Octa as an instrument

Hi all,

As a long time Elektron user (AR, A4, AK and recently sold DT, explained later), I was always pulled towards the Octa, but never bought or tried one.

Mainly because I:
a. Love working with my Push 2 and Ableton in the studio and don’t need the Octa as a ‘brain’. Workflow itb is fast and precise and mistakes can be handled swiftly.
b. I have the tendency making complex “songs” not your straight up 4/4 4 bar techno (which I also love, but do not make). The A4/AR are- in my case -more of a sound modules, with the handy addition of the sequencer, though :wink:

But now GAS / a new project has got me thinking:
What about using the Octa as an instrument? I tried to read up on the interwebs, but couldn’t find a ‘definitive answer’…
I love trowing stuff in Live’s Simpler and see what I can get out of it. This is why is sold the DT btw, I was not using the MIDI capabilities, and sample mangling was too restricted for my taste.
Plus in preparation fase of a new live project, semi electronic/acoustic band thing. Could see myself firing off all kinds of loops and samples from the Octa. Sounds like this and this

TLDR; Is any of you guys working with Ableton (or any other DAW for that matter) as the brains, Octa as an instrument? If so, what’s your workflow?


The flexibility on this thing is unlike any other stand alone box. There are many different opinions from one artist to the next but I will say that I cannot imagine not using it as an instrument. So far at least, I’ve not used it as a brain, I prefer to slave it and manually tweak and play. I add and remove notes mid sequence, tweak effects, manually change patterns, banks and mutes, etc. I also keep a blank bank so I can show up and drop improv beats at a buddy’s house or club or whatever.

If you think about it, the name even hints at this, Dynamic Performance Sampler 1. I think Elektron very much designed it to be performed as an instrument. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Geeze, I think it might even work better than trying to have it be the helm of everything…
By focusing all its abilities on less elements of the music, I imagine you’d take those elements even further…
I think it’d work great…



Cool, thanks!

Yeah, guess so. But what confused me, is that I don’t see it used much like one. A lot of the vids I check/threads I read are more the brain-y type of stuff. Maybe Knobs latest MK2 vid comes close to what I thought would be handy in my case, though.

This helps :slight_smile:

Anyone else’s 2 cents?


I constantly have this feeling on the Octa of untapped potential, which on the one hand makes me want to keep exploring it and on the other is frustrating. Cenk probably taps more out of it than anyone else. I can’t help but feel that with the right controller in front of it, it would blossom into something that nothing else could touch in the hardware domain. And by the right controller I don’t mean yet another bank of knobs/sliders/buttons hard-coded to specific CCs/notes.

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An instrument in the classic sense is a well designed unit of (relatively) few pieces: guitar - strings and board; piano - strings and hammers; drum - membrane and shell.

The OT has an incredible amount of pieces that can be combined in a multitude of ways. So in this way it is unlike one’s classic instrument.

However, the advantage to this is that it can be many things to many different types of artists. So I think if one took the time to set it up how one wants to work (a la a default template in Ableton), it eases the burden of options and becomes closer to a classic instrument.

So for example in my default template I have set up all my gain preferences, track recorders, all my fx, all my audio tracks and static, thru, all my MIDI channels ect ect and every part in every bank is the same.

The only way this is any different than “starting a new project” is that it’s ready to go for me.

From a more practical perspective, using it with Ableton has obvious advantages: set up OT to control VSTs, tracks; use Studio mode for multitracking the OT; send Ableton out to OT, mangle, and back again. In terms of master / slave, I have always had the impression from people that the OT clock is superior (I don’t have any first-hand experience as I do very little in Ableton).

The only disadvantage really is the amount of options. But as with anything else, workflow is key.


With or without DAW, definitely an instrument.

The most efficient for me is the crossfader, very musical, letting you morph between 2 scenes with up to 240 parameters. 16 scenes.

