Performing with the Dynamic Performance Sampler

This will be a “well duh” moment for a lot of you but for me it’s a fun revelation.

I bought the DPS-1 to have fun and explore sound design outside of the box–I didn’t even think I would perform with it, actually. I thought it would just be a fun studio tool that maybe opens up my mind to alternative perspectives and approaches.

But just recently I decided to perform with it for one of my bands. The singer/songwriter has gone in an increasingly electronic pop direction, with his most recent EPs having a pretty strong emphasis on sampled drums and synths, and I took it upon myself to quit the bass guitar and bring drum-duty-DPS to a practice sesh. Boy were we all pleased as punch with this decision!

We have a session with the sampler handling drum duties and I get to thinking “gee, it would be fun to record his vocals live and manipulate them” and the next session (which was yesterday) I decide to take an output from his vocal mixer into input A of my box. When I originally mentioned the idea, he said to me “oh i can get you vocal stems if you’d like” and I said “no it’s okay. recording live vocal samples will lead to a more lively, dynamic performance

So now here I am mashing button combinations as if I’m playing Street Fighter (it was Gaz who called attention to this idea)–switching from mixer mode to mute kicks and snares, back to tracks mode to play one-off shots of claps and rims, to grid recording and REC setup so I can lay down a trig on his vocal buffer (it’s now occurring to me i can set up QREC and never have to even enter this mode…), to slices mode so I can play his pre-sliced vocal track (live remix, anyone?), back to tracks and mute mode and back again, all the while manipulating the crossfader for nice filtering and reverb drops. You should’ve seen the look on my bandmates’ faces when I was playing back vocals pitched up, harmonizing with our singer! And then reversing them and smothering them in resonant, LFO-modulated filters and reverbs… Goodness gracious me it’s too much fun. I kept wanting to run the songs again because I could feel myself learning and improving my workflow, wanting to try out more and more ideas, flying by the seat of my pants and still somehow holding it all together.

Maybe I could set another record input to capture the whole mixer/performance? Remix the whole song live on the spot? Or I could grab the guitarist’s output from his board? I’ve thought about using cue outs and having an external delay to send the vocals to, but that causes a whole host of problems…Generally speaking, real estate is tight. My first four tracks are non-negotiable: Kick, hat, snare and clap. Track 7 is vocal reprocessing, Track 8 is master. Tracks 5 and 6 float between a shaker (an absolute must for some chori) and other random sounds (sidechained synth, impact hits, noise sweepers, rimshots and perc, whatever the song needs). I plan to further explore parts and see what I need on a per-pattern basis. Boy do I wish the Octatrack was a Decatrack…

Oh and I forgot to mention I’d be nothing without the arranger/song mode. If I had to juggle switching patterns with all this…just forget about it.

What a terrific instrument.

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Who might ever have thought that a performance sampler is really good for performing? :smiley:

Joking aside: IMHO that’s the key feature of the OT and where it has absolutely no competition whatsoever.

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I also love to go crazy on the retrig time, make some acid bass out of any samples this way using the filter. Something I use even more on the MD :wink:

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Yeah it is.

In the words of Clubber Lang:

“I pity the fool who dismisses the Octatrack in favour of all those other sucker samplers” :laughing:

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Please stop!

I’m am trying real hard to be happy with only one sampler and not re-purchasing an OT.

Sounds awesome, love the excitement!! Let us know how the next session goes.

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This is the problem with the OT. You buy one, hate it, sell it. Get the itch again, buy another, hate it, sell. Repeat cycle. Then read this and your mind starts playing tricks on you again.

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TFW you realize a second Octatrack dedicated to live recording might be the only solution to your problem…

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So I’ve been thinking about this all day at work like a dork. I was thinking to myself “Gee it would be easier to just use one hand to record a track, i.e. recording to rec buffers 1 to 4, but I don’t want to move my vocal track from track 7!..Oh wait I can just tell track 7 to play rec buffer 1, 2, 3, or 4”

Other things I’m thinking about but probably won’t go through with: Using an external drum machine like a Digitakt or even an iPad app to handle drum duties so I can more easily mute tracks and play back random one-shots of tracks without going back and forth between tracks mode, slices mode, mute mode, etc. This will also free up my inputs to be a thru track and a neighbor track, stacking more juicy DPS-1 FX. But then I have to figure out sending program change info to the drum machine to ensure it’s playing nice with my Octatrack arranger mode. I also have to use a stereo in on the Octa, leaving me only one other stereo in, and with the vocals taking up a mono input, this leaves me just one mono input left. I think it’s more headache than it’s worth, and I’ll just make do with five or six solid drum tracks. Maybe an iPad app just for one-shot samples? Ugh who knows.

