Octatrack Livesets

Hello people. I give it a shot.

My Music

Mix of Electronica, “IDMish”, trip-hop, downtempo

My Gear

Octatrack, A4 and microbrute, but Live-Sets were Octatrack only so far

My Octatrack Setup

Track 1: Drums loops
Track 2: Bass parts
Track 3: Melodic parts
Track 4: Used for transitions.
Track 8: Master track. Using freeze delay effects.

BANKS PARTS PATTERNS AND SCENES

Banks are the songs. One Bank per song.
I rarely use parts.
Patterns are the individual parts of my songs (Intro, build up, main part etc.)
Scenes: One scene for the transition trick, other scenes with lp filter, hp filter, Big Reverb, Sample reducer and bitcrusher for the drums, Retrigger for the drums etc.

How I prepare the set

I tried to find a way to transfer my old Ableton live sets into the Octatrack. One could could argue about how “live” this set is, but that’s my way of doing it.
I bounce Drums, Bass and melody (synths, guitars etc.) of my studio tracks into indiviual audio tracks. But not for the whole track, but for each indiviual part of the song. Any change in the drum pattern or melody is a new stem.
I lock each sample from pool (static machine) to the first trig of it’s pattern. Often I use samples which are longer than 4 bars, so I use the time divider individual for each track.

How I Play

Kind of a DJ Style. My songs are broken down to it’s individual parts, so I can decide when It’s time for the next part and how long it will last. I can mute drums, bass or melody depending on how my mute is at that moment.
I apply a lot of effects with the scenes and using the freeze delay.

I make heavy use of the arranger:
I wanted to get a ableton kind of clip triggering. I pre program the patterns (which are the song parts) with it’s corresponding bank in the arranger. You can choose 64 repeats for every pattern in the arranger. So the pattern loop over and over and i can decide when to change. It’s like changing scenes in ableton live. I also also pre program the tempo for my individual songs in the arranger, because the bpm variy quite strong (from about 90 to 135 bpm).
And I also pre program some scene actions, for example I can program that when I do a transition, the next song starts filtered down and with big reverb and I then I open the filter and reduce the verb to start the song. Just as an example.

My Transitions

Making use of the well known transition trick by Tarekith. I have a flex machine here, assigned to a recorder buffer with a trig on the first step. I activate sampling manually, and record one or two bars.
I use the same scene for transitions in every track. Track 4 is quiet with the crossfader on the left, and active when the crossfader is on the right, but all other tracks are quiet then. Most of the time I use the transitions for heavy effect use, pitch it, reverse it applying effetcs etc.

A lot of words I know :slight_smile: I tried to be clear. Interesting to read how you guys do it, great thread idea.
Here is a little video, where I play two songs with transition of one of my sets.

Cheers

13 Likes

Im new to OT (i purchased mine a few weeks ago) I’m getting the basics sorted out now but your description and video is really useful to develop ideas around workflow and more advanced use of the OT, particularly in a live playing situation. Thx for taking the time to video and explain. Overall, this is a great thread, especially for noobs like me, emphasizes how flexible the OT is and how there is no ‘right way’ to use it - just whatever works for your music and performance. Thx again

2 Likes

Hi guys,

We use this live-setup
:x32 -> rytm (Through)-> mpc1000 (Through) -> prophet (Through) -> octatrack (Through) -> nord waves

  • iPad + Sherman Filterbank2 + Kaoss Pad 3 + Eventide Space

here’s a little live-video:

Cylvester - Get You from Cylvester on Vimeo.

What do you think?

I have a few different setups but my minimal one consists of OT, A4 and Electribe Sampler.

OT Banks = Songs
The first pattern of each bank sends program changes to the A4 and ES2 so they are set up correctly. The part name = the tempo which I set manually as soon as the first pattern starts.

I use part 1 for the patterns I will use, part 2 for recording. The recordings are taken from anything in the studio captured into the OT. All tracks are Flex these days, paranoia about saving wear and tear on the CF card, silly I know.

I don’t have any standard for the tracks or what they do except T8=mastertrack, just to try and restrict me a bit and so I can drop everything into effect mush or filter the whole lot with an ending scene.