Trigs can be used in many ways.
You can play samples chromaticaly, with slots trigs, slice trigs, quantized or not.
You can play arp with midi tracks, control audio tracks.

The 8 audio tracks and 8 midi tracks can be separate from sequencer and at any time, quantized or not, with trigs.

8 independant recorder tracks, sampling / resampling at any time, different length.

48 lfos with 16 lfo designers that can modulate with only musical values…


True for me. With the crossfader, instantly accessed scenes, live on the fly sampling, plays free tracks, and what not I think it is the most perfomance friendly Elektron machine to date.

But yeah it can be a bit of a headache to set up, but given all the options for usage it is inevitable I guess, it woukd be great to have proper user templates though.


I’ll sequence out some loops in Live and drop those into the OT, and vice versa - mangle things with the OT and load them back into Live. Or, route things around and use Live as an effects box for the OT.

Sometimes I just screw around on the OT as a way to generate ideas that I then try to flesh out exclusively in Live.

I treat the OT as an instrument, and I think newcomers especially would get more out of it and be frustrated less if they approached it this way - experimenting with it like an instrument, see where it fits - and it doesn’t have to fit in everywhere - instead of immediately trying to force it to replace a complete DAW workflow, or feeling like you need to use it all the time.


I haven’t had my instruments around lately, there must be something wrong with me…
Anyway just last night I was jamming on the OT and I realized there wasn’t much time happening where I wasn’t doing anything… Playing the fader, selecting scenes and jumping between them, constantly bringing tracks in and out, some at selective fader positions… Fading to one scene, drastically changing the other one and fading back to it… Tweaking knobs while moving fader, part reload… Chromatic mode, other modes… Tweaking midi parameters, on and on…
Definitely an instrument if you want it to be, there wasn’t more than a few seconds that would go by where I wasn’t glued right in there tweaking in the moment to make the sounds…

Now when I get my instruments back it’s gonna be harder to put it on more “auto-pilot” for me after my latest experiences…


What’s the right controller? Do you mean to say the Octa doesn’t provide enough control itself?

Yup, and that’s why it’s seems so exciting to me… There’s nothing else like it… But will it fit mine? Exciting times :slight_smile:

These are the statements :smiley:

The workaround is making a default project and save it under a different name, right?

This I dig

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Sounds like something I’d like to do :slight_smile:

What happened?

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Haha, it sounds like they were takin from me or something, it’s not that bad, story goes like this…
I had to leave my awesome cabin in the woods because it was no longer available. Somehow my life got split in three, I couldn’t find a spot for my studio and three cats, the studio went to storage, the cats went to a friends, and I went to a temp spot. I had no idea it would last this long I thought I’d be set up again in January. After a few weeks I freaked out and grabbed at least the OT, Rytm, and computer. Unfortunately I have a skin condition that comes and goes on my hands, it’s been bad lately so I haven’t grabbed my guitar, and part of me sort of didn’t mind because I need to practice much more with the machines to get them up to the level of how I play instruments… Now it’s months later and I’m asking myself why my guitar and keyboard and stuff is still in storage. I think it was worth it though because I have learned a bunch more stuff with the machines…
Here’s my cozy loft jam space I had, Looking forward to the next incarnation, wherever that might be… :thinking:


Whehe. Funny. But I sure hope dude’s stuff didn’t got stolen or something else terrible…

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Ah, wow. Glad it didn’t got stolen or something, because yeah, I feared something like that for a minute.
Still hope you’ll find your place to settle soon.
Then again: “every disadvantage has it’s advantages” as you got into the machines more :smiley:

Cool bunch of noisemakers, btw… Always wanted a theremin…

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Always appreciate new IPad backgrounds from @sezare56! :monkey_face:


If you can make sound with it, then it’s an instrument.
The fact you need to capture/dump sound into it first means it’s a serious instrument.

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This is bloody hilarious. Sitting on the couch with my girl laughing in tears. Tod can you hear me?..Tod…