Gear Lust -- Octatrack plus confusion


#1

Hi guys,

Bit of a long winded ranty post here - but suffering from a dose of gear lust at the moment and feeling a bit stuck…again!

It speaks to the age old problem a lot of us are having - leaving the laptop behind and trying to create the best hardware set up to suit our needs. Problem is - those requirements are changing every few months and I can’t keep up with it… financially & emotionally… ( I blame youtube mostly)

The problem always occurs somewhere in the Sequencer / Sampler / Looper area… I am very happy with my instruments - Guitars / Synths / Piano etc… Had them forever and don’t lack creative inspiration with any of those… It just feels there is always a break in the line when it comes to the other gear.

Over the years Iv’e gone through many looper pedals - sequencers and samplers and made a lot of great recordings with them…

Currently - with the Polyend SEQ, Boomerang Looper & Elektron Digitakt.
All amazing in their own right. Please don’t get me wrong…
Unfortunately though, they all have their limitations and aren’t really communicating with one another they way I had hoped… and obviously there is a bit of real-estate being held up in them - so I could swap them out for some other gear. (god - we sound like spoilt brats when we say things like that)

I am very much interested in the Octatrack MK2 with a foot controller - ‘and or’ the new Strymon Volante.

Would I miss the Digitakt sound and simplicity? Would I miss the “what you see is what you get” with the Polyend SEQ? Will I miss the sound quality of the loop phrases on the Boomerang pedal?

These are the things I wonder… Or am I over thinking?
I’m not trying to replace a DAW or anything. I happily & easily record what I do through an A&H ZED R16 straight into my DAW and work on them from there… This doesn’t need to change.

I’ll leave it there for now to get the conversation going…

Any input would be happily received and if you feel like sharing a similar experience. Please do… I’m sure I’m not the only one in this position.

Thanks for reading


#2

to continue…

…without running risk of this turning this into a blog or a therapy session

  • rather than a forum thread.

I suppose a lot of the above is pointing to whether an Octatrack can fill my needs and simplify the workflow… not looking at 3 devices. Just one…

I just can’t get over the fact they did almost no internal improvements for the MK2 - just physical… very cheeky! still no Overbridge - no undo feature for looping. They didn’t improve the sound quality to be in line with the Digitakt & Rytm MK2.

Loopers… I love the idea of having hands on control of my loops at the desktop height rather than on the floor. Without massive BOSS multi switch floor hogs.

Sequencing… Not having to menu dive or multi button press to do simple sequencing tasks is biggy for me - hence the SEQ… Simplicity at its best…

If only the Digitakt had a loop function - properly! :grinning:

Confusion… Questions… Thoughts?


#3

I couldn’t read all of that, so a tldr would be helpful.

From the gist, it seems that you’re unable to let go of some of the limitations of the octatrack, limitations that have been around for some time, and that are not going to change until a mk3 unit.

If you’re determined to do this dawless thing, then you have a choice–accept the limitations and move on - going dawless invites limitations so tbh I’m a little confused by your issues with limitations within a box.

Or find a few items that do one or two of the thing you want and have a larger set up.


#4

I have been on a similar path, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get a looper working as well, or with as much flexibility as ableton on my laptop with a behringer fcb1010 foot controller. The OT was OK, but nowhere near as configurable (I use the footpedal to run 3 different loops, each with forward / reverse, double / half time, and sends for delay etc. All with undo / clear.
I am now running a hybrid setup with ableton synced to my OT, even though I wanted a one box solution as well.
Hope that helps


#5

I used all RC loopers, RC505 being my favorite. I used it with OT but I kept OT only.
OT can replace a DT, not its simplicity.

Ot as full midi control and workarounds, you can configure all this with a good midi footcontroller, even undo. Not easy, but doable.

RC505? It can record / select tracks with a FS7 footswitch. Not the best audio converters, but it didn’t shock me. You can mangle / record some fx.

EHX 95000 has better audio converters from what I read. Not a lot of fx possibilities.


#6

First of all I would recommend to analyse, what is your wanted workflow. For me it became not clear after reading your post.

After undestanding, how you want to work, you should be able to see, where your gear is helpful or limited and how you could improve the situation by changing the equipment.

Can you tell us, what your dream-workflow would be?


#7

I don’t know where you are in the world but some retailers do extended warranties that include no quibble returns up to 180 days! Plenty of time to evaluate.

If you have to sell gear to buy new gear then obviously that doesn’t help but if you have a credit card you could justify the interest on the card plus the cost of the extended warranty as 180 days ‘rental’.

I’m considering doing this for big purchases going forward because as your post illustrates, it’s really difficult to know for sure until you’ve got the beast in your hands.


