OT for long liveset: can it load different tracks in one big project?



Thinking about implementing an Octatrack in our liveset setup. We do 2 hour long performances and pick a selection of tracks before the weekend that we will use for our shows that weekend that we will perform live.

In Ableton (which we also use in our setup: hybrid hardware & software) we have a huge project with all the tracks we have. We also work in this project creating new stuff.

I am kinda worried that working this way will fill up the Octatrack’s 128 flex and 128 static samples soon. Since for every track we use different samples and we will be sampling lots of acoustic stuff that needs to be flex.

It would be great to work in one big project in the OT and just be able to pick some tracks that we will use that weekend. In the Tempest it is able to save ‘beats’ and then load these up in the ‘project’ (which can hold 16). So we will save the new beats we are working on and right before the weekend we load up a selection of 16 beats for the upcoming shows.

Can anyone let me know if I am thinking wrong and it is able to just work on a big project? Or if there is something possible like with the Tempest where you load different tracks in a project?

I’ve searched multiple forums and couldn’t find my answer. Sorry if this is already asked though, then please direct me to that thread.

Thank you in advance!


Hi there, just wondering, for the sake of understanding, (I don’t know Ableton) when you talk “tracks” you mean “songs” / “pieces”?

There are quite some threads here about organising your set. The audio pool holds as many sample as your CF card can store. Personally I use 1 project per “piece” (aka “song”) so I’m not at all limited by the 128 sample limit. Others find it more convenient to have all their “songs” in 1 project, using banks and patterns for songs. In your case I would consider breaking up your set into “pieces” (maybe that’s what you refer to as “tracks” and use multiple projects. There’s a project loading time involved, I handle that using other machines. But it’s a matter of seconds only, depending on how many samples need to be loaded from CF into RAM.


Hi there!

Thanks for your quick and clear reply :slight_smile:

I tried to be as specific as possible, but since it’s not my strong suit I see I could have been a little bit more clear :wink:

When I talk about ‘tracks’, I mean a full song (or at least everything the OT provides for that song). It would be great to have access to all the songs in one project so we can choose on the spot which song to play while playing live. But that will probably fill up the 256 slots soon I think…

You gave the advice of loading a new project on the spot. Can this be done while the Octatrack is running? So if it is slaved to an external clock, will it stay in sync when you load a new project? If possible this might be an option… it is not perfect since we improvise and quick transitions are sometimes nessecary. But hey, perfect doesn’t really exist haha, limitations do :slight_smile:

I was also wondering if it is possible to save songs in separate projects and load these in another project thus changing the loaded samples in that project. Say I have 16 songs saved in seperate projects. Then on Thursday I select 10 of those and load those in one big project for a show on Friday. Do you know if this kind of loading-songs-into-project including the samples?

Thanks a lot in advance!!


No, as far as I know. Playback will be stopped while loading a new project. But as soon as it’s loaded it’ll catch the incoming midi clock.

As for the other question, you will meet the 2 x 128 sample slot limitation anyway. I’m not expert in this domain of copying projects over to other projects… maybe with an editor like OctaEdit, but I’ll let more experienced users comment this :wink:


I don’t have Ableton but I read somewhere that “projects” in Ableton and “projects” on the Octatrack are not the same thing at all–so if you’re equating the two be sure to get that out of your head.

A project on the Octatrack contains 16 banks A-P and each bank has 16 patterns. As pinup already pointed out, switching between projects will take a little time and there will be a gap of silence. If you want to switch “songs” then you can put them in banks (and use arranger mode for convenience) and there won’t be any silence or interruption if you know what you’re doing.

Now as for you running out of sample slot space in a project… That all depends how you allocate that stuff. The way you describe it it sounds to me like you’re going to have stems from your songs (drums, bass, pad, etc?) which could take up a lot of space on the CF card, but idk if it’d take up 128 slots. Or are you going to have individual parts, like kick, snare, hat, etc.?


Yes, don’t overlook the possibility of chaining and slicing. If you chain samples into one you can put a buch of them in 1 single sample slot. Then you slice them or use starting points to play them individually. It’s a way to overcome, to a certain degree, that 128 sample limit for the slot lists


If you can render your songs down to 4 stems each you can get 32 songs in a proj just by using static slots alone. Then you can assign them to banks and use parts . or dip into the flex slots. So I’m thinking this as an example, Bank 1 Pat 1-8 Part 1 = 1 song, then Bank 1 Pat 8-16 Part 2 the next song. And so on and so forth.


