Abusing a Track for Live Input (From Merlins Guide)


Happy New Year all
Im having trouble getting this working consistently on OT2
Works on 2 out of 3 Sets 100%.
What I can’t get working consistently , I cannot hear the live input–no mater what on my third set -----after following all steps below on Merlins guide. Anyone here had this issue with OT1 or OT2
Thanks in advance

_9.5.3 Abusing a Track for Live Input _
_This sample technique is nasty and not described in the manual as a seperate technique, but it works and is, I.m.h.o. very usable so I present it here. _
_As described earlier, track recorders and tracks are independent. A flex machine running on a track will not bite the track recorder on the same track and vice versa. . . There is, however, a way of setting up a track recorder and a flex machine in such a way that they do bite each other in a useful way. I set it up as follows: _
_Set up a track recorder and let it record the live input. Record length should match the pattern length. _
_Place a full trigger on step 1. By doing so, the recorder keeps on recording, boldly overwriting the last recording every time the pattern reloops. Although the recorder does it’ s job, I cannot hear the live input. _
_Set up a flex machine on the same track. _
_Assign the flex machine to it’ s own record buffer. In other words: if the recorder of track 4 was used, we now put a flex machine on track 4 and assign it to recordbuffer 4. _
_Trigger the flex machine on step 1. Indeed this is the same step on which the recorder was triggered. We have now set up a strange situation: the track recorder is writing to the buffer while the flexmachine is reading from it at the same time. . . So what happens? Well, and this is documented in the manual, in such a situation, you will hear the live inputs. This yields a couple of advantages: _
_Removing the recorder trigger breaks the read/write situation. Result: the flexplayer simply plays the contents of the track recorder. Live input has gone. _
_Whether you hear the live input or the sample, they are both affected by the track effects. _
The track volume can be used to fade in or out the track as usual, whether it plays the buffer or passes the live input. Oh, and did I mention scenes?


Haven’t been doing this lately but all fall I was using it instead of thru machines because of all the extra flexibility it offers. Also, as discussed in another thread, if the record source is cue and you’re in studio mode, the track becomes an aux send. This is absolutely central to my current use of the OT and makes a huge difference in how complete the mix sounds. You have to delay the playback trig just slightly with microtiming in this case, or it doesn’t behave right (if you’re sampling from the inputs that’s not necessary.

Also, don’t do what I did and accidentally have an LFO with a depth of 1 modulating the playback rate, because then it won’t work and you won’t know why and you’ll give up on it for like a month and miss out on an amazingly useful technique before you realize what happened.


Typically, the starting point for a new tune will involve matching together three or four samples captured from vinyl. “It’s about when samples meet” :slight_smile:

I start off with a prepared loop on track 1.
tracks 2,3,4 will use the Merlin 9.5.3 Abusing a Track for Live Input --usually turntable mixer output into input A/B
i keep on spinning vinyl on the SL-1200 until the samples meet on track 1 and track 2—then move on to track 3 and so on.
This is a good read


What do you mean with Sets? Are you speaking about proper OT’s SET ?

Anyway, as Supercolor_T-120 wrote check that your Flex has zero value (at least not positive) on Pitch and Rate.

One “security” check could be to place a microtimed trigger for the sample trig: it is enough to put a +1/384.


Set 3 the one that did not work had a +2 on Pitch on the Flex–as soon as I placed Pitch back to 0 everything fine


I’ve never found this necessary if the hardware inputs are the recording source (unless I want to mess with pitch adjustment in real time, but that’s a whole other thread) but it’s absolutely mandatory to get this to work if cue, main or an individual track is the record source, at least for me. Otherwise I get, at best, a few milliseconds of audio right after the trig is activated and then nothing, but more often I don’t get anything at all. +1/384 microtiming on the playback trig and suddenly you can route audio from any track to any other track, do things like parallel effects on a single track, etc. etc. etc.


How do i set this up? +1/384 micro timing on the sample trig?
Thanks in advance


Yep, or - 1/384 on the rec trig.


