Does Ableton do the Octatrack thing?

“A vs B ?”. I know. It’s been asked, debated, answered and everything else a hundred times.

And I know Ableton can do everything Octatrack does. My question is: can it do it in a complexity ( I don’t know if that’s the word I’m looking for) level similar to Octatrack’s?

Octatrack is not simple but the way it presents its skills makes things more accessible. Can Ableton do that?

I’m sorry if its a dumb question.

It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it, and in my opinion nothing does it like OT does


Ableton lover: Yes!
OT lover: No!
Normal person: Maybe, but it’d be a pain in the ass to configure…


Not a dumb question. Just a difficult one to answer.

While reaching the same result from different starting points can be achieved with both the DAW and the hardware sampler, they differ in what they make easy to do vs. what is harder to do with them. For instance, the Octatrack always has conditional trigs at your fingertips. Ableton has many other ways to create complexity from simple patterns, but not in the way cond. trigs do. But then, in Ableton you can build chains of midi effects and audio effects unachievable in the Octatrack alone, and it has VSTs which provide limitless wys to extend its capabilities.

And, quite honestly, the Ableton way (with or without Push) is to many people more accessible than the Octatrack with its many idiosynchratic pitfalls hidden in its UI.


you can read this


OT is an instrument :saxophone: :guitar: :musical_keyboard: :trumpet: :violin: :drum: :elot:


One could argue that ableton (especially with push) is an instrument.


One could argue that ableton (especially with push) is an UGLY instrument. :sunglasses:


Probably doesn’t even matter to OP but here’s my standard issue copy/paste of OT sampling power… Yet to see anyone set up anything near this on Ableton, I have no idea if you can or not but it doesn’t seem easy… Lots of programs/devices play samples, in my opinion “the Octatrack thing” is live sampling…


Man… That seems written from the perspective of one who learned Ableton or other samplers first and so was thrown off by relearning a different paradigm and had a hard time, fighting it. Everything he doesn’t like about parts, etc. are what I think makes the device genius. Elektron re-wrote the book on how things interact, in a very much more sophisticated and flexible way, you simply can not approach it with another workflow in mind, you have to rewrite your own book as well to see the genius… It’s there, it’s fantastic, and an upgrade from other paradigms…

Elektron workflow is not backwards, it’s different. There’s a reason it’s like that, it’s more flexible and can do many more things dynamically and creatively…


because of the nature of the 4-part beast and it’s relation to banks and scenes, that I do not think are very clear to the user and are a HUGE reason the learning curve is so steep.

Except the manual clearly explains what they are and how to use them properly…


I think we need more details about the music you like, what experience you have with samplers and DAW’s, if you want to live sample, do you know how to program midi controllers, what would you like to be able to do?

Otherwise this will be a standard OT vs Abe’s thread…


I feel your pain. This first world struggle is real.

I have pretty much set up Ableton to do most of what I use OT for, but I still dig the OT.

For me, the OT is just more fun.

The way the buttons feel; the immediacy; the part reloading; the cross fader/scenes; the delay Trig Mode: all of that is more than the sum of its parts.

On the other hand, Ableton offers a different kind of immediacy and a different kind of fun. The fact that you do not have to bother transferring samples to OT is a big one; the better time stretching is another.

For now, I am “stuck” with both.

Really the only way to know for sure is to just spend the time working with both of them.

Good luck.


I will add that I have learned so much trying to make Ableton do what Elektron machines do.

They are great teachers that way.

Even if you end up selling your Elektron machines and just working with Ableton, they are worth the money for the perspective they bring to how you think about music production in Ableton.


Yes it can but it takes some work and time to program that “Elektron” character, whereas the Octatrack naturally already has that character built in. If I had the Octatrack and I was looking for that sound id just pull out the Octatrack, if I didnt have it id still be able to do it if I reaaallly wanted to but odds are id just end up doing something else.

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Well, right now I’m basically a live musician. I play guitar and synths using Zoom recorder and a Korg SQ-1. I’ve just bought Ableton with a keyboard controller because I want to “produce” what I do.

it’s hard to be so specific about the music I like but I’m not into hip hop or EDM. My thing is more experimental, ambient, weird.

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Octatrack is super geeky… I have Ableton but barely have used it. I spent five years with Apple Logic/Mainstage before the OT, I think that helped get me ready for it as far as understanding midi and types of software fx and whatnot. I have a feeling Ableton would be easier to learn and utilize quicker, but I’m a full on OT head now, I love the thing. I think OT takes more of a mathematical approach whereas computer DAWs are more visual with dang and drop, etc, so easier for most to pick up. If your kinda geeky though and don’t mind a bit of math here and there while your setting things up, the OT is where it’s at. Your looking at and dealing with a lot of numbers on the OT, values of parameters that affect and shape your sound. Once you have your project set up though the math goes away and it’s a neat interface to control the music with and your just jammin…

Oh, and OT loves experimental, ambient, and weird… :smile:
The way it can shape, bend, and warp live audio is insane, and it’s good for realtime looping of instruments with and then warping those loops beyond recognition in realtime as you go…


I agree the graphic interface makes everything much easier but would I have to stack a lot of plugins to achieve the Octatrack way of making music?

Sometimes Ableton seems like a track player. Of course it’s not, but it seems like a much more planned way of doing things while Octatrack seems to induce some live performance feeling. But that’s a point of view of someone who doesn’t know them deeply enough.

It’s hard to explain. The OT takes a lot of setup and programming and then it becomes awesome and flexible for live performance. It’s not the type of thing that you start with a blank project. You setup lots of stuff beforehand to have at your disposal while playing live, and then when your playing live you can mix and match all the ideas you put in there in very unplanned spontaneous ways, and have lots of control over what’s happening which can be employed differently every time. Of course there’s also lots of stuff you can do live that you didn’t work on before as well.

I’m an improv looper jammer, the more I build into my project the more I can do live, but I don’t have to do any of it and every time I use my looper project it can sound vastly different than the time before, even though it’s the same stuff I’ve programmed. It’s hard to explain…

Also, you’ll never get Ableton to do what an OT does without first studying what an OT does, so unless you get an OT, you won’t be doing OT stuff with Ableton… :smile:


That makes sense

Again, as a not Octatrack owner, it seems to dispose everything like they are one inside, above and beside the other. The sampler beside the sequencer, with effects inside, p locks, etc. Like there are many multi directional connections. And Ableton seems like you just stack things.

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