OT Special Tricks


When the OT came out, we'd been discussing a lot about special tricks. Not so much lately, although the overall know-how sould be far more sophisticated now. In line with Allerian's positivity thread, I'd like to get more focus on musical discussions (we all know that elektron has to bring out an update..). Let's discuss 1) workflows that you like the most on the OT and 2) tricks that you think most people do not know and which you would like to share.

Everybody uses the OT differently because it's such a flexible machine. Let's collect some inspirations for other users :slight_smile:

What is your special trick?

Edit: techniques that seem trivial to you because you use them all the time might be a special tricks for others.

Octatrack Tips & Tricks (OT Tips)

funny, was just trying to figure out your "remix track" trick for buildups.....

...remember this: http://www.elektronauts.com/t/resample-sample-crossfader-movement/3303/35871

..when I heard your song on that thread, I was freaking out....it is really dopE!.....I put your trick on my bucket list to try out and just got around to it last night.... I'm not sure I understand how to set up the OT to achieve this. I had less than optimum results after messing with it for a while.

...would you be able to elaborate on how you did this? ...that technique is really awesomE!!!

  • never forget the quick mute function

  • use two tracks for recording the others. record it all to one track, modulate it and mix it with the initial tracks, and record it to the other track, etc.

  • slice the record buffers and change the start slices on the fly

  • make it all sound dirty with a fast pitch lfo


Don't forget slide trigs! I wish they were quicker (hold a trig + press a button) like on the AR, but in any case they're great. If you're using an OT track as a synth voice, you can fake portamento by programming pitch slides before the note changes.

Many things that in a DAW you might do with drawn-in automation can be accomplished via slide trigs.



lol, nice timing :smiley:

just set up the OT as described by Tarekith when talking about transitions, with one modification: use a normal instead of a one-shot recording trig! this ensures that the recorder is recording all the time. it's really simple, but can sound huge.

additionally, for convenience, make sure that pattern changes can happen before the pattern is over (parameter < PLEN, I use 4/16 per default). This can be used to speed up the resampling build up by just chaining two patterns --> sampling then starts every quarter. of course, you can also place more recorder trigs in some patterns and switch to those patterns when just the recorder is playing (dubathonic dubbed this technique 'RAMicizer patterns' when we were discussing about a similar technique on the MD UW some years ago).

Edit: I forgot to mention that you need sounds from an additional sound source for dramatic build ups which are being soaked in during the resampling procedure. I use a MPX8 with ride cymbals, snares and vocals for that purpose.

I also just recognized that you could use a pickup machine for this technique, because it's just plain vanilla overdubbing of the main outs to the recorder track (@ negative thread about pickup machines).


Thanks for posting, jamrod and fachperson!

Fachperson, on what sounds do you apply the fast pitch lfo? All? Gotta give it a try on some drum samples.

Jamrod, yes, slide trigs are useful but easy to 'forget'. I'm sure they can be used for some weird stuff. Any ideas? STRT parameter? RTRG?

Would anybody else like to share some tricks?

Allerian? Coralhex? Highsage? where are you :slight_smile:

I'm just trying to get an interesting discussion going, come on :slight_smile:


Fachperson, on what sounds do you apply the fast pitch lfo? All? Gotta give it a try on some drum samples.

Sounds good on anything, but I like it most on basses. Then run them through lofi and filter up


Not really a trick but I like transposing everything higher or compose stuff octaves higher than I usually would at a faster bpm, sample it then slow it down using the rate parameter until I find something I like (make sure you turn loop mode on and remove the track trig so it doesn't get reset by the sequencer). Then I resample, trim, and match the sequencer bpm. It's very easy to find interesting stuff this way. I particularly love how the Monomachine sounds when doing this.


One shot trigs. Easy to overlook, killer for adding variation. Also,

Cross fader assigned to the AMT of a random/custom lfo controlling amp on a percussion track. Kind of like one shots with an element of randomness.

I also like the cross fader assigned to retrig. Good for turning 1/16 hats to 1/32 hats, or triplets, or something nastier.

I guess I like rhythmic variation :slight_smile:

Oh, also comb filter p-locks used with pads to give you melodies within pad sounds, in lack of a better expression.


Scenes, the bread and butter of OT performance.

Program up a series of scenes with different pitches and then hold down the Scene B button and "play" the scenes like a keyboard.

Set multiple scenes with varying extreme filters and rhythmically play them.

Set a scene that moves the start points of samples or reverses the rate.


