Musique Concrete



For my next musical project I intend to implement elements of musique concrete.

What I’m looking for:

  • A portable, discreet audio recorder with built-in microphones for recording outdoors, and indoor public places (the less noisy the microphones are, the better)

  • EITHER a sampler or a VST plug-in filter. I am very comfortable editing audio recordings in my DAW but I would like to treat them with basic filtering. I do not intend on sampling in a beat-oriented way. If a sampler such as an MPC, SP-404 or Octatrack MKII is overkill, I’ll go the VST filter route. If I’m underestimating the use of these samplers in non beat oriented music, please let me know.



There are plenty of audio recorders in the market. I would recommend to check out an internet retailer of your choice and I am sure, you will find more than one unit to fit the bill. I’ve got a simple Zoom H4n to do the job.

Have you considered modular gear? There are very Musique-Concrete like modules in the market. Examples are Make Noise Phonogene or Morphagene. Both are some kind of tribute to Music-Concrete. They even built a “System Concrete”. With a modular system you could also extend or change the setup in an easy way and experiment with different set-ups. If you like the idea, check out this:

Of course the OT is beat-oriented, but we don’t need to use it like this. IMO there are very interesting sound-mangling features included and it can apply most of it’s functions to very huge audio sources, which can be streamed directly from the flash drive.


Shameless self-promotion ahead but

Was done with mainly mobile phone recordings of environments and the OT.

The OT is a wonderful musique concrete unit but can do a lot (anything?) more. The filter is also top-notch.

In terms of field recorders, zooms are great but some argue Tascam has better preamps.


100% recommend morphogene by make noise and a Sony pcm-d100. Probably the best all in one on the market. However has a price to back.With a make noise maths and a daw., You can do pretty much everything you want with it.


Fantastic track xid

I am completely open to a modular set up. I will look into all of your suggestions, much appreciated.


I have a field recorder but my most crucial recordings were captured with my phone, because it’s what I had with me when the moment struck.


I’ve found the octatrack and make noise system concrete to be overkill for my needs.

Does anyone have a simple and effective software filter they would recommend?


What type of filter are you looking for?

Surely you can do the necessary filtering with your DAWs native plugins?


“The best tool is the one available to you.” - someone probably said this already


I would consider Samplr app for ipad and combine it with good microphone like Rode. Samplr has advanced fx section and extencive manual control over slices.


a sampler with as little visual feedback would be appropriate - or just whatever you already have :slight_smile: On a theoretical note, I choose to translate it as ‘Concrete Music’ as it embodies an entire alternative theory of creating music in relation to human (ie. DSP optional) hearing attuned in a particular way.

Alternatively, just have fun with it!


I use the Octatrack as a loose simulated tape reel. No patterns. Often without quantization (unless I’m using a click to clock my modular sometimes). All loop capturing on the fly. Mangle to taste.

I think it’s been typecast as a techno machine, and very few people are trying to illustrate its uses outside of that paradigm, but it’s definitely possible and underexplored.


Forgot to mention , the OP1 would work great as well within the same comments above esp with the virtual tape reel and poly sampling.


Yes ^ OP-1 is great for Musique Concrete, it almost seems designed for it.


Out of curiosity what does the OP1 offer in this regard that the OT doesn’t?


It has its own unique FX, 4 tracks in a tape studio style. Has its own synth engines. Poly resampling. Has a microphone , a radio. Battery powered. OLED screen,Not as fully capable in some aspects as an octatrack. But definately does different things than it. I got both as they work great as partners for HW sampling.


about microphones maybe you can go for the primo em 172 or things like those.


I am using a Tascam DR-05 (sub 100 Euros, pretty good mics for that price range, more than usable)

As for software filters, just use any EQ plugin - most of the offer high and low pass bands.

Alternatively, I think Arturia is offering a VST emulation of the Minimoog Filter that´s pretty nice sounding… including an LFO, envelope follower and 8-step sequencer built-in.
It´s 99€ but there are certainly other (possibly free) options.

Or get a “Sampler” VST, those usually have filters built-in:
on Windows, there´s a free VST called “Short Circuit” (a bit like Kontakt) that I used before.
also “TX16Wx” is a free (? I think) VST both for Mac and Windows - haven´t used it, but heard good things.


I think the OP-1 just handles better for certain things than the OT (and of course vice versa) the recording process can be loops or linear, simplicity of set up, and ease of jumping between regions of recordings - all of which are possible on the OT to a greater or lesser degree, but the OP-1 workflow is a bit more transparent for this kind of thing. The tape workflow allows easy exploitation of techniques such as ADT, doubling, echo, flanging, and the tape tricks.