Sampling Alternatives to Octatrack?


Think of the OT like 8 2-track tape machines with the almost immediate ability to manually or automatically cut, mix, glue and playback your tape.

With the side bonus of multimultifx and MIDI sequencer.

I make sound collages akin to GRM or Touch artists - Watson and Nilsen - and the OT is far and away the best for the job in standalone hardware. You would need to to go computer, iPad or modular - ER301, Morphagene, ect - to get close.

If the Empress Zoia could play samples the OT might have some competition. Maybe the Organelle plays samples?

If you just want to playback single files the Blackbox or SP404 (seriously…sick kit) seem very capable.

But yeah. OT.


My reluctance of going down the OT route is that I may find it limiting from a field recording perspective …eg if I’m wanting to record and sample an extended piece of say 30 minutes of uninterrupted street noise, or animal sound, etc etc. Is the OT not limited to about 5 minutes? Whereas if I was to use a computer DAW there is no limitation of what one can do.
I don’t have the finances for both a laptop and a OT.

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Sound collage. Nice.
Like I’ve asked above is the OT not limited to about 5 minutes of recording time?

If I was to record a 1 hour piece for example on a field recored or tape machine…plug it into the OT and sample…could I have the recorded sound continually playing while I sample and manipulate that recording? Probably yeah uh?

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Max recording :
16 bit : 8m28s
24 bit : 5m39s

The logical way would be to copy your recordings on the OT. Up to 2GB files (around 3h30mn).


Hmmm. Nice. Thanks!!

Do you have a Zoom like recorder?
I think they are limited to 2GB files too, and battery time! :slight_smile:

Wirh OT 8 tracks with 3h30 recordings is theoretically possible. I didn’t try! :smile:

A guy tried with 1 hours stems or something, it was apparently staying in sync…


Without breaking a sweat.

To record the result however - if over the allotted time - yeah youre going to need something else. A simple Zoom is perfectly fine.


I’ve had one but no longer. I’ve a bid on an old Roland r26. Sounds a tasty machine. If I don’t get that I may go back down the Zoom route.

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My appetite for the OT is re-whetted.
Thanks all.


Better to take a Zoom recorder or the like for field recording, then later copy to Octatrack . Octatrack static machines can stream audio off of the CF card - very long audio files in the hour or longer range if you want.

If you haven’t read the Merlin guide I highly recommend it.

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I know I’m reviving a very old discussion and the OP has gone a long time ago. Though I’m wondering what does it mean to say that using the Digitakt to create Permegiani-like music might feels like cheating. Does it mean that one user could get great results too easily?

Simplicity and intuitiveness are certainly not an issue for me. Though I had this cheat feeling when I had a Cocoquantus; not having a clue of what you’re doing and still getting great results.

I’m asking because I bought a Digitakt a few months ago to do something similar of what the OP has been trying to achieve. I’ve been so busy at collecting sounds with a hand-held recorder that I haven’t yet started to use the DT (I’m a real procrastinator when it comes to learn new devices).

However, I’m concerned about the lack of stereophony and sample lenght limits of the DT since I’m getting a nice collection of +33 seconds of stereo field recordings.

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Your laptop? MPC? Sp404?
I’ve tried most of the samplers out there and I find the Maschine Mk3 is my favorite.

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If you want to use long stereo samples, then digitakt may not be the machine for you. I know from my own experience, stereo field recordings loose a lot of their magic if they get squashed to mono.

If you’re an ipad owner, there are some very good apps, koala is very impressive actually once you get used to the goofy colour scheme. Octatrack of course… (I’m an old OT head) and yeah, the SP404 maybe?

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Thanks for the suggestions.

Knowing that the Digitakt engine could possibly get me into Parmegiani-esque territory without much hassle could motivate me to get things started for good. As for field recordings integration, I will have to figure out some strategies before thinking about buying a new sampler.
Il will check out if Overbridge can be implemented into Audiomulch. Not so sure about that…

As for stereo sound mangling, I might try the 2-channel workaround on the DT.
A stereo OS upgrade would be sweet.

I’d second this.

iOS Sampling apps;

Beat Maker 3.
Loopy Pro.

Add a Digitakt to interface audio/midi… voila, you’ve got a ridiculously powerful sampling set up.

I have no IPad, but it seems to be a sound suggestion.

It seems that Felicity Mangan is cheating.


Beautiful work here, very inspirational.
Thank you for sharing, first time I hear this.

I’m currently on a quest for doing exactly that: building my own alternative for Octatrack, and my answer is:
1010 Blackbox + Empress Zoia
their combined price is actually less than that of a new OT
Blackbox is cool because you can take it anywhere, with a power bank and a pair of headphones. And then it’s a great machine for playing a live gig with a band or a singer: separate outputs for metronome, rhythmic and melodic parts, easy stems playback. Zoia doubles as a guitar pedal for me.
BB is also a looper, but I prefer using loopers on the zoia, because those can refrig, glitch and do all kinds of stuff real-time (not without some patching, but they can). Blackbox is pretty limited in terms of effects and modulations right now, but it has a dedicated granular mode and it sounds a little cleaner than OT. Idk why. Maybe because it’s so much newer. And 48khz. And the team behind it is great, firmware version 3.0 is already in beta. It might grow into a real monster at some point.
Programming Zoia for master FX can be challenging, if you need something highly specific and customised.
Otherwise, just download a bunch of fun sounding patches, tweak them a bit and add midi control. They are arrangeable in banks, I could map some midi buttons to switch them, but just using stompswitch scroll is also ok. I dare say it’s a hell of a step up from Octatrack’s performance FX capabilities.
Still exploring the possibilities here.


Also thinking about this. For me, the two standout features on the Octatrack are its flex recorders, that can be p-locked to record and play, and the crossfader/scenes.

Drambo on iOS has both of these. It’s a software Octatrack with lots of extras. But it’s also software, which has its downsides compared to hardware.

But how about using a Digitone or Digitakt with Drambo? You’d dedicate one midi track to trigger Drambo’s flex sampler, essentially adding a hardware controlled Octatrack resampler to any box. On the Digitakt, you could then resample the result back into the Digitakt.

This would also work with the OP-Z.

Another option is Koala. You can sample into Koala’s pads using midi to trigger those pads. That means its sampler can be sequenced via midi. I have tried this by putting the Koala AUv3 into Drambo, but it should work with hardware too.

If the Digitakt and Digitone had midi “kits,” “sounds,” or presets that you could quickly load into a track, it would make this a lot easier.