#8

Interesting. I never got close to achieving what I wanted. Any tips ? I do have the programming app thing for the FCB1010


Octatrack with Behringer FCB1010 Uno-question
#9

Hi - thanks for your response.
It’s not that I’m trying to go dawless. I haven’t written any music using a Daw for about 10 years. I only use Daw to edit and master finished recordings.
The idea of a mk3 OT really excites me but we’re few years off that I reckon.
They have to bring out the DigiSamplKeys and rest of their cheaper wacky ideas - first :sleeping:


#10

Hi SoundRider - thanks for your response. It’s what I’ve been telling my self and it is what I expected to hear from others too.

I suppose for me it’s about intuitive creation. Spontaneous moments of being able to turn the gear on… Record armed… and start playing with immediate options of looping and sequencing what surrounds me. All this is possible with an infinite budget and building a huge studio - for sure. But unfortunately thats not me…

Not sure if that helped!


#11

It sounds like these perceived limitations control your every move when it comes to music, and stress you out/bottleneck you. That is a bad way to go about things, being controlled by self-perceived ideas rather than spending that time making good music which is totally possible with what you have if you relax and open your mind.

Many famous and amazing artists use minimal gear without constant stress and desire. Imagine a homeless chap who laid eyes on his first sampler, they couldn’t dream of having more because they’d be living in a dream and probably make some emotional music.

Capitalism, the bittersweet union of “freedom”.

Here’s my recent motto: Make due with what you have, because if you’re meant to make it, well… then you can have whatever you want.

If you want limitless options, the Octatrack would indeed be my desert island music maker. Worry about an MK3 is silly. If you’re that worried try to get an MK2 on sale or second hand to cut your losses. Worrying about an MK3 takes you away from reality.

Better yet… if an MK3 came out tomorrow with actual improvements.

This horrendous “tomorrow” ideology is the thing that will keep you from making the music you want. The ONLY thing.


#12

Thanks Tokin_Tone
Yeah similar path for sure.
I do keep getting tempted to go back to Ableton… It’s been about 8 years or so…
It was the only DAW I ever found inspiration on.
Wish I could borrow an OT for a while and play around with combinations…
Better yet… if an MK3 came out tomorrow with actual improvements.
It would be a no brainer - surely!


#13

All very true mate.
I’m telling myself the same thing as I write.
Suppose it’s a moment of realisation.
Stop wining - pull my finger out - and start making more music…
I think a lot of this is coming from a place of having too much!
Simplifying it will get me back to where I was a few years back and being productive again.
Thanks for your comments.


#14

Just a quick question, can you prove to me you’ll be here tomorrow?


#15

Don’t know…I’ll let you know tomorrow :no_mouth:


#16

Sorry I’ll need the answer now.

“If you sit, just sit. If you walk, just walk; but whatever you do, don’t wobble.”


#17

There’s the ideal workflow, in fact there’s the ideal anything

It’s part of the work, to find a way to work

But it shouldn’t stop the work getting done

The enemy is resistance


#18

That helps alot, because I try to built up something for the very same reasons.

Sampling:
Well, to tell the truth, I am not very experienced on live-performance-sampling. I mean those artists, who are recording take after take on a sampler and create amazing music as a single person. I have the OT and a nearly vintage Boss RC-50. I have tried two setups. I got a Behringer FCB 1010 and created some control functions to operate the OT and used the RC-50 just as is. If I compare both setups, I would say it was more intuitive for me on the RC-50. If I would plan to buy a live sampler today, I would gravitate to something like the RC-505.

Sequencing:
I like to program in the step sequencing way less then playing live and recording this in a loop based midi environment. This requires a sequencer, which is capable to do step and linear sequencing. Sadly this pushed the OT from the list. I tried the MPC 5000 and the Pyramid. After the Pyramid got the new OS version 3.x, it has become my sequencer of choice to control the midi setup.

I love the Elektron sequencers very much, but I use them almost only to crontrol the Elektron boxes themselves.


#19

If you want to make ambient/drone loops, the OT (mk1 or mk2) is not very good imo.

Theres common problems with clicking at the start/end and fades in/out. Guitar pedals ive used do it better, and the boss looper as well I think. Anything with reverb tails is hit and miss.

The onboard reverb and timestretch are not comparable to what is available these days elsewhere.

For other material with natural silences, drum loops, synth lines etc its fine, as well as playing back prepared loops and samples.


#20

True. I think there’s a whole load more model types to come before that unicorn gets caught.

Have you considered a digital recorder? Would allow spontaneous recording of ideas, and you can revisit later on in the daw for editing etc.

Personally I separate each element of the processs to avoid fatigue.
One session will be about creative fun-jamming on the boxes, recording all the time.
Another session will be about about editing down those sounds into something coherent

Arranging is another session

Mixing another session

And mastering as another separate session.

This allows me to leave things to stew for a bit- I may not return to something for weeks and focus on recording for a while. When I return, each session retains freshness and is particularly helpful for days I’m not feeling creative but do want to do something in the studio.