Help me fall in love with my OT before I part with it

Cool, I stand corrected. Thanks for letting us know. I thought I noticed volume differences, but it might be bit depth conversion – or is all in my head :laughing:

So, a little update, I sat down a couple of nights ago with the OT, my open back headphones (so useful for hearing videos on an external screen) and the maxmarco videos that @Encephalitislerthargi posted above.

The comb filter one was a fail as I couldn’t seem to hear any noise floor, even after following all the steps. Mine is a Mk2 so maybe Elektron improved the noise floor since the Mk1, hence why I couldn’t get it to work.

But I moved on to the percussion synthesis (which shows an easier way to generate white noise from just normalising recording nothing into a recording buffer, I will go back to the comb one later with this)

I got about 10 mins in, and I was away. Ended up crafting some detailed skippy drum patterns just using filter pinging and LFOs with p-locks on white noise scraps. Brilliant!

I definitely hadn’t even begun to scratch the surface, and should probably follow all the way along to the end of the videos rather than flying off on my own tangent once I get the gist, but it’s definitely staying for now and I’ll continue to explore.

The only slightly frustrating thing about max’s videos are how fast he goes into various menus. It’s hard to see what he does without constantly skipping back in the video. But I get he’s not making these videos for OT noobs like me, and at the same time this sort of advanced stuff is exactly what will keep me coming back to the OT.


This is exactly what happens every time I use my Octatrack: going off on endless unexpected side-tracks. It’s a sign that I’m still having fun with it even after 3 years.

Max Marco’s resynthesis video is great, and was important for me early on to unlock ideas about flex track/recording buffer potential.


You should be able to get noise from the inputs, but alternatively you can just use a sample of white/pink noise or some other color. I grabbed white, blue, pink, etc from here:

I use noise a lot of the OT. It’s definitely novel to generate noise from the machine itself, but nothing wrong with using samples IMO.


I really love slicing on the OT and never really did much with slicing before OT. Some things I like:

  • Use the “assign random slices to trigs” feature. No other current Elektron box does this kind of static randomization (without recording midi loopback of trig conditions).
  • Use the LFO with custom design to modulate start point of sliced sample. No other current Elektron box has the LFO designer (wish they all did).
  • Use Octachainer to make pre-sliced sample chains. Make a chain out of a bunch of synth stabs then do bullet 1 with that chain. You might prefer if they’re musically related :slight_smile:
  • Use Octachainer to make chains out of vintage drum machine sample packs. Now you can load a whole kit into a single slot.

@peachesandbacon IMHO there are 2 main reasons to love the OT:

  1. Performance. Putting your stems in here from Ableton and playing your arrangement is a lot more fun than playing your arrangement on your laptop.
  2. Latency, USB midi, and laptop BS. I love working in the box just as much as the next person, but I buy external gear because I get sick of working in the box all the time. I have the OT hooked up to some rack synths, and some samples loaded on the OT. I just turn them all on and start playing, no windows updates, no latency, and none of the other BS that comes with working in the box.

I’ve probably put in 40 total hours with the OT over the past 3 years and was pretty happy with it as a way to create linear chains of patterns. I knew a little about the rest of what it could do but didn’t really care, because I bought it specifically as a performance tool. It’s marketed as a “performance sampler”, so I figured I should be able to figure out how to use it for that.

I won’t link any videos, because I find most of them disappointing. The best way to fall in love with the OT is to read Merlin’s guide, which took me about 45 minutes: A polished version of Merlin's OT guide here

After reading Merlin’s guide, I subsequently got more done in 1 hour on the OT than in the previous 40. My goal was to create a performance, and I was able to do that quickly using the info in Merlin’s guide. With what I had previously done on the OT as far as pattern creation, I was able to whip together some scenes and parts that made transitioning between the elements of my arrangement easy (and stylish, I might add). I now have a 6 minute performance that is pretty much ready to roll. With what I know about creating patterns, I could create another performance in no time.

Merlin’s guide doesn’t go very deep into recording and looping, and doesn’t cover the MIDI sequencer at all. Recording is not straightforward, and requires some time to test each mode and figure out which one you like. If you don’t need to record audio or samples, just forget that it exists at all. There is plenty of other fun stuff to do on the OT.

I really like using the midi sequencer with my rack synths. It’s nice to have the Elektron sequencer for those. I will agree with one of the other posters that a small midi controller is nice to have, for me I need it more for the keys than the knobs, as I find I can do all I need as far as modulation by mapping the relevant CCs to the 6 encoders on the OT.

So if you’re like me, and you hate the idea of lugging your laptop to a show and pressing play and diddling with usb midi controllers, the OT is for you. You don’t have to use every single feature on it to wield it as an impressive and satisfying performance tool. All you need is a few patterns and Merlin’s guide.

thanks @Roger for linking me to Merlin’s guide :slight_smile:


Its 10x better than the one on the mpc!

