Biggest common workflow mistakes?

@LyingDalai @JSZ - Actually, I’m pretty gullible and I totally didn’t get that as a joke, so thanks for clarifying! Partly because one of the things I took a little time to get used to was the different trigger modes and how they affected the buffers.

I didn’t notice that that graphic is specifically for the pickup machines, which explains why I didn’t get more familiar with it, because I haven’t used them yet. Was trying to make sure I was accustomed to standard sampling first.

The more I’m looking around and searching, the more I’m thinking there might be a use for a compiled document with some quick reference material and various tips from across the forum. I keep finding bits and pieces, but nothing that collects it all. The manual is great, but it’s dense, and I think the way the information is presented contributes to the learning curve. I’m going to start working on something for myself, and hopefully it’s useful to other folks as well.


I think Merlin’s OT guide was meant to be that kind of reference material, def check it out if you haven’t already.


Absolutely. It’s a great reference. I’m not done reading it yet. I guess there’s just so much good information out there (and also his guide was written a while ago) that I feel like an updated reference might be in order.

Most common mistake is not understanding that record buffers:
Are not saved unless you save them manually
Are always available to record, even accidentally if you are not careful :wink:
Are best not assigned to tracks, save to new flex/static instead.

Most common mistake regarding slots:
There are 8 track assignments per part, not per pattern.
Slots are not the same as samples.
Read up on parts and banks, it will save you a lot of WTF moments.

Octatrack is always caching to card any changes, this cache is what is loaded each time you start up, so manually saving whenever you are happy with a project is highly recommended as you can overwrite the cache with the save file in the event you mess up, also use incremental names to save eg mysong1, mysong2 etc, then you can always go back in time. Use project “save to new” for this.


@darenager That’s a super helpful list! I think the last point you note on the buffers would have saved me the headache on that project that got messed up.

Thanks for sharing that.

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@Thermo polished @Merlin’s guide a few years ago:

I guess the very last firmware additions haven’t been taken into account though.


This is a big one, and its kind of understated in the sentence. But as Daren points out, there is a vast difference between the two. All that slicing and dicing you are doing? That is saved in the SLOT, youre not altering the sample… switch the samples out in the slot and youre still all sliced and diced but with a new sample in place. Before i wrapped my mind around this i was all kinds of confused as to why my sample sounded all weird, or why the sample in the buffer sounded all normal once saved to a new slot in the list (because all the weirdness was saved in the REC buffer slot).


Yeah, I figured that one out by accident, actually, by having the buffer assigned to a flex machine and accidentally recording over the active buffer, which was what gave me the (as of yet unrealized) idea of setting up a type of glitch processor that can apply those defined slices (can they be randomized in any sort of programmatic way?) to the incoming audio for some crazy (but potentially rhythmic) reworking of live input.

I haven’t actually tried to realize that idea yet, and I don’t think I had fully put together yet where exactly that slice information was being stored, I just knew it wasn’t associated to the sample (and the manual makes a pretty strong point of this as well). Thanks for highlighting that one! It’s pretty darn important!

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  • When you have e.g. sliced your samples, don’t forget to save the sample settings: this creates a .ot file on your flash card (right besides the sample) that stores all the slice parameters you messed with in the Audio editor (AED).

  • To put what @ViolentMeals said in another way, what you are manipulating on FLEX/STATIC tracks, is not really the sample (the one on your flash card) but what is in the slot, as in “the sample that is selected at the row X of your (FLEX or STATIC) sample list”.


Does this (creating an .ot file) also get done with the ‘save sample and assign to free slot’ command?

I don’t think so. I think it’s created when you actually save the sample settings (it stores bpm, slicing, gain, etc.)


I think this might be the part I haven’t fully comprehended yet. I don’t have my OT in front of me at the moment, so I’ll have to confirm when I get home, but I recall feeling like saving the sample data was not as straight-forward as I expected. However, this might be because I’ve mostly been working with the recording buffers and then saving their contents out to files after editing.

When you assign a new sample to the slot, does that settings (.ot) file get associated with the new sample instead?

Also, is there a full list anywhere of the files the OT creates when saving various elements/parameters, and what they contain? Maybe it’s the programmer in me, but I feel like that would help me visualize things from the OT’s perspective, in terms of architecture.

No, .ot files are SAMPLES settings.
Such settings are created when you go into Audio Editor (AED), and go in the FILE tab then hit “SAVE SAMPLE SETTINGS”.
You usually do this after slicing your sample, and maybe turn off the ATTR/timestretch setting, which I always do.


Ok, got it. Thanks!

When there is already an equally named .ot file on the CF card then these settings get loaded into the slot.

SAVE SAMPLE SETTINGS will save the trim, slice and attribute settings in a separate file and link it to the sample currently being edited. Next time the sample is loaded to a Flex or Static sample slot it will be loaded together with the saved sample settings. This will occur even if the sample is loaded in another project. Hence this command is very useful if you for example want a loop to always contain the same slice settings when being loaded.


Awesome, thanks for the clarification!

I definitely read this passage in the manual, but I guess since I hadn’t applied it while working yet, it didn’t fully click (also, I’m realizing it’s difficult to have this discussion without the machine in front of me; note to future self)

And it’s understandable that even reading these lines over and over it might really make sense only when you feel the need for it.


Also… if you save the file you’re editing to the card (SAVE SAMPLE AS, i think it’s called), the .ot file with the current settings is also saved. So if you are editing, and you choose to SAVE FILE AS, you’ll also save the current trim, slice, tempo and volume settings.


Yeah. There are a number of things in the manual that struck me that way. I think the most confusing one that I think I get but am not sure yet, is the concept of trigless trigs. The first time I read that I did a double take like “whut” :sweat_smile:

(posting this late because I hit my allowed number of replies for the day)

Awesome, that’s helpful to know, thanks!

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Think of a saxophone player who starts blowing a note, changes breath pressure to lower or increase volume, or changes lip pressure to raise or lower the pitch. She doesn’t restart the note each time one of these changes occurs.