My scenes are progression through the main pattern, whatever it is. I try not to do too many patterns since I can’t remember later which are the good ones. Scenes typically perform fade or effect transitions between songs but also bring in LFOs, freakify samples, do things specific to one track which I later completely forget.

I do transitions using other gear, usually by throwing noises from a Lyra-8 or Microgranny 2 into a Boss DD-20 and fading out most of the OT/A4/ES2.

My OT/A4 banks correspond to keys. So bank A is in Am, B is in Bm and so on. If I get to H/I these are entirely percussion and keyless. I use the OT inputs to handle the A4 and ES2 and the A4 inputs handle a Microgranny 2 and SH-101.

I do sorta weird experimental Berlinish noodly occasionally beaty chilled out messy stoner shite.

Sorry, it looks like this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CMf7sr2FkQ&feature=youtu.be

6 Likes

Tell me more! Small linear peaks?

1 Like

Hi guys, I’m pretty new to the octatrack but I feel I’m getting a good workflow so I’m going to share my currejnt setup even if I’m still working on it

My Music

Techno with ambient and dub elements


My Gear

Working on an Octatrack only live set at the moment, I’m going to add a Shruthi, Nord drum and T-resonator as soon as I finish to write all the songs for the set.


My Octatrack Setup

  1. Flex Filter, LO-FI
    kick drum + closed hihat or rimshot. I write the basic 4 on the floor rhytm with some variations for each pattern

  2. Flex Filter/LO-FI, Delay/Reverb
    claps, snare drums, rimshots etc have their place here

  3. Flex Chorus/Phaser, Plate or Dark reverb
    hihats track

  4. Flex Filter, Delay
    Track mostly used for chord stabs.

  5. Static Filter, Dark reverb/Delay
    I use this track for longer samples and for pads

  6. Flex Filter/comb filter, Delay/Reverb
    Different for every song, it could be additional pad/stabs/synth riff/resampling of another track

  7. Flex Filter, LO-FI
    Bassline track, here I mostly use single cycle waveforms

  8. MASTER Compressor
    Master track with compression. I’m planning to add another fx in order to use it as a global fx in transitions between songs

####BANKS
Each banks hosts two songs. Pattern 1-9 is a song, 10-18 another one.

####PARTS
Two parts per song. Usually the second part is for the transition

####PATTERNS
Each pattern is a piece of the song.

####SCENES
I use them to add variation elements to the song. I like to setup scenes in order to have two different “version” of the pattern I’m playing.

####LFOs
I use LFOs for adding slight variations on some track’s parameter-> hold on hihats, filter width/base on the pad track.
I like to control LFO depth with scenes


How I prepare the set

My samples come from my own productions and gear and from sound packs found on the web. I write the sequence for each track and use different patterns to add variations to the song.
Defined the structure of the song and the overall fx parameter settings I save the part and start jamming changing parameters and experimenting with different settings. When I find some interesting result I start to lock fx, amp and lfo to scenes.

How I Play

I try to set my pattern and scenes in a way in which they almost always sound good so I can jam without having to worry that much

My Transitions

I’m still figuring out how to make transitions between songs :thinking:


I have a gig in less than a month, I hope I’ll be able to set up my set by then

4 Likes

This is such an amazing thread!

Thanks to everyone that has posted!
I used to have an OT and mostly used it as a mixer and effects box - but it was very educational reading through this.

1 Like

Hi there, thought I’d trow in my contribution… after a lot of thinking , experimenting, planning ahead and reading, I decided to go my own way, and apparently it’s not mainstream.

My Music

I’ve no clue how I should call it. I’ll let others put a name on it if they want to. Composing a piece is a long process. I intellectualize a lot, content is essential.

My Octatrack Setup

I use sets as sets, what everybody calls a song I like to call a piece, which translates to project in the OT, and I use banks to elaborate the project. So, 1 “song” per project. Bank A contains the actual patterns/parts I decided to keep for the live performance. Bank P is a 1:1 copy of Bank A should something go wrong with bank A. All the other banks are mostly sketch-banks, that’s where I elaborate and experiment without risking to overwrite bits and pieces of other “songs”.