Sometimes I approach the OT by thinking of it as a Machinedrum. Live tweak the tracks like crazy and then use a Part reload like the "Func+Classic" trick on the MD to pull it back to center.


yes, slide trigs are useful but easy to 'forget'. I'm sure they can be used for some weird stuff. Any ideas? STRT parameter? RTRG?

Pretty straightforward, but since PIPO is such a whine (!) to use, I often find myself slidetrigging rate for tape intertia type manual PIPO playback. With the right sample, it sounds more "analog" than my TEAC A-2300s.

By the way, thanks MK7 for starting this thread!


Oh, also comb filter p-locks used with pads to give you melodies within pad sounds, in lack of a better expression.

Right! Who said the octa's tracks were monophonic?

On that note - the retrig RTIME parameter steps are surprisingly accurately tuned in chromatic semitones. I frequently use that as a crude oscillator of sorts. It usually interacts interestingly with RATE, envelope ATTACK and the timbre of whatever sound you're using.


Thanks for posting, guys. Using retrigs, maybe lfo-modulated, for rhythmic variations or playing scenes like a keyboard etc, such nice tricks! Having read the ideas, they seem so 'obvious' and apparent, but they aren't in advance!

The OT has so many tiny details, trigless trigs vs trigless locks, slots vs slices, lfo's vs plocks, the question is what to use them for! The RPG analogy in another thread nails it more like any other characterization of the OT that I read so far.

My favorite trick are lfo's on the strt parameter, both for sliced and unsliced samples:
1) lfo's on strt as slice number impressed me since day one. maybe you know/remember my Beethoven Fuer Elise Remix. I guess not but anyways. it contains a flute melody that is based on a famous, almost annoying melody, and sounds completely different in the lfo'd version! these lfo's indeed are great for instant remixing, as stated on the OT product page.
2) record 20-30 seconds of audio from a synth with slight variations of keys and synth params. then use such an lfo with rnd setting to get some variations even when repeatedly pressing the same button, or pad in my case (akai mpd32). stupid button bashing starts to sound like keyboard playing when it's properly prepared.
3) you can also use those lfo's to create variations in drum patterns. for me that's basically a workaround for the lack of slice/slot playability via midi (positive thread, positive thread..), but it's nice on its own. you can push this technique so far that you get a conpletely different drum kit each time you press stop/play. with lfo lengths not equal to 16 or 32 you get nice variations over time that can also sound like polyrhythms. on my mpd32, one knob is used for the strt param itself, one for this lfo.
4) on non-sliced samples, such a lfo can sound like velocity variations (again, it's a positive thread!).

A lot can be done with those lfo's on the strt parameter. For me, that's THE great feature of the OT.

Edit: really nice tricks, I have to try them all!


you can also use those lfo's to create variations in drum patterns. for me that's basically a workaround for the lack of slice/slot playability via midi (positive thread, positive thread..), but it's nice on its own. you can push this technique so far that you get a conpletely different drum kit each time you press stop/play.

I use this a lot. There's a pretty mad extension to this trick if you care to tinker a little bit. If you do a midi loopback (actual cable OUT to IN) and set the TRIG CH (in project settings) to the same for both track 1 and 2, you can play one midi track to control both audio tracks. WHY??? Well, for instance, if track #1 has a rhythmic slice sequence (with a random STRT lfo) and track #2 a harmonically playable sample - you can use the midi arpeggiator to lay down a unique complete beat in one Pollock-esque splash of paint.

(Oh, and using a 2nd lfo to diversify the 1st lfo's randomization will give you additional mileage.)


I just recently bought my Octatrack, so don't know if the following qualifies as a trick or just is common sense. Since I grew up with Protracker on my Amiga the first thing I did after unpacking my shiny new toy was to see if it could do the same things I used to do in Protracker. It sure could!

Anyways, the trick :
Fake Chiptune/SID-style arpeg chords by setting custom lfos to quickly change pitch. With depth set to 64 every value of ten in the lfo seemed to match a semi-tone. So 0-30-70-0-30-70... would be a minor chord, 0-40-70-0-40-70... a major, etc.

A musically nonsensical example with a single-cycle lead sound with the arpeggiator effect:


Sick! I definitely have to try that! Reminds me of ctr-al tracks on the MD, combined with arp on drums on the MnM, combined with blue and red and purple painting colors!

