Plays free is freaking me out

Trigs 9-16 are nothing to do with plays free … nothing

Those play the machine at the current settings, they’ll do so even if the seq is off, it starts a machine, plays the sample (if assigned) at current settings

Plays free only applies to Trigs 1-8 and will only work if there are Trigs on those tracks and only if each track is set to plays free independently

Fn+Bank defaults to the global options, you then need to select each track manually and set it to plays free, but that track will need to have trigs on it … you are manually playing the sequencer, not the machine per se … so you need trigs

If the sequencer is playing and it’s set to a finite length, then the quantize will work fine, well at least it all works exactly as advertised here

EDIT: just saw this was resolved above !


i know 9-16 don’t that was my cause for concern mate.

i also know now to use a trig - thanks for your quote and help above, like i said matt stirred my curiosity, that got me to the solution.

from the manual.

PLAYS FREE controls the behavior of the tracks. When activated the chosen track will be
disconnected from the sequencer. When [PLAY] is pressed the track will not start playing.
To start the playback of for example audio track 1, it needs to be trigged manually by pressing
the first [TRIG] key. To trig MIDI track 1, press [TRIG] key 9 while in MIDI mode. Disconnected
tracks will be stopped when [STOP] is pressed. Read more about track trigging
in the section “TRACK” on page 81.

nothing about placing a trig - they could do with that VITAL piece of info in there imo.

You’re triggering a Track, that’s very clear in the manual, if there’s nothing on the track, there’s not going to be any activity … ask yourself the question, what should happen if there’s nothing on a Track when you trigger it ?

Maybe ask yourself whether you actually want the facility to trigger just the machine (not the track or p-locks) at its current settings, for that you use Trigs 9-16

The whole point of the TrackTrig 1-8 is to play the sequencer manually, something which exploits the possibilities of p-locks etc

It’s also labelled underneath the Trig ‘Track Trigs’ … with no info on the track, there couldn’t be any activity … you would have been playing the tracks, but as no machine was being triggered, the icon would stay at a square(stop)

The key thing here is what would your empty track do anyway if it wasn’t in plays free mode :wink: ?

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no because they say trigger it manually and it is disconnected from the sequncer hence it’s name - it’s contradictory to then have to use the sequencer to actually allow the triger that is disconnected to work - that to me says use your hands, not the sequencer to open it, no mention of it,.

anyway - resolved now so all good

“Plays free” or “disconnected” tracks are still tracks, singular sequencer lines to place trigs on, etc…
When they are disconnected, they do not start with the play button, you start them manually, but they still play just like tracks and follow the bpm and track length/scale and what not, and as tracks they are sequences of trigs.

Take a regular OT pattern that you have where you press play and all 7 or 8 tracks play. Turn one to plays free and it will not start with the play button, but when you trig it manually it will be the same sequence of trigs that it was before. If a track is blank with no trigs and you change it to plays free, it still will be an empty track and therefore make no sound when you play it, just like a regular track with no trigs…
Most certainly the logic is that playing an empty track whether plays free or not will make no sound…

You may be looking for something other than plays free, I don’t know, it seems like maybe you want to just trig the “machine” instead of the track which would be trigs 9-16. That will just play the sample with all current parameter page settings and not the “track”, you can quantize the launch of the sample in the attributes section of the audio editor.

Just thought I’d say this all for clairifaction… it seems like you just want to trig the “machine” and not the “track”, otherwise you would have had trigs on it from the get go… :thinking:


You should have watched my vid - I did explain all of this and gave some tips on how to use plays free. Anyway, good luck with your octaendevours!

Man, thanks for this one! Was starting to think I was crazy because I couldn’t make it work. What a cooky thing to have to have a trig activated before PLAYS FREE can actually work.

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The way to think of it is Plays Free is playing sequences freely, in other words not connected to the transport, in order to work they still need sequence data.

If you don’t want loops to play with any sequencing then just trig the samples manually either from slots mode or the dedicated trig button in track mode, you can set play quantise values.


Nothing cooky about that. Even if the play free track would start you wouldn’t hear anything, because there is no info on the track what, how and when it should make sounds. A track is still a track and needs trigs on it.

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Ya but wouldn’t PLAYS FREE imply that it’s independent of the sequencer and therefore any trigs?

I can see how you might think that but once you put it together with the rest of the manual terminology it wouldn’t imply that because its a condition applied to a “track”, a sequencer track where trigs are placed…

A track hosts a “machine”, the flex and static machines play samples according to the sequence of trigs on the track. To just play a sample you trig the machine, not the track…

Plays free tracks are just like your regular tracks on your patterns but they don’t start with the play button, you launch them separately as one shots or loops, they play the sequence of trigs on the track… You can quantize the launch of them so they are lined up with the sequencer tracks, or you can have them various lengths, launch them direct at different times, and then have a bunch of them looping with no real tie to what beat the main sequencer play head is on…

I might have explained it better in the post a few above: Plays free is freaking me out


No, it doesn’t imply that.

As I wrote: a track is still a track (series of trigs), so it needs a sequencer to execute this sequence step by step to make sound. PLAYS FREE means it uses its own sequencer (so to speak) and not the common sequencer where all the uncool other tracks are “hanging around”.

PLAYS FREE means it can be started by its own and doesn’t start with all the others.

To play a longer stem (where you need just a single trig) is not the only use case for PLAYS FREE tracks, but just one of many.


One awesome technique is that plays free tracks can be launched quantized and looped, and if the same track number on the next pattern you switch to is also plays free, the previous patterns plays free track will keep going until you launch the current patterns plays free track of the same track number. This way you you can replace tracks one by one when switching patterns, if they are all plays free…

Edit: When you switch patterns a previous patterns track full of trigs won’t keep looping, but a sample set to loop will keep looping for a duration affected by its amp hold and release. Will loop indefinitely if either are set to inf, until you launch the new patterns plays free track.


ooh! operating thetan tier tip, thanks :+1:

EDIT: oh man, I can’t get over how golden this tip is! Much obliged mr Mike.

This function makes the octatrack do what I love about the Akai force, ie. disconnecting the patterns from each other, allowing mixing and matching of patterns across the tracks. The resampling transition trick just became a poor substitute to what one can do with this, assuming it works also for MIDI tracks :loopy:


Never thought about that. Maybe a little too much for newcomers, but really genius. :smiley:

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PF works for MIDI tracks too?

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Newcomers shouldn’t read this one then :smile: :


On another note, I don’t use Ableton but from what I understand this makes OT behave similarish to clip launching…

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Thanks for all this great info guys.

Yep… Every single audio and midi track for all patterns has its own setting for if its plays free, in the pattern settings menu, func+bank outside of grid recording. You have to be in the midi sequencer for midi track settings to appear…

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