1 Like

I posted it already in the gear thread. The biggest problem with Octatrack is: If you fall in love with it, one isn’t enough. I sample all my loops from various synths in them, so I have everything available just by carrying these two machines around. For me it’s the best solution so far. Also because it’s less brainfuck to have only one piece of gear to learn.


very nice, im glad this helped inspire you as much as it did for me. i cant remember exactly what he does to get noise for the comb filter, but just do the same thing you did with the percussion synthesis. thats what i do, normalize an empty input recording. but its the same idea, just pinging a resonant body, which will also carry onto eurorack if you find yourself in that scenario down the line

i think this is going to be my solution. although i think it might overcomplicate my routing even worse than it already is. i’d love to have 7 more free flex machines, because my template only allows for 3, maybe 4 if i sacrifice a Thru NEI. i guess if i just got a patchbay, i could split the audio from my synth mixer to both octatrack inputs, but not sure if i’d want to send the 2nd ot’s main outs to their dedicated audio interface ins or go through octa 1 serially (i’d be slightly worried about signal degradation maybe?). either way, sounds genius

i dont know if its all this talk about the techniques i used to love learning or what, but for some reason staring at that picture hit me with such strong nostalgia that i could remember back to when the octatrack was the most mysterious, coolest piece of gear and i wanted to get my hands on it so bad. i used to even think the buttons were rubber like the electribes or the launchpad (i guess more similar to the cycles now, but this was pre-cycles era) until i heard them clicking in certain videos. i think i’d really enjoy a second one. never played an mk1 before, so i think i’d prefer the mk2 as well. kind of forgot how much it used to symbolize for me. you dont get that with much gear nowadays, it seems like


Haha, I’m already 4 years or so into a eurorack rabbit hole. And yes, pinging filters is obviously pretty standard behaviour in that domain.

I guess I just didn’t think about the OT in that way, but I’m starting to realise it’s actually quite modular in its approach, which is helping me see it in a different light.

I’d be interested in any interesting ways you use the modular with it actually.

Was thinking about trying to record in a few looping parts on different tracks and rearranging/ slicing and stringing it together within the OT.

Would you say this is a good approach? And other techniques you might recommend?


You should read this one and try everything.

Look some videos on Youtube and do the stuff you see.

Try to use one synth or noise sample and make a kick, snare and other percussion stuff/ a whole track.

And generally just use it a lot, because after a while you will get very fast. It has just the right complexity level in my opinion.


I’m curious to know if you use each for a specific purpose all the time or does it vary?

I mostly use them the same, one as a drum machine, the other as sampler with a master track. First are mostly oneshots, second are also loops i record and cut or whatever and play around until i find something i like.
I had an ar for drums before which was nice but now are all buttons on the same position and thats just better for me. Also ot has more effects and lfos.

1 Like

The menu structure becomes familiar very fast. I remember feeling a bit overwhelmed by it too in the beginning but if you keep at it, it’ll become familiar and fast to navigate in no time.

At that point overly slow tutorials would become tedious.

It’s cool to hear that breakthroughs are happening and usable tricks are becoming part of your arsenal.

I think one of the biggest mistakes I often times see noobs make, and this was very much my biggest problem as well, is to think it’s important to understand everything as fast as possible and to follow some preconceived idea of the device instead of allowing it to lead you down a different path.

When I got mine as my first Elektron box I thought I will be having 7 tracks of flex machines with different sounds on each track and be able to make something worth while like that.
It took me some time to abandon that idea even though it was quite obvious that having two or max three different flex tracks as sources and tons of neighbor tracks and flex machines behind them was and still is the most fruitful way for me.

One of the most enjoyable things about the OT for me at least is that you can really dig in and magnify a small snippet of sound into ridiculous proportions.

Those Max Marco videos are great for showcasing that bcs they really focus on creating stuff from nothing, like normalizing the content of an “empty” rec buffer to create noise for further processing etc.

Not sure if it’s mentioned on this thread already but just in case, EZBOT has a great YT channel demonstrating creative routings, workflow and FX use for a bit more performance and live centric approach. Usually he deals with configurations that include other synths or elektron boxes as well.


This concept is pretty intriguing. Do you use the midi side of one to modulate the other and vice versa a lot? Meaning the midi arps for example.

I guess my thought here is that there are many examples in gear where having two units is more than twice as powerful than one (like having two modulatable envelopes or lfos) bcs of the interplay and I’m trying to think of examples of it with two OTs.

I use midi for ducking but otherwise not really. I use it with synths while recording loops. But when they are ready not so much. I just bought the second because 7 or 8 tracks are not enough for a whole track without being able to mute every instrument. 15 or 16 is way better. So for me it’s more or less just to have more of the same. Ot is a bit much for oneshots for shure but I can do some percussion loops too. It’s just more freedom than any other machine.

1 Like

That’s kind of why I’ve kept the Digitakt around. I wanted to have more than 8 tracks, so I generally use the DT for one-shots… although, lately I’ve been finding that 7-8 tracks is more than enough because apparently I prefer to combine many sounds and bounce them down to a single track. But it’s nice to know I have more audio tracks if I need them.

I bet two Octatracks are fun if you route stuff back and forth. For example, if you set up cues as a send from OT1 to the inputs of OT2, and set up OT2’s to send to an external FX chain and then back to OT2 again. I’m just imagining all sorts of craziness you could do with like cascading resampling going back and forth between them. You could do all sorts of shit with neighbor tracks and changing track lengths on the resampling tracks… I think maybe I should get rid of my DT and get a second OT.


Would be dangerous for my mental health. Controlling up to 500 parameters with 1 crossfader !

I wanted 2 at some point but I’d spend too much time experimenting all crazy possibilities.

I’d probably use a 2nd OT in a different setup.


Since we’re all together here atm, is it possible to send (OT’s) tracks (internally) to another track?

Like, I have samples playing stuff on track 1 and 2, can I send it to track 3 to make bad stuff with it :wink:

Yes. Send concerned tracks to CUE. Record CUE internally, play it directly with a FLEX.
Kind of internal fx send/return.
You can send the FLEX (return) to CUE, and create feedback.
Also possible to manipulate audio on that track (pitch, small audio portion length, retrig, reverse…)