The many incarnations of the Octatrack MKII

I just use a really tall chair and stand when I want to use the OT on another level… :smiley:


I use mine as a looper plus plus. It’s the real time audio warping that I’m all about, record a loop and have it instantaneously transform in so many unbelievable ways as you play into it. It excites me just playing different stuff into the pickups to hear what the flex remixes will sound like…

I usually only use patterns 1-4 in a bank, and have a different part assigned to each. Pattern 1 is my main looping pattern and as a looper if I wanted I could play many songs staying on that pattern and just playing different loops into it. I use the 3 other patterns/parts per bank for extreme remixing of recorder buffers and to bring in different elements of a jam. I’m improv so I never have to use the other patterns but I can if I want… Since I’m loop based and my patterns are made of recorder buffers, I don’t have to use them in any sort of order to make a song. It’s more like I know what each one will do with the current audio, and I decide as I go what I would like to happen to the audio and then switch to that pattern/part that I know will do that…

I only have a few samples loaded into my 3 1/2 year old OT, one of Alan Watts giving a lecture on Hinduism, and one of Prince saying “Don’t hate me cause I’m beautiful”… :smiley:
All mine does is chew up stuff I play and churn out musical smoothies, an audio blender of sorts.

It’s other uses include clocking my drummer (AR), and a little bit of midi sequencing mostly for plocking external fx settings. I do mess around a lot with the midi tracks sequencing things but for the looping performance I’m working on I’d like to keep sequencing to a minimum… Of course it’s also a mixer/fx hub for all my sounds and is the main box I look at and do things with if I’m not playing an instrument.


Lately I’ve been using mine almost exclusively for the effects, since I’ve been playing as a duo with a friend on modular and we discovered that everything sounds better if we stop using sync and use as little sequencing as possible. So instead I’ve been playing a CZ-101 into the Ovtatrack and using a bunch of parallel effects chains and the crossfader. Using multiple delays in parallel with infinite feedback and different delay times to create polyrhythms in real time, etc. I don’t think I’ve loaded or recorded a sample since January.


I use mine to press play on it to start the 10 other things I have attached to it, LOL. Too much damn stuff. I have no right even owning the thing.


Alan Watts R3PR3S3NT. I thought I was the only one on the planet that was into him. You gave me an idea Mike. I’m going to do some stuff with Neville Goddard :smiley:

What do you do for warping Mike? I’m interested in learning more about this. I’m a noob with the OT, but I have my Avalons in A and B, then have recording machines assigned to those two thru tracks, then record a loop (1 bar - 16 trigs) then switch to another part and use the flex recordings and insert multiple trigs on those tracks to get weird start stop effect. Is this what you are talking about? I get confused with this and pickup machines, not sure if this is the same type of thing.

I love Alan Watts, he’s probably my favorite person to listen to say anything…

When I refer to warping I mean affecting the looped audio using slices to rearrange the playback order, changing rate and pitch of playback, adding fx, and all that…

I usually use a pickup to capture a loop and on the same pattern I have a flex machine with the pickups recorder buffer loaded. The flex track is where the slicing and things happen, but I do not record first and then go to the flex and change things, I set up the flex before I even record.

Say I recorded a drum loop:
-kick hat snare hat kick hat snare hat
By rerranging the start points of the loop on the flex track I could make the loop play as:
-hat hat snare hat kick kick snare hat

With further tweaking I can have the first hat play backwards, the second hat be pitch shifted and have reverb applied, the kicks I could decrease the decay, and the snares played at half speed… For example… All done with trigs and plocks on the flex track…

To use this all I do is record into the pickup. There’s no need to switch patterns, parts, save the sample, load the sample somewhere, or anything. All of the programming was done before anything was ever recorded. As I record into the pickup the flex begins playing the “warped” remix as the pickup recording in real time…

I hit record on the pickup to record -kick hat snare hat kick hat snare hat, and the flex plays back -hat hat snare hat kick kick snare hat with all the rate/pitch/fx applied. Using scenes it’s easy to have the flex muted as the recording is made but it’s already there waiting to be mixed in with the fader. It’s possible to have more than one of these flex remixes using the same buffer, there could be 7 different ones all remixing the pickup track and all of them happen instantaneously when recording…

Now that this is setup you can record different loops into the pickup and they will have the remix applied, you can see how it affects a different drum loop, or a melodic passage, or vocals, or whatever. There’s many flex remixes you can make that work with a broad range of material, this is the fun part I was talking about being excited to hear what might come out of my flex remixes when recording different material into them…

