Quick way to record different loops/manage samples using parts?

Just getting my head around parts and they’re working great for switching between existing samples.

I wanted to use them to record 4 different loops (e.g. 4 bass guitar loops I can switch between). I’m probably misunderstanding how record buffers should be used but I usually have each track set to a record buffer.

I’m copying/pasting the original part (to keep the basic machine settings) but then I’m unsure what the best way to assign a new sample slot to record the new part as I’m just used to using a single record buffer on each and then saving it in place at the end. Very likely I’m misunderstanding how these are used though!

Record buffers are the same for all parts, in all banks, there are 8 of them (EDIT: consider them as independent entities) . If you want to record all your 4 bass loops live during performance, you need to use 4 tracks using up 4 buffers but IMHO this is very very difficult to manage live, especially when playing bass or guitar (I do too) (you will need to set-up conditional trigs, or use different patterns with locked amp volume, or use scenes to change between the tracks). Doable, but needs a lot of preparation and rehearsing.

If you record them 1 by 1 in pre-production you should simply save them in different slots (not ‘assign to self’), then you could use parts to change slots for your (single) bass track.

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Damn, so parts aren’t suited to recording different loops on a single track? Thanks for the suggestions, I’ll have a play around with them but the workarounds sound a bit fiddly (trying to keep things simple until I’m more familiar with the device).

I need to record them live so is the ‘easiest’ way to record on 4 separate tracks, save each to a new sample and then assign these samples to parts on a single track? I can probably reserve 4 tracks for this to record the loops at the start but I’d need to free them up.

Not into the same record buffer, each new recording will overwrite the previous one, even if you changed banks.

Sorry I meant recording each channel to its own recording buffer, saving tracks 2/3/4 to a new sample each and then assigning these to the other parts on track 1.

Sorry just realised you were referring to the quote :slight_smile: I wanted to check if the clunky saving/assigning method was practical or if I was making it too complicated.

Yes that’s the easiest way to do this. It’s not really “hands free” though.

Ok cool. Shame that the record buffers design doesn’t really fit in with parts but I should be ok to do that.

Fortunately I’m not doing this for a live performance (well, I won’t be now!), just to build ideas/tracks when rehearsing so a bit of faffing and button pressing at the beginning is ok and for live stuff I’ll probably stick with pre-recorded samples for parts.

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That would have required 16 times the amount of RAM plus probably another, more powerful CPU to adress and process that memory

Yes can see the limitations given how the Octatrack is built around making the best use of the available resources. I just wish there was something like a magical ‘9th buffer’ that you could assign to a part that then automatically saves to a new static file after you finished recording a loop. so you can reuse it for the next part.

I guess there are a ton of reason that wouldn’t be practical, just a shame that there’s no easy way to record and loop multiple parts as that’d make it an amazing looper/arranger.

I don’t use pickup machines much so I can’t come up with an exact workflow for it without the OT in front of me, but it seems like they might be able to get pretty close to what you’re after.

Part 1 has a PUM on track 1 and flex machines playing their matching record buffers on tracks 2-4. Once you’ve got something recorded on the T1 PUM, you switch to part 2 which has flex machines on tracks 1, 3 and 4 and a PUM on T2. The record buffer on T1 still holds the audio you recorded in part 1, but now it’s being played back by a flax machine while you overdub on it in the PUM on track 2. Parts 3 and 4 move the PUM to T3 and T4 respectively.

Switch to a new bank of patterns and you could even continue the process on tracks 5-8, since you’d have four new parts to work with and record buffers 1-4 would already have loops recorded in them. When you were done recording you could either move to a third bank to get more free parts so you could start playing back all 8 tracks from flex machines and messing with them as you saw fit.

I might be missing something that’s obvious to people who use pickup machines regularly, and there are definitely details to work out, but I think the general idea should work.

EDIT: If you have the budget and desk space, you could always get something like one of the previous generation Electro-Harmonix loopers (2880/22500/45000 - they all seem to be about the same price used), sync it to the OT, record your loops in it, and then sample them on the fly back into the OT. The EHX loopers sound fine and are really easy to use (the 2880 is control-per-function and works more or less like an old Portastudio but with looping, couldn’t get much simpler and I feel like they still have a place because sometimes that kind of simplicity is really inspiring). Plus once you start controlling the looper with the OT’s MIDI sequencer, or bouncing audio back and forth between OT and looper, a whole lot of new possibilities open up. Something to consider, even though it’s not really what you were looking for.