So I really consider the Elektron “SET-PROJECT” paradigm for what I believe it was meant to be. This really avoids me to mess up slots, slices, and all other stuff belonging to other “songs”. Using 1 bank for a song or for several songs is really too risky for my taste and needs additional brain gymnastics I really can do without, my stuff is already complicated enough. EDIT: another huge advantage of this workflow is that I’ll always load the saved state of a project (=“song”). I am absolutely sure I will always have the exact same starting point. That is not the case if we use a bank per song. There’s lot that can go wrong when using a bank/song. Like you switch from one song to another, start tweaking, switch to another, mangle everything, at one point you do “save project” because whatever, and then everything is permanently messed up!

I have no particular one-size-fits-all OT set-up, but I always have at least 3 pick-up machines ready for bass guitar, electric guitar and live vocals. Depending on the piece I’m working on there can be statics for looooong files (field recordings often) or flex’s that read the PUM recording buffers. Sometimes I use a mastertrack but I’m not very fond of it: if I do, it’s punctually, per part.

I own some sample banks (the Samples from Mars collection, plus a lot of stuff I gathered over the years) but rarely use them for other things than drum parts. Most of what I do is done live, or sampled from my own synths or audio sources specifically for the project. I use a lot of field recordings. (Always have a pocket recorder with me). The OT hardly ever does basic drum duties. The Digitone however does. I like it.

I always have 3 sequencers running. I find that more flexible than centralizing everything on the OT. It rises the serendipity factor (aka: “happy accidents”)

My Gear

I use the Octatrack (master clock), Digitone, SP-16, AS-1, Blofeld, Animoog on an iPad, Equator softsynth with a Roli keyboard (If there were a hardware equivalent to the Equator I’d go for it but as of now Equator is quite unique and really useful for what I do) . I have a Touché midi controller to modulate midi CC’s in a very spectacular way. External FX from Eventide and Strymon. I play electric and acoustic guitar, and bass (using their specific compressor/preamps/cab sim plus an Analog Drive, but they share time-based effects with the rest of the rig) Every piece of gear is individually patched (inputs and outputs) to a Soundcraft Impact mixer so I can route anything anywhere, including chaining gear on the fly. When playing live, often a sax player or a percussionist joins in, I just plug them into the mixer and he’s part of the set-up. OT’s master and cue ouputs are of course individually patched in the mixer like anything else.
Sampling is done either on the OT or the SP-16, both are fed with one of the 14 submixes (not all are used for routing or sends, they also feed the monitors) so I juste dial in the combination of external sources I need to be sampled. There is of course a vinyl turntable within reach.

I play synths live using either the SP-16 pads, the Roli keyboard or the DN trig keys. I don’t have a dedicated master keyboard: I can’t play piano anyway. The Roli is fun to play for a guitar player because it’s very tactile and reacts very much like guitar strings.

All the midi is routed through a iConnectMidi4+.

I use a Yamaha MFC10 footpedal to control OT’s PUM’s, mutes on DN tracks, control the Eventide stompboxes that are NOT on the floor but side by side with the synths because KNOBS :slight_smile: and whatever else needs to be controlled while I’m playing guitar or bass.

My Transitions

I have no obligation to keep the music flowing seamlessly to keep the people on the floor, so transitions are not a big deal rhytm-wise, I can take some time to switch projects but often I start a sequence on one of the sequencers while I load the other ones, or I play bit of a vinyl, or whatever is suitable for the particular transition. Because of the flexible set-up the mixer provides, I can also easily fill the gap with, for instance a field recording running through an filter plus a modulated delay commanded by a midi track on the Digitone while I reload the Octatrack. Or a DN chord progession heaviliy modulated use the Touché (one hand required).

So my set-up is not 100% computerless because I need/want Equator (which runs standalone), and also I use it for librarian duties/file management and configuration software, but it’s DAW-less. On stage, the laptop’s lid is closed. I use a Midi Control app on a Android smartphone to change presets on Equator and whatever else needs to be reconfigured/reset on the fly that would be cumbersome using the MFC10. (Very convenient and tiny footprint)

Disclaimer

I am a bit embarassed because my report might come over a bit as a show-off of gear. It isn’t meant to be: I just wanted to share because maybe some ideas could be helpful to others, I myself have been inpired many times by other people’s ways of doing things (including on this forum, one of the best I know) and I’m grateful they shared it. To put things in perspective, I’m a 61 years old professional, I started in the music business in 1978 so I gathered (and lost, too) some stuff over the years… I’m not a spoiled gear-laden 16 year old.