However, I would like to add more precision to my post. I said that you can get a different drum kit each time you press play, but then the overall sound/pattern stays the same for at least some bars, before some sounds might get replaced by others. I'm no experimentalist guy, or not so much, your post might might push me towards 'resist no longer, just breath in the magic of pure randomness' though. What I'm after are standard 4x4 techno beats that give listeners some structure and somehow evolve over time. I do not use rnd lfo's for this application, just standard tri, squ or customized patterns in between, and what I get from this technique are patterns such as rim - hihat - clap - hihat - rim - hihat - clap - hihat, different rim - hihat - clap... really 'boring' stuff compared to what you describe. the lfo knob (depth) is used to replace the sounds with other sounds. The clue is that I can use the mpd32 for drumming and still get several sounds out of one audio track. There's nothing 'wrong' about adding some randomness on 1-2 tracks though, while the others ensure sufficient structure. Just to clarify my mind set and the purpose of what I wrote.

What I'm thinking about now, and I haven't understood your technique/the scope of it enough to get an answer: can your technique be used to generate patterns that stay the same over some time? very slow speed on the randomizations maybe?


This thread: :heart: !!!

Albeit not really feeling that I do have any special trick to add in its own sense. I´d like to add that me being quite an picky delay junkie (guitarist inspired of the Edge/U2), the delay in the OT really gets me confused/excited at the same time. Being used to either milliseconds or tempo subdivision, an parameter range of 0-127 relative to current tempo gets me confused everytime. Doesn´t 'feel' right anywhere as an guitarist would play it, if you know what I mean...


The LFO madness you are able to get with 3 LFO´s tied to the delay parameters, being trigged by... well... sequencer trigs :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

The swooshing 'out-of-control' behaviour that can occur sometimes (still repeatedly, if you want) gets just pure love from me. I can´t set and play the OT delay as my normal guitar delays. But my other delays aren´t really easy to 'sequence' their behaviour as in the OT.

Something this 'out-of-control' experience have got me into thinking about is Karplus Strong synthesis, by utilizing the LFO´s (even designer if necessary). Would be fun to make internal synthesis and 'write' melodies with sequenced delay parameter control. Now my math sucks so if I ever get down to try this idea out, it will take some time to figure out the 'harmonized' parameter settings to aim for...


Using DJ Equalizer effect may also make your samples look like very different. I use it a lot with strings, deep sounds. Sounds great.


8-way beat juggling/ variation jammer.

I use techniques similar to this a lot for drums when jamming with my friend. It allows me to make and perform the drum parts for entire songs using a single pattern on the OT and MD. I use my MD for this, but you can use anything with 4 outputs that can spit out 4 different versions of the same beat at the same time, or 4 turntables etc. You can also use this on non-drum sounds for melodic variation or chord changes :

1) All on the same pattern - I make a beat using the MD tracks 1-4. I then mute tracks 1-4 , and copy the sounds from track 1-4 to tracks 5-8. Then I make a new beat on the same pattern using MD track 5-8. I then mute 5-8 and copy sounds to tracks 9-12 and so on until I have 4 different beats on the same pattern: beat 1 t1-4, beat 2 t5-8, beat 3 t9-12, beat 4 t13-16. Then un mute all tracks and route the outputs so that each beat is sent to a separate output: t1-4 output A, t5-8 output B, t9-12 output C, t13-16 output D.

2) Connect the 4 outputs to the OTs 4 inputs. Assign each input to a track on the OT.

3) Make 4 scenes. Each scene should only play 1 track ( 1 beat/1 input) ie scene1 plays beat 1, scene 2 plays beat 2 etc. To do this use the Vol parameter to mute all other beats per scene. You can now crossfade between beats by assigning these scenes to the crossfader.

4) Use the remaining 4 tracks as beat juggling tracks ( I tend to do this across, so t5 juggles t1, t6 juggles t2 etc.). To do this set up recorder triggers to record the track with the beat you want to juggle. Then place playback trigs on the juggle-track to make offset versions of the same beat.

5) Make 4 more scenes like step 3 but for the juggle tracks, one scene per juggle beat. You should now have 8 scenes each only playing one beat at a time: s1-4 beats 1-4, s5-8 juggles 1-4. You can now crossfade between all 8 or play the scenes as others have described.

6) Use remain scenes/parts for effects variations and different juggles.

That's it, and now you've got mountains of drum variations all set up on the crossfader/scenes. If you get confused by the beat juggling part should check out some tutorials on beat juggling as I don't explain it in detail above, or just leave it out and use your spare tracks for effects or samples. I tend to use all 8 tracks for drums only when someone else or other hardware is taking care the rest (samples, chords, melody etc.)