When you're hitting a drought

Hello, I’ve had the DT for prob more than a month or two, love the machine and all. Did a few nice sample based triphop beats on it, great.
But for the last week or so I’m hitting a wall. Been through a giant stack of records to sample and nothing. I build a break, sounds boring after 10mn, erase pattern. Go through records I sampled before, even more boring. Anyway it gets frustrating.
Part of me wonders if instead of trying to pretend the DT is a MPC, I should just go back to my MPC (to that respect the DTs great visual user interface helped me understand quite a bit about adsr and envelopes).

Or instead of trying to find excuses to why it doesn’t work, I should give it a rest for a few days, sleep on it and get back to it.

I think the latter but the machine is so addictive that I can’t stop using it. And get more frustrated because nothing comes out. (Frustrated or not, I get more familiar with the DT so it’s not all lost). Then comes the “why am I doing this, if I don’t even enjoy it?”

Not sure where I’m going with this but I just wanted to share!


just rember to press rec

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sometimes this happens to me. I’ll be working on a few tracks meticulously to the point that I begin to hate the track.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to just step outside, take a break, live your life, for days or weeks at a time even. When I take time away from music, the moment I come back, I’m anxious to create and I’m less critical of my work.

As for the DT vs MPC I think it comes down to personal preference. I have no experience with the digitakt, but I’ve made many songs with an mpc1K and mpc500. I don’t see what an mpc would offer that the digitakt doesn’t (aside from maybe lower spec outs, which add to character, and pressure sensitive pads). I’d imagine I’d prefer the digitakt and elektrons workflow.

Hope that helps.

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I’ll definitely try that!

I often get a lot of inspiration by using the control all parameter. You will get some crap but usually will get some unexpected fresh sounds as well and can then save them and build a track off that new sound. Have you tried doing that with your old patterns? Control all is the best part of the machine imo.

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Thanks for your advice. I don’t think the machine is the problem either to be honest. Let’s sleep on it for a bit and get back on it fresh and dandy.


Haven’t really explored that, no but i remember being quite impressed when Cenk demos it on one of the videos. Will give it a go! Thanks

To the OP - Honestly, it sounds like you’re practicing. There’s nothing wrong with not having an end product. I say embrace the experiences you’re having with the DT, and challenge yourself to apply a different technique to each approach. Reading what you wrote, I’m reminded of how boring I used to think it was to practice my saxophone… Once I embraced that time as learning, and not “producing a product,” I came to enjoy it more. Now, I can’t wait to get nothing tangible done when I practice. An important distinction is being 100% alright with not having a tangible thing out of working through process/practice.

Just my opinion/perspective/experience. Embrace the drought!


You must explore this! ctrl-all has been a literally endless well of inspiration for me. Got a pattern that bores you? Hold TRK and bump the pitch, BR, reverb/delay sends, close the filter, bump the filter env and you have a whole new crazy pattern that will be a great springboard!

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buy some new kit

buy a sleeper like a microkorg and put the work in

Try something you haven’t so far? The combination of single cycle waveforms and internal resampling is incredibly powerful, for example. Everything you need is on the machine already.

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try recording a snippet , play it backwards , half speed ? , double speed , lower pitch

it may inspire you in a new direction.

record a lot of triggers , and twist knobs randomly on sample src , .

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All of the above just DON’T DELETE!

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I used to work under that rule that if I needed to work on a track for more than three sessions and it didn’t seem to be going somewhere, it was time to abandon it. Of course often stuff didn’t get real interesting till the second or third session. Now I tend to keep things and return to them often. Ultimately it’s probably better for developing tunes if you at least wait to delete sequences so they have time to sit in the brain a little

I have been perusing these forums and others and checking out YouTube on a regular basis. Whenever I come across a tip or trick I’d like to try (or when I think of one while I’m out of the house), I email myself the idea. Then I check this long-running email/thread I have for digitakt ideas whenever things are feeling stale (it’s in my ‘pinned’ emails). There are just so many tricks people are coming up with that will boost your creativity!


if its anything like the octatrack, just keep going. I can be making crazy sounding experimental wildness and I find if I just keep going and then slowly try to regain control or try some other experimental technique I suddenly find myself in a sweet spot of unusual fresh sounds, its a great way to really get to know the machine too. ive noticed people saying to record and not delete stuff in here but I have to say sometimes its great to expect nothing out of the machine, just play with it, dont record, dont have the intention of saving, when you wanna make a song you’ll know to record. go with the flow baby

Hi everyone, first of all thanks so much for the amazing tips and feedback. To @plainjanefrancis point, I think I def needed a bit of time off of it. Typical learning curve frustration. I think hitting the wall was the wrong way to address it.

Thing is, tiredness really messes you up… I sample this drum break, but don’t really like it but I’m too tired to look for another one so let’s move on to melodic parts while still listening to this “meh” break and I hate it more and more up to the point when I go to bed angry after spending hours on it going nowhere.
Listened to it the next day = jeeeeesus this is bad, deleted whole pattern and restart fresh.

@mr_bernard you are right, it’s not about the finishing product. It’s also about learning the functionalities of this great sampler that will help you have more fun and perfect your skills. I’m still using in a basic way. Nothing too fancy and I have yet to experiment with fills and conditional trigs. I’m also making lists of things to experiment when I’m away from it. I usually get these ideas when I cycle to work.

@Hans_Olo I used some old electribe waveforms but haven’t experienced resampling them yet. You mean like making stabs out of them, or better waveforms?

@alien_brain I actually tried to not limit myself to sampling records, I took out an old casio plastic keyboard, hooked my SP303 with vinyl sim on and got great spooky stuff out of it. That definitely helped!

@subLimb I really need to watch and listen to other peeps! good point

Also I’m playing at my local East London pub tonight and wanted to cram as many decent beats as possible in the DT to get a proper set. Well I have 5 decent ones which is better than nothing and there will be more next time :slight_smile: let me know if you’re around The Chequer’s E17 @Old_Artsutanov

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Unfortunately i’m not around, but maybe these guys are @finalform @Naboo @richie

I know the Chequers well but I’m unlikely to be able to make it down tonight, sorry.

I did start a discussion around a semi-regular east London Elektronauts thing, I am still writing more material to be able to play out, but I promise I will get back on that and try and make something happen.

  • unquantize (some of) your live take (Rec+Double Play)
  • copy your sequence, paste on the following pattern, tweak, repeat… Then find how to join these things with start/stop/mute/tweaks
  • take a JDilla groove you love, sample, try to recreate it with your own sample collection. Reaching exactly it is obviously not the point.
  • what aspect of the DT don’t you use regularly? Try to make it a new technique


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