Octatrack Use Plan questions

I’m hoping this will work for me. Ordered an octatrack mki this week, should be here tomorrow.

I want to be able to”

  • sequence my gear so that I can program in the rhythm of the melody I want and then program the actual notes after. This allows me to set the feel, and then write the melody/chords.
  • automatically sample the synth back in, mangle it, chop it, add fx, etc.
  • sample vinyl and YouTube and blend melodies I found online
  • basically be my melodic centerpiece

I’ll be sequencing my prophet x, grandmother and hydrasynth for now, probably going to pick up a cheap minilogue XD module (not sure I have room for another keyboard as my living situation may be changing soon).

I do not want or need:
Multi sampling
Live playing

I can do those on my Force and work that way, I want a completely different workflow sometimes. More programming ideally.

I want to use it to create my melodic elements basically and treat it is a melodic sequencer/instrument. I’ll start doing drums on it this month, but next month I’m buying a RYTM to handle drum duties. I want to sync them, and send program changes to align the patterns. I was going to get a RYTM whether I liked the octa or not because either way I want a deep analog drum synth that can load samples as well. That’s something I’ve never had.

Soundlike a good plan? Those are my goals, do you all think I made a good choice?

I enjoy exploring new things and diving deep. I like things that make my brain work and think. Ie I read a lot and find problem solving rewarding.

Already asked my RYTM purchasing question in that forum, think I know what I will do there.

Should add I’ve had a digitone before and liked the sequencing from what I remember, but returned shortly after because I did not gel with FM.

I make hiphop. Want a cross between stuff like griselda and old school organized noize (outkast, goodie mob producers). Maybe a little dirtier, and some more synths.

I had the manual and Merlins guide printed and bound at fedex/kinkos, as well as the key combo’s.

Sounds solid to me. If you like the challenge, new approaches, etc as you say then I’d say your in for a fun ride. Maybe the usual hiccups along that way but fun none the less.

Been debating the Octatrack question myself for the entire year I’ve spent learning the Digitakt and thinking more lately, the longer I wait to get the Octatrack then it’s just that much more time wasted not learning it now as it has as a result of the DT become the ideal piece to center around for the real meat and potato’s of how I see myself producing and always did, with a dj approach and I know I should have just saved some money and started on the OT but I was intimidated with the need to learn so much, but it’s very modular so you can really just approach it as what you need as you go so far as what you learn to use it for as I’ve done with the DT.

But I’m glad I started with the DT as I’m planning on keeping it with the OT and then have kind of a machinedrum like set up with the 16 tracks combined.

The XD is choice by the way. Hate to have to dump mine for the OT but I’m sold on the approach and have enough analog sources aside from it, though monophonic. Mine is the keyboard version so probably isn’t a help to your getting a module version. But it’s definitely worth it with the parameter locks and midi CC, one of my fave things with my setup.

I use the OT quite a bit like this. Switching back and forth between the 8 internal voices and midi is really intuitive, and the arranger/sequencer/pattern/parts set up can be very powerful. I’ve done a fair amount of live sampling through the inputs, and loading found sounds/ field recording onto the CF card from the computer, and mixing/mangling live audio from the rest of my studio.

A couple of caveats though. And to be fair these are my personal drawbacks, other workflows may not care about any of this.

  • Chords are a bit of a pain in the ass to manually program. I like subtle offsets on my chord timing, and having each note have its own velocity and length. You can not manually program these on the OT. You can record them live from an external keyboard though, however it takes my hand off of the OT, and also makes it more error prone.

  • The arranger is very powerful, but the inability to sequence part switching is disappointing. I find that one of my major workflows is building and a pattern and then saving it to all 4 parts and tweaking each of those. Live play this works great. but in order to sequence this I have to actually copy that pattern to 4 new slots and then just manually set them. Not ideal.

  • I feel one of the most powerful live things you can do with the OT is manually ‘play’ patterns. However the visual feedback of when a track can be manually triggered is lacking. This is why very often in video tutorials you see folks with a line of tape at the bottom labeling the trigs.

  • Live sample management (editing, saving loading into slots) is a dark art. and on the fly in a dark studio while trying to perform, it can get hairy. Spend a lot of time with this. Its very powerful and has a lot of cool tricks, but it can also be hella frustrating at the start.

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With what you mentioned regarding the visual feedback of the track being manually triggered as lacking, is this just in the MK1 or would you say the MKII still suffers even with the new design so far as visual feedback?

The offsets is something that bothers me a little, but not too much. I’m creating my own sound in a way, and I guess the rigidity of the chords will just have to be a part of it. I’m willing to live with limitations.

The rest, I guess I’ll decide if I can handle it as I go. I do plan to use the arranger as well to arrange songs, and then use the 4 outs to multi track eventually, and then all of the outs from a RYTM and multitrack that. Looking to either add a tascam model 24 or Soundcraft signature MTK 24.

Whole new set up just for this stuff over the next 2 months, and I can’t wait to learn. What I produce on my Force (and previously Live/Push) is mostly Atlanta trap/hiphop, ready for something completely different.

Yea I like the sound of the XD. If there was a prologue module I’d probably get that, for the voices, but I have plenty of other synth voices in my other gear. If 4 analog poly voices isn’t enough, I have the OB6/Voyager/Dreadbox OSC samples loaded into my prophet x, and it really nails analog with them.

I looked at the digitakt almost in place of a RYTM, but I really want the analog drums.

I only have the MKII. And it may be just my workflow, but without the tape labels I am lost if I haven’t been in the studio for a few days.

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One way (there will be a ton of different ways) I handle it, and seems to work ok. Is that I have dedicated track 1 as my sampler track pointed to record buffer 1. From there I can either live loop and mangle from samples tracks. I can also fairly quickly save it to a free flex slot (sometimes I even feel I have time to normalize the sample before saving) Which frees it up for another sample grab. Seems to work ok, and I am able to build up a pretty large sample library of my own stuff fairly quickly.

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Appreciate the insite.