Updated: Mar 15, 2021
After I expanded my setup some time ago with an Elektron Model:Samples, I was often asked why I bought a quasi identical device like the Digitakt again and what
Since the question comes up again and again, I have summarized a few important aspects in this article that you should consider when buying an Elektron. But let's start with this question:
Why did I buy the Model:Samples? I was happy with the Digitakt?
There are mainly 2 reasons for it. On the one hand, I wanted to have more audio tracks every now and then to elaborate drum sections in more detail, for example.
On the other hand, I have some very cool effect pedals, but I never use them with the Digitakt because I can only route the entire sum signal through the effect. With the help of the Model:Samples, I am now able to play one part of the arrangement with the effect, while the part on the Digitakt stays without.
Differences between Model:Samples and Digitakt
Now, the Digitakt has quite a few features that the Model:Samples doesn't. Logically, the latter costs only half of it. But for the scenario described above, the Model:Samples is perfectly adequate.
There are the following main differences that sets the Model:Samples apart his big brother:
Missing ADSR envelope
No Overbridge support
6 instead of 8 channels
No MIDI loopback feature
Quality of onboard effects
Missing sampling function / resampling
Missing Midi tracks
direct access to parameters
significantly smaller price
From this list some are worth mentioning (at least for my workflow!).
Missing ADSR Envelope
Since I use the Model:Samples mainly as a sample player for drums, the lack of an ADSR envelope doesn't matter much to me. You can only set the decay time, sample start and length, that's it. Complex synth modelling, as I can do with ADSR on the Digitakt, are simply not feasible with these settings. Other sounds that might be hard to create with these limitations are pads or evolving textures. I always use the Digitakt for these parts.
No Elektron Overbridge support
Unlike the Digitakt, the Model:Samples does not support Overbridge. You can only record the audio sum output, single tracks are not possible. I usually loop the audio in at the Digitakt inputs, but to get a good result, it's important that the Model:Samples tracks are mixed well at the device itself, since it is not possible to do that after recording. Overbridge will only record the input track of the Digitakt.
No MIDI Loopback feature
I work a lot with the Digitakt MIDI loopback function, and the results made with this technique are really amazing. Again, I would miss this on the Model:Samples as a standalone device, but I really don't miss it in combination with the Digitakt.
The same goes for the rest of the differences I listed above.
Digitakt and Model:Samples decision help
Overall, I don't think the two devices are neither comparable nor is the Model:Samples a cheap copy of the Digitakt. Sure, as a standalone, it lacks too many of the Digitakt features for me. As a beginner's device, it might be certainly interesting and the price is attractive, but you will quickly look at the features of the Digitakt after you have learned the ropes.
Meanwhile, the Model:Samples is absolutely perfect as a supplement to the Digitakt! You get the same great Elektron workflow with its powerful sequencer, which also allows complex arrangements. The two device clocks can be synchronized via MIDI cable and thus play together perfectly.
If you have questions about the devices, let me know in the comments or use the chat box at the bottom!
Want to dive deeper into track creation?
Check my Digitakt Online Class! It's a video course focussed on creating tracks with the Digitakt, but most likely everything can be done with the Model:Samples as well. The class covers LFOs, Arrangement, Performing, FX and many other interesting topics, and I add new lessons frequently.