Things I will play with tonight: Ensuring the settings on my vocal recording track are set up nicely throughout my different songs. I did this on the fly in the middle of a practice session, but realized recording two bars of vocals and set to 16 slices plays better than two bars and 32 slices…i’m beginning to think maybe even four bars and 16 slices would be fine, or two bars 8 slices. I also want to have LFOs set up to predetermined locations (filter width, amp balance, maybe rate/pitch?) and then just bring up the depth during the performance. I might even set up another scene or two for vocals with reversed, delay feedback, retriggers?! I just don’t know anymore. The possibilities are endless.

Anyone got a nice stereo compressor/limiter/drive they like that adds some good punch and/or grit to their sound? Maybe just a stompbox? not like a rackmount or anything.

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You could use all of the above in one single track by plocking each sample to separate trig. In conjunction with fill mode and trig conditions this will give you a lot of space for building creative patterns, manipulation and will save you extra tracks for other sampling duties

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I’d noted at some friends gigs in the past, very much a dub wall, reggae / sound system type party, just rocking with 1 record player - but routed into a little small outboard FX rack… so when one track ends, just rock it through the effects unit with delay and ride the feedback, all the while changing your next record, and dropping in when ready, pulling the FX out. I remember thinking it was such a neat trick at the time, and economic, only having to bring 1 vinyl deck along.

And it occurred to me the Octatrack could very much be this type of affair, albeit with quite a few more bells and whistles in terms of live sampling etc. Just a great little vinyl DJ setup - a record player and an Octatrack. Maybe an Effects pedal or two, why not?

Has anyone rocked a setup like this? Do you recommend a phono stage prior to the OT? What about the ground loop? Maybe a little Radial DI box or something. Like the J33? Or do people just put their record players straight into the OT?

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Yeah, good idea. I’d say it’s best to have lfo destinations set up consistently across tracks so you don’t have to check whats setup where or try to remember. Standard stuff like filter, pitch, bal, vol is always useful.

Same for scenes, I’d say if you set up a few ‘standard scenes’ and transition scenes which are similar on all banks/parts, it will ultimately allow you to ‘play more’.

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@GirTheRobot, the title should be “Performing and sampling dynamically with the Dynamic Performance Sampler” isn’t it? :content:

I recently bought an RC505 again. Slaved to OT. 13 stereo tracks !
Quick loops with undo with Rc505, its fx sequenced by OT, loops recorded by OT played with a pattern change > 40 tracks or more quickly.
Powerfull.

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Yes, of course. You need something to get the low level of a phono signal up to line level.

Additionally (and much more important in my eyes):

When a vinyl record gets carved the low frequencies are reduced and the high frequencies are boosted (RIAA Equalization). To get the original signal back the opposite processing needs to be done somewhere (phono outputs carry the “distorted” signal).

That’s, btw, the reason why there exists dedicated phono inputs …

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A midi controller opens up OT for easier mixing. I am using Beatstep to mute/vol of 8 tracks to main and 8 to cue (as FX loop). Not having switch pages to just adjust on the fly made it much more fun.
Faderfox looks like great option and plenty of others.

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This is a good idea but there are times I specifically want to mute kicks, snares and such.

Definitely. My scenes are the same across banks with Scenes 5-8 being vocal stuff, 9-12 being HPF and variations, 13-16 being LPF and variations, 1-4 I haven’t decided. Originally I was going to leave them for mutes but I think maybe not. Like you say, this all requires me to think less and guess less and just play. I will never ask “where is my vocal recording, again?” or any nonsense. It does require me to be 100% consistent across banks, though.

I still haven’t bothered with parts, and I’m not sure what I would do actually. I’m considering maybe another part will have a delay on the master instead of a reverb, and similar FX changeups. I’m also considering mangling and mashing my tracks–messing with pitch, rate, everything, and then just reloading the part.

This seems really fun. I’ve never seen an RC505 so I’ll look up videos.

This sounds really interesting. How do you set this up?

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Just program proper CC/channel for mutes (one row of pads for main mutes, one for cue mutes) and levels (one row of knobs for cue levels, one row for track levels)
Biggest downside of Beatstep is there is no midi in, so pad lights start out unsync to track mutes. OT lights are still correct. But Beatstep is just narrower than OT and sets of 8 controls lines right up with OT functions.

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Do you (or can you) use AMP VOL for mutes / levels, in order to keep fx tails?

I don’t have it setup that way. Looking at the midi chart, you could do AMP vol (CC 25) and program pads to set Amp vol 0 or 127, hmm. For the Cue I don’t think there is similar option. (Current using CCs 46, 47, 49, 51)

That would be useful, but haven’t been “wanting” it

Then you can’t p-lock vol for dynamics/velocity, though.

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Or 0 to 64 to keep VOL between - 64 and 0.
Caveats : you can’t plock VOL.
Would work with an lfo depth on XVOL.

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