Sound Quality Drops When Plugged into the Octatrack

Hi all,

I’m using a Prophet 5 to record short samples into the Octatrack and I noticed a significant drop in quality when playing through the Thru or Pickup Machine compare to directly out of the synth’s phone out or a mixer. It seems to lose a lot of the hi frequencies. I also noticed that the quality is a little better in the Recording Buffer.

My Control Memory settings are:
Flex Format 24-Bit
Dynamic Recorders Yes
Recorder Format 24-Bit
Reserve Recordings R1-R6
Reserve Length 16s

:confounded:Is it normal to have this degraded sound quality in the Octatrack or do I have a faulty hardware?


Yes, another long thread.


this has been discussed ad infinitum on other threads but… first response… remove the filter that’s on each track by default


Tried that, but thanks for the suggestion :sweat_smile:

Try this:

Make a sequence for the synth to play with a sound that would show any audio problems, I suggest a wide ranging sequence, with a dynamic sound.
Record synth out directly to your computer/recorder.
Connect synth to OT set level so that input LEDs are just occasionally turning red then back level of until just before. Record into OT, then turn off timestretch and put both track fx to none. Then play the sample from the OT into and record into whatever you recorded onto before, or simply save the recording to card and copy it to your computer, or do both for completeness.

Then set the files to the same level and post them to the forum, this will be a good way to see if something is amiss or if it is something else.


Time stretch OFF.
Filter, get rid of it.

Also, be mindful of gain staging. There can be volume differences.

There is no ‘quality drop’


Maybe not that long.


OP is Martin Stimming and I claim my £5.


@darenager Here’s a test where I record the Prophet 5 into a ten year old budget audio interface compare to a recording taken from the Octatrack’s card via the Pickup Machine with no filter fx on tracks. Both are at -13db. See for yourself


Audio Interface

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Yes very long thread on Octatrack sound quality

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Thanks for posting
Octatrack file sounds crap - we all know this but people don’t care about it, it is part of the whole concept


Naaah, Stimming is busy with selling his mastering compressor equalizer effect thing


OT does actually sound like shit in that clip.

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@youngtilapia thanks for posting can you upload the files as wav somewhere (sendspace or some similar) and ensure that the sequences are exactly the same, I’d like to test them on my OT to see if I can recreate the loss of quality, this will be a good way to see if it is the OT or something else.


sips morning coffee


these clips aren’t even close to being level-matched

if I raise the level of the Octatrack file, it doesn’t sound that much different. call me tin-eared, I guess… yeah, I hear a difference, but it’s not a show-stopper to me


Total aside, but can somebody explain what difference I should be hearing between those two clips? They sound identical to me quality wise, other than one being a bit louder. Listening on some mid-range AKG headphones + amp.


The OT tries at almost every stage to ensure there’s headroom, and it’s very easy to end up with a lower volume than what went in. Check the gain staging. I can’t really tell if the clips are level-matched.

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Gain staging is likely a factor here. What is your Vol setting in the thru src page vs amp vs track level?

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With incoming sources, I’d aim for yellow-orange flashing led during louder parts and red during peaks. Green will result in a way to low signal.

Then make sure you’re not clipping (when viewing the sampled waveform in OTs audio editor, the ceiling is literally the ceiling) and leave headroom for potential processing, I usually set levels under 100, amp vol to 0 and thru machine vol to +64.

With poor gainstaging, it is possible to get a pretty bad sounding output if compared to the dry sources.