Interesting sound sources for tape loops? Or: Should I buy a Digitone

I’ve been thinking about my current workflow, and I have a ton of tape machines, but not many options for sound sources or effects. I have a few cheap Casio keyboards and an 0-Coast that I unfortunately don’t use often, also a Volca FM that I’ve used a lot but really only for playing presets. It doesn’t really encourage tweaking for me. I’m also a little low on effects, I only have an Alesis Wedge.

So when I’m thinking about expanding my capabilities, two things come to mind: a Digitone for use as a sound source/beat-making device, or a Montreal Assembly Count To Five as an effect. Would you recommend investing in one over the other? Also, what are your opinions on the Digitone as an ambient/experimental device?

The obvious answer here is that no one on a forum can, or should, tell you what your artistic vision is going to be. So answering a question like “what should I buy?” is just going to be rooted in some kind of weird technical assumptions about the correctness/usefulness of a musical instrument. This is not that dissimilar from asking us what tool you should buy, without telling us what you’re building or fixing. A sledgehammer? A caulk gun? I don’t know. The most generally useful thing I can recommend to someone with a setup like yours is probably a computer and a DAW, unless you are dogmatically opposed to the idea. If you’re anti-computer, I’d consider an MPC. Something to tie together your sounds, help you arrange them, and provide structure and recallability.
But bear in mind, my answer, like all the others, is gonna make a lot of assumptions about what you’d like to do.

2 Likes

Have you considered a Digitakt instead of the 'Tone? I haven’t played a Tone so I can’t comment on that, but Digitakt can do some really handsome loop mangling and also be great fodder for new samples.

Right, and I get that.

I already have a computer and Ableton Live.

I guess my purpose in asking here is to gauge whether these are decent options for my setup, and whether they would compliment it well. This will inform my decision, but by no means dictates it. I’m hoping to hear from people with more experience with these instruments to give me an idea of whether they could be a good fit for me.

Digitone+0Coast would be a glorious pairing for sound design. You’ll get so much out of them.

1 Like

I’ve considered the Digitakt, but it seems to really be geared toward drums. If I’m working with samples, I’d love to have something that could go a bit more experimental. What’s your experience been with it?

I find the Count to Five very intriguing and even a bit mysterious. I think it could be the source of many happy accidents.

2 Likes

I have and quite like the Digitone. There are obvious process/workflow differences from the 0-coast and the keys, and the overlap isn’t exact, but I feel like many of the noises you could get out of the digitone you could get out of one of those? It’s also a very sequencer-driven machine, for better or for worse.

Have you played with Bubbler at all? That (or your pick of other granular plugins/pd or max patches) might give you an idea of whether the sounds of the count to five are something you’d want to invest in hardware-wise.

2 Likes

Get a portable tape recorder and go outside :slight_smile:

2 Likes

I can verify that the Digitone does encourage sound design. The display shows parameters, etc. in a very identifiable manner. I believe I’ve only used one supplied sound so far, relying on my own designs for all others.

Good luck!

2 Likes