Gear Lust -- Octatrack plus confusion


Also I have had a long road to find what I need to get freedom and focus. Tried loopers, the octatrack, digital recorders, mpc, sp555, ableton and push, you name it. I found out that with one piece of equipment I cant nail it.

My solution now: mpc live, digitakt, zoom h6 and a looper pedal. In my experience the mpc and digitakt fix each others weak points. The elektron sequencer is great for plocks and sound manipulation live but is a major PITA when you want to compose a song longer than 4 bars and a bit more complex. The mpc sequencer is great at that but is the same major PITA when you want to do lice manipulation. Together I find them way, way better than the octatrack.
As I play keys and guitar I need a looper here there that is foot operated. I also use mics, so there cones the h6: works as mic convertor, a small mixer, recording my sessions in mulititrack and it interfaces well with the computer if i need to. And so do the digitakt and mpc.
Couldnt be happier. Still some limits, bit very close to perfect and the final solution of a 10 year search.

So my 2 cents: id keep the boomerang and digitakt. Get an mpc and maybe a recorder and done.

And my experience eith the octatrack: it does something really well. mangling audio and such and improvisation. But if you wanna record a pteplanned song is is uttetly horribly and a major flow killer.


Thing with the Octatrack that trips most people up is the structure, once you understand that it has many ways of working, you only need to focus on the way(s) which suit you.

For example capturing loops couldn’t be any simpler once you understand how it works, and those loops can be the exact length you specify, the start and end of the recording can be quantised, then you can quickly save them, or edit them. But it does take a certain amount of time to learn the basics, although this is often exaggerated as being difficult, which it isn’t, you just need to concentrate and understand what settings you need to make. It’s flexibility dictates that you need to tell it which inputs to record from, to which buffer, and for how long and when, and if you want the recording process automated or manual or via midi. In the case of recording multiple loops quickly once you set up these parameters it can be very fast.


And I agree with the above. Kept the octatrack for some years and really knew it. Its just that to me it does not shine as a sampler and sequencer in more classic musical approaches.
If you want to have fun, happy accidents and inspiring improvisition with “simple” music it is great.
If, on the other hand, you would like to make song that for instance changes meter, does not really need a sequencer, is rehearsed instead of improvised and uses “real” chords (more than four notes and control over the length and dynamics of every note) then the octatrack just offers workarounds and no immediacy


Thanks for all the input guys!
I think what I’ve learnt the most from all of this, is that all these devices are best treated as individual instruments. At least for me… Every time I try to integrate multiple devices from multiple companies - I come unstuck somewhere and over complicate and over stretch.
When I use one at a time - magic happens.
Maybe I need to change my approach and recording techniques.


I wouldn’t get the Octatrack to just be simply a sampler or a looper. So many things do that. If you just want to record a couple tracks, and play back the loops. Go with simplicity. If you want to record the recording of a recording of a loop, record that, and then record the recording with conditional chances of recording the recording through effects with three random LFOS conditionally sequenced and slice that recording to play back randomly triggered slices, Octatrack is what you wanna go with.


I originally got my Octatrack (MkI) to serve as a looper and sonic happy accident machine. Most of the time I just use one pickup machine track, as slave pickup machine functionality has been buggy - eg. “Dub Rec Aborted” , due to what I suspect is a memory leak. Most of the fun I’ve had is with using flex machine track(s) to mangle the audio that was recorded in the pickup machine track, thanks to being able to set a flex machine to use the record buffer of a pickup machine. It’s also fun to explore other options for inter-track audio routing, and of course using up to 3 LFOs per track.

These days I actually use my Akai Headrush E2 looper pedal for looping more than the OT, but that’s because I use the E2 for guitar practice - just looping some chords then practicing melody lines and such with the chords. In the past few years I have progressed from not being all that serious about playing guitar to practicing more and more regularly - I believe that is what has occupied me enough to reduce my gear spending - relatively speaking of course.

I will probably start using my Zoom R8 again too, for playback of prepared audio tracks. I’ll work out how it’s going to partner w/ the Octatrack, which is better suited to sampling short audio bits at a time and mangling the hell out of them.


Droning with the Octatrack… one method is to use a Flex track to trigger a short sample - like a slice or single cycle wave - and use the flex machine’s params like retrig, retrig time, etc. and LFOs.

I do a bit of that above somewhere in the latter half…

Not exactly the same as using an analog machine to drone, but it’s fun and a different flavor


So basically - I think I’m about to pull the trigger on an Octatrack MKII.
I’m just dreading the idea I will regret selling the Digitakt to help fund it.
I don’t really want to have both - I prefer to be a little more minimal than that.
Has anyone here had both - and wish they still had one over the other or is this just
looking into it too deeply? I don’t use the Digitakt for much more than just a sound source
for samples at the moment but love the sound quality and simplicity…
But I do have the feeling I am gonna love the Octatrack.
As I plan to use this a lot as a looper/sampler ----- mangler.
Last chance to talk me out of it :laughing:


What aspects of Digitakt aren’t meeting your requirements?


Looper, realtime mangler!
With OT you can make drums / synths from any incoming signal. DT can’t. :stuck_out_tongue:


I never use that part (the looping stuff), guess it’s not important for all users :wink:


Multi Recording with real time playing, 8m28s max recording time, looping, long files card reading (more than 3 hours files), slices, scenes / crossfader, stereo files handling, 2 different fx per track, arranger…

Even just one of these features makes a big difference for me! :slight_smile:


OTmkII is way more suited to this than DT, the reverb and delay on DT are a little better than OT, but OT delay and reverb are perfectly useable. You will lose a little of the simplicity but gain a lot more flexibility and of course stereo samples.


Well… basically what i said above regarding looping.
I wish the digitakt had looping capabilities… I’d just keep that…
…other than that I feel there is quite a sound difference between the 2.
Favouring the Digitakt of course.
OT is calling though :slight_smile:


You wanna check out the MPC Live. OT’s great for the dawless, but there are options. The Live follows a very different paradigm that might appeal to you more.


Sounds like you have a good use case to change.


Maybe just a non flat flattering eq…


Any suggestions for a good midi foot controller for the OT that’s a reasonable price and not ugly as f**k?


Matter of taste. I have an old Roland FC200, I’d replace it with a Yamaha MFC10, or a Kmi Soft Step 2. Not the cheapests. DMC6 is smaller.

Many topics

DIY: OT Pickup Machine footswitch (now with final pics!)
Built a midi pedal for pickups using an arduino


as far as sampling goes have you checked out the blackbox from 1010?