Octatrack as dub mixer to finish tracks and perform live

Hello everybody,

I have this idea of a project on the Octatrack that would be designed to perform the last phase of making a track by performing it and doing the arrangement live. By that I mean that I exclude everything having to do with generating ideas, recording or even actually mixing the tracks from the equation. In this project I want to start from already produced, EQed and compressed loops or stems and play them with my Octatrack setup as a dub mixing station.
For this I plan on using the OT, a launchcontrol XL and an effect pedal as a send effect and record the output of the OT directly to the master. The effect pedal will almost certainly be my RE-201 but I’m still wondering how to setup the OT and Launchcontrol to get the best playability. At the moment, what I have in mind is:

  • The eight tracks are actual tracks, no master track
  • Two knobs on each track will be used for EQs with controls relevant to the track, so for the bass for example, I will control bass and mediumss, but for the hats I will control the mediums and highs, and pick the crossover frequency accordingly
  • The third knob will be for a reverb send. I also think I will assign the crossfader to the reverb size on every channel as I want to simulate a send effect to a single pedal
  • The two buttons per channel will be mute and delay send. I’m not sure I want to have a dedicated channel for the delay as I don’t want to go overboard with the feedback, so I don’t think I need to use a loop for that.
  • Tracks will be devided in loops for repeating patterns and stems for evolving synths and such. But I think my loops will still be long ones to include some variations.
  • It is likely that one track will be dedicated to ambient noise only such as field recordings and vinyl cracle as it is important to the sound.
  • I also plan to use sample chains to chain more than one loop in a sample as I don’t want use multiple patterns in order to ensure continuity of my levels and effects settings throughout the performance

I think that’s all for the moment. All my effects slots and controls on the Launch Control XL are assigned but I’m still left with a few buttons I have to decide how to use. In the end I want to use this setup to finish tracks but also to perform live by going from loop to loop in a progressive manner with smooth transitions.

What do you think of the idea? What would be your integration of this concept? Did I forget something? Would you do something differently? Should i use filters instead of EQs? Am I missing something without the delay feedback loop?

Thanks for reading!

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I use the octatrack for this purpose. I think it’s easier to use already cut up samples for each loop rather than relying on using sample chains and plocking. If you mess up the sample chain creation you have to reimport the entire sample, which gets old real fast. You also can’t autoslice an arbitrary number of times (eg. 17 slices) so you’re stuck with going into Ableton and making sure everything is 4 bars/8 bars long- a massive headache and also compositionally restricting.

I like filters instead of eqs, but YMMV. Both the DJ eq and the filter FX sound good and have lots of live tweakability.

I’ve done this twice, and I usually have my tracks set up as follows:
T1: Drums, Flex track for slicing
T2: Bass, static
T3: Chord/Pad/Synth static
T4: something else
T5: something else
T6: Flex used as a “Thru” track by recording the cue output
T7: Neighbor
T8: Master

I find it very nice to have a master track so that you don’t have to duplicate FX just to do a low pass filter or isolator and also so that I can gather the output of the T6-T7 bus.

Here’s an example of a track I did with that, it’s lofi hip hop but you probably get the idea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAi2koK-5RA

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Thanks for your answer!

I’ll take a listen to your track once I leave work.

Just so you know, there is a software called Octachainer that you can use to chain samples with arbitrary lengths. You simply import samples you want to chain together and it will create the wav and the .ot file with slice points correctly located.

Should work great for your project:)

I used to do a similar thing except with a rytm n a4 into the OT. However I am literally changing up my setup today to a no loop project selling my OT to get a Xone96, then using a dub delay and reverb pedals on the two send/returns to make live dubby goodness.

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Oh, that’s neat. I will look into Octachainer. So far I have been doing a purely Ableton based workflow and then cutting/pasting stuff after the fact into pieces for the Octatrack. It would be nice to have stuff in sample chains because then it wouldn’t take up so many sample slots.

I also plan to use sample chains to chain more than one loop in a sample as I don’t want use multiple patterns in order to ensure continuity of my levels and effects settings throughout the performance

I think you probably mean Parts, right? I just ended up plocking a sample per pattern. That was a lot easier than remembering to change the slice I was on and correctly triggering it.

EDIT: typos and formatting

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Oh yes, that’s true, I tend to conflate both :slight_smile:

I use slices all the time, nearly on everything i prepare for ot. its perfect way to put different parts of something into a one knob change it thing. i have drumkits too prepared in a way that i can quickly slice them, not only synthloops, etc. i have a structure for my kits: like (not exactly, but you get it) 1-2 kicks, 3-4 snare or a like sounds, 5-6 short percussion, 7-8 hats, 9-10 long percussion, 11-12 fx, … you get the idea. You can swap fast your whole drumkit and keep pattern.
the same applies to loops, etc. for other sounds. one knob inside a pattern where you change your bassline with a twist? nice a lot of variantions inside one pattern. setting your fader action to slicenumber? nice.

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interesting, I never established a convention for my slices, that would make it a lot more convenient to use and set up beats without having to do the typically extensive editing that I’m usually doing for the octatrack

Okay, first recorded attempt here at a live set in this fashion, transitions are slow but that’s the point :slight_smile:
Octatrack only, mixing ideas recorded before on my modular and some field recordings, space echo as an aux, and an EHX Platform on the main output to compress and add warmth. No Launchcontrol yet, and changing stems on every track is a bit boring, but I couldn’t use patterns or banks.
There are problems like bad loops, some abrupt mutes, and some exports were badly made so, room for improvements!

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Not much to add, other than keep at it, and nice music :+1:

Thanks a lot! Will try to add to it and improve the performance side, can’t wait to add the Launch Control though!

btw, I noticed someone listened from Palaiseau in France, is there an Elektronaut in my neighbour city? (Je vis à Massy)

Nice. Did you use something like Elements, or just OT Comb Filters?

Je suis pas passé loin de Massy, mais c’est exceptionnel !

Ah mince, dommage!

Thanks! And very close, I used one of the physical modelling algorithms on Plaits

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