Never tried it but wavs can be up to about 2 hours or so, you might be able to fit a ton of material by chaining stems and put them in static slots, use slices to trigger. Don’t know how reliable using a bunch of huge wavs is though. Anyone?


Probably just very, very annoying as you’d have to go in and manually slice each and every gigantic wave file. That does not sounds like fun at all. Better off having one shot trigs of a whole stem or something similar…


yeah, for a 2 hr set… stems streaming right from the CF card


Even if you just chain 4 samples per file, that’ll yield 512 flex samples (limited by avalable RAM of course). That sure is some work but if that’s what the OP is into it might be worth considering


OP I think to give you better answers you’ll have to tell us the kind of music you make, how you have it recorded, how much you’d like to manipulate it live, all sorts of stuff. Cause right now we’re kind of just guessing as to what would be best lol

Also the general answer to 90% of OT questions is “Yes it can do that, but how much of a pain in the ass is it?”


EVen if you do fill all 128 slots in a project, nothing to stop you reloading more songs from the card into slots you have played already in the set. Can be done on the fly.
So yes, you can have just one project open for a two hour set.


Hi everyone! What a great response, thank you all for taking the time to help me :slight_smile:

I didn’t want to bomb you with a long post, but sometimes details are necessary so I will give a bit more in depth description of how the OT will be used.

We do livesets. In short my mate takes care of live hadware synth playing and also triggering recorded synth parts (like basslines, pads etc) in Ableton. I do mostly drums: really working the Tempest as an instrument, manipulating the beats and arranging on the spot. I now use a Rytm MK2 as my 2nd drummachine to give more flavour to my drumpallete but also complement the Tempest (and vice versa). I do the same with the Rytm as the Tempest: muting parts (arranging) and manipulating the sounds, fooling around with scenes and effects.

I want to replace the Rytm by the OT. I am not very fond of the analog engines for our sound and would like to be able to use sampled stuff more. So Tempest will do analog stuff and OT sampled. With sampled I mean: home recorded loops of a hihat, acoustic snare, snipplets of fieldrecordings, sliced up sampled vinyl.

For a song I would have some analog percussion/beat stuff going on in the Tempest and the OT would look something like this:
Track 1: home recorded acoustic hihat loop
Track 2: one-shot conga sample
Track 3: field recording
Track 4: one shot open hihat sample
Track 5: sliced up recording of a beat from vinyl (32 bars)

Brining the Tempest and the OT together will be my full beat. Then I can mute and unmute and manipulate everything thus performing, improvising and arranging on the spot.

Ps. We change tempos during our livesets and a song that we play at 124 bpm one weekend can be played at 126 the next one. So being flex for rhythmic loops is important (I guess?)

Hope this clears my situation up! :slight_smile:

Before I tried an MPC5000 for this situation (too heavy for flying and sync problems), Maschine (didnt like the sterile sound and the cpu it consumed from our laptop) and now Rytm (love the workflow, but analog overkill: want to slice and sample to add different flavor next to Tempest).

Every song we play will have its own samples, loops etc. So I was afraid when I saw the sample slot limitations that after about (128 divided by 8) it will be full. We write a lot of music so we can have a fresh liveset every weekend or so. But it would be great to be able to recall every song in a big project so we can always blend some new stuff with some classic material. Either by loading in a selection of songs into a project right before the weekend or being able to have one big project where everything is inside :slight_smile:

I really hope this helped and not made it more vague haha. Thanks a lot in advance you all!


Anyone any advice/knowledge to share? Thanks :smile:


If your main concern is filling up sample slots then, as others have said, chaining samples is your best bet.

I’m not entirely sure what your plan is here but it seems you want one different sample for each track per song. With a sample chain you can chain them all together into different chains (all field recordings on one chain, all one shot HH sample on another) and then target the specific slice for each song.

Therefore, according to your layout above, you would only have 5 chains filling five slots.

The only issue is that you can only have 64 slices on a file. If you chain multiple sliced vinyl cuts you might run out of available slices. But since you got chains going now you’ll have plenty more room :wink:


Instead of thinking of it like… I have to have every single thing loaded into the ram on the project. Just have it all sitting on the card in a prepared way with folders that’s fast an easy to import and lay down quick loops or trigs. Then you can just live load what you need from the card when you need it so you don’t run out of room. If you need to do live transitions just use a recording buffer to record the output and let it run while you load new samples.


Perfect! Thanks for the advice people. This was what I needed to know to pull the trigger :slight_smile: Thank youuuu all!