Plays free is freaking me out

Indeed it went straight on my to try tonight list when I read that today. Plays free is a really powerful option and Elektron actually fixed some previous bugs around them (but not mentioned in release notes). Maybe this cool trick got lost in an update…

That would be really a shame, because as far as I understood it, it should be possible to go really crazy with it.

Suppose you have all tracks on a bunch of patterns set up as plays-free. Then you could can pick any track from any of these pattern to play together as long as they doesn’t share the same track. Just switch through patterns and take your picks …


Nearest I’ve got to that is staying on the same pattern but having 3 pages of pattern variations on each track which can be pasted into page 1 (you turn per track on and set all tracks to 64 steps but the master to 16 - you can still access those pages 2 to 4 and even edit them, then paste into page 1 when you want to hear them. They can be cross-pasted across tracks, preserving sample locks too. So that’s 24 “off-stage” patterns you can work on while playing 8)


It can be totally crasy. In midi mode, with midi loopback, you can play Plays Free midi tracks sending recording notes with hold setting, and play Plays Free audio tracks recordings on the fly. Recording length depending on Play Free midi tracks holding time, quantized or not…

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@Clancy sorry I didn’t follow you! I have to check it with OT.

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It’s just another way to explore the possibilities of

SCALE SETUP (aka page button) +COPY/PASTE

When you have master set to 16 steps but the tracks set to 64

Not forgetting that paste again = undo so you can switch back to the existing pattern instantly and treat the ‘paste-ins’ as fills, melodic variations or whatever


Ok, it’s the clever trick you already mentioned AFAIK. I’m not sure it suits my needs, or my brainless moments. :wink:

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Yes it’s the same thing - but omg your midi loopback mention got me into combining loopback and the page-paste thing. Now I’m switching out 4 voice drum patterns on the fly using midi chords to trig audio tracks, while the other four tracks carry on playing as before…

So now the trick doesn’t have that one-track-at-a-time restriction, plus audio parameters and crossfader position can be thrown in there too :+1:


Ya know, I might be guilty of spreading false info without testing… I got this from Veet’s Next Level guide, but I think I misinterpreted it… Here’s a passage and it goes on on the next page, pages 73 and 74…

I might have to go edit the few times I mentioned this…


Cool. Checking it out still led to some nice discoveries for me anyway.

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was I was about to post my test results … but there it is: the solution of the riddle … :wink:

So it’s not the track which continues to play, but as @Clancy guessed in his first post the sound of the last trig (in combination with a loop and Release=INF).

So it’s based on the same idea which let you continue a looping oneshot on the next track (when there are no new trigs there).

It definitely needs more preparation (render tracks into loops / some recorder trickery), but it may still come in handy sometimes.


Yeah I think musically it’s quite nice to have that ‘replace tracks one at a time’ restriction. Also if you’re working with like standard 1 bar loops there’s no real need to get in there and turn on loop mode just for the transition - it can be left on because it gets trigged at the loop point anyway. Plus you might have say a 2 bar loop and the pattern change is also a reveal of the second half of your loop.

Next time I get to play around with this I’m thinking a parameter lock on the last trig, microtimed as far right as possible so that you don’t hear its effect on pattern 1 (because overridden by vanilla trig 1) but whatever you have plocked takes effect once you’re into pattern 2.

= Another bit of freedom to prepare something in advance while the OT is playing, which I like


I think using sample locks is another good way to change out loops on a one by one basis, not exactly the same, but if you are working with a bunch of loops anyway and make the necessary preparations, combined with scenes you could have a kind of clip launch mode. It is a shame that sample locks can’t be locked to scenes though, that would make improv and live performance really flexible.

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You could put your loops in a chain and have the scene also select the appropriate slice, so scene change=loop change?

Yeah but the problem doing that is all the loops would need to be pre level matched then chained, with proper sample locks the individual loops would play back at the level set in attributes, so it makes getting mix levels much easier.

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Can anyone confirm the visual feedback for ‘plays free’ on the Octa MK11’?

On the MK1 the only indicator if a track is playing or not is the (very very small) play/stop symbol on the screen next to the track.
Is this the same on the MK11 or have they added some LED visual feedback as well…

Never heard about it but that’d be a great feature on both. Feature request.

OctaMK11…sick. I musta been sleeping!
Any news on an OctaMK12?


This is awesome, thank you. My experience of this is not as I expect though.

When I change to a different pattern, while the previous sound keeps playing until I trigger the new one, it plays at like half speed or something. Very strange. as the page/scale settings are identical (it’s on the same track!)

Have you encountered this before?

No, I haven’t really used plays free tracks much. I just tested a plays free track with trig on step one launching a 64 step sample set to loop. I switched to a pattern linked to another part where a scene was active with a lock on rate 32 on the same track (also plays free) to see if that would affect it, but the sample kept looping sounding just as it did on the first pattern…

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