Saw this came out a bit ago. Haven’t been able to read much but seems like an interesting return to form from the old monomachine keyboard
That layout does not spark joy.
Really feels like they just didn’t want to design new boards for the digitone, so they slapped a keyboard on the side of it. The pitch and mod wheels are super far away from the keyboard too. Really would have been a better layout to place the screen and some other controls above the keys.
That’s a little unfair I think. The monomachine keyboard was similar. It’s a design they used before.
I see it as a bit of an homage to the Monomachine. Having the wheels further away might even give better ergonomics, and makes it possible to watch the display while playing. Not that I know if the last thing’s necessary anyway.
A part of me feels similarly but also I like keeping a good interface in tact. I haven’t gotten to read much but it looks like there’s some additional knobs above the keyboard that might add some more usability to it. I’m not sold on it right now but the slim form factor compared to something like the Analog Keys might make it a good partner with my rack so it’s not pushing it to the back of my desk.
There are 8 knobs on top of the keyboard that seem to be linked to the most used params. It does look like the mod/pitch wheels are a bot far from the keyboard, but the size of the Digitone box itself is really small. Not sure how this would negatively affect play.
All this product means is the Analog Keys is going away for good and Elektron can still tell themselves they have an offering in the keyboard poly segment. It ticks a box, that’s it.
The keyboard metaphor doesn’t really suit Elektron’s workflow, which is what makes it odd to me they ever got into this space (edit: and why their keyboard synths sold so poorly). But, yeah, it’s not designed to be competitive, it’s a line in a “product matrix.”
That’s a weird looking synth.
I do get the monomachine reference here, but what a terrible shape for a studio. A full sized synth with handicapped keys.
It does look a bit odd having the wheels that far away from the left edge of the keybed, but there’s only 37 keys so I don’t think it would ever be that much of a stretch. Really I just think it’s weird to have wheels on this thing at all given that every other Elektron product with keys had a joystick.
With this comes Digitone OS 1.20 which adds portmanteau to the original Digitone. Very excited about this feature.
I get that impression too. To me it seems functionally worse than having a Digitone and a separate controller keyboard.
To be fair, I have wanted separate outs on my Digitone for a while. However, that form factor isn’t worth that feature to me.
Just found this mockup that someone made. If the layout looked more like this I think I’d be more on board with the design (sorry, poor quality image).
It’s really nice to have the four separate stereo outs, and to have the dedicated controls for things like the filter cutoff. But I would certainly agree it isn’t pretty to look at.
And considering the people who would be most likely to buy this are existing Digitone owners, I’m surprised they didn’t find some way to create some sort of break-out unit with the keybed, extra knobs, etc. that connects to the Digitone. As it stands, I’m certainly not going to pick something like this up, even though I’ve kind of fallen for the original Digitone.
I’m a fan of the throwback design. Though agree with the thoughts on the wheels, a more interesting modulator would have been cool. Maybe even a crossfader
Try thinking of the new layout as “2 player”!
this reminds me just how well designed was Analog Keys. (Except the MIDI controversy).
Elektron new Berlin studio looks great.
I like the digitone keys design, for me its fresh and provides some space behind the keys for other synth modules (this is how i would used it). Given that is has 4 polyphonic MIDI tracks, it would work really well in combination with other desktop synths like the peak, DSI stuff etc etc.
I could definitely see myself getting this one as a masterkeyboard + sequencer for other gear.