Good morning all. I was curious if writing a guide on how to use the Octatrack as I’m learning it would be an interesting read for people. I know it’s an older device and there’s plenty of content out there for it but aside from the manual and Merlin’s guide there isn’t a “How to make sample based music from the top” type of guide or “if you want to make whole tracks in the box start here” for people who are new. Nothing out there that I’ve found is really comprehensive and things seem to be more of a collection of non correlating facts. I’m taking notes as I go anyways but if you think this might be useful to the community let me know and throw some ideas my way so I can consider them and write them in as I go. Thanks!
Hilarious but tips and tricks would help anyone new to the device. And writing something in an attempt to teach also helps solidify the material in my brain.
I actually started writing an “OctaTrack Bible” full of tips, tricks, and tutorials.
Was covering everything from basics and file management through to tutorials (with examples) and live set preparation.
My advice would be to have a look at something like the MPC Bible; and write an Octatrack version of that.
I think some cats may have written some stuff for iOS?
Did you do it while learning or after you had a good grasp of everything? What are some things that took you a while to find/figure out but made a huge difference when you did. I’m writing as I go from the perspective of a newbie which may have been done before but I think it would help people like me who have literally just opened the box
I would say I have a vague understanding of the Octatrack.
Not sure; my advice to cats is to walk before you run. Just because you can do all these thing;s doesn’t mean you should. e.g. Wrap your head around Static/Flex first, and the Sequencer functionality, then worry about Parts etc.
I would say our very own @defenestration has cataloged quite a bit of research & how-to’s into his video content for Elektron machines. There you will find guides not just teaching you an Octatrick but fleshing it out - or even turning that one function into an entire track.
I know it isn’t a written manually but the visual learning aspect helps me quite a bit:
EDIT: I know a lot of this content is not for someone brand new but I still think it’s a great resource for understanding the core of the machine.
I have seen this channel in passing and the few videos I have looked at although stuffed with info are really not beginner friendly. And videos are good I find them irritating to follow along with because if something is missed I need to rewind either by clicking or double tapping your screen or what have you. I personally learn better with written steps or instructions because rereading something makes things stick better. Once I get more familiar with the machine I will definitely view his channel again
I’ve been tripped up a few times a long the way.
Grasping the different triggers on the sequencer:how trigless locks and trigless trigs effects LFOs or not and another page for filter env retrig behaviour on the amp set up page.
Subtleties of variable behaviour like this takes time to explore and is unhelpful in the manual.
The way samples play into the next pattern also can change how you use it.
Getting use to the different key trigger modes was useful to ,ie slice play back or slot play back, chromatic or quick mute mode.
Hey man. I am a jazz musician, and wanted a looping device and effects tool, with a foot pedal, so I got into the octatrack. It drove me crazy and I almost quit multiple times. About 4 years later, I can do what i first imagined being possible. I’d be happy to help. You can email me at email@example.com
A beginners guide would definitely probably be useful to many new users, I do think though that the manual covers everything pretty well, Elektron manuals are probably among the best manuals for electronic musical instruments IMHO, and don’t forget the quick guide which is probably worth going through before delving into the full manual:
Seen it. Own it. Read through it. Not saying it’s not bad but it’s not like “hey, got samples and wanna make a song let’s get started!”
Well, that’s the thing about the OT: it doesn’t provide one single workflow, how to accomplish whatever you want to do. You could fill complete books with just that simple “got samples, wanna make a song” premise.
So any guide either doesn’t do justice to what’s really possible (by just showcasing one workflow) or it needs to branch out into a whole forest of workflows.
I guess what’s suits the OT best is a kind of recipes style guide like Merlin’s Guide, but which goes far beyond it (IMHO Merlin’s Guide stops far to soon). But that’s definitely not a task for someone fresh on board who may even still struggle with the concepts and terms involved. Peer learning is in most cases not really a good idea (compared to learning from someone with experience) …
I think the best recourse for learning how to operate the OT is still, the manual.
Learning what to do with the OT, or how to play octatrack , completely different thing. You could literally start a “1000 ways of using an octatrack” series and never finish because its open ended and you would keep finding new things to do.
Not saying what I do will be the end all be all. But I feel like something with at least 1 outlined work flow would be useful. And I’m writing a how to on my own time because it’s how I learn new machines. I’m not doing it for any of you. I was asking if what I do write would be of interest to anyone or if you thought it would help newer folk. Just like with Ableton and other very full featured DAW and machines, sometimes too many options can slow down the process of learning. Everyone wants to do everything but doesn’t know how to put them together in a way that works for them. I’d simply be taking notes of what I learn to accomplish what I want to get out of the machine right now and maybe share that with people that may be interested. Once I can start making things that I’m proud of and happy with I’d share, this is where I started from knowing nothing and this is what I do with the Octatrack to create full tracks that sound like this. Not writing another manual, not writing a guide on all features. Just a work flow that I’m developing for myself because I enjoy taking notes and it’s gonna be written down anyways
Yeah I’ll be interested.
I’m sure many will too.
Agree with absolutely everything you said - apart from beginners teaching beginners. This can be a good thing as its fresh in our minds what is important, relevant and sometimes discover new paths.
I admit though that OT could prove difficult in this regard if things get overlooked.
I say go for it. If writing down exact steps for everything helps you learn, then nothing is lost. Once you’re proficient, refining and sharing your notes wouldn’t harm a new user imo.
Men have written many words concerning the great Octa;
As they chop wood and carry water,
Yet none of them are The True Path,
Can you answer the riddle
Of where the eye ends
and the hand begins?