Getting closer to a "mastered" result without going ITB/daw


Hi, I love the spontantiy and inspiration I get from working with various analog gear and the octatrack, however I find that I have little control over my end result. The idea is to jam out ideas and record to a reloop tape (sd card) and then, hopefully spend as little time as possible with it afterwards in DAW (more cutting, arranging the ideas).

So the issue is that I have little control of the Octatrack output, both in terms of metering, eq and compression (which I don’t want too much of). I use the master track, but even so, it may have too many limits. Are there any good (outboard) solutions for getting a more “finished” result? This way I could monitor and adjust as I jam, instead of endless tweaking after the idea phase.



Honestly, not really. I’d personally prefer to skip the OT master track because I found it kind of fiddly to gain stage properly into it. Using a good EQ and compressor (or something like the TC Electronic Finalizer) slapped on the output should get you a punchier result. And depending on the track that might be enough.

But for me, I’d really need dedicated EQ per track to really get closer to a more polished mix. When I used to use OT I would sometimes make it work with careful filtering…but typically I still would end up recording into my DAW track by track to really put music together. Basically it would take fully functional Overbridge to get me back to using the OT as a production tool.

Depending on how you’re using FX, might be worthwhile to sacrifice some slots for EQ on key tracks?


Best idea is to use an Analog Heat on the Cue outs.


OT does not have a proper limiter and this is the main reason I feel it cannot function very well in a mastering context. I find the EQs entirely unsuitable for master bus usage, however I find the compressor and dark reverb are actually quite good, although the compressor is certainly on the ‘aggressive’ side it can also be used fairly transparently

assuming mastering EQ or stereo image adjustment is not needed (there is rarely any room for spatializer on tracks that need it) I can quite often get a mix out of the OT that just needs some limiting to catch errant peaks and it’s basically good to go


Ain’t no sunshine for OB on an OT. Not going to happen and was said so since day 1.


I know and am not expecting it – but that’s why I don’t use it.


ok, sorry in that case, just wanted to conform the matter.


A&H digital mixers, do give you compressors and EQs per channel and on busses and final output.

That’s how I’ve been dealing with the sound on my live sets, unless the sound engineer prefers to adjust the EQ/compression/limiting on the main stereo outputs him/herself.


Although i would put it on the Main Out directly, i must agree: The Analog Heat with some slight Envelope Follower action will get you quite close to an “End” Result without using stuff in the DAW. It sounds “polished” that way, for sure :wink:

Apart from that i always use the Volume Parameter of the individual Tracks just for Sound Editing and in the end i use the Track Levels to properly Mix the Elements together. Works quite well if you listen to the Material on different Speakers / Headphones. I dont use the Master Track on the OT at all. The Compressor isnt that good on the Main Mix, its better suited to spice up the Drums a little i think.


TC Finalizer Express runs $350 used in excellent condition.

Highly recommended.


Cheers. I was actually thinking about Analog Heat. Just not sure if that two band EQ is enough for end-of-chain kind of work. My best bet was some kind of outboard EQ, but they seem mostly to be mono. I was looking at something like the Elysia Xfilter, although its pretty pricy for what it does. Also, my home studio is quite small, so there’s that.

Based on the discussion here… I was like, screw this, start Ableton and redo all cables from OT, plug into my 8 channel soundcard. Before I knew it I was dowloading drivers, fiddling around with plugins, started debating what sequencer to use… and all creativiy was lost right there. So, to be continued


I’m pursuing roughly the same goal, live improvisation recorded close to how I want it then some transparent mastering. Am also rebuilding my studio in the next few weeks since relocating to london and finally having my own room for a studio. Have finally accepted buying some acoustic treatment, while not as much fun as buying gear, is going to help more. Also just bought HS8 Monitors and split the budget between monitors and treatment. Disappointingly mature move on my part.


The Heat eq can be used with the notch filter so you get analog equng of 3 bands.


This is why we need an Elektron performance mixer/recorder (with a limiter on the master-bus!)


Pay a mastering engineer.