Does Ableton do the Octatrack thing?


I have to say, I love my OT. Its the only box where I would cry if it goes donky. At the beginning it was like: wtf, but after a while… I’ve chosen it as my very first elektron box because I needed a good sequencer for my other stuff. Now I use it as sequencer, sample, arranger, mixer, fx pedal. Because I knew I would end up using it for all that (I watched hours and hours of tuts before buying), I decided for OT and not digi-t/n or a4.
So. Now I started loving the workflow, and have not only an ot, but a4 and dn too. bad for my wallet I guess, haha!


as if your possibilities with the OT were finite :wink:

Didn’t read all answers, so it was mentioned most likely.
Ableton can do much more than OT, but can’t compete with the OT realtime sampling/mangling power combo (at least that’s my experience)
No sampler or DAW I know can do it like OT.
The naming “PERFORMANCE sampler” speaks the truth.
You could probably write a Max for live instrument that can do it similar to OT.
But I guess you’d have to be really good in Max to do this, it would take a lot of time probably and then you’d have to map a suitable midi controller to imitate the hands on feel of the OT. Too much effort I guess :slight_smile:
Live and Push on their own can’t compete in this regard as far as I know.
If you don’t make use of live sampling etc.: ableton can probably do everything else and and much more.


I’m going to attempt to answer this at face value–huge disclaimer, I don’t own an Octatrack but have been reading obsessively about it for the last two years, and trying to approximate things in Ableton. So a lot of my assumptions are best guesses that probably don’t 1) produce the exact same results or 2) get there in as fun of a fashion. Anyway, I’ll probably end up buying one…I’ve never purchased any gear that expensive ¯_(ツ)_/¯

In Ableton, I have a project called ‘Octatrack Emu’ that I have set up with 8 tracks and a master. Those tracks either use Simpler or Looper. Of course you can sample into an Audio track and then dump that into a Simpler. I also have a dedicated ‘control’ track that I put my ‘crossfader’ on (see below).

Modulation and FX
M4L LFO’s can of course be put on any track, along with FX. No worries there.

I’ve been using M4L DJ Morph in combination with Tom Cosm’s multimapping M4L devices for crossfaderesque action:

As stated above Fabrizio’s Morph devices also look super powerful:

Sequencer and P-locks
I suppose J74 steplocker comes closest

I am also a fan of Rozzer Advanced Step Sequencer

The piano roll also works for chromatic application. For p-locking in the piano roll, see Clip Automation.

Flex Buffering Weirdness:
Buffer Shuffler

Conditional Trigs.
Not sure about this one. Chance 10?

Not sure if this is Parts/Banks/Scenes what have you but Kapture can save the entire state of a Live set:

What are we missing?


Ableton being a DAW that was built for instant creativity, can do pretty much anything you want it to do. I am not quite sure why some one would want to build an “octatrack emulator” in it but you definitely could. There are a ton of ways to sample, mangle, loop, re-mix, etc - and some of those ways are as easy as right clicking on a clip and selecting “slice to midi.” Maybe I’ve just used it for so long that I take it for granted now but I couldn’t imagine a more freeing interface for building out ideas quickly. In my own experience, using BOTH an Octatrack and Ableton together has been great: Create, prepare, and edit samples and loops in Live and then put those on the Octatrack to speed up the workflow of setting up a project in the OT.
Very confusing for me that a lot of this thread seems to be-you can only use a computer or you can only use hardware. Editing audio with a knob on a 3inch screen and remembering to hold function for every action doesn’t sound like an ideal workflow to me and bringing a laptop to a club and looking at a screen while your audience watches what looks like you checking your email doesn’t sound like a great live performance either. They’re all tools for different purposes.
Octatrack is so damn fun to play live once you get your projects setup properly. Ableton is a great place for creating content and exploring ideas. And you can even use it to record, mix, and master your Octatrack performances :wink:


I totally agree but did someone actually say it’s one or the other?
OPs question is if Abe’s can do OT stuff, not should I use one the other or both…
And no offense but why do you need to understand what someone else wants to do, they want to do it not you…
Anyway, I agree… :slight_smile:


Agree 100%! I have set up this little template for fun and as a thought experiment – and in my pre-purchase ‘research’. I definitely do not use it all the time =D


I’d like to understand so I can provide better feedback, that’s all. Concerning folks saying “only this or that” I think I may have read into a few posts incorrectly. On reading through the thread again I see that most folks are simply describing the differences of AL and OT.


I think thats natural with anything and not only music gear. Just cliques being formed, little groups within larger groups. The Dawless debate has been going on for a while and some people have picked their sides already.

I agree though, we have so many tools available today in hardware and software formats to make music it seems silly to pick a camp and stay there.


I disagree that it is about cliques or whatever.

It is a legitimate question to ask. Given time is so precious, where one chooses to spend their time (hardware, software, or both), is a critical question.

It is reasonable to want to solicit knowledge about that question from the internet hive mind.


I think you practically nailed it. I’ve almost the same stuff set up and it can come very, very close to the OT in it’s realtime mangling capabilities.

The thing is: to get there you have to invest quite some time and customize the hell out of your Ableton setup (at least it took me quite long) and then there is still the question of a compact control surface for it.

So to answer the OP’s question: yes, you can customize Ableton in the same way, but to get a really fitting control surface (not a bunch of random controllers) you may need to invest more money than an OT will cost you.

… and you will need to pour tons of hours into learning Ableton and M4L and all kinds of 3rd party extensions really extensively.

Yep. Combining both worlds and use whatever fits the actual needs is much more logical and straightforward. I’ve never understood this either/or thinking.


Maybe we can summarize all of the above as follows:

Taking Ableton and adding some particular M4L devices to a template, get’s us very close to the functionality of the OT. Maybe adding a Push or dedicated midi-controller can get us even closer.

The rest is personal preference …


True, there is a question to be asked and I feel a lot of people deciding their next purchase should ask that. I still believe that group mentality affects the decision of a lot of people and when the pros and cons come up we usually like to focus on the cons instead of the pros. Otherwise people would just be using both hardware and software.


This is very true … :smiley:
but there is much advice in this forum that learning the OT isn’t done over a weekend too :wink:


I feel like the majority of users on the forum do just that… No? :thinking:


yep, id say Ableton is easier to learn the basics than OT but starts getting more confusing the deeper you go. Likewise there are also easier hardware and easier software too, plenty to pick.

Cant say its a fact but picking sides is not uncommon in forums, if most are though ill stand corrected.


I have no idea really it’s just from reading here it seems most folks have a DAW and use it…
I agree there’s a trend and some camps but I don’t think that’s the majority…


Thanx god it cannot be done over a weekend :smiley:

Things you can learn over a weekend inside out are quite boring to me due to their missing depths and challenge. Especially for that I really like the OT and Ableton with M4L.




I did exactly the same with my Ableton template,
but if you want to mimic every feature of the OT it quickly becomes confusing, so in the end i bought an OT :grinning:

Sample Locks - could be implemented with the Sampler intrument - sample layer list - Key / Velocity / Select


What about changing Parts?