12 Likes

Wow! Sounds VERY interesting!

Do you have any videos? I’d love to see this is full flow!
And for 61… you rock!!!

1 Like

I have one in the making but that might take some more time to finish.

My live set ups vary alot depending on the project.
Currently I am playing in a band. I play synths an OT, the other guy plays baritone sax. Everything is kept as simple as can be, leaving lots of space for the lush tones we are creating.
T1 is thru machine for Lyra.
T2 is neighbour machine
T3 Thru machine for extra synth if required.
T4 flex muted. Used to send triggers through cue output to extra synth trig in (old synths no midi).
T5 static machines playing samples.
Each part is a song. No need for continous DJ style music so we have no need for transitions. Most of what I do is improvised. Loving it so far, very excited about where this project might go.

4 Likes

I kinda have the same approach since I compose on ableton (also Electronica kinda), it took me a month to discover the OT and figure out how to play live with it. I have a Machinedrum and a Minilogue (doing mostly Bass parts) and tracks of stems or sliced material in flex or static depending on how large they are ^^
Thanks for sharing your experience, there are some tricks I didn’t thought about :slight_smile: like using the arranger to simulate Live’s Scenes.

1 Like

Music:
Techno

Gear:
OT + Maschine + Ecler Nuo 4.0 mixer

Current Approach:
OT tracks 5-8 - slice and dice previously recorded and heavily compressed/limited drum jam sessions.
Maschine - jam until the MacBook crashes (lid closed).
OT tracks 1-4 - resample Maschine.
Mixer - Tracks 1-2 OT, 3 Maschine, 4 free for others (sometimes sub mixer).

So I ventured into into my first live experiment a few days ago. Sampled a random gospel record, got some good loops going from resampling and went from there. Almost completely improvised. Definitely need to work on some prepared banks that I can jump too when I venture out too far and need a new home base, but it’s so fun and inspiring to work this way.

(Also there’s some ø-coast stuff that should have been recorded but I forgot to arm the track …)

Music:
Techno (predominantly dub(

Gear:
OT, DSI Tempest, Make Noise Ø-Coast, Ibanez AD-202 BBD Delay, Strymon Big Sky all going into a Allen & Heath MixWizard and Direct Outs to the AD converters.

3 Likes

It has been a while since I posted my setup here and it have changed quite a bit in the last months so here is an update, hope it can be useful and provide new ideas

My Music

fast-paced techno/breakbeat with acid and dub influences


My Gear

Octatrack & Machinedrum. Sometime I process the main out with a T-Resonator in order to saturate the sound


My Octatrack Setup

  1. Thru machine Filter, Compressor
    This track processes the audio from the Machinedrum. I almost never touch the filter, the compressor is used so that the different MD’s kits sound at the same volume

  2. Flex Filter, Plate reverb/delay
    Flex machine recording and playing back the sounds coming from Track 1. I moslty play with heavy LFO modulation on both fx1 and fx2 parameters in order to get percussive layers

  3. Flex Filter, Plate reverb/delay
    Track used for hihats sounds and percussive elements

  4. Flex Filter, Delay
    I often place short synth sounds here, this track is used for riffs or dub stabs.

  5. Static Filter, Dark reverb
    Pad track playing back longer samples.

  6. Flex Filter, Delay/Plate reverb
    This track plays back the audio coming recording track 4, 5 or Cue. Mostly used to add some ambience and more layers to the track

  7. Static Filter, Compressor
    Bassline track. I make huge use of sample retrigger and LFO modulation in order to get fast basslines. The compressor helps controlling the volume as I like to push the filter distortion and Q.

