Help deciding between Rytm and Octatrack

Hello, my first post here.

I’m looking to purchase an Elektron device to further my setup and make it more of a live performance. I currently use a Korg Prologue 16 for writing and recording synth parts and layers, and I use Ableton Live for sequencing drum and other samples. (My sound is Boards of Canada if they wrote pop songs for Robyn — I guess… :confused:)

Im looking to make my sampling more dynamic and more of a performance. The problem I’m having is choosing between the Rytm or Octatrack. I’ve messed with the OT and like what I hear but I think it’s not really great as a drum computer, correct? Is the Rytm’s sampling function capable of loading and tweaking samples? Or is more for layering on top of the analog drum sounds?

I’m pretty new to this world so keep that in mind, just looking for some solid advice from other’s experiences.

Thanks in advance.

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Here are some things I would consider if I were looking at either. The OT can handle stereo samples, while the RYTM will only handle mono. The sampling and use of samples in RYTM is similar to Digitakt, but you can also layer them over the internal analog drum sounds. RYTM has 8 outputs, and overbridge, while OT only has 4 outputs. RYTM has 1GB internal memory, OT uses compact flash, so much more memory is available.


OK this is helpful. I’m thinking the Rytm is more in line with what I’m looking for. I appreciate it!


I have both, and I spend more time with the RYTM these days. It is certainly a more intuitive drum machine than the OT. The depth and breadth of the Octatrack can be paralyzing if you’re not going in with a plan, wheras the RYTM is a lot more inviting and forgiving. I wouldnt trade one for the other, but the OT is demanding!


If you’re planning on doing more live playing then go with the RTM. If you’re setting up samples and drums for playback and are more about tweaking go OT.


…if ur not into elektron yet and ur into faster sonic results and satisfaction…

i’d hardly recommend the rytm…the ot opens up a whole universe into sampling…as yup as truu…
but it’s learning curve and complexity will turn u down, i’m afraid…

that said, ot will come along in a new approach sooner or later…maxed out and full of new know how of the last decade…

while the rytm is and always will be the queen of drum machines…it has truu analog flavour and is a versatile sampler…forget about mono only…that’s all fine…sampling for itself, even without all the mingle magic and time stretch options of the ot, is a sonic planet of it’s own and will make u happy…and boc and robyn…no guessing…


Both machines are completely different beasts. The Rytm is foremost a drum machine which can layer mono samples on top of its analog engines.

Where the Octatrack really shines is performing with sounds coming from other synths. I know of no other machine (beside laptops, of course) which can do dynamic resampling (sampling-on-the-fly) this way. In combination with its effects and scenes + crossfader its great “brain” and performance tool for a small mixer-less setups (1-3 synths + OT).

Add it’s ability to replay very long stems (hours) directly from the CF card (for example: a background track) and its midi sequencing features and you have a quite complete toolbox for whatever you want to do (without a laptop running).


…or underneath…or all alone…

mk2 can sample straight forward, can be tricked to resample…
and any simple sample can become anything sonicwise just by lowering or highering it’s pitch and it’s play direction…alone already…
and the truu analog drum models can even sing along…

the ot might be still the sonic swiss knife of all…but needs always solid preparation…
and lots of know how and inner peace before it can deliver all it’s huuuuge sonic satisfaction…

and both run the swedish step sequencer…which is, anyways, an instrument of it’s own…
plock mee…

once u really wanna do the step from studio to live stage…
pick an ot mk1 and a mic…drop ur studio stems in there…leave all the rest at home…and all’s fine…


Ok i‘ll say it!



AR sample playback can easily stand on its own. No necessity to layer with the analog engines. I m sure sample manipulation is nowhere near what an OT will do but even on th AR there s a lot of fun to be had with that.


This is the sentiment that’s throwing me for a loop, because it’s the OT features that can’t be found elsewhere. It’s a tough one!

If you’re aiming for production and sonic elements that are close to BoC, then I think the Rytm will do a lot for you. Between crunching up samples with the filter and overdrive and using the dual VCO for bass, you’ll be well on your way to that stylistic realm. I think the immediacy and the simplicity of working with it will do you well for BoC style loops (not sure about Robyn, but I don’t see why not since it is a very capable machine). I think unless you need the wild features offered by the Octatrack, the Rytm will be quicker to work with and get you excellent sonic results.


