The Elektron Digitone Keys, the 8-voice Swedish answer to the legendary DX-7 Synthesizer has become 24% cheaper in the last weeks.
Last year at Superbooth 19 Elektron showed its best-selling FM synthesizer Digitone as a keyboard version called Digitone Keys. The media interest was high on the day of release, but it also disappeared very quickly. The device is currently flying under the radar. This is maybe due to the very unusual design that has been rejected by many users. It creates a lot of ridicule in the Synthesizer communities.
Remember: a few hours before the official release, first photos have leaked on the internet and the first reactions were “bad Photoshop fake…” But it turns out that it was the official device and not a fake. One thing is for sure: it polarises with its different design. After a year the interest doesn’t seem to be very big. You can clearly see this from the negative price trend. Digitone Keys is currently available at most large European and US music shops with a discount of 28% OFF.
The device was released on Superbooth 19 for 1329€, now 999€ which is a difference of 330€. In my eyes, this is a significant leap down. The best-selling Digitone is now only 300€ cheaper than the Keys version. Whether this is the new retail price or price reduction is due to the little demand, it’s no known. A bit of a shame, because the Digitone Keys has some cool extra features that maybe justify the € 300 upgrade now more compared to the standard version.
Elektron Digitone Vs. Digitone Keys
Both are identical in the engine & synthesis: 8 voice polyphony (4-part multi-timbral), FM synthesis, per voice: multi-mode & base-width filter, overdrive, and two assignable LFOs. Both also feature 4 synth tracks and 4 MIDI tracks.
New is a 37-key velocity and pressure-sensitive keyboard with aftertouch & portamento that looks a little tacked/glued together, to be honest, but it gives you a new level of expression and control. Cool is that you can layer or split sounds on the keyboard.
Further, it includes mod & pitch wheels on the left side as well as 8 customizable controllers. The latter can be assigned to parameters and thus changed very quickly with these knobs. Without long menu diving, you can manipulate sounds here.
The biggest upgrade, in my opinion, is the separate outputs for each track on the backside. These allow you to route each track individually out of the device to external effects/pedals, audio interfaces, or as CV modulation sources. Certainly more flexible than the normal Digitone. In summary, there is a keyboard with Mod & Pitch Wheel, 8 controllers, and individual outputs for € 300 more.
It now has a better price-performance ratio than before in my opinion. For 999 € it is not a cheap synthesizer but now more affordable and the added value of upgrading to the Keys version is now fairer. The big question remains whether this will increase interest and move more devices into studios.
More information here: Elektron
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