  8. Master track Filter, Compressor
    Utility track with which I ensure that the song’s volumes are coherent

####BANKS
Each bank stores 2 songs

####PARTS
One part per song

####PATTERNS
I usually use 4 or 5 patterns for a single song.
Pattern 1 has tracks 5 and 6 set as “Play free” so I can play them as i want during transitions. Bassline track usually have a “dummy” trig with the volume p-locked to -63 so it stops the playback of the previous song’s bassline

####SCENES
I usually set up 8 scenes per song. The amount of fx parameter and LFO depht linked to scenes increases as the scene number goes up. This allows me to know the degree of variation the scene is going to add t the song

My Transitions

I usually take out the bassline and filter out some frequencies on the MD, then I change song and let the old samples play for a while before triggering tracks 4 and 5, then I change the drum kit and proceed with the new song


This is what my latest recorded live set sounds like:

12 Likes

My Music

Techno, loopy, melodic, dubby, aiming for hypnotic. The idea of this live setup is to be able to play with my songs like a dub mixer with my launch control XL (so mute tracks, play with levels, filters and effects sends), transition between tracks like with Ableton clips and all that while being able to change song by changing pattern.
This is intended to be a core setup that allows me to play released and unreleased songs I produced in the studio. Of course, involving more instruments and a mixer, more improvisation could be added to the mix, but that’s beyond what I’m explaining here.

My Gear

Octatrack, Launch Control XL, Model Samples, Boss RE-20, Boss RV-6, EHX Platform

My Octatrack Setup

T1-T6 – STATIC MACHINES, Loops and Stems from my tracks. Each has a filter and a reverb assigned to the relevant channel on the LCXL. Order is: Kick, Cymbals, Percs, Bass, Lead, Back
T7 – THRU Machines for the Model Samples where I have some drum machines samples to have fun with on top of my tracks. Same effects and mapping as track 1-6
T8 - MASTER with a filter and a reverb mapped to the 8th channel on my LCXL
RE-20 and RV-6 pedals are used as send effects using the cue output and the direct inputs A&B, and the level is mapped to a button on the LCLX

BANKS

4 Tracks per bank, I aim to organize banks by BPM but it’s not the case at the moment. My tracks are warped into Ableton to the closest BPM multiple of 5 so I can avoid weird glitches due to timestretching. And I only play the play the OT at those multiples of 5. Currently I have 120, 125 and 130 BPM tracks.

PARTS

One part per song, so four songs per bank. Each song only has one audio file per track, so six in total. Audio tracks are stitchings of loops and stems exported from Ableton and glued together using Octachainer, then imported and used as sliced in the OT. That way, if I want the first loop of percs, I launch the corresponding slice on the percs track, and if I want to launch the stem of the full track, I just need to change slice.

PATTERNS

I have 3 patterns per track:

  • one intro pattern with armable trigs usually locked on the first slice of my audio tracks, except for the bass one that I usually don’t launch then. They all have start silent to no, this way I can have loops from the previous pattern continue looping while I take out parts, launch the new one by arming the trig and bring it in.
  • one main pattern that launches stems for some tracks (usually not the kick as it is a loop that runs the whole song). Trigs have a “1st” condition so stems are triggered when I change pattern but the run free for the rest of the song.
  • one outro pattern with outro loops that have “1st” conditions too so i can change to this pattern, let it start, and then change to the intro pattern of the following track right away and work on my transition. I tend to cut the bass at that moment by making it start silent and not putting a trigger.

SCENES

Not using scenes for the moment

LFOs

Not using LFOs either

How I prepare the set

So the longest part of the preparation is exporting loops and stems and stitching them together using Ableton and Octachainer. I do a first export of the six groups of tracks from the original Ableton projects, taking out fades, that way I get six nice stems at the correct tempo and overall volume. Then I import those stems in another Ableton project that I use to extract loops for my intros and outros and to prepare the main stems for each channel. I start all them at the same point of my track so the song plays well when moving to the main pattern. And then I loop the end a few times so I get a bit of security and time to move to the outro pattern when playing the main pattern.
Once I have all my loops and stems, I glue them together using Octachainer, ususally a few intro loops first, the main stem and then an outro loop. This way I know when I build my patterns on the OT that the intro pattern should launch the first slice, the main pattern while launch the next to last slice and the outro pattern while launch the last one. The chains are glued at the correct OT BPM, are all in loop mode and timestretch is either beats for drum parts or normal for melodic ones.
I then import everything into the OT and build my patterns as explained for every song.
This way of working allows me to only use six audio tracks per song, while still giving a lot of freedom by allowing to effect and mix each one of them individually. The only drawback is the samples list limit that only allows me a maximum of around 21 tracks (128/6 = 21,3333) which allows me to play a little more than two hours.