You could get digitakt if rytm sampling capability is what you want, and you don’t need outputs and analogue filters


I have OT and AR MKI. I’d keep OT only. IMHO most important difference soundwise is the analog circuitry of the AR. If you prefer analog filters, distortions, compressor…OT don’t have that. AR is definitely simpler.
OT crossfader + scenes is amazingly powerful.
You can morph up to 240 parameters between 2 scenes. AR Perf macros are not that easy to use, you have to press pretty hard to use them…

That’s OT speciality. 8 recorders, 8 available audio tracks to play recordings directly, quantizing, resampling, resampling with feedback, pitch, fx…

It has everything you need to make drums with anything, even without samples. The 3 lfos can be used as envelopes, the filter has an envelope, there a comb filters, compressors, so yeah, drum synthesis can be great.
You can use slices and make whole kits with sample chains with different length.
You can make your own slices.

Apparently not directly. Loading obviously, but you need to sample, before mangling apparently (never tried ARMKII/DT). Advantage, it can go 2 octaves up (OT 1 octave up). It disliked the END parameter vs OT/DT LENgth parameter, much better for single cycle sample chains.

Both are capable concerning their sequencer, trig conditions are easier to set with AR, and less types of trigs, I prefer OT Arranger (Song mode).
AR sequencer midi out is very limited (only notes, sync), much better with OT dedicated midi tracks with CCs, pitchbend, aftertouch, really good arp, scale…

Definitely easier to start with AR!


Not when using the mk2 perf knob :wink:


It let you control active perf amount, that’s it ?
At first I thought it was like A4’s MKII’s, controlling several macros…

It can control all 12 pads at once if you want. Really powerful. Basically can be used as a “control all” with a quick setup.


I have both (mk1) and definately wouldn’t give any one of the two away. I actually think once you have one of them you will want the other.

I do think getting rytm first is the better option though. It is easier to get around, so you could learn the elektron way on it, which will make getting into the octa much easier. It sure did for me.
Rytm is a drum beast. Pack samples and more importantly samplechains in it and off you go. The distortion per track is lovely. I also like the reverb, it sounds very well picked for the machine. The performance mode is actually like the crossfader of octatrack, except you have multiple ones that can be used at the same time that are organic because they are push sensitive.

Octatrack is more a workhorse for me. Happy accidents using slices or bread and butter stuff are my main uses. But routing stuff into it and abusing it in realtime is awesome. But be aware, without elektron knowledge, this thing can become frustrating really quick.

That’s why I say go rytm first. You will get results fast


The Rytm is fine as a sample player - just a bit more management of samples required due to the internal only memory. Samples sound awesome through it, saturated with some of the overdrive, distortion, and compressor. I often make tracks with just using samples through the Rytm - mangled to textures usually.

I like the scenes and performance controls of the Rytm (Mk1) - access to the 12 scenes all at once, and then flipping to the performance pads (another 12) with a new scene locked in as you change pages is great. It gives you flexibility the OT lacks with performance parameters.

But, it’s hard to beat the OT’s cross fader. Much more precise, and really easy to use.

So I go for both and I’m happy. I prefer using the Rytm standalone much more than the OT. I use it much more as a real instrument with the samples I’ve loaded on it. I use the OT to find -that exact sample or texture- when I need it.

They’re both amazing individually, but something else altogether when paired :slight_smile:


Is having an analog drum engine important to you? Do you own any other drum synths?

If having the analog synthesis engine Of the RYTM isn’t a must for you, I’d second the voice that suggested a Digitakt.

Ease-of-use is phenomenal, sound quality is among the best, it’s got plenty functionality to play with, it samples in mono with two line inputs available, it’s FAST & IMMEDIATE to use and the form factor is compact. In a nutshell, it’s a flexible, great sounding sampler and cheaper than the RYTM.

To me, the Digitakt and the RYTM are first cousins, with the RYTM (Mk2 mind you) covering many of the features of the Digitakt PLUS extras such as the synthesis engine, song mode etc.

The OT is its own creature. Whereas the other Elektron devices sort of come with a clear respective purpose in a setup, the OT is so flexible, it takes your decision making to choose how and for what you want to use it. So this is the setting up time needed people mentioned here (eg you have eight audio tracks, but what role should each track occupy? Should one play back longer samples as backing track? Or should it function as a live looper? Or should it record samples on the fly so that you can mangle them in real time? Or should you “surrender“ one track as “Neighbour” track to increase the FX available to another track? Or should one track direct monitor your inputs so that you can mangle & fx your live input? etc etc).

Once you find a good workflow for yourself though, that can be it with the setup of the OT and it becomes as immediate as any other Elektron big box.

There’s nothing like the OT out there for sample mangling in the hardware world. For me I’d always recommend it if I know a sampler/sample mangler for all sorts of content (drum, melodic, harmonic, sfx) is needed AND the person is ready and willing to embrace the learning curve.

If you are looking for an analog drum machine with sampling capabilities, the RYTM is it.

If you don’t need analog drum synthesis and are instead looking for a one-shot sampler that makes a GREAT sample-based drum machine and is fast and easy to use, I’d recommend the Digitakt.