The many incarnations of the Octatrack MKII


I did a little video on all (not all!) the things the Octatrack can be. But limitation actually trumps everything in regards to my creativity.

What do you mostly do with yours?


right now?
With the pickup Machines I use it to caputure Koma Field Kit noises and loop them…
I try to keep it simple and limited as you suggest. Sometimes with the help of some slowed down static machines

I enjoy the flexibility and my highest interest goes to destroying a clean sound into its bits…
I often use the OT as a gloriefied tape machine…
OMG it is full of stars :slight_smile:
a great video you have made, as yoda would say.


Sounds similar to how I work, too, Faktoid. Tape-esque looping and audio smashery… :smiley:

What’s the Field Kit all about?


sorry, I am lazy… Here is some copy and paste
I might add that the described sensors can be acquired too
all in all not too expensive…
I also bought a spring reverb for some bucks and let the solenoid play it… and record the sound of it through the piezo and loop it and so on :slight_smile:

The Field Kit is optimized to process signals from microphones, contact microphones, electromagnetic pickups and able to run DC motors and solenoids. On top of that it can receive radio signals and convert signals from switches and sensors into control voltage!

Let’s get more detailed…

The Field Kit boasts 7 separate functional blocks all focussed on receiving or generating all types of signals. They are designed to operate together as a coherent electroacoustic workstation or alternatively together with other pieces of music electronics with the ability to use control voltage signals.


I love my OT!!

I’ve been using it in a strange way (for me at least) lately.

I normally use it as the Master Clock in my live set up. OP-1 uses inputs AB and then a stereo send from the Qu-Pac feeds inputs CD whatever I send to it. I use a lot of pickup machine loops on tracks T1 and T5. T2 reads from the buffer of T1. T6 reads from the buffer of T5. This way I can mangle further that which I’ve looped in the Pickups. T3 and T7 are my thru machines. T4 is whatever sample I want to play with. T8 is the master.

Lately, though, I’ve been preparing for a DJ set, so I’m using the OT as my mixer between vinyl and mp3.

My computer provides the mp3s and I have a Rytm and Minitaur also, so I can slip my own creations in on the fly.

Two stereo outputs feed AB and CD. I can still choose which goes to either “deck” on the OT via Qu-Pac routing (with an iPad controlling the Qu’) Vinyl or mp3 or Rytm/OT/minitaur. I guess it’s like having 3 decks.

OT main outs into KP3+. Cue outs to their own mixer channel, so I can preview (cue) the sounds in headphones from the Qu-pac before the crowd hears it. Mix bus out to Analog Heat, which comes back to a return channel on the Qu’ and that feeds the mains.

It was a mess to set up, but a whole lot of fun, too!


On the website now. Did you get the expansion pack? This would be great way to introduce the kids to field recording, by which I mean I can justify getting it for myself.


On topic, a few members recommended using short samples and one shots as a good way to get to know the OT. As a recent OT2 Recruit, I have been doing just this: sampling DFAM straight in, chopping up and creating whole tracks within OT. It is testament to the sound quality and range of the DFAM, and the awe inspiring creativity of the OT that this could easily become an album project.


Yes and I am afraid I want the FX Kit too :slight_smile:


I’m in the fase of selling knowing when i do i’ll buy it back again, it’s like you mentioned better to use it for one purpose!


I’ve got mine hacked into the Arecibo radio telescope and have been controlling it with midi tracks. The incoming alien communications are looped on a pickup track(T1), and sliced with flex(T5). Cue outputs send sliced remix back to radio telescope, which will reach alpha centauri in approximately 4 years…

Also connected through Iconnect box with wireless router to my car, sending transport to gas pedal, cc48 crossfader assigned to steering wheel… Using the arranger I’ve successfully sequenced the route from my house to the grocery store…

Next I’m going to set it up as a ouija board…


That looks cool. I like the idea but a lot of the videos I’m finding of people doing stuff with it sound like super harsh metallic noise and bad distortion. Any chance you’d make a video of OT sampling it and playing it chromatically or stretching the sounds or something? I really like the idea of make-your-own-instrument stuff, id like to see more examples of it sounding nice. dont really know where to look for DIY instrument stuff, I went down a youtube suggestion trail of people doing stuff with contact mics and weird boxes with springs and pickups and stuff, I wouldnt mind trying some of that

@Open_Mike you actually had me going that you’d set it up to some kind of telescope until you said you had it hooked up to your gas pedal in the car. analog drift!


I have no idea if your joking.
I am going to google that radio telescope doo hickey.


It’s worth reading up on how david Lynch made the ‘music’ for erasherhead, contact mikes on wires in has garage which he would hit at various points. Lots of cool home made processes. If I had the space I’d be doing that. The koma does look like a compact version, running the kids toys through it should impart some positive trauma on them…


And apologies Carl for going off topic again. I enjoy your videos, short and to the point, allowing me to get on with my life.


I am not very talented (ok, I am totally bad) in making videos…
but, take a look at or
The second video features a kalimba and the field kit… It should give you an idea on how to use it…
I do that as well and with the right revorb, spring reverb, delay and so on you can really blow up the sound and “tape loop” it into the OT and build up soundscapes…

This whole thing of creating soundscapes for me is using a variety of methods… field recordings, throwing those into granular sampling -Tardigrain is very new an sounds great and is polyphonic and cheap as hell!
Take a Tape Effect like MasterRecord on IOS and smear the sound into the dirt. And so on …
Of course you could buy an old fostex or tascam and do that as in the original way, but well, I am a digital guy, at least in this aspect of my life.

OT and comb filter and pickup machine… great for field recordings …
I recorded small bits of cracking ice and water and then looked for a nice spot in the comb filter…

The OT is like a miracle box to me, always new angles I haven’t discovered and full of sounds…


Thank you so much for this video Carl! I’ve been on the fence about the octatrack because it seems like a vast ocean I’d get lost in and never get anything done, but you’ve really demonstrated how not to get lost and get it done!


This is a brilliant thread. Thanks for kicking it off, @CarlMikaelBjork - it’s awesome to see / hear how other people use their Octas.


At least one purpose at a time. For me!


Sweet! Lot’s of inspiration. Thanks everyone!

:heart: :heart: :heart:


100% this. I use the machine as an instrument as much as my guitar or my pedalboard (that’s an instrument in its own right). I really like the idea of ‘limitation’ in as much as keeping focus on what you want to achieve at the time you’re using the thing, not all the things it could do later…