With careful programming you can make the remixes very rhythmic and musically fitting, you can even program pitch shifts accordingly to play back harmonies to your passages… If using a recorder trig continuously sampling you can have an ever evolving constant remix that harmonizes with what your playing and keeps evolving as you go…

One sneaky thing with slices/start point remixes and pitch/rate adjustments is that it’s possible when making sequences to sequence a part of the recorder buffer that hasn’t been recorded yet. Like above where I wanted to play the hat first in the flex remix. When recording the loop the kick comes first on step one, the hats not until later. If my flex is trying to play a hat on step one(let’s say hat is on start point 32 of loop) it won’t be able to play as the buffer is being recorded as it hasn’t happened yet. When the recording is finished it will play in its entirety as there’s actually something recorded to play back… If using a constant recorder trig this has to be thought about and programmed accordingly to not target anything that hasn’t been recorded yet, otherwise playback will have dropouts… As long as the flex is trying to play a start point of the buffer that is either the current one or earlier in the recording, it will play as its being recorded…
Rate and pitch shift changes can also require some processing time and might not play back during recording unless programmed accordingly…

This is just the beginning. Consider the midi tracks playing a synth that is being continuously remixed, with different track lengths between playback and recording, using selected notes on midi track and careful pitch shifts on flex so it is always harmonizing with itself, and in constant evolution. Scenes can do crazy things here, conditional trigs, etc… Next up the fathomless rabbit hole of resampling the above to a second remix of the remix, up to another 6 levels deep. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Chew on the above for awhile(food for th :elot:) At some point maybe I’ll make a thread with a step by step example outlining how to make a basic loop + flex warp scenario… :cowboy_hat_face:


Yeah that would be cool man, my head is spinning after reading that. Text doesn’t do much for me unless it’s written 1.2.3 instructions written for a 3 year old.

1 Like

This part

“To use this all I do is record into the pickup. There’s no need to switch patterns, parts, save the sample, load the sample somewhere, or anything. All of the programming was done before anything was ever recorded. As I record into the pickup the flex begins playing the “warped” remix as the pickup recording in real time…”

I’d love to be able to do that. Anybody know if there’s any videos on that?

1 Like

Here’s an example…

T1: Pickup, qrec/qpl: 64 rlen: 64
T2: Flex playing recorder buffer 1

-trig on step 1 with start point locked to 64, rate locked to -64
-trig on step 32 with pitch locked to +12, filter frequency locked to 64

With sequencer going press a/b to record to the pickup, press c/d during recording to not go into overdub…
When the loop is done being recorded you will hear it will be played back as normal on the pickup track while at the same time the flex will play backwards the second half of the loop first, and then the first half pitch shifted an octave up with filter cutoff lowered…

(Edit: this is just a simple example I made up to show the concept)


I third the “Alan Watts is pretty good” sentiment.

1 Like

I’m just gonna have to go ahead and compile all of your OT posts and print them to have alongside Merlins and the OT manual. Solid gold my man solid gold

1 Like

I second that. Open Mike keeps opening my eyes

1 Like

Try Octatrack…

It’s more than just a sampler, it’s a way of life… :notes::sparkles:


Appreciate your generosity with what you’ve learned. As a fellow guitarist I’m looking to use OT same way, just so engrossed in sampling and mangling with it right now.


Here is my Octatrack unplugged !
Octatrack only, no samples, no inputs, just self oscillation and resampling with feedback…
Weird I admit, but if you break your CF reader…


This is awesome! Well done

1 Like


1 Like

Lots of experimental, unconventional techniques of the OT in this thread!! Love it! Keep me coming!

I really wish Elektron hadn’t borked the pickups so much, or actually I just wish that flex recorders had proper overdub, without needing to use workarounds.

Still, don’t want to rain on the parade, has anyone ever experimented with cascaded track recorders? So track 1 is listening to input AB, a stereo source like for example a radio is plugged in and tuned to something interesting, track length is whatever you want, play and record trigs wherever you want, don’t forget trig conditions. Track 2 has a different length and mult to track 1, its flex recorder is listening to track 1, play and record trigs set as required, trig conditions as required, vastly different pitch and fx settings than track 1, repeat this idea for as many more tracks as you want, each subsequent track listening to the previous, trig conditions and different track lengths on each. Seems like a nice way to get some interesting and unexpected stuff happening.


Wouldn’t an unplugged Octatrack only make clicky sounds from the buttons? :wink: