Hands-free Octatrack sampling workflow for guitarist?

I’m trying to figure out the best way to use my Octatrack as a sampler in my chain, which consists of an A4 MKII and a Digitakt. I’m primarily a guitar player, and what I’d like to figure out is if I can get to a workflow that looks like this using the Octatrack:

  1. Start working out a beat on the Digitakt and A4.
  2. Hit a button on the Octatrack to arm it for recording onto a track
  3. When the currently playing sequence completes its loop and cycles back over to 1, the Octatrack starts recording.
  4. After the sequence completes playing one pass, the Octatrack stops recording.
  5. If I mess up, I can hit a short sequence of buttons to reset and get ready for the next cycle. Kinda of like an UNDO function.

I’ve had some limited success using one-shot recording triggers and flex machines, but the entire process is clunky and I tend to flail around a lot trying to set things up and I’m not able to get a “groove” going. What’s the simplest method to use my Octatrack to build out a workflow like the above?

PS- I’ve tried using a BOSS RC-202, but having to manually hit a button to stop recording gets picked up by the mic (I record acoustic guitar). I also tried using an MPC Live, but I learned that it can’t record audio to the looper while slaved to external MIDI.

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i’ve got the Keith McMillen Softstep 2 and I run it into an iConnect Midi4+. I’ve got hands-free control over the OT when I need it… which hasn’t been too much lately.

I do love the KMI stuff, so would definitely recommend the SoftStep2. if you get one, I’ll share the set up with you.


Interesting. I looked at that previously but for some reason never actually considered it.

Could you hit a button on the Softstep to arm a track for recording once the sequence cycles over to 1 again like in the workflow I outlined? If so that could be a game changer. Even better would be if I could hit another button to reset or restart the sampler if I make a mistake.

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with the way I’ve got mine set up I have control over start, stop, arm to record, move track up or down.

you can hit that ‘arm record’ button anytime you want… or if you’re using pickup machines you can record anytime you want regardless of the 1.

…so, yes? i think so.


Excellent, thanks. I didn’t realize it was so capable (the Softstep).

If anyone else has any recommendations for hands-free-ish sampling I’m open to suggestions. Over the past 2 years I’ve tried:

RC-202 - syncs to MIDI but sounds kinda janky, and my mic keeps picking up the button press to stop recording. (Condenser mics in a small room with acoustic guitars is rough).
MPC Live - can’t record audio when synced via MIDI to external clock. Plus I kinda hate the touchscreen after a while.
Digitakt - Love it, but no way to stop recording after a certain length. Also the short sample length won’t work for long passages. I use this mainly for drums now.
Ableton + Overbridge - DAW’s aren’t distracting – I find them super immersive – but the computer is, and the latency is juuuust enough to take me out of the groove.

Headrush Looperboard - it’s massive and, I dunno, probably overkill for my needs.
EHX 95000 - - the super loud pedal clicks would probably be even more annoying than the already too loud “clop” of the RC-202.

Dream machine:
Something like the Octatrack in a Digitakt form factor, with simplified sampling like the DT but the ability to do slicing, sample for up to 5 minutes, automate sampling start/stop based on MIDI, support stereo in and have a comping engine because I keep screwing up my fingerpicking parts. Oh and also have really, really good timestretching.


oh yeah! The Deluge will soon be a fully capable live-looper with a foot switch.

check that out for sure

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Morningstar mc6mk2 works great as Octatrack controller.

You can do this straight on the OT without a midi controller using either pickups, manual sampling, or one shot recorder. I can’t explain every step and detail right now but it’s certainly possible, I’ve written the details many times before on the forum so you can search for it if you like, if I find time I’ll describe more here or someone else will… Some main points would be to set qrec and qpl (quantization settings) to plen (pattern length) and set rlen (record length) to the length of the pattern. There’s no undu but it’s quite easy to stop or mute the loop and re-record…


I used EHX (45000) and yes, the EHX clicks are way too noisy to record acoustic instruments. I don’t know if the 95000 switches are as noisy, but I guess so.

I use a softstep with the 45000, and for me it’s looper’s dream (95000 would even be better).

For live situation, the EHX looper’s, in quantize + punch in mode, are super easy to go.

I’m following this thread: if someone know if there is the ‘punch in’ equivalent via the OT, I’d be super happy to learn about it.

Yep, I’ve actually been reading a few of your posts and taking notes. Very helpful.

I think one of the things that is in the manual, but not entirely clear, is that to set your recording Trigs you need to be in the Recording Setup page. I see a lot of posts where people don’t realize this and it trips them up. I know this tripped me up a few times before it clicked.

I swear this tiny, simple sentence is the key to a TON of people’s issues.

I do exactly the same, with my guitar. You don’t need a pedal, or even a record trig.

Lets say you have a four-bar, 64-step loop as your base, and your guitar is connected AB input.

Set REC 1 RLEN to 64 steps.
Set REC 2 so that QREC and QPL to PLEN

Then, in the personalize settings section, switch on RECORD QUICK MODE.

Then, when the OT is playing, tap the REC1 button, at any time. The next time the sequencer pattern begins, the currently-selected track will start recording. It will record for 64 steps (one pattern length), and stop recording.

(Note: if you were to tap REC2 instead, it would record from the CD inputs. On OT mkII, REC3 records from the selected internal source. Tapping all three will record from all three!)

If you want it to play back immediately, then put a trig on step one of that track.

If you don’t like the recording, just repeat this process. And remember to save the recording if you want to keep it!

Like I said, this is the exact method I use to record guitar parts.


There is a alternative way to record live guitar pedalboardless. @Mistercharlie 's way is perfect when you decide to record the upcoming 4 bars. The alternative way is to record constantly and loop after the fact: you set up a flex, assign it’s own record buffer as source, place a sample trig and a recording trig on beat 1. Remain in trig mode=recording trigs. No direct monitoring. Now you’ll be hearing the recording in real time when the sequencer runs. When you just played a bit you want to keep and loop, simply remove the recording trig before the pattern loops. Now the 4 bars you just played will play instead of the real-time input.


Or change pattern, with a similar pattern without rec trigs. That’s my workaround to use Flex / Recording / Monitoring. Pattern change easier with eternal midi of course.
Overdub possible, undo too with 8 track / 8 recorders. Not simple.

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Holy smokes. This just worked perfectly, and it was nice to not have to deal with setting up recorder trigs.

All of a sudden this box just got like 20% less mysterious.