Might get an octatrack. why not?

Seriously considering the octatrack.!
My only concerns are the grainy time stretch algorithms
How bad is it ? I only need to change a few bpm occasionally.

Pops and clicks from fades not being the best.
This would really annoy me if dealing with this constantly.

Is their anything else that I should know before taking the plunge?
Gripes as such? It is getting on a bit now know the effects are a touch dated but can live with that

I’m not concerned with complexity, don’t plan on trying to do it all
Straight away. Been do this shit for a while, already have elektron gear
and have figured out the basics of the OT.

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Hey, Dan. Awesome questions. I find the Octatrack MkII to be dated, even though it’s a new device. The time-stretch algorithms won’t really show by a few bpm, but seriously show beyond that. It requires constant tweaking (or perfect sample phrases) to avoid pops and clicks. The effects (well, only the reverb) are dated. The limit of two effects, and no filter per track (that takes up one effects slot), can be quite challenging.

But for all that, and maybe because of all that, I am in love with the Octatrack. It makes music beautifully imperfect. In a DAW, I can tweak my samples and phrases to be flawless. On the Octatrack, there is a stitched together, or bespoke, sort of quality to everything I make. The limitations inspire me to work in new ways, and the hands-on control and scenes make songs come alive once you start to perform them. There are times that I wish it could do more, or that they’d more substantially updated the MkII from the MkI, but most of the time I’m simply having fun, and enjoying the process of setting up a performance.

Here’s a track I put together yesterday, a sort of remix that turned into a complete reimagining. You can hear time-stretching all over the place. The samples aren’t perfectly aligned. The whole thing feels like the stitches are going to come out at points. But for all that, I love the end result.

Best of luck in your decisions!

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Here’s what I did when I bought mine. Spent a few months debating in my mind.
Drove 5 hours to the nearest shop that sells them, took a list of questions, deal breakers, must haves etc. Spent an afternoon noodling on the one in the shop. Bought it.

My general thoughts on using octatrack to play ‘clips’ in an abelton style is, if you already have ableton, just use that.

If you want to get fully out of the box and get well and truly out of your comfort zone then Octatrack is pretty tasty. Its an instrument in its own right, not a DAW replacement.

All the stuff people post about effects, fades etc, to be honest, I ignore it. I have had my octatrack for 4 years and have released tracks on labels along artists using super-mega-newest-latest-thisisthebest effects plugins and guess what? No one says to me, ‘hey your effects suck.’

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The synth sounds amazing, nice track enjoyed it.
The hands on control and scenes are what’s luring me to it.
You are not exactly talking me out of it by posting this track you made with it haha.
Cheers

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My 2c is that you firstly really need to have a mindset that the box in front of you and its connections to the outside world is your sandbox.

Inside that OT sandbox the potential is virtually endless but it does have its own very structured yet flexible way of doing things AND its character is in its shortcomings; some of which you mention.

Unless you want to embrace those constraints, which actually provide you with great creative power once you hold it as a tool, you might be better off with a much simpler but more pristine DT, a 1010 Blackbox, DAW-in-a-box like the MPC live … or a limitless laptop.

OT takes and rewards effort and passion.

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Where did you get those woody samples?

Also for the “stuttering” drums did you just set scene B to retrig the drums (and other tracks) at a quarter note?

The Woody samples came from a Woody Woodmansey plug-in/Kontakt library/Reason refill thing I bought here (https://sonicreality.com/landingpages/epikdrums.php). He recorded it with Ken Scott in the original space with the original mic and drum setup, so it’s got that classic Hunky Dory / Ziggy Stardust vibe to it.

As for the stuttering, I simply used the delay on the master and turned it to the settings where it grabs a snippet and repeats it while also dropping out the dry signal. I took this idea straight from the preset patterns/scenes on the Octatrack, and was glad to find this on the unit (it’s one of the things I love about the SP-404 sound, that DJFX Looper or whatever it’s called).

Hope that’s useful!

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The reverb isnt the easiest to learn how to get a great sound from… it will take some time.

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Ever check out the delay control mode?

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The worst part is the longer I use the OT the less I feel the need for an updated version. What if the need for more current gear was in my head all along?

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Sorry, I’m not sure what you mean!

Hah, totally possible! For me, it’s missing mainly two things: 1) a third FX slot (or better, a dedicated filter/lo-fi section, as per the Monomachine and Machinedrum), 2) a dedicated master track so that you truly have eight tracks to work with. There are other things I’d appreciate, like more Flex space or a better reverb, but those two improvements above would erase the only substantial “bad” limitations (I like a lot of the limitations, in general).

Some days I will be like, “why no SD cards? The deluge has no limits on pattern length, every iOS app uses 32-bit floats for the buffer, …” while looking at the Sweetwater.com page for the OT after checking out the MC-707 for the hundredth time. Meanwhile there are days where I actually play the OT saying “Holy shit this is insane, I need to learn more.”

This is the long way of saying there is some cognitive dissonance between what I want and what I probably need, especially when I also consider the rest of my gear. So while I agree with all your suggestions (especially about the master track), I’m trying to just focus on what it can do for me. Which is mix, mangle, and sequence my other gear.

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I love my Octatrack, but I must admit the timestretch has been a headache at times.
I play stems from my songs, and for some of them (especially long filtered bass notes) you will get artefacts if you don’t play them at the correct BPM.
What I had to do is pick a few BPM I would play at ( 115, 120, 125) and export my stems to the one or two closest to the original track, using Ableton’s timestretch because it is way more transparent. Now, I have to play my live sets at those fixed BPM I picked

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Biggest disadvantage of owing an OT is that you can’t be part of the fabulous adventure called OB_beta

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for the shitty gainstaging …

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I’ve been committed to the OT for years, but will most likely separate now.

For all the amazing places it took me, I realised so many of them were just (quite lovely) detours.

Sometimes, exploring for the sake of it is great. Sometimes, it’s an obstruction. And when it’s so tempting to go off track, it eventually just wasn’t constructive for me.

I am, at heart, a very traditional musician, though.

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So I Bought it Already lol…

opened the box picked it up and there are screws are loose inside it rolling around…
going to have to return it.

i had a look at it in the shop but didnt shake it around to hear it,
last one they had too… haha

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Okey, please help me understand the issue here…

I have been interested in an octatrack for a while but I don´t have the possibility to try one.

When does these pops and clicks accure? I thought that the octatrack hade some kind of zero-crossing feature when trimming samples.
Does it only happen when you use it as a looper or is there always a risk? Are there easy workarounds or do you just have to live with it? Is it only because of waveform cut-offs?
I had an OP-1 and the pops on that one eventually felt like japanese waterdrop torture, ended up selling mostly because of that. Don´t want the same thing to happen again.

My english is poor but i hope you understand what I mean anyway, and the question is probably answered somewhere else on this forum but I´m to lazy to search for it. :slight_smile:

I feel the same way about it very often.
But I could not replace it in live use… Only with ableton, but that’s less fun

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