Plays Free - controlling fx

Ok so if i understand PLAYS FREE correctly, it allows for playing/trigging samples free of the sequencer. One example use could be:

I setup tracks 1-4 to plays free. Then they will only play when i press trig 1,2, 3, or 4 (and there are other settings as to how exactly they will plays free). So if i press play on the transport, only 5-8 will play and i have to physically initiate tracks 1-4 via trigs 1-4 to get them going?

Is this one use? So if i understand this correctly, how can i translate this to plays free fx? Using thru tracks and turning them on and off?

Im inspired by this video by @sicijk

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Seems doable, but do you want to listen incoming audio with thru tracks without fx?
Do you want to add fx to tracks 5-8 only?
Different scenarios.

In order to save tracks, I think I’d rather use FILL trig conditions on trigless trigs, or one shot trigs for that purpose.

Midi Play Free tracks can be used too (midi loopback).

Maybe too complicated example, but there is a lot of potential with OT!
Basic binary pattern with kick / snare on steps 1,5,9,13. All other sounds are added with midi loopback, Midi Plays Free triggering one shots, track samples quantized, and there is also FILL)


Ok that’s a wild example! But i will look deeper into the midi loopback, since ive seen that terminology in other threads and would benefit from learning about it anyways. I will also delve into FILL. Ive used it a fair amount on the rytm but not once on the OT yet.

As always, thanks!


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:content: Yeah too wild exemple, and probably not appropriate, but it was to illustrate different possibilities with Midi Plays Free control of audio track, and the use of one shots, FILL.

Not necessary for one shots and FILL. Just for Midi Plays Free control.

Btw one shots trigger samples, they can suit Thru, Neighbor or Master track, but not Flex or Static tracks.

FILL seems more appropriate if you want to introduce fx sequences imho. Especially if you want to have fx triggered on particular steps, allways synced.
FILL can be activated on any step, following the grid. With Plays Free (audio) tracks, there are possible quantize limitations (delay to start them with 16 steps quantize for instance, or an offset with 2 step quantize…)

I just made a test. A drum pattern on odd steps. Trigless on even trigs, with - 23/384 microtiming, close to odd steps.
Plock fx to trigless, then add FILL trc.
Worked nicely, just one track used.

Btw you didn’t say if you’d like to trigger fx for incoming audio or existing tracks…


Thanks for the thoughts about this. I will be trying stuff out tomorrow, i hope! Always interested in trying ideas of yours…

Im still really early in even seeing how the OT fits with me…im more the singer-songwriter side of things…but i always want that singer/guitar thing to sound odd, modulated, glitchy, dark, rhythmic, pumping, and of course backwards!

My basic electronica path is, im all in on the rytm. I love writing songs on that. Easily my favorite song ive ever written was in the early stages of my hardware synth awakening via the rytm…dual vcos are incredible.

OT-wise…So far ive gotten to where im sending rytm into OT, vocals into OT, using thru to process these with fx, using flex buffers to do live vs memorex on vox and rytm. Oh, and of course crossfade.

Pickup machines for guitar or string bass loops…flex or pickup for rev2…

Im still entirely bogged down creatively by learning OT. But i know its gonna pay off for me in awhile. I think im summiting the first hill on the OT…

Way. Too. Long. Winded. Of. An. Answer!!!


Ok trigless trig FILL not really what im wanting. Honestly, what i want is what i already know and have and thats the crossfader. That basically brings in fx and other changes the way i want.

That being said, i really like what im seeing in the above video, if i understand correctly…turning on/off a suite of fx on command…cuz then if i held down a plays free trig AND hit with the crossfader, we know constellations will be formed…

So i will chip away at learning whats happening there…


Even with audio tracks only, many possiblities!
Thanks to your topic :wink:, I continued the experiment with a Neighbor Plays Free track, and added one shots on both.

Press, Yes, Up Arrow + Page, and Trig 2 (Neighbor Plays Free) = Lots of variations possible, even without the crossfader.

You can control per step fx sequencing amount with the crossfader, because it has priority over plocks.

Set plocks as you wish.
Set scene A with neutral settings with “scene” locks, that override plocks (bring back plocks to neutral settings, forced by the scene).
Move crossfader to scene B (neutral) to bring back plocks.
Can be used used both A/B way, depending on neutral parameters for plocks or scenes.
You can add lfos, plock depths…


Ok i cannot yet figure out how to trigless trig the neighbor track fx.

I have a sample riffing on static 5. Neighbor
Is 6:). I have neighbor plays free, hold, trc.len. I added a couple trigless trigs (bright green). For each of those trigs i drastically plocked dark reverb’s mix. So shouldn’t i be able to hear those plocks when step seq is set to SLOTS and i press “5”?

You have to set to Track mode (default) to trigger Plays Free tracks with trigs 1-8.
On a Neighbor, regular trigs suffice (no sample triggering).

Warning : when you stop the Plays Free Neighbor, the last played trig plocks and track parameters are maintained.
It can be interesting btw! You can set a neutral trig at the end of the sequence.


Ahh ok. Thank you. Thought i tried that:). But ok now it works! And its doing what I thought it might. But yeah still seems secondary to crossfader and lfo’s etc. Id probably like it better if i used longer samples…

Ok thanks sezare! I will play around a bit more.

Ok so @sicijk posted this comment on elektron-users forum. I wish I understood it all but i dont.

“ So…after days…i came out on the beauty of PlaysFree in Hold and Direct mode…
If you p-lock via trigless trig VOL on the Static machine playing back the song and you have this track set to PlaysFree-Hold-Direct, then you can manually stutter the song by pressing trig 1 - releasing it will leave the volume normally, only if you leave the trig on the step where the VOL is not p-locked to -64…so…timing needed here!“

So, static 5 running a sample 16 steps, 6 is neighbor. Following these directions i have 5 plays free-hold-direct. I put a trigless trig on step2, vol on amp to -64, micro timed it to very beginning of step (dont know if this was what sicijk meant).

So this means the neighbor is NOT plays free?

And this means i should get the stutter holding step 5 while track 5 is active?

I did get something of a stutter with somethjng lkke this but then lost it??? My mind just doesnt think like the OT…

Any thoughts would be great! And i do know how to do stutters using lfo’s and love it but im looking for additional methods…and just learning the OT.

Track 1 is a Static, I think he triggered the Static sample with trig 9 (or track1 + play).

Track 1 is set to Plays Free.

But as I said above, last trig settings are maintained, hence no more sound if the trig is plocked to VOL -63. Maybe a One lfo would help to revert neutral settings.

Depending on Plays Free settings, you can get different results, immediate but not perfectly synced or, synced and not played directly.
For these reasons I prefer FILL, One Shots, because they are always played when and where I want. Plocks muted by crossder is super efficient too.

I made a pattern combining all methods, one shot (Arm All), FILL, plocks/crossfader, Plays Free Neighbor track. Crazy results!


Im officially back to LFO crossfader of amp vol. That makes me really happy, is easy to do, and of course its never a bad thing to hear the results of a scene crossfading in case there intermediate amazing sounds.

And the other stutter effect by adjusting rtim and rtrg is perfect for me as is. But thanks a zillion for going down the rabbit hole with me, sezare. U da man, man.

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