Groovebox with compressor/limiter to pair with Octa to serve as end of chain live solution

Hi. I am finishing a live set I have made with my octatrack. I’ve filled enough Parts/Patterns with pre-processed stems where I am happy and confident of being able to fill up at least 1:30hs of techno. What I would like now, is to add a second device that could serve two purposes:

  • Add a couple of extra stems that could help me pivot/transition from track to track in the octatrack
  • This device should have some decent sounding master bus FX solution (EQ and compressor/limiter)

Now, I know of a couple of devices that could fill that role but I have no experience with them and I would like to hear from other users. It is my understanding that the following could do that:

Akai MPC One/Live/Live 2/Force: They all seem to have the same plugins plus the ability to process incoming audio with. I would be leaning towards the MPC One since it is the smallest and cheapest one and I plan to maybe use one stem or two to compliment/pivot my Octatrack. I’ve had the Force in the past and I can’t say I enjoyed it. I’m not crazy about the sequencer and I am not sure if I could get away with doing this within only one project without having to switch to another one or cut the performance.

Maschine+: Seems to be similar in form factor to the MPC One. I know it is supposed to have better synths but this is not really my use case here. I don’t know how the FX plugins compare in terms of sound quality. I have no experience with Maschine in general but I’ve seen techno guys who use them. Stef Mendesidis in particular used to perform with two Octas and now he uses two Maschine+, so at least it looks somewhat battle tested.

Ableton Push 3 standalone: this would be great but it’s way too expensive and just as bulky as the Force. Also, I’ve heard conflicting reports about it’s stability, but I remain open.

SP-404 mk2: Cheapest of the bunch. I have no experience with this platform but I’ve heard it’s pretty straight forward. I’m not sure if I could play whole stems in this thing and I’m guessing the EQ/Comp won’t sound as good as the others.

Othere: ??

There’s always the possibility in the back of my mind of just getting a second Octa because it’s what I’m used to and maybe would be the least confusing in a live performance. Ease of use is also a big plus at the end of the day… but the Octa’s Comp/EQ are not great as an end of chain solution…

What do you guys think? Any experiences with these devices?

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Digitakt? Good compressor, great FX, and can do samples, although not stereo stems, but stereo probably doesn’t matter for live.

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I can’t really tell for the OT sound quality as a end of chain compressor + EQ, But maybe you can find setting that suite you well ?
Especially if you use it for this purpose only, you can chain neighbour tracks and probably build a decent chain of FXs ?
And if you play live with it, it’s always nice to have a second unit that could be used as a backup, in case.

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Maybe consider a couple devices that do this relatively well.
E.g. a Blackbox or even something simpler for reading some transition samples, and something like a RNC for compression?

Digitakt is nearly it but for the lack of a master eq or filter. I’ve mentioned it in the feature requests cos it’d be really useful in a live setup.

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I’ve been using something of the sort. Pairing it with a digitakt + the new golden master pedal but I’m not crazy about the results. It distorts in a bad way and I’m constantly having to mess with the levels, plus the more links in the chain, the more things that could go wrong. That’s why I’d rather limit it to two devices.

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The SP-404 compressor on the 303 vinyl sim is really tasty. You’d also get about 30 other FX you could stick on various sounds. The parameters are somewhat limited. The FX quality is solid though.

You can automate the 4 FX busses with the OT.


is it easy to see what samples are set up in each pad? and can I change to a new “Bank” (or whatever the terminology is for the SP) without stoping the incoming octatracks audio?

also, just found this:

You can run the input signal through 5 FXs in series: Input FX, BUS 1&2 and BUS 3&4. Although, remember that you cannot save them as presets. You cannot even save default settings for any individual effect. So before every show you have to dial the settings of all effects you want to use.

is it still the case?

What I just read is that machine+ can use third party plugins. If that works offline, then I think it sounds perfect for your use case. I have the mk1 and it would fulfill all needs, but the mk1 needs a daw. Machine+ doesn’t.

DJS-1000 - but it’s huge. I quite like it tho

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The only thing that interrupts audio is switching projects, similar to the OT. Each project holds up to 160 samples and 160 sequences in 10 banks. You can freely move between these. If a pad contains a sample its lit up. There’s also a waveform display.

Over Midi you can either sequence each bank on it’s own midi channel (1-10) or have half the banks on channel 1 and the other on channel 2.

Its workflow can be a bit convoluted if you’re planning on using it as a standalone groovebox. As an FX processor and sample player, it’s pretty straightforward.

The FX defaults can be saved but on boot you’ll have to turn on the FX you want. I’d say look into the midi implementation for controlling the FX busses using the OT to see if you can automate that.

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Sorry, but that is not true. In fact you can run a selection of NI plugins.
Reaktor, Kontakt, Massive, FM8, Monark, Prism, Phasis, Raum. That´s it.

Interesting, thanks. I’ll have to look more into that. Is it easy to see what sample is assigned to what pad and what bank am I on?

yeah that’s a big boy and I dont think it has a compressor. I guess the toraiz sp-16 is also on the table though, but I’ve also never had any experience with it so if someone could chime in…


Ah yes, there’s both eq and compressor, but only for channel/sample, not on main, and you can only use one at a time

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No compressor on the maim out is a real bummer. From what i read thr sp404 has the most features for this use case, as it allows to dj between different sources, but i dont know how, if the 404 does time stretching? Or is the woraround to have all tracks at the same bpm? With djs1000 it would be resampling the input, then xfade between a 16 bar stem which is preprocessed with maximum loudness, then fade back to octa? I.e. what does the workflow look like?

I guess 1010music bluebox would match the description, does all of this

1010 blackbox (and bluebox combo for ultimate control) .



Sp-16 (depending on the stem size)

But can it dj EQ? I.e map this to an external controller? How would synchronization work? Again pre matched bpm?

From what i read it dosent work as a looper, so xfade between looping stems is questionable. Mb a djs 1000 makes more sense for this purpose, but i am unsure how long such a stem could be on a djs.