Octatrack: Audio Levels/Establish Baseline/Stage

So, I am new to the Octatrack.

I had really thought I had my system pretty good with synths, hardware, iOS devices, and MacBook.

But, I had to go and get an Octatrack and destroy years of establishing a norm and system…:crazy_face:

So, what are some recommendations or systems or methods for getting audio coming from various sources and then passing on to mixers and other interfaces?

In particular, I guess, the mixer screen vs per track controls in figuring it all out.

Do you work big picture on Octatrack with a minimum/max levels in mind and then tweak the sound per track, do you do this prior to the audio leaving to go onto a mixer/interface?

What are some effects to maybe avoid when doing this that may complicate the signal quality most?

I got the new Octatrack several weeks ago and have been mainly working it as a thru machine, record a couple loops, and then some other minor things. But, I was doing in a way that I listened through the Octatrck headphone. I also didn’t have many of the signals going anywhere such as a DAW or PA system where they could be heard/recorded.

This is my first attempt at now going outside the box and taking the things in it and through it onto other places. I realize this is marathon not a sprint, so I am not hoping for a miracle.

I hope this was somewhat clear on where I am at and what I am asking.

For instance, I have Digitakt, DIgitone, ModelSamples, Aruturia synth, Monostation, etc that I am running through the Octatrack and/or Mixer and then to the interface to its final destination.

Setting the levels and approaches using the Octa mixer and levels is the information I am hoping to get insight on.

Thank you.

This is a huge topic. Search octatrack gain staging on here and you will find some tips.

Its a very personal thing, and depends entirely on your source material. Are your samples normalised? Are you mixing other instruments through the octatrack? Are you mixing inside octatrack then recording the stereo mix?
Are you multitracking each track of your OT project into a DAW? If so then I would suggest levels dont matter since you can change them post recording.

Everyone will have their own way of doing things. Example, i like to mix into the track 8 compressor, so all my levels on the other tracks are pretty low ( around 50) so I dont get distortion in the compressor. The octatrack compressor has masses of make up gain so I can mix low to keep things clean, then smash a sound system to bits with make up gain. Recording = I dont care what the main output level is so long as it doesnt clip the recorder.


Cool! Thanks for your feedback.

I am realizing some of this with track on the Octa.

It is also the reason I am removing the Circuit from my Rig because that Components auto compresses the sound…so the Circuit doesn’t work in the big picture.

Appreciate your time

No worries. For what its worth, I use the level meter on my mixer and solo each OT channel to get an idea of where my levels are. My goal is always to get a mix that peaks at 0db from my octatrack output.

Then I record at low levels, can always bump the gain up and do mastering stuff afterwards.

Great idea! solo.

I am having this weird issue to be honest as I am attempting to figure this out.

Where I have Flex Machines and then 2 thru machines…but my thru machines encoders are not changing anything…what is up with that? Am I missing something with the OCTA when you have audio coming and going regarding mix settings or something that would cause this?

check the mixer and see if your inputs are coming in live. if so, turn them down. now you won’t hear the incoming signal. to get it processed via the thru machins, lay down a trig on its track - this tells the thru machine to listen for incoming signal

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You need to place a trig to let the audio through a thru machine. One trig with inf hold will let the audio pass through infinitely. Or, the trig can act as a gate. How you use that gate is up to you.

Thanks for the feedback!

I am learning the paradigm this thing operates on I think…new way of looking at things…

Thanks mate

Or you can hold the track button beside the screen and push play. I never have a trig down on my thru machines

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Level reader on what mixer? Sorry, still working on this and was re reading the thread.

So, on the MIXER of the OCTATRACK… DIR is what level I hear through phones, what is the GAIN vs MAIN for practical purposes?

Do you use the Octa headphone jack or do you have OCTA Audio going somewhere else?

Thanks again for real

I run my OT (and other instruments) through a small A&H mixer then to speakers. The mixer has a level meter on it. That’s what I use.

In the OT mixer page, DIR is the level of the input, routed directly to the output. Gain is the input gain for the input.
I dont use OT heaphone output.

I suggest you revise the mixer page section of the manual if you are unclear of the controls.

The GAIN on the mixer page is crucial when recording an external input. Make a test sound and watch the meter LEDs. If you get the level right at that stage, you won’t have to adjust sample gain or track VOL or track LEV much further along the chain.

I agree with those suggesting to keep sample volumes in the low side and make up for it with a master comp. if the VOL is too high for a track, it can clip the Fx; also the summing of the master bus doesn’t sound nice if the tracks collectively are too loud, you lose depth, it’s not like some nice old ‘character’ mixer. So better to err on the quieter side until the master has eaten all the signals, and boost the overall volume there.
(Pls note: I am no tech expert,these are just my preferences after c.6 months with an OTmk1)


Thanks for your technical expertise…:grinning:

OP was banned