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!