How I Play

In principle, I don’t need the M:S to play, everything can be done with just the OT.
I start by building my first track with the intro pattern, bringing loops in slowly, using multiple slices to add variation. When the track is full enough, I move to the main pattern which plays the main part of the song’s arrangement, giving freedom to play with levels, effects and filters, while adding some percussions with the model samples. When the arrangement comes to the ending loop I can then start my transition.

My Transitions

So once I reached the ending loop (or before depending on the “success” of the track :slight_smile: ) I move to the outro pattern which launches ending loops. I immediately move to the intro pattern of the next song and start working my transition buy fading out loops, sending parts to delays, and bringing in loops from the new track. Once everything is in, I can start the cycle again.

Some Examples
Here are two recording of rehearsals I did recently for an upcoming gig. You will hear that it is still a bit wonky because I have to get used to this way of playing (it is mostly theory for the moment) but still I think it can work really well and allow me to play my tracks with a lot of freedom and smoothness

I hope everything was it least understandable, if something isn’t clear please feel free to tell and I’ll edit the post for clarity, describing an OT live set is never an easy exercice!

6 Likes

I can’t believe you don’t use scenes lol. What’s the point of the master track without scenes?

What a nice way to ask a question!

I’m using my LCXL to control the master effects as explained in my post. Not really fan of the crossfader, but you do you.

2 Likes

Hey everybody, here’s a video of a gig recorded this week end with this setup in effect, hope you’ll like it!

3 Likes

My Music

Everything from tech house, dub techno, to chill downtempo. Usually a combination of all three.


My Gear

These days my Octatrack live sets use only the Octatrack itself. Source samples come from previously released studio songs.


My Octatrack Setup

Track 1 - Kick and Snare, effects are usually filter or EQ, and some delay.

Track 2 - Percussions, effects are usually filter or EQ, and some delay.

Track 3 - HiHats and Cymbals, various effects depending on the song.

Track 4 - Bassline, filter and EQ most of the time, occasionally the compressor.

Track 5 - Leads and Synths, various effects depending on the song.

Track 6 - Pads and Fills, filter and reverb/delay.

Track 7 - Always a Recorder track set up for the transition trick.

Track 8 - Master Track.

BANKS, PARTS, PATTERNS:

I keep everything as one to one as I can here, with each pattern being a “song” for me. Bank 1 uses patterns 1-4, which each use Part 1-4, then Bank 2 is patterns 5-8, which each use pArts 1-4 again, repeat.

SCENES

Scene 1 is always my normal dry scene assigned to A on the crossfader.

Scene 2 is always for the transition trick and lets me instantly switch to a real-time recorder playing back the previous 4 bars continuously updated.

Scene 9 is a global high pass filter.

Scene 10 is a global low pass filter.

Scenes 12-14 are song specific and do things like lowering all sample decay times, increasing LFO amounts and speeds, weird effects settings, you name it. Anything goes here.

Scene 15 is a global delay wash that also kills or reduces the kick and bassline tracks.

Scene 16 is similar to 15 but with Reverb on the master channel.

LFOs

Almost always to slowly modulate filter cutoff or other effects parameters to help avoid the set sounding too “loopy”. Occasionally I’ll use them to mimic side-chaining.


How I prepare the set:

I go through my studio songs and create 4 bar stems for each of the first 5 tracks on the Octatrack. IE, all the percussion tracks will be summed to only a stereo 4 bar loop. Once in the OT, I use slicing, randomized locks, and other tools to remix the songs into something a little different sounding compared to the studio versions.

Track 6 is playing a 32 bar sample of my pads and transition sounds, with a lot of work in the DAW making sure I have enough fills to keep the song feeling like it’s flowing and that it loops perfectly. I then set this 32 bar sample to loop indefinitely in the OT, and use one shot triggers to activate it. Again, this helps keep things from sounding just like the same 4 bar loop repeating for the whole song and adds a lot of movement to song.

How I Play

Watch the video, you can see it all there :wink:

My Transitions

I always use the OT transition trick to transition from one song to the next, it’s by far my favorite thing about the Octatrack as it offers so much flexibility in how I perform moving from one song to another. Most people here probably know me from the videos I made centuries ago on how to do this, so I won’t go into more detail about it here :slight_smile:

6 Likes