versatile all-arounder module one day. The OB is good, but always sounds like an OB. I’ve considered the Prophet 6 and the Peak, but I’m in no hurry. I’m like you in that I appreciate a small footprint, and I have something of an aversion to having a larger setup. Didn’t you also try the OB-6 and the AS-1? Still using either? Has the P12 + DN been working for you?


Thanks for your extensive reply. For me, the Prophet 12 has become a sweet spot instrument - I’ve learned its character and can make it sing with little effort. But I agree with your conclusion, it takes awhile to get there and I know how to find that place now because I’m steering away from all the pitfalls you mention. And they are plenty, within the Prophet 12. I seriously believe this one can cause hearing damage if you work it wrong.

My gripe is that it can’t do much on its own. It needs a sequencer. Many modules do, but the way I work, a stand alone unit that doesn’t do much entirely on its own, doesn’t work with my workflow at all. So I keep thinking, maybe I wouldn’t miss its qualities so much, compared to what I’d gain instead, such as in the Digitone, a fully fleshed out sound design and composition environment. Which is where I prefer to be, in the end. But I can see myself thinking, “Well, the Prophet 12 was worth the hassle”, if I’d make the switch. And since, as you said about a year ago in this thread, it’s a rare combo, not many can tell from experience if this would be true or not :slight_smile:

I did try the OB-6 and really liked it, but the abstract and suggestive nature of the Prophet 12 has a stronger pull on me. The AS-1 I didn’t like at all. The interface didn’t work for me. And the DN and P12 together, I agree with you there - the brief time I had them together, it was like they just couldn’t get along. At all., Mostly to the Digitone’s disadvantage, it just became so obvious to me that the Prophet had substantially more body.

But it’s one thing to compare them side by side and run tests and shit. It’s another when you just write a track with what you got. The missing out part could be fade into being just an intellectual one in the end. “Yeah, it was great, but I’m making killer stuff with this, too.”

Kind of :slight_smile:

How many voices do you need at a time, @circuitghost , because I think Pro 2 could be another option, if you aren’t leaning heavily on the poly voices of multi timbral mode.

It has a great built in sequencer, and also has the linear and exponential FM, character, LFO, and Delay sections that you are used to, and a more complex and capable dual filter scheme. One filter of which is the same as the OB-6 that you liked.

Besides the filters and sequencer, another bonus you get over the P12 is Superwaves.

All at the cost of total voice count, and in exchange with 4 voice paraphonic with individually gated envelopes per OSC.

I only bring it up as I feel like I get out of it what I was missing when I sold my Digitone, but it also replaced my A4 and the sequencer has a lot of utility for sequencing other things as well.
The random and ping pong sequencer directions are great for generating ideas, something I wish Elektrons had.
I have it mapped to Repro-5 for poly stuff and it has become my go to, knobby keyboard interface for 80% of my synth needs (the rest is battery powered standalone Dreadbox Typhon sofa creation, a completely different experience)

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I think I’d miss the true polyphony, since I do a lot of stuff with overlapping envelopes. I don’t need all that many voices, but I do need them to run independently of each other.

Honestly, though, I use synths and stuff mainly as sources that go into a sampler at some point anyway. If I look at the gear I keep around, it’s samplers and ways to sequence those samplers. I don’t run synths live ever, but want to keep one around since I prefer to use my own phrases and loops as sample sources.

So I don’t know, maybe I’m not just a synth guy, really :slight_smile:

Which samplers are you using?

I quite like OT’s ability to sequence, sample, sand mangle all somewhat simultaneously.
But sometimes I use Ableton Live in a similar way. Initial sequence done on Pro 2, recorded as MIDI in Live, tweaked there, resequence sent to Pro 2, then audio recorded in Live. Either route is a process but the results are nicely refined.

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I was on the OT for years, but eventually left it and now frequently work with the 1010 Blackbox and the Deluge. I keep a Toraiz SP-16 around since I found it dirt cheap (I think they cleared the stock when I bought it) and love the output quality of it, as well as the flow of it all. And a Digitakt, for character and that special sound, that dreamy place of dust and dirt with hi-fi output. I record much into a Chase Bliss Blooper and then sample it into tracks for ambient, texture or unquantized looping.

But primarily, I’m on the Blackbox, all the stuff I do end up there sooner or later. I use it to string clips and loops together and then the song mode to build batches of that into performances, work the filter, fx and compressor to a result which I could pass for final if I have to, and then do the final mix through its three (or six, if you switch them to mono) multiple outs into a mixer for the actual final recording :slight_smile:

Sounds like our process is similar, just the tools that differ. I’m currently about to review the 1010 Bluebox and am quite curious what a multitrack digital mixer in that format can bring to my workflow.


I’d agree with both of these things. The P12 has a certain presence that the DN just doesn’t have. But that is not to say the DN doesn’t sound good. The DN sounds fantastic, it’s just it’s own thing. I think in the context of an actual track, not comparing these two instruments, you’d never think you are “missing” anything by using one or the other.

I didn’t realize you weren’t using some kind of sequencer with the P12! That would make a difference for me. I don’t think I would have been interested in it, if I had only a basic midi keyboard to go with it. I can understand your dilemma.


Aw, who am I kidding? I remember why I made this trade-off last time. I just couldn’t part with the presence and character of the Prophet 12. That is even more true today. I’d miss the hell out of it, if I replaced it with the Digitone.

Prophet stays. I’ll keep finding ways to make it work more smoothly in my pipeline.


Yea, those 4 OSCs with character FX are hard to find a hardware replacement for.
Digitone would require an Analog Heat, me thinks, to make it a worthy competitor.
Good move, IMO.

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Yeah, and even then, it wouldn’t be that Sequential character. Which I admit without shame, I love almost as much as I love my children.

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You’re really trying to make me check out a sequential at the, huh? Hehe

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Well, you got me into the Tracker :blush::facepunch:

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Hi all, I revive this post as I’d like to join it because it seems we are the few ones talking about interaction of P12, Digitone and even OB6.

For my synth tracks about 4 years ago, I started with Analog Four, driving first via keys and then by midi the two layers of P12 module and having an MFB drum machine next two them.

At some point, wanting to still keep it tidy and airplane friendly I thought to get a Digitone to make both MFB drum parts and replacing the P12 A/B layers.
So I sold the Tanzbaer and P12 module.

But unfortunately, since my goal was to keep the replaced tracks very similar, too soon I understood that the Digitone had not the same weight as the P12 and the MFB.
Thus, the Digitone left within weeks and I had to buy another P12 module (brand-new this time) and get a smaller MFB, the 522 (which has the 7 same instruments of the Tanzbaer).

Then I explored adding an OB6 next to A4 and P12, but lacking a free midi sequencer track and having it either a very typical OB sound or a sound too similar to the P12, I sold the OB6 after some months.

And now finally I come to the current days, in which I definitely decided to replace the 522 with the Digitone, which could act as drum+synth expansion module to form a definitive trio with A4 and P12.
Only time will tell if in this way I found my final three-parts set up, but will post here updates in the coming months; or years…