OT... or Hologram Microcosm for guitar

More and more, I am bringing my two music loves - synths and guitar - together. I have an ST and 252hp of euro that I pretty much build complete tracks on, using Bitwig for sampling, poly and mixing duties. At the moment I am recording my guitars and chopping, effecting, dropping into samplers in Bitwig, which is all well and good but, like many, I prefer using hardware as much as possible.

I have been looking at pedals like Hologram Microcosm as a way of getting guitar-based pads, soundscapes etc into my productions but would much rather do this with the OT! The sequencer would obviously be a huge plus, as would the midi sequencing.

TLDR: Is the OT a good guitar looper?

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I use it but as a flex and thru rather than looper. It’s awesome. I heard a concert where a guitarist used the hologram, like so many digital guitar harmonized looper things I dislike something about the high frequencies. I suspect you will be watching a lot of sezares awesome videos ce soir.

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No. But I you already have it, just use it.
No problem with defined length loops, up to 64 steps.

I prefer to use Recorders and Flex, allowing plocks. You can use 1 Pickup for overdub, but you can also use a Flex with 2 recorders…

This is already a topic btw…
https://www.elektronauts.com/search?context=topic&context_id=2250&q=Looper%20%23elektron-gear:octatrack%20&skip_context=true

I haven’t videos about guitar looping, yet…Just 2 videos about realtime processing of guitar with small recordings…

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Hmm I thought I’d seen more than that. Maybe I’m watching them on a loop……

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I am using an infinity looper and a soma cosmos and an OT. So yay for me.

I have both, and play my guitar into both. This

At the moment I am recording my guitars and chopping, effecting, dropping into samplers in Bitwig

sounds like Octatrack is more what you’re after than Microcosm. You have very limited control on the Microcosm for each of its effects: basically two mysterious macro controls. You definitely can’t slice things up and do things with the slices. It is a competent loop pedal (it’s probably bottom of my list for loopers I own though) and it makes things sound REALLY nice, but I don’t see it as a device that you can do purposeful sound design on. It’s more a “do I want this part to have some Microcosm on it” kinda thing.

The Octatrack does let you do all kinds of stuff with material recorded into it, but the Microcosm is definitely ‘higher fidelity’ with its FX. They really feel like incomparable devices to me - I don’t think you’d get results from either that sound like the other, but you can at least go and fiddle with every parameter with Octatrack (and it can do so many other jobs for you - Octa + Expert Sleepers FH2 is the best eurorack controller going). Octatrack’s actual looper (pick up machines) is one area I’ve never really explored, though from everything I read it’s particularly fiddly as far as loopers go.

Alternative loop pedals which go further with what you can do with looping are Blooper and (if you can find one) Loupe. These have their limitations/trade offs too though, but that’s just hardware life for you.

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Thanks Francis!

I don’t have the OT yet, but it would obviously pair well with the ST - there’s sooo much it would offer over the microcosm, but I like the idea of something “dedicated” also….

This stuff is hard :rofl:

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That’s super useful, thank you. I guess what you have said points at the real dilemma - do I want to sit there playing and looping or do I want to build soundscapes away from the iMac and take them to my tracks after? I think the latter - as the whole point of what I’m trying to do is combine fiddling with synths with guitar. I’m also really into recording my own perc and stuff.

And, I already have an FH-2 to control the modular from my ST…

I think I can see where this is heading - an OT and a sweet delay/reverb pedal :thinking:

FH-2 with some expanders is godly with Octatrack - I have mine set up to take 4 pitch/gate pairs and 16 CV outputs that I can plock or send LFOs through. And there’s the super powerful Octatrack MIDI arp too, which will be the major advantage over Syntakt in this situation (plus not losing your ST tracks for MIDI tracks - Octa is 8 midi tracks, 8 audio tracks full stop). Thru machines are basically sequenceable (and plockable!) VCA/envelope combos and you can record into a presliced buffer and rearrange your audio on the fly. FX are not exactly cutting edge, but you can do some surprisingly interesting things with some of them (esp comb filter). It’s very deep.

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Nice - I have one CV expander and p-locking the modular is huge fun. Out of interest, how many voices do you control?

