Song / midi arranging with OT, A4, DT, DN


#1

I’ve been using Digitakt and Digitone almost a year and last week finally I’ve got Octatrack and Analog four. For me, it’s the dream setup. I’m in the learning process of Octatrack and loving it.

But other day I realized I haven’t thought this through. The problem is I can’t find a way to arrange a song by using this setup. Each gear has its own powerful sequencers. I was hoping I can use digitakt as drum machine, OT as main deck and control digitakt through its midi channels. But apparently mute / unmute digitakt audio channels through OT is very complicated without a midi processor (midi solutions event processor as far as I see). I read several posts in elektonauts yet couldn’t find any solutions so far. Adding cc94 trig to OT midi channel trigs on step2. Even if I achieve this, analog four doesn’t have midi tracks so digitone will be out of the loop.

Basically what I need is an arranger. Like octatrack has, simply change patterns after certain loops and mute / unmute track(s) of each gear.

I wouldn’t want to add another gear into this setup yet automation doesn’t seem possible so far. it seems like Arturia Beatstep Pro can do this job maybe. Yet I don’t need an external sequencer and not sure of its capabilities.

Do you have any suggestions to control this entire setup to arrange a song? Maybe it’s already possible with elektron gear only or maybe there is another gear you may suggest.


#2

What about OT Arranger, all patterns of all gear synced with Prog Changes, specific patterns with empty tracks as mutes?

As OT send consecutive similar CCs only once, it doesn’t make thing easy for mutes. You have to send 2 different values to be sure CCs are sent properly each time.

Midi processors can make mutes easier. You can use a dedicated midi track channel on OT, specific notes mapped to all your gear’s mutes / unmutes.


#3

My setup is OT + A4 and I was also scratching my head about this for a while, but I think I have a working method now.

Basically what you want to do is program the arrangement in OT and have it control all your other Elektron boxes. You need to enable sending program changes in OT and enable receiving program changes for your other boxes. This means OT will send transport, clock and program changes to your other devices. Then you just need to make sure that patterns match between your devices and everything should just work.

Another way, which I tried first, is to only send transport & clock from OT and program the same arrangement on the A4. This also works. Both methods are a bit cumbersome to set up, you have to be careful everything matches, but should be rock solid in practice.

The advantage of the first method is that you can have stuff like infinite loops in the OT arrangement and manually jump out of them, or jump around the arrangement in general. This unfortunately doesn’t work in the second method, since OT’s Song Position keeps advancing instead of jumping when you jump around in the arrangement.

The advantage of the second methods is that you can use each device’s song mutes. In the first method, you would need to copy patterns in order to make versions with some tracks muted. Which method is better depends on your workflow and what type of music you are making.

I would be happy to hear about other solutions to the problem, as neither of these is ideal for all cases.


#4

@ilmai Actually what I thought first sending clock and program change from OT. But OT’s arranger has track mute setting for each row which allows to develop the song by using less patterns. But definitely it’s still possible by using more patterns, thanks for the insight!

@sezare56 I tried to use cc send method through OT midi channel by setting midi track 1 as. channel 1. Set ctrl 1 to cc94 (dt mute cc). And tried to add trigless trig to step 1 as ctrl1 =0, and step 16 as ctrl1 = 1. That should unmute on step 1 and mute on step 16. But step 1 sending the cc late I guess because fist step of dt doesn’t trig and becomes unmute since step 2. Like you said it’s either event processor should be used or sequence entire Dt track on ot I guess.


#5

I’m still stuck between ideas of using more patterns or a midi processor. Honestly using a midi processor looks like the most comfortable option to control this setup.

In this case, OT arranger will be master and it will send mute / unmute notes to DT, DN, A4. It’s total of 16 track for these 3 gears yet I don’t think it won’t be no more than 4 track unmutes in the same time.

It looks like you have experience with MIDI processors (I’ve seen you mentioned it on other posts as well) and I’d appreciate if you shed some light on this.

What I understand from Midi Solutions Event Processor does, it receives midi notes from OT and through its configuration software each note can be rerouted to other devices with any cc.

Question here is what are the best alternatives for this? Event processor has 2 models as event processor and event processor plus. Both will do the thick or plus one is required in this case?

I guess it’s not the same thing with midi interfaces, so is there other alternatives from different brands?

Thanks in advance.


#6

I think more patterns with empty tracks is definitely the simplest. I’d copy/paste the full patterns on the last pattern slots just in case.

