Tip for handling the OT learning curve


Bought my OT over a couple weeks ago from Sweetwater. One of the many reasons I deal with them is their 30 day no questions asked return policy. After reading about the OT’s steep learning curve, I knew I had to throw myself into the deep end fast to decide if this was going to work for me or not.

I’ve put at least 40 hours into working with it (not counting time studying/highlighting the manual and watching Cuckoo, Carl Mikael & other vids). The learning curve has been a rough road. One day I’d make good progress and think the OT might be just what I needed, the next I’d get nowhere and experience strange behavior I couldn’t explain and thought I’d be returning it. I finally got over the hump last week and now know for sure it’s a keeper :wink:

What made the difference? I started documenting step by step how to get things done making my own lists and then testing my steps to make sure they provided expected repeatable results. One of the unusual things about the OT is the way it automagically stores settings and changes without requiring me to manually run a save…even through a power cycle. That really threw me for a few days. I couldn’t get things to work the way I thought they should…likely because I had set them up in a previous session which was inherited in my new session. How in the world do I reset this thing to a blank setup to start over?

Anyway, here’s something I came up with that gave me a repeatable starting point with my preferred settings:

  1. FUNC - power cycle
  2. Option 2 (Empty Reset)
  3. MIX AB-DIR = 127
  4. Memory: Flex & Recorder: 24 bit, dynamic rec=yes
  5. T1 - T8: REC1: NoCD, TRIG = ONE2
  6. T1 - T8: REC2: FIN/FOUT = 0.063
  7. System:Personalize:Record Quick Mode: Yes

At that point I created 2 projects…1 a master backup and the other a working copy. When things go off the rails, I can reload the working copy. If that doesn’t help, I can change to the master backup. If that doesn’t help I can always do an Empty Reset and start from a completely clean slate.

To all new users who are completely overwhelmed by this machine, break things down to a simple goal (recording to a flex machine, stacking effects through neighbors, loading & triggering samples, etc), begin with a reboot and Empty Reset to make sure you have a clean slate, and write down each step until you get a repeatable result. That’s what’s turned my OT from a possible return, to a definite keeper :smiley:


Manual p.24:
always gives me the clean state.

Manual p.32, p.53:
Project SAVE, project RELOAD,
Part SAVE, part RELOAD
brings me many steps back to saved state.

Keep it :nerd_face:


Really don’t like those fades.
Beware of FOUT, it adds time go the sample, hence wrong loop length (Except with Pickups).

Wrong curve, not linear, adding time add sillence without changing curve ! :angry: Bad.
I use Amp settings instead.

Don’t like this either because if you want to use REC + BANK (Edit buffer in Audio Editor) it starts recording.


IMO … 30 days of learning the OT to decide, whether it stays or goes back, is a hard challenge, anyway.


I did a lot of “create empty project”

I also approached various concepts with each session or series of sessions.

For example:

“Today, I’m doing a session using slicing.”

“Today, I’m using a record buffer with a rec trig”

“Today, I’m going to focus on the crossfader and switching scenes”

“Today, I’m pre-slicing a record buffer that I’ll live record saxophone into later with a record trig, then I’ll change up the random trig locks on the fly, and oh yeah, do this on two tracks at once with record trigs offset by two bars.”



for me it took about one year to get use to OT… my strategy was built a hole new project all made in OT for me to learn. I started in 2014 and now I have 2 OT a mk1 and mk2 and now I can play live (finally) without computer.
BUT… I still learning other ways of dealing with the machine even now… and for me this is great. it shows that it really is a deep instruments and very flexible in many ways…
I do like more to produce in Ableton or mixing OT with modular synth… but are really different ways to produce…


My card is full of projects, and even without samples in the folder, it can take a lot of place !

I erase the projects i didn’t rename after a while.

Now for test projects I use several banks, in order to have new parts and neutral settings. If you don’t change Project menu settings, changing bank is like a new project.
To make it faster, with a double clic I choose
Bank 1, Patt 1
Bank 2, Patt 2,
Bank 3, Pattern 3

Next level : OctaEdit to make the ultimate template project !


Step 1: read the manual
Step 2: read the manual again
Step 3: read the manual as you walk yourself through how to accomplish specific tasks as @mr_bernard says. This worked for me.

Corollary to Step 3: accept that you do not have to learn how to do everything on the OT before you can begin to have fun and do something useful with it.


I’ll add “And have pleasure with practice between each step !”


I find this massively important. You only need a few basic principles to begin enjoying the OT, and even finding it useful. I played 7+ shows on it before I even opened the arranger or utilized parts.


The stage you have to prepare for is a few months in. You’ll still have those WTF moments, but they’ll increasingly