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FM Synth Comparison: Korg opsix + Elektron Digitone

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With the announcement of the Korg’s opsix FM synthesiser came the inevitable question from synth nuts all over the internet, how does it stack up against the Elektron Digitone? The Digitone is arguably the most successful FM synth of recent times, so it’s a very fair question. I was lucky enough to get hold of the opsix sample unit in Australia for a few days, so thought I’d better put it side by side with my Digitone to see how they stack up. Check out my video detailing what each unit offers below.  

There is of course crossover in the two synths, In much the same way as two analogue synths can have a similar sound when their parameters are set the same. But there are a number of areas that each unit excels. Elektron’s sequencers are very highly regarded, and the Digitone is no exception. With 4 channels of FM synth sequencing and 4 channels of MIDI sequencing, parameter locks, probability controls and conditional trigs, the Digitone provides a lot to work with to inspire your song-writing. However, while the opsix is a single channel (mono-timbral), the sound engine is vastly more powerful and provides sound design possibilities never seen before. Opsix’s 6 operator, 32 voice sound engine provides enormous potential that the Digitone, with its 4 operator, 8 voice architecture, simply cannot. 

So if you’ve come here hoping to be told there’s a clear winner, I’m sorry but it really depends on what excites you. The Digitone is primarily a groove-box and designed for making beat orientated music, while the opsix is more-so designed as a classic keyboard synth. In fact, there’s arguably room for both in a home studio setup if your budget permits it. I’m a huge fan of Digitone, the unit featured in the video is mine (as you can tell from the cat hair on it), I won’t be selling it to buy an opsix, but god damn, the opsix is very very impressive. After having a few days with this sample unit, I’m seriously considering adding the opsix to my home studio setup. I’m itching to get my hands on it again to explore it further!

Korg opsix:

(Expect to pay ~AUD$1200)

  • 6 Operator ‘altered’ FM synth
  • 32 voices of polyphony (max)
  • 40 algorithms & user defined custom algorithms
  • 30 Effects
  • 3 LFOs
  • 3 Envelopes with custom routing
  • 16 Step, 6 lane Sequencer (lanes can be used for polyphony or parameter automation)
  • 37 velocity sensitive keys
  • Pitch and Mod wheels
  • Unique operator modes add another dimension of sound design that goes beyond FM synthesis
  • Innovative user friendly Operator mixing Ui
  • Lofi mode mimics DA converters from classic ’80s FM synths
  • Multi-mode filter with 11 different modes, including Polysix and MS20 emulations

Elektron Digitone:

(Expect to pay ~AUD$1500)

4 Operator FM synth

  • Quad Timbral (4 synth channels)
  • 8 voices of polyphony
  • 8 algorithms
  • 4 Effects: drive, chorus, reverb, delay
  • 2 LFOs
  • 64 Step Sequencer per channel
  • Sequencer Parameter locks and conditional trigs
  • 128 patterns per project
  • Multi-mode filter per channel
  • 4 channel MIDI sequencer
  • USB audio interface + 2 x external inputs

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