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Cheers. I didn’t know you could use scenes to switch channel assignments and that opens up a whole load of possibilities.

That sounds like a good option but I couldn’t get on with pickup machines when I first tried them, mostly because they were so different to the flex/static machines and I wanted to figure out the basics first. Lots more playing around to be done :slight_smile:

I was actually looking for a MIDI syncable looper initially but when I found out I needed to pay nearly as much as a 2nd hand Octatrack for one that synced reliably I figured I’d give the Octa a go.

I love the Octatrack even though it’s much less suited to be a ‘quickly loop inspiring idea and build on them live’ machine than I’d hoped but I think the workarounds should do for rehearsals/writing,

Looks like if I was going to to loop things live then I’d probably have to go for the Octa+Electro combo. Shame they don’t do a reasonably priced single track one that’s the size of a guitar pedal as I’m already lugging too much stuff!

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I think @Supercolor_T-120 means parts, not scenes.

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Yeah my bad, meant parts. Fixed the original post.

The MIDI-syncable EHX loopers go for around $200-$250 these days, depending on the model and condition. I saw a few 2880s with foot controllers for under $200 when I looked earlier today; the 22500 and 4500 were both in the $200-$300 range without foot controllers - I’m not sure why but it seems like the secondhand market for all three models is pretty comparable even though the 280 is like 10 years older than the other two and a lot less advanced). They’re as basic as a multitrack looper gets, in terms of function (it really seems like they were trying to keep the experience as close to a “portastudio + mixdown deck” workflow as they could, but with looping - it really does feel like working on a cassette 4 track modified for sound-on-sound recording, with a mixdown deck, except everything loops and can be synced to MIDI and you can reverse on the fly without having to flip the tape over) but if you’re pairing it with the OT that might be a plus. The newer variants do a lot more but I haven’t messed with any of them. The 2880 is by far the most immediate looper I’ve ever used and even before I got an OT I never really wanted to replace it with the newer models because a big part of the appeal for me is its simplicity. If you’re pairing it with an OT you might not need anything more. Plus, being able to control the parameters of the 2880 from the OT sequencer would open up more stuff (IIRC the pitch control goes 7 or 8 octaves via MIDI rather than +/- one octave from the front panel, for example).

I’ve never had any sync issues with the 2880. For a while my entire setup was a Roland EF303 as the master clock with the 2880 following it, and a couple of small keyboards running through the 303 into the 2880 as my main sound sources. Worked great, never had a problem with clock - sequenced parameter modulation on the 303 stayed in time with the 2880 loops for hours.

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The recorder tracks are separate from the audio tracks and you don’t need to assign a buffer to any specific track to use them, only to play them back. However, the recorders and rec setups of each track always apply to the recorder buffer with the same number as the track you access it from. If you want to use parts to switch what buffer is playing on one track you can do that but for each part you’d use a different track recorder to record even though you’ll have it play back on one track.

Example your play track is always on track one for all parts and the other tracks do whatever you want.
-On part one you use track recorder one and you have assigned recorder buffer one to a flex on track one.
-On part two you use track recorder two and you have assigned recorder buffer two to a flex on track one.
-On part three you use track recorder three and you have assigned recorder buffer three to a flex on track one.

Note also when using the buffers you don’t need to save the sample and reassign as the buffers work just like assigned samples and will play whatever audio was recorded into them when triged, only need to save and assign to make them permanent…


UK prices look a bit steeper at £300-£400 (but at least that seems relatively less expensive now that the pound is plummeting…) but I’ll keep my eyes open for a bargain. I do like the idea of immediate/no-brain loop capture and then resampling at leisure.

Ah thanks, that makes the buffers a lot clearer! I’d set up buffers on each track from the outset so that I could loop straight after sampling (and have been working from the same template) so I got mixed up with how they work.

That sounds more doable. What I might try is to assign parts 2/3/4 on track one to record buffer 2, use track recorder 2 as a ‘temp record’ track and then save/assign each part to a new file after it’s been recorded so I can reuse track recorder 2 for the next part.

If it’ll work that way then that sounds like a good compromise between not needing too much button pressing between recordings and not blocking out too many tracks.

Yeah, that’s a bit steep. I got my 2880 new back in 2012 for about that price. TBH you might be better off finding someone in the USA to buy one for you and mail it to you (not sure how the VAT would work in that case, though).

At the price you quoted I’d be reluctant to get one in 2019, as much as I still like mine.