OT : First Steps

Pardon the joy, but there’s an Octatrack MkII in the mail headed my way. I love my Digitakt (and so am vaguely familiar with the ethos/attitude of Elektron workflow) and am excited for the new environment.

My question is this: if you could do it all over again, how would you have spent your first month with the OT? Would you have gone harder on the manual? Just let loose and learn by screwing around? Watch certain tutorials? Pay particular attention to certain functions? Read certain forum threads? Download certain random things? Eat less, play more?

Thank you for your generosity.


Welcome to the forum!




I think Merlin’s guide is a good orientation coming from the DT. It has a pretty helpful thread, but the PDF is solid.

I would start with static samples only that you load from your personal collection and play with scenes and the crossfader. I found that once I wasn’t confusing myself with the live sampling capabilities, it was much easier keep track of what was going on and reigning in the chaos.

You might also feel constrained by the way patterns work on the OT, I know I was. With the digi series, every pattern is a different part meaning you can assign a different sample, filter, etc. for each pattern. On the OT you only have four parts for every bank of 16 patterns. Your kick drum can’t be changed on pattern two without affecting pattern one unless a sample lock is used (which can be painstaking) or you set up another part. It takes a while to adjust, but you can make just as varied and interesting music with four parts and being able to switch parts independently of patterns opens up some really crazy possibilities. For example, My workaround for the earlier problem I posed with kick drums is that I have a sample chain with 64 kicks on it and now I can choose between 64 kicks on any pattern.

Once you are familiar with the static machine and how parts and scenes work, then add the flex machine and the rest to start learning how to sample and modify external gear and sound sources.

Best of luck!


1. Browse this mega thread for goodies:

2. Get your daily sermon from the Mighty Book of OT Wizardry:

3. Don’t forget to drink


great stuff… especially your pdf
… is there something like a free A4 list with tutorials?

If I could do it all over again? I shouldn’t have bought it haha.

Don’t get me wrong it is a great device. But as a person with limited time on my hands it isn’t the best piece of equipment. I did understand it but to know it inside out you have to play it like an instrument. So sold mine and sticked with my Digitakt and bought the Blackbox for the simple quantized sampling (this was the thing I ended up using the OT for)

But if I could do it over and have the time, I would restrain myself to the OT only for a large period of time. No incorporation of other devices. Just to get myself familiar with it and get muscle memory for the button combos etc. Then slowly add other gear for audio mixing/mangling or midi.

Then it can be the perfect device.

Just have fun!


Merlins guide, and don’t try to do too much with it at once. It was a few months before I even thought of trying MIDI sequencing and resampling/looping

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Just dive in. But, based on my own and friends’ experience, to avoid confusion and save time… make sure you fully absorb the following:
-Parts are important. More important than the UI suggests.
-Track recorders are completely independent from sample playback.
-Learn about slices and how to use them, it’ll probably be useful in the future.


None I’m aware of.

Read the manual cover to cover. Twice.
Start with simple: OT as mixer for one or two other boxes, use OT with static samples.
Use OT solo for a while / couple of times.
Make notes / get a good idea of setting up for a new song (there’s a thread about things to check when it seems to be faulty; it’ll always turn out you forgot to set a trig or still have the fader to the right or something stupid like that)
Enjoy. You won’t be up and running within an hour like with the DT but I quite quickly started to have fun on the OT. Depended on having realistic expectations I think.
Next step would be focused dedicated deep dives one function/mode/area of the OT at a time, not all at once.



Why? Static machines are appropriate to read long files from the CF card, that’s all.
Flex machines read samples loaded in the RAM, are better to mangle samples with slices, allow audio editing, to play recordings…
If you know Flex, you know Static. Exactly the same parameters, with less possibilities.

Flex is the most important machine to know. You can mimic all other machines if you combine it with a recorder (Pickup / overdub, Neighbor, Thru, Master T8).


