How hard is it to use an Octatrack?

I go to bed you gives me few headaches :joy:


That was simple. You can also control recordings and plays free tracks with midi plays free tracks and random lfos. :loopy:

It’s well explained here :



I feel I must mention that these concepts can very much be used (usually to a much lesser degree and separated into stages) with live improv, especially when combined with all the other OT features. It’s not a “for programmers only” type situation…

It’s kind of a mix of programming a song/playing a song. The OT tracks/patterns you set up won’t do anything until you play into them, and what you play into them won’t be your song unless it goes through the OT tracks/patterns…

There’s also things like “hold mode” for sampling, and other ways to make what your doing more live in the moment. There’s many general recorder remix sequences that you can make that work well with many types of audio, so you can feed things in live unsure of how exactly it will sound, yet comfortable it will fit in your groove… Sometimes you have to play at least in a certain key or timing, it all depends, millions of possibilities of live sampling tricks with the OT…

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I think if you didn’t have any problems learning DT and the OT looks fun, it’s certainly worth giving it a shot to see if you gel with it, quite possibly you’ll love it, if not, there’s only one way to find out and at least you tried!

I wouldn’t be intimidated by it before trying one… :wink:


has anyone ever written a tutorial pdf for the OT? A very good and comprehensive one was written for the new Akai mpcs, for instance.

I’m determined to really learn the OT this time around, but I’m again encountering the frustration of trying to learn this thing from their docs. I mean, I’m sure it’s all there, but why not a tutorial that doesn’t repeatedly refer you to other sections, which then refers you to other sections, not even being sure at that point what info you need, and not being entirely clear on all the terms used, etc. I mean I’m just trying to work from the sampling tutorial, and it just seems like they try to make this way more convoluted than it needs to be.

ARGGGH - i’m just trying to record a couple of seconds of audio. I"m hearing it, I think I’m doing it, but nothing is being recorded. Looking at the quick assign manul. nothing there.

Just my small brain talking. Back to work…


Excellent! Printing it out now. I will definitely look at this. Meanwhile, making slow but steady progress, which is reminding me of the potential I saw in this machine, but gave up on prematurely in the past. I recorded just a simple synth passage and now am sequencing it with various parameter locks on the sample and the fx. But still very, very confused about how this all works.

Impressions of a newbie:

Getting started making “anything”= not the easiest for sure, but pretty approachable with some (any) previous hw experience, and a couple of things you find online.

Getting to know it all = this almost seems out of reach, the deeper you dig the wider it opens up, and there are so many different ways to reach the same results…it almost seems pointless to understand it all.

My take so far is: I’m discovering it in small bits, but at every step it seems to add a lot of possibilities, and then you need to add rationalizing and planning and it becomes a little heavy, takes the fun out of the whole thing,
At that point I take a step back, and settle there until it gets boring, then I move forward and repeat the cycle

The main thing that pushes you to look under the hood is troubleshooting: you try to dosomething that you think you can handle, OT responds in a way that puzzles you, and then you look deeper into the matter if there’s some core misconception that is making you look at this the wrong way, and you finally learn how it works (I hope :yum:)

I hope this helps


Cuckoo and SecretMusic UK (something like that) are both fantastic resources on Youtube.


well, i’m finding it difficult to learn (trying one for the 3rd time), but I still claim (at least in my case) that it’s the manual. I know that some things are relatively easy to do, but finding it with some efficiency in the manual is just a pain. For instance (I’m not looking for help with this - i’ll find it tonight or tomorrow.) I’m at the point where I can sample with my violin (want to experiment with record trigs next), and then mangle it with various parameter locks and parameters in general (not understanding many of them yet), but i haven’t been able to figure out how to copy the samples to flex machines so that they are retained when I power off. I think I expressed that correctly, but forgive me if I have that wrong. This doesn’t seem to be in the recording tutorial, where it should be - and again, forgive me if I’m wrong. I’m not trying to argue a case, just express my own experience which is that I find learning this damn instrument to be difficult. But I am determined to get there this time, and to use it a bit every day (or mostly) until it becomes second nature. And in addition to the violin, have some credit at Sweetwater which I intend to use on an Aframe, and I very much look forward to using the OT to sample that. And yeah - sampling a synth and then mangling it is quite fun also. And I think that it’s perfectly legitimate to criticize the docs, and the fact that this instrument is more difficult to learn (at least for some) than it needs to be.

Agreed, the manual is not a fix all for understanding the OT.
Many times I have cracked open the manual, read it over and over, and it doesn’t stick.
I’ll watch a cuckoo video or something and then I’ll completely understand what I was supposed to from the manual.
Also, sampling was by far the trickiest thing to understand on the OT.
For a “sampler” it felt really convoluted at first, over time I learned it, got adjusted to it, now it’s fairly simple to comprehend, and there’s some REALLY sweet tricks you can do when sampling on this thing.
These two Terikith videos saved me.
One of them goes over saving flex buffers too.

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Cool. Thanks. I’ll check them out. And it could just be my brain and the way it works, but I really don’t like learning from videos - I’d rather have a good manual in front of me that I don’t have to pause repeatedly in order to try to get it right on the machine, continue, etc. Just a learning work flow thing.

??? yes. i have the manual. that’s what I’m talking about.

Some things I found easy to learn to use, and some things I found difficult, because it is so poorly explained in the manual - the recorder trig method of sampling comes to mind.

Ok so up til yesterday,I hadn’t even seen the OT in the flesh let alone used one.

My MK2 arrived last night and I’ve had around 2.5 hours in total on it, and although there’s a HELL of a lot to learn and do with it, I’ve comfortably loaded up a card of samples and have the bones of a few tracks.

What was really awesome, was when I decided to hook it up to the analog 4…woah!

OT controlling the A4 transport and clock, A4 running its own sequences, mute tracks on the OT etc.

All came very easy and intuitively to me. I would say that this is my third Elektron box, and I decided to move to the OT after spending some time with the DT and seeing it’s potential (well played Elektron- it’s a gateway drug).

So yeah, in order to get something going on the first few hours of owning it, appears to be straightforward enough.

I’m sure it’ll get harder the deeper and more complex I go, but that’s the same with anything.

Buy one if you’re on the fence

Edit for words

Edit again as I remembered scenes are just super duper


Sorry to go off topic briefly, but this is one of those things I love about this forum: Discovering new instruments and devices just reading through the threads :smile:

The Aframe looks and sounds amazing! It’s definitely on my get eventually list.

@digiwut honestly it is as hard as getting out of bed and starting the day in a safe manner, 1 or 2 simple rules to follow to keep yourself safe and then it’s all about your own flow

I respectfully disagree. I think the ot is powerful as both an Xox machine, but also as a looper and for lengthy samples. Also disagree with old school samplers being more powerful as the ot can do anything they can do and more. I think lots of people just get lost in the functionality or forget that time stretching will degrade your audio, which can be an undesirable effect. I’ve found the ot useful for anything such as mangling vocals, short loops, long loops, one shot sounds, performing sets and anything in between. As far as being easy to use, you just have to read the manual and take it slow. I find it very logical, but it’s not for everyone because of how deep it is.

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The OT might be able to do -most- of what the samplers of old can, but why oh why does timestretch and pitching sound so bad? If it could pitch like an old Akai, I would still have it.

Pitch sound the same as Akai with timestretch off, except one octave up max.
What old Akai with good reatime timestretch are you talking about ?