Loops for Octatrack

I have had the Octatrack MKII for some time now. I have only used it with one shots and to sequence other gear via MIDI (and as a mixer). I recently tried playing with the few loops that came with the machine. I like it, but it almost seems like cheating. But I still find it fun. With the deals online these days, I was hoping for some insight.

  1. Do you use loops on the Octatrack?

  2. Do you see loops as cheating?

  3. Are the sites like loopmaster worth it? (I had bought some samples from samples from mars some time ago when it was on sale and I thought that was great.)

  4. I noticed that loops come with a bpm. Does the Octatrack automatically stretch/compress things so that one can use loops at different bpms?

  5. Anything else I should know about loops and the Octatrack?

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1 Loops get recorded, so yes.
2 Cheating: not if they are yours.
3 imho not. Feed it with your stuff. Or mangle the shit out of whatever you like.
4 yes. Within ± 10bpm it works fine.
5 learn learn learn. Build muscle memory.

And SLICE! That is where the journey leads me to atm. Slicing, reordering triggers, getting stuck in tonal chaos and reload.


“Cheating” is a pretty weird way to think about it. Just try to make art, whatever that means to you. Is it cheating to use one-shots instead of synthesizing your own sounds? It is cheating to use a static synth architecture vs building a modular rig? How about synth presets?

You really have no need to justify what you create nor substantiate your genuineness to anybody but yourself.

Also who says you even gotta create “art”? You could just buy full stems and have fun jamming and live-arranging pre-built songs if that’s entertaining enough for you.

All that being said, check the manual to see everything you can do with loops. there’s a ton. It does do time-stretching.

In general for the OT: treat it like (an extremely powerful / complex) instrument. Only way to have fun with it is to learn the fundamentals and be able to “think in Octatrack” instead of stumbling around trying to figure it out. Don’t treat it like ableton in a box (because then its even shittier than the free 8-track version of ableton), but rather a unique electronic instrument that is meant to be played.


i bought some nice packs from loopmasters.
no it‘s not cheating. But if it feels like cheating you can easily make them yours.
Simple pitching can change a lot. Slice them up, change how they are played back. Use fx, filters are powerful for changing the timbre of a sound. Add your own chord progressions on top of the loops, this can change the entire feel of the track.
Add your own melodies on top.

You can even just combine loops from different packs with different mood, style etc. People like Dj shadow did this with samples from old records, but why not use purchased loops instead. be aware, purists will call you out for skipping the digging part :wink:
Whatever sounds great…



This is the most pragmatic way to look at the “cheating” concern IMO

Process / slice / filter / run through external FX / re-sample loops to bring in your own flavor

Using presets as starting points for synth patches


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There’s no such thing as cheating in music creation IMHO. If you can accomplish what you set out to do with loops and it makes it easier then you’re ahead of many others already.
Loops work well on the OT for sure. There are limitations too. Looping audio with an fx tail won’t work unless the tail is recorded into the start of loop as well due to the tracks being monophonic for example.

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You can cheat with anything if nobody recognize any step of the loop. :elot:
Blind test of famous loops thru OT challenge? :content:

Playing a bought loop in a song seems ok to me, better than sampling / copying others without mentioning them.

I used some illegally downloaded loops for practice, I wouldn’t be proud to make a song I’d make mine.

I don’t think I’d buy loops.
Cheating with bought loops? Why?
Too impersonal? For sure. :stuck_out_tongue:

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I guess it’s ‘cheating’ if you think it is.
I have a weird hang up where I can only use sounds I made. No presets of any kind. Is that the right way of thinkIng? I don’t think so, but it’s how I like to do it :slight_smile:

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Art is freedom. Or should be, at least. No creative rules.

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If the loops are yours don’t worry a bit about it.

I think the only real concern with using (bought) loops is that people lean on the same ones too heavily and too often. It gets boring hearing Amen over and over again.

But not if you mangle it to hell. Then it has the potential to be meta. :face_with_monocle:


Just use whatever loops that inspires you’re creativity. And with a bit of OT magic all source-material can be transformed in something completely different!

I use only self created loops, that’s what inspires me the most.


Thanks for all the answers. I know that I asked about the “cheating” parts, but this was really only part of it. As mentioned I had fun playing with loops. I don’t really record my music, I just have fun playing and performing.

With the deals on loopmaster I was considering getting more, but I wasn’t/am not sure is they are really a a good deal. I guess it depends on what one wants.

I mean if you feel like you get your money’s worth then it’s a good deal. I think you answered your own question… You have fun playing with loops!