Depends on the patch! Sometimes Octa sequencing four mono voices, or sometimes multiple pitch/gate pairs listening on the same midi channel to get around the lack of buffered mults in my system. Occasionally I’ll have FH-2 sending out 8 gates from Octatrack to control 8 channels of drum samples in Assimil8or. FH-2 + expanders was one of the best investments I made for my system - because of the Octatrack it means I don’t need any pitch sequencing capabilities in the case and I could swap a lot of utilitarian modulation sources out for more fun stuff, just keeping creative/wacky CV sources in the case. 24 LFOs on the Octa is great - still have a bunch left over to send to Digitone or guitar pedals. It can really be the brain of a setup, controlling all sorts of things and then chewing up the audio they’re all making.

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I like using the OT for guitar looping a lot (and don’t even own another looper anymore) but for me personally at least, gettign a good guitar sound through it was hard. An external preamp helped but I ended up having to go all the way to using a miced amp to really be happy with it. Plugged direct it sounded like going straight to the line input of a cheap audio interface, with no preamp or DI or anything. So not a good direct sound, a sort of lifeless, dull direct sound that made it physically harder to play well.

But getting a nice DI/preamp might be more practical than a Microcosm, since you already have the OCtatrack and a good DI has a lot more uses than any single effect pedal (even though it’s not a very fun or interesting thing to buy).

EDIT: you’ll also want to get a programmable MIDI footswitch, too, if you don’t have one.

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Cheers, I was planning on doing the below anyway, for electric, resonator and acoustic.

I don’t have the OT yet which is what started my thinking off. The money for one covers a lot of other gear!

Good shout on the footswitch :+1:t4:

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It works really well, although it can be hard to get the sound good initially with the amp in the same room. There’s quite a bit of trial and error.

I ended up building a variant of this so the mic wouldn’t get moved once I had things sounding the way I wanted.

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@Supercolor_T-120 i’d be curious to know how you replaced any traditional looper by the OT. I’ve been originally buying the OT as a looper but i find it really cumbersome and not so direct/efficient while playing an instrument.
I recently thought about adding a MIDI foot controller but struggle to see how i’d use/program it. Would you give examples of some concrete possibilities?
For mangling even the live input, OT is the king though.

I agree 100% on the sound of a guitar into the OT, dull sound., +1 for a good preamp.

As a looper, forget the MC. It is nice it offers this possibility but it’s more like a great bonus to build on than a looper to rely on.
You could potentially realize similar FX/mangling on the OT but that would need a lot of time, several tracks to achieve the same results.

I use both, each one according its strong points.

The foot controller was mandatory. It definitely depends on how long you ned your loops to be, though. If you need to have long, multitrack loops then a dedicated looper might be better.

I’ve got a project set up specifically for live looping. The guitar goes to a thru machine, and I have three tracks with pickup machines set to different lengths all recording from that thru machine. The foot controller is set up so two of the switches are equivalent to the REC1 and REC2 buttons, and that’s all I need to control the pickup machines. Two more buttons select the next or previous track, and the last two set the regen level of the pickup machines to 0 or -6, which isn’t necessary but it’s nice to have hands free presets for overdubs decaying or not.

I’ve got the other four tracks set up the exact same way, but with the other pair of inputs and outputs so it’s like having two independent, three-track loopers with input effects. I’m also using a Faderfox UC4 to control the track levels, since my favorite looper of all time is still the old EHX 2880 (it’s not that deep but it has the best UI of any looper I’ve ever used or heard of, by a big margin) and I needed to replicate as much of that workflow as I could. I definitely recommend it but you also definitely don’t need it.

EDIT: the overall way I use the foot controller is pretty much straight out of one of the examples in the manual, with a couple extra thigns added because I had more switches to use.

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Plus you can get some incredible gated effects with plocks amp and retriggers.

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Thanks for the details. Can i ask which foot controller are you using? MC6/8?

I come from using a Boomerang looper so i guess i would also try to replicate its UI since i’m so used to it but it has only 3 tracks the way i use it and i’d need more.
So far i was either slaving it in MIDI to the OT with its 2 differents outputs going to 2 different inputs of the OT to be able to resample.
Then i thought i should try the OT as a looper and in the idea to be even more compact. Then i thought about a foot controller but i’d loose the compacity to only use the OT and i wonder i i’d really gain instead of the first formula OT+Boomerang.

MC6. Works great.

If the first approach works for you then definitely stick with that, there’s a lot to be said for using more than one piece of gear.