Preparing For First Live Show w/ Octatrack

I’ve had my OTMK2 for about 4 months. Things are coming along slowly, but they’re coming along!

My artrock/postpunk band, Prayer Flags has a gig Jan 2nd. We only play a couple times a year, because our drummer lives in London at the moment. I asked the band if I could do an electronic set, either first on the bill, or even between band sets. I have about 35 minutes worth of music prepared so far. Still deciding how to structure things as I don’t want to make things too easy or too dificult for my first live gig with this machine. Today was my first day prepping stuff, so I just imported mixes of finished tunes into sample slots and can play the slots, If need be. Been adding effects and playing keyboards along with the tracks as well. It’s a start, but I know I’ll want to add more involved elements as I rehearse…open to suggestion for strategies!
Also, do any of you use an outboard compressor/limiter to keep your levels consistent, or do you find the OT’s built in compressor does the trick? If so, any recommended settings?
This thing will evolve over the next few weeks and I’m excited to learn some new tricks do pull off a great live set.

Thanks for any help offered!

More details needed to help!

About compressor settings, not sure if it’s the best method but basically :

  • Fx Setup > Rms to max (better for master mix)
  • Set Ratio to max
  • Decrease Threshold until sound is lower*
  • Increase Gain
  • Lower Ratio for more natural results

Adjust all parameters by ear, to taste.

*Maybe the most important : helps to know what is the threshold, hence the level limit for the compressor to switch on with your settings.

Any link to hear it?


Here’s one tune our drummer posted. Pretty ‘rock’ sounding. The vinyl came out pretty nice, but thesigital transfers were a bit over cooked


@Snipecatcher I run a compressor limiter on the master insert of the board I keep on stage. I’d probably be comfortable just running the OT solo, sans outboard limiter, but I’ve never performed with only the OT before.

I’ve played with too many musicians in the past where something absurd has occurred with one of their levels so I prefer to have some control over whether or not we’re going to blow the PA.


Thanks for the info!

For this moment, all I’ve done is load up 8 complete songs (close to 35 minutes) onto track 1 and fire them off from the slots list, per the Cuckoo video. No sequencer running, even. My thinking was, between playing some keyboards, bass and effects along to the tracks, it could be a less stressful, but still mildly entertaining maiden voyage. Also, I still am a tad afraid of that damn OT! But I’m now thinking of taking things a step or two further. Maybe assign each song to its own part and trig em so I can add loops and parts to the sequencer? This occurred to me as I was setting up my looper…I can be a bit slow sometimes :slight_smile:

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I like to render down my tracks from DAW (MPC 2.3, Reaper) into 8ish tracks(sometimes more and then change them with sample locks or parts) then go nuts with the scenes and fx. (you can also retempo or resample stuff too which can be really fun) I do a Song per bank. The tricky part, or 1 of the many tricky parts, is changing tempos from bank to bank. But there are ways to do it more naturally. (putting close tempo songs 1 after another) But yeah then i run my op1 loaded with vocal clips through the direct monitoring. And guitar with looper through my marshall behind me. Dont be scurrred be nerrrrd!

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With the obligatory disclaimer that it depends on what kind of music and sound you’re going for, you can get a lot of mileage out of assigning compressors to one or both of the effects on your OT’s Master track. Set one up to handle transients and the other as a limiter, for example.

…Not sure how much time and experimentation this would take you before your gig, and you may well already be using your T8 for other purposes, but it’s an option for the future if you want to lessen your need for outboard gear. As a band member I expect you’re carting around enough stuff as it is (heh).

As for first gig advice, maybe just a penny’s worth of philosophy: Improv is great, it can take both you and the audience to a magical place together. To form the safety net beneath your high wire, decide in advance which parameters you want to play with during improv, practice using them, and stick to them during the show. This will help you maintain a minimal but crucial level of balance.

Good luck and record the set if you can :slight_smile:


Thanks! The club I’m playing records sets upon request, so I’m sure I will…whether it’ll be good enough to share is another matter :rofl:

I am using the OT’s compressor, was just checking to see if there was something folks preferred to it for level management.

On the subject of improv…I’m guessing any synth stuff I do will be pre planned, mainly because I’m a crappy keyboard player! Most of my improv will be with effects pedals. Right now, those are on the Cue output, so I can blend wet/dry. Some of my pedals (Count To Five, Enzo) can be a bit unpredictable, so the option to quickly abandon them without affecting the main mix is important

Totally! I tried this recently, 2 compressors for Master track.
For transients, do you increase Atk and decrease Rel? Low Threshold, high Ratio?

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I’ve read advice with any electronic set to basically lock it off a week out and simply rehearse what you have. It’s tempting to keep tweaking things but at some point u have to stop and say “this is the show”, and just rehearse that for the last week, with days off in between. Let your brain really take it in. Otherwise you can actually confuse yourself on stage, your brain will default to safe mode which may be things it was doing a week ago, and you’ll forget those little last minute changes you made and wonder why things aren’t working like they were supposed to. But that all depends on process, if your whole thing is about improv on stage and whatever happens, then that’s a completely different thing. From what you’ve described, best thing is probably get it all laid out by NYE, from there just rehearse within the format you’ve got. Good luck!


Thanks! Yeah, I had planned on something quite similar, but that’s solid advice!


For me use of compressor depends on the material, the crowd and the context. If I am on the bill in amongst a load of DJs, at a rave or dance club, I will use the compressor. Club/rave ears are so accustomed to compressed music they seem to react weirdly to music with dynamic range. They want loud… And lots of it.
If I am on the bill alongside live musicians, I dont use the compressor, so I sound more musicly pleasing.

I prefer not to use a master track at all on the OT. To my ears I get a much clearer mix using no master track. However, for a DnB set infront of inebriated people that want to jump around… Sod it, compress it and watch the crowd go nuts.


Oh and pro tip! Have a small roll of gaffa tape, fold the power cable back on itself and tape it to the OT. Nothing kills a set more than having a cable pulled out. I cannot fathom why elektron boxes do not have a power cable lock!


Decided to change up a couple things. Trigging each song with a 1st cond. and saving each song as it’s own part. Gives me the option to add patterns, live sample, live loop, etc. Working fine so far, but my tempo information isn’t changing when I change the part. What am I missing here?

Same tempo for whole project, unless you use Arranger. You can use it only to recall patterns with their tempo.

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As usual, I’m not sure I follow you here, but I really want to! I wasn’t planning to use Arranger, because I might have some looped stuff between tunes. How would you deal with that?

Arranger because there’s no other way to recall / store pattern tempos (tempi).
Otherwise, sheet of paper, or write tempo as Part’s name, and change tempo manually,
You can alternate Arranger mode and pattern mode, or set loops in the Arranger.


Thanks, bud! I’ll sort out what seems to be the best option when I get there!

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Thankfully, the Arranger will take you all of 5 minutes to figure out. It’s really obvious once you know what you’re looking at. But yeah, absent an external clocking sending tempo changes, you’ll need to use Arranger.