Both the Digitakt and the Octatrack give you eight internal audio tracks and eight internal dedicated MIDI tracks. They’re both MIDI and USB compatible with real-time stereo sampling as well as internal and flash card storage.
Depending on the rest of your setup, and if you want a sampler that can act as a drum machine too, you might prefer the Elektron Digitakt over the Octatrack.
Read on as we break down some of the key features and benefits of both units and walk you through the main differences.
Elektron Digitakt: 8-Voice Digital Drum Computer and Sampler
However, if you want to connect it via USB MIDI or 5-pin MIDI, you can do that too.
You can even use it as an outboard soundcard with two inputs and two outputs, or use the Elektron Overbridge plugin software to stream your tracks to your Digital Audio Workstation while keeping your sounds and samples organized.
The Digitakt comes with over 400 factory samples, including 83 oscillators and noise loops, and 42 one-shot synth samples.
If you’re used to working with loop-based control surfaces in DAWs such as Ableton Live, its workflow will likely feel pretty natural to you. It’s been used by everybody from Nine Inch Nails to MGMT to Thom Yorke of Radiohead.
If you’re an electronic musician who performs live and wants a lot of control and instrumentation with just one piece of gear, the Octatrack MkII has an assignable crossfader so you can switch between samples or drum loops and mix it up even further, all live and on the fly.
With four inputs and two effects per track, you can sample from other instruments easily and use effects including reverbs, filters, and phasers to build your sample library.
You can also pull from nearly 5GB of samples and sounds, including loops and one-shots from Loopmasters and Samples From Mars among others.
Once you’ve got your samples set up, you can lay them out in the Elektron sequencer or store them via CompactFlash card storage.
The sequencer has retrig, swing, slice, chromatic, and freeze mode for even more arrangement possibilities and gives you up to 64 steps per pattern.
There are 256 patterns available per project and 256 sample slots per project.
The “groovebox” concept was first created by Roland with their 1996 MC-303. A groovebox is a self-contained instrument with drum machine, synthesizer, sampler, and sequencing abilities.
The Elektron Digitakt is considered part of the groovebox family and is considered to be one of the most versatile, compact, and easy-to-use grooveboxes.
Does Digitakt come with samples?
Not only does the Elektron Digitakt come with over 400 samples ranging from drums to noises to synth loops, but you can buy additional sample packs directly from Elektron, as well as from various other companies such as Isotonik Studios.
How much RAM does Octatrack have?
The Elektron Octatrack mkii has 80MB of flex RAM per project.
When RAM is in flex mode, it means each of the Octatrack’s functions can be set to use a certain amount of RAM, which comes in handy when recording large amounts of data at once, or when you want to store a lot of samples.
How do I update the firmware or operating system on my Octatrack or Digitakt?
Occasionally, Elektron will release a firmware update for its instruments. Since the Octatrack does not have USB MIDI, the steps are a little more involved.
To update your Octatrack, the easiest way is to download the new firmware onto the Octatrack’s CF card by putting the Octatrack into USB Disk Mode and connecting it to your computer.
Once the firmware is on the CF card, follow the update prompts in the Octatrack System menu.
Alternatively, if you have SysEx software, you can use Octatrack’s 5-pin MIDI connection to install the firmware update.
To update the Digitakt firmware, connect the Digitakt to your computer via USB and use the Sysex Transfer software (available on the Elektron website) to send and receive the new firmware or OS upgrade software.
Does the Digitakt have a chromatic sampler function?
To play a sample chromatically on a keyboard (so that the pitch of the sample changes as you go up or down the keyboard), use the function menu to put it into chromatic mode.
Is the Octatrack a polyphonic synth?
Neither the Digitakt nor the Octatrack has polyphony. However, there are a few ways you can fake it, either by sequencing chords via MIDI or mapping the same sample over more than one track and then pitch-shifting them accordingly to make a chord.
There are also a few third-party software applications out there you can try, including one for Max/MSP.