You’re right, sorry, what I could’ve said more precisely: start with using simple samples on Flex tracks. (I would wait a bit with slicing and other more advanced sample functions though, which I meant with static, so start with basically using it as a oneshot samples machine until you get the hang of that, which is easier to me then getting into slicing and re-recording and mangling)


Exactly the same way I did it first time round.
Back then I didnt know there was an online forum, didnt look things up on youtube, didnt care what anyone else was doing.
Just me, the machine and a lovely printed manual that came with it.
I loaded some samples (chops from songs I never finished in Reason) and off I went. Im still using those samples I first loaded on 5 years ago to this day.

Dont listen to anyone else, including me. Just do your own thing.


It’s a REAL shame that it’s not the case anymore.

I now have forgotten how to do this, but turning off the LFO so that it’s only active in the active pattern is something I do a lot. I’ve found myself stumped that my external synths seems to get their filter cut off modulated by an unknown source, just to find out it’s the midi lfo on pattern X affecting it. It can be pretty annoying at times

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Haha it’s interesting that you found this coming from the DT. Coming from the old boxes to the new ones, I find the new way somewhat constraining, in that there’s no way to share a single “kit” of sounds across more than one pattern, so if I want to create a song over more than one pattern I have to manually keep the sounds “in sync” if I decide to e.g. change the kick.

But there are definitely advantages to the new way, I’ve messed up plenty of stuff on the older boxes by accidentally changing a kit which was used in multiple places. Also the OT implementation with just 4 parts is a bit different to e.g. the Analog Four where you can have as many kits as you have patterns, so you can reproduce the DT way of working with a bit of setup.

Ideally we’d be able to toggle between the two modes I guess :slight_smile:


Everything is a static machine by default, so you don’t need to start by learning machines. Static machines will never use up the RAM so you aren’t going to accidentally run out, and so you don’t have to immediately learn the audio editor or have your recorder buffers disappear when you power cycle the machine. I’m thinking of it as a graduated learning curve and what machine is the easiest to learn first. Flex would be the appropriate follow up.

I haven’t noticed any differences between how mangled a sample can get in static vs flex. What am I missing?

Did you master advanced combos when learning learning a video game like street fighter II or did you start with Ryu’s fireball?

Complexity comes with time.

There’s already a lot of great advice here (Merlin’s guide, focus on Flex machines, try some simple scene changes etc.) but one overall thing I’d suggest is to just go wild with experimentation.

When I’m trying to figure out something new on the Octa, it sometimes helps me to just make a complete mess. I’ll create a blank project, start building a Part and trying combinations of machines/effects/etc., and then I might reach a point where I don’t really like where it’s going. So I’ll just jump to a new Bank and start fresh again, incorporating what I learned on the first go and trying something a little different.

Eventually, after multiple experiments, I will have learned a ton and honed my approach. Even if I end up going back to the original idea, the time I spent experimenting is not wasted because I picked up a lot of information along the way. Some of the subtle yet important stuff in the Octa is just easiest to learn by putting your hands on it and giving it a shot.

This might not seem like the most efficient or organized way to build a set or grow your knowledge, but personally I just like working quickly and not worrying too much about where I’m headed while I’m in the middle of figuring things out. I prefer to go nuts and learn by doing, and the Octa is an awesome environment for that.


I’m not a specialist of CF cards or RAM, but @tnussb convinced me (maybe not intentionally?), that it was better to use RAM instead of CF card to preserve it. He may shime in.

Bad default choice imho.

Learning how to choose a different one is a good start!

Good point. Good to know RAM limits though.
8m28s max. Reverve Length limits it.

Possible clicks, delay. Check with longer files, more crasy mangling.

Don’t remember SFII combos, but the idea was to win anyway, pressing buttons at the right time. Not especially with best combos. Chun Li user. :smile:

If you wan’t to play chess, don’t you want to learn queen moves first? :wink:


Just want to express my gratitude for all the awesome suggestions here. I understand that these beginner posts are what they are, but it is all very helpful to me. Ready to make some noise, one day at a time. Thank you!