DAVI needs a few tools to make infection and dance-friendly tunes that have landed him credits on top labels such as All Day I Dream and Damian Lazarus’ label Crosstown Rebels. In fact, he uses just a few synths, Ableton stock plugins, and a few other necessities.
One of these synths is the Digitone by Elektron, a company known for making groove boxes, drum machines, and synths with limitless possibilities… at least once you learn the unique workflow, language, and functionality of its ecosystem.
So to celebrate his upcoming release on Crosstown Rebels which you can pre-save here, we brought DAVI on to show us how he started using the Digitone, how to get the most out of it, and why he loves to use it in all of his productions.
Learn more about the Digitone while helping to support the Magnetic team by heading over to Sweetwater here.
Why is the Digitone an essential part of your productions and workflow
When I’m working on a new idea, I like to work with presets because when creativity is flowing and the faster I transfer what I hear in my head into the DAW, usually the better outcome. It’s like picking up an instrument and starting to play chords instead of tweaking knobs or getting lost in sound design.
I think just because of this, Digitone is amazing for me. The presets are so satisfying.
I tend to find almost every kind of sound from it and it works great for club dance tracks. When I first purchased it, I had no idea what to expect from it, and considering this was my first Elektron instrument, I was a bit hesitant at first because I had heard from my producer friends that it takes a little time to get used to how it works.
It’s definitely not the most user-friendly synth I have owned. It took me a few days to start liking it and figuring out how to operate it. I still haven’t dug deep enough into it the way that I think I should.
What can the Digitone do that no other synth or drum machine can?
All my synths in my studio are quite different from one another.
It’s not so much what Digitone can do that my other synths can’t. I think the sounds that come with the box are very different from my other synths, which was the main reason for going with Digitone.
Sometimes I feel like it’s a sample machine because of the way that I use it, but of course, it’s an actual FM synth. You have chords, pads, bass, and even percussion. You can really make an entire track just from this synth and not feel like you need anything else.
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I have the keyboardless (desktop) version which is very portable. You can travel easily with it and make music anywhere by just plugging it in with a USB to your laptop.
Also playing on the little MIDI keys on Digitone is so much fun. The clicking sound is very satisfying.
Which parameters on the Digitone are most inspiring to automate?
Usually, when I find a sound or preset that I like, I start messing around with all A, B, C, and D parameters just to see what I can get out of the single sound.
Once I find something satisfying, I record that into audio, then open a new duplicate channel on Ableton and start recording the same sound again but this time I play around with automation of A, B, C, and D parameters as I am recording.
This really helps to get some accent sounds that can be chopped up once recorded into audio and then used as fillers to accompany the main layer. This is great when I am arranging the track as you have all these fillers and accents that make your loops more exciting and less repetitive.
Share something about the Digitone that you wish you learned earlier.
To be honest, I am still learning as I go.
I think there is much more to get to this winter as it’s usually the best time to take things a little easy and have the time to play around with studio toys.
At first, I was using it as a regular FM synth. Just layering synths and instruments. It was after a month or so of owning it, I found a few videos online showing the possibilities of this little beast. My whole perception of the synth changed in regard to how it can be used. Instead of playing it on a MIDI keyboard as an instrument, I switched to grabbing certain tones and samples by recording it and playing around with audio afterward.
As much as I love MIDI, I enjoy working with audio files more as what you can do with it once it’s recorded is somewhat impossible when it’s in MIDI form. I apply all my effects once I have the .Wav file and the amount of emulation you can do with it is endless.
What effects and plugins do you think sound best on the Digitone for mixing?
Well, most of my effects are being used straight from Ableton’s stock plugins and I actually love them as they don’t take too much CPU.
Except maybe 4-5 that I use on a daily basis. I have an h3000 Harmonizer by Eventide Audio which works very well on dry sounds. I can do so much with this Harmonizer that at the end after applying a few effects it almost sounds nothing like the original.
Sometimes I create rhythmic grooves from a basic synth preset with it. This is also something new that I have learned recently right around the same time that I got the Digitone. My other go-to effects are Vintage Reverb which is amazing and very popular among producers and also Blackhole by Eventide.
I also love using Soundtoys Echoboy for Delays.
Learn more about Digitone and help support Magnetic by clicking this link here.