If you nudge it for the inputs alone it will allow for a bit of real time pitch shift, the more you nudge the more you can shift… :wink:


This morning before work I used this trick to set up a track as an aux send for reverb like I usually do, but this time I tried putting Spatializer in FX1 with M/S on and the mid turned down a bit, with dark reverb at 100% wet in FX2 like usual. Sounds way better than just Dark Reverb, or Dark Reverb after a subtle chorus.

I’ve messed with this before, but I couldn’t get a very big range of pitch shift out of it unless I nudged the microtiming enough that there was noticeable latency.

I wonder if, for a sequenced external synth, nudging the MIDI trigs back and the play trig on the audio track forward the same amount would let you mess with pitch but also keep the timing tight. One more thing to experiment with I guess.


really really confused on how to do this
+1/384 micro timing on record or playback trig
Can someone please spell it out with exact button press’s


I use +1/384 micro timing on the playback trig and just leave the record trig exact. @d2ba That gives the buffer a tiny bit of space to play from and it’s barely (if at all) perceptible in the actual timing of the track playback.


Playback Trig or Record Trig…it’s up to you.

I prefer to put a forward shifted microtimed playback trig so recording starts as soon as you press Play.

To achieve microtiming I suggest you to read the relevant manual’s section since you can find also informations about Conditional Trigs which is a nice addition from the latest OS (unfortunately not available for Rec Trigs).

To pratically put a microtimed Rec trig do the following:

In Grid Recording Mode in the Recorder’s page (or Track Trig Edit page), put a trig on step 1 for the recorder.
While keep pressing the trig, press RIGHT arrow. The LCD will show the Micro Timing interface, press RIGHT another one time and you achieve +1/384 shift.


thanks to all of you who replied
the next thing i would like to do is mess with pitch adjustments in real time while sampling
Anyone found a workaround with the pitch control?
thanks David


Interesting link and footage —i think Surgeon is using same "Abusing a track for Live Input’ method

Also a new trick in that thread oneshot/yes trick …
"looping on the OT is dead simple if you have sync:

  1. enter a oneshot recorder trig to a flex track assigned to capture your source, or arm an existing oneshot rec trig
  2. enter a playback trig on any flex track that reads the rec buffer of step 1. You can even do this prior to capturing into buffer of step 1


when you have set thing up this way, all you need to do is press YES to recapture a new loop to replace the old one… Good stuff! You can also use the pickup machines, but IMO they are way less flexible, "


Not really because it’s breaking the rules of sampling and the buffer doesn’t know what will happen if you push the Pitch higher…you can get some results slowing down though.
Otherwise use Oneshot trig and leave the length of recording to be done…

Pioneer DJS-1000
Pioneer DJS-1000

hmm good to know that pitch down works on the tune control.
wish to pitch the incoming sample on the flex (in real time) to the other tracks so i can see if good match
we are speaking about vinyl sampling here (of course you can use the turntable pitch control as a workaround)


You can reverse, pitch up after you’ve played the sample, as long as the play cursor is before the record one.
If you play the sample with lfo on start and other settings you can pitch up to 12, like a pitch shifter.


I can’t seem to get this technique to work, here’s what I’m doing.

Trk 1
Flex Trig Step 1
Record Trig Step 1

All pitch rate etc in default state.

All I can get is the expected - records 16 steps then plays the 16 steps. So I basically hear my Live input delayed by the 16 steps. I’ve never managed to hear the Live input?

Is there an explanation for dummies?


Make sure your src3 setting is set to “-”, besides that there’s not much to it.

Maybe check lfo depths are at 0, they default to pitch…
Check on new project maybe…

  1. Open recorder menu on track 1, place rec trig on step one, hold trig and make sure only correct input source is selected in menu with inverted graphics… (and again make sure src3 is “-” )
  2. Exit from record to play track, load a flex machine and assign to it recording1, place trig on step one, …
  3. Press Play, the flex track should be playing what’s coming in from the inputs…