Let’s think about how would you arrange your songs with a midi processor :

Would you set OT some midi tracks with mutes messages and mute them with Arranger?
Do you use midi tracks for other purposes?
You’d need one midi track per mute / status change. You’d propably need several OT patterns, depending on available midi tracks, number of different mute status you’d want.

There are many midi processors, I have some. :smile:
Midi Processors with Octatrack
Bomebox I don’t have seems very interesting. You can try Bomebox possibilities with its software trial. Midiox soft can be used as midi processor too I think.
Event Processor is limited to 10 events, not enough, (vs 32 for Plus version).


#7

Another software alternative to try is Cantabile. If you can get your setup working with software, you will have more information about what you need from a hardware solution.


#8

This is limited, but may help :


#9

Actually it’s all about your habits and that difficult stage of changing them :slight_smile: Before while I was using DT and DN, I was using DT as master and using its sequencer only because IMO colorful DN track buttons are poorly designed (colored leds on colored buttons make it very difficult to understand the state). Also using only DT sequencer was very practical to mute / unmute any audio or midi track every 64 or 128 steps depending on the song / pattern. I always use clock and program change in sync.

I was hoping I could do the same with this new setup, plus now I had OT arranger. But I realized it would be a waste using OT’s midi sequencers on DT tracks since DT is much more practical and fast for sequencing rytms. In the end I decided to use each gear’s own sequencer, Ot sends clock and program change (all gear on same pattern and clock always) and only thing left was sending mute state from OT to other devices.

As you pointed out relying on multiple patterns with empty track, and maybe trig conditions (1st and contrary) might be the best way to do it. I wish there would have been more cond trigs like after 2nd,3rd, 4th loop. It could have been the permanent solution (even for DT chains)

I’ll also look into midi processors you referred to, thanks for that. But if it has to be one track per on track mute, probably it won’t cut it as you said.

But I must say I’m really disappointed with Elektron’s take on this. At least they would have an exclusive protocol between their devices for deeper control. Damn, I’d be willing to pay for a master arranger / project backup management hub product from Elektron :slight_smile:

Regardless thanks for your help!


#10

Exactly. I tried this but some reason OT first midi track’s trigless trig cc is being sent late. DT becomes unmute on trig 2. Probably it’s the weird behavior you mentioned. Doesn’t look so relaible.


#11

With a midi processor, you’d be able to mute / unmute several tracks with one midi track.
If you map notes, 4 maybe 8 with a 2nd trig with - 23/384 microtiming…


#12

Try microtiming.


#13

What do refer to with micro timing exactly? If I use early microtiming on OT it’ll trig on the second loop, if late it’ll trig on second step. I suppose you mean to change microtiming of first step on DT? It would work I guess.

By the way it’s good to know midi processor capabilities. I’ll be looking into that.


#14

Incredible. Like you said shifting microtime forward on OT first trigless trig worked. Logically it sends the code late but unmutes the first DT trig on time. Yet there are weird behaviors like double stop on OT, unmute DT track and sometimes trig doesn’t send unmute at all. I guess I should take a better look.

It seems I’ve got many options now. thanks for you all help.


#15

:content:
Not logical but I realised this when I found this
OT - Microkorg s bank program change solved!
Seems to works with up to - 5/384 microtiming.

Double stop sends all default CC values.

Maybe it was sent before, consecutive CCs being sent once. I’d like a option to disable that behavior. That’s why using notes + midi processor, allways sent, is safer, with the possibility to control different midi channels from one midi track.


#16

Makes sense. If double stop sends default cc, muting dt track manually and then play OT won’t send the same value since it’s already sent. Definitely fixing this behavior could have resolved a lot.

It’s really good to learn these methods / limitations. I definitely know the value of midi processors now and I’ll probably get one :smile: thanks again


#17

Don’t hesitate to ask more about them to make your choice in the below topic.
Midi Processors with Octatrack


#18

Render multiple versions of each part directly to :elot: and complete arrangement there with all the benefits of audio :cool:


#19

Haha I’m sure that will come to that after learning how to handle gear integration. Then I can imagine another level of possibilities with OT’s capabilities :grinning:


#20

Yes, a bit tongue in cheek but mostly serious in my comment. I’m jamming with OT, AK and AR (among a few others) and I’ve tried using them as separate arrangers as well as program changing AK & AR from OT.

My current approach is to render multiple takes as audio in OT and then arrange it all from there - mainly using it all as sample fodder for the OT. For me, this makes more sense :).