Sample chain approach

Since we are now able to use sample chains on the Digitakt, I was wondering what would be for you the best approach between:

  • Having a sample chain as a drum kit (kick, snare, perc, hats …)
  • Having a sample chain of variations of a same sounds (Multiple kicks for example)
  • A mix of both (Slices 1 to 8 Kicks, 9 to 16 Snares … )

What are the advantages and use cases of each situation. Do you see any specific situation where one should avoid sample chains whatsoever and use a regular one shot?
I think in general for hats it can bring variations for example.

Who uses what and why?

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Pros : can be a short kit, less RAM use. One slot. Can be easily played with Slice = Note
Cons : less variety, variations.

Pros : Wider variety of sound per category. More random possibilities, you can plock a kick chain on a step, a snare chain on another step, hihats…and add a random lfo on Slice select.
Cons : several slots needed
Example :

Pros : only one slot, variations possible, but types/variations limited.
Example :


For kick I would not use the sample chain, the lfo provide good way to influence the start of the sample which has huge impact on the transient of the kick.
You still have a similar kick but with a bit of variations.

For hithat or more generally open/close HH the cymbal, ride, I think it’s a good place to be used. I like to have different ride, it’s a smooth sound and usually if you used always the same it’s not as natural as a kick or closed HH.

I like having a chain of kicks, chain of snares, and hats. That way, it works like the OP-Z, which I like a lot.

If you then replace sample slot 1, 2, and 3 in the project with these chains, they become the defaults for new patterns in that project.

Then, you can easily swap sound with a slice lock.

And how about this: with a Launchpad Pro or similar, you could program a custom layout to correspond to the slots on the first four tracks (16 sample slots per track, say). Instant Ableton-style drum rack on each new pattern without touching a thing after initial setup.


Pros and cons for each method.
I think I’d choose option 2 for long drum samples like cymbals, open hihat, kicks with long release, snares with reverb…

Option 3 for shorter drums, with the possibility to use subtle variations.

Option 1 to play and record with Slice=Notes.

It was always possible to use sample chains :wink:

I’ve always used chains with specific sounds. So a kick chain, hihat chain etc. There’s definitely also up sides to using drum kits and make the chains in such a way that each sample is always on the same spot. That way you can easily swap out different samples on each track.

Personally I don’t use the slice machine to use chains unless I want to use slice machine specifically because of the different creative possibilities it offers than the one shot machine. With Alice machines you lose the sample start/length and adjustable loop settings which are very nice for sound design and parameter locking for example .

I’ve always used chains made of 6 samples. The sample start parameter has a max value of 120. 120/6 = 20. When you press and hold the sample start encoder you’ll change the value in steps of 4. So it’s really easy to scroll through sample chains that way. With 6 samples it’s also still easy to “read” the waveforms. And the amount of RAM it takes is also quite efficient on a per sample a lot basis. Of course you’d lose the ability to use them in slice machine hehe :wink: so 4 or 8 could work as well of course. These are not as quick to dial in in one shot mode of course.

(Just to give a different idea/perspective of sample chains)

As with slice machine you just have to make sure samples are spaced out evenly.


With One Shot I used 30 sounds sample chains in order to plock with encoder press (+/- 4 increments) but I much prefer Slice machine. I think I’ll use it on any sound, even one shots !

Sounds sexy. In beta test ? :content:

Say what now @DaveMech? Did you just leak the latest update?


30 is a bit too much for me. Can’t see the sample wave form and it takes up too much space versus sample slots. But this has to do with the fact I use 1 project for almost everything I create for live use :). Need to be efficient.
The reason I prefer one shot is because I still get to use sample start, length and loop. Which I tend to use a lot for parameter locking etc.

But each work flow has its uses of course :slight_smile:

Slice machine offers creative uses in different ways though :). Lfo to slice is very cool for starters


I heard that Alice machines can make the sound huge, or very small…




When putting so much into one project, do you ever pitch up the samples to save on space?

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Nope. Don’t really like that. I like to pitch things down often and you lose high frequency content when doing so. So when starting with an up pitched sample you lose even more. It’s a neat trick but so far I’ve been running out of sample slots faster than the 64Mb :slight_smile: so have been making more sample chains.

Should also add that I have ran out of space sometimes but tend to then throw some samples out that are only used once and re use a similar sample in stead. Especially when it comes to percussion.


Just experimented with this on m:s and it’s the other way round … the increment with func is 30, lending itself to chains of 4 samples.

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This is with turning the sample start knob while holding the func button right? I’m going to be getting a M:S soon so I’ve also been thinking about how best to set up sample chains. I think I’ll be predominantly using option 2.

That’s what I meant, yes.

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I meant encoder press ! :content:

Not a digitakt owner, but eventually figured that out. FUNC was the nearest (only ?) equivalent on the M:S.

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I tested one during lockdown. IIRC 120 start values, no encoder push fonctionality. DT has 120.00 shown values, not easy to set (not whole values) and not that precise (I heard sound changes without value changes. Arbitrary division of samples. OT have sample values in its Audio Editor, can’t be more precise).

Is there only one Alice, or are there two Alices, one on the left and one on the right? :wink:

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