Octatrack MIDI + Ableton Drum Racks = Powerful Drum Machine!

Not sure why everyone is sleeping on this great post? Maybe their minds are blown so can’t reply?


Lots of great info here! Since getting an Octatrack (MK1) recently I’ve been using my Push less while I try to learn the mysterious ways of the Octa so maybe I’ll give this a go (although I also have a Machinedrum for drums). That midi pitch device is definitely useful - not sure how I missed it before. Ableton definitely has a different idea about what C1 is than my midi-cv converter (the excellent CV.OCD).

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thanks for this, going try it out

Yeah, really though. Nowadays with a good sound card a computer is one of the most powerful synthesizers. I’ve been learning Ableton operator this week, easily triggered with my OT via innterconnectivity mio. I suppose I could use the rack and pack it with a bunch of Operators…Or, for the analogue side of sound, I’ll be triggering my U-he Repro synths!
I have been experimenting with drum racks…Maybe I got the idea from a post from you a while ago,…But I’ve been just using a drum rack per midi channel/track, and triggering chromatic. I may try your way though…
Also, I’d like to use the knobs on the OT to control knobs in Ableton. Tried it the other day… Hit the midi learn button, but Live didn’t receive any midi info. Just quick, do you know what setting on the OT I need to change? Or, I’ll read the FM…Anyways, great post! Thanx!


Also, just thought of all that could be done with a few single simpler’s in Ableton…For really long backing tracks, ambient noise-scapes, Triggered with conditional trigs…just a thought. I’m going back to my Nord Modular days of integration.

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**EDIT: **


Lots ot interesting thoughts in this tread. Not using live/making finished tracks much lately but have bookmarked it for when that fycle comes around again. Thanks

This is interesting, but I’m not sending audio through Ableton, or syncing Ableton with the OT. Just triggering Ableton tracks and sending them back to the OT inputs, using the OT effects on a thru machine + neighbor tracks. Am I correct that you are trying to do something other that what the original poster described?

@jbone1313 this is a godsend. Thank you very very much. Since I got ERM Multiclock I am really enjoying the flow of the studio. Analog desk, analog synths, Live 10, bunch of plugins. And yeah I need to adjust the ERM with a knob occasionally. It doesn’t bother me but I didn’t think of using it through External Audio Effect. Lets try! Thanks man!

But hey, if it works for you, sounds fun!

No. You will have this issue even if you are not syncing or monitoring OT’s audio through Ableton.

Syncing properly, however, is the answer. Read my post closely.

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You’re welcome. It took me ages to figure this out. PS: I added another tip at the end of my OP above. :slight_smile:

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Absolutely . And this is precisely why I only use plugins while tracking that don’t add latency.

WaveArts Tube Saturator 2, Kush Omega Transformer 458a, Waves API 550B, and Ableton’s Compressor without lookahead are what I use for exactly the reasons you describe.
On some of them you have to turn off oversampling to get the plugin down to 0 added latency.


do a video

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Yep. I preferred the “set it; forget it” convenience of the sync products. I seem to recall that when I was fiddling with manual adjustments like you described, there were some issues with sends and returns despite using zero latency plugins. It might have been due to me using the External Instrument device to send MIDI to other synths, as the External Instrument Device does add about 8ms latency on my system. Again, everything got weirder with the sends and returns.

In any event, if people want to try this stuff, it is good for them to be aware of these potential pitfalls. :slight_smile:

Yea. I never use that device. Just assign the in/out manually in the audio track itself and use insert FX mostly, thanks to a fast cpu.

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I’m a better writer than video producer so that is not going to happen but thanks for the thoughtful feedback!


With that, the trade off, of course, is you have to live with the (extremely low in your case) latency and be mindful of the fact that adding latency inducing plugins will mess things up. Moreover, if you start running CPU intensive plugins like Diva or Repro, I reckon you might start to have some CPU issues or audio cracking at such low latencies. For me, dealing with those limitations makes me want to avoid the “manual compensation” method and stick with a sync box.

Different strokes.

But, if you are using Ableton only as a drum machine like your OP contemplates, then it is probably much easier to manage all of the latency stuff.

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It took me forever to figure out everything you’ve described in your post, especially since a lot of it is not well documented. I would have killed to see a post like that two years ago, lol! Anyway, I’m 100% with you on the external sync, set-and-forget solution. It makes DAW integration and cool ideas like AdamJay’s so much more robust and flexible. My set up is still a ridiculously complex mess of latency adjusted tracks, external clock streams and external instrument devices to account for my varied midi routing, multiple sequencers, etc, BUT, now that its done, it doesn’t matter how many latency inducing plugins I add, everything is always perfectly on time no matter what. I really appreciate not having to think about it. I feel bad for anyone going down the ableton sync rabbit hole without one of these external solutions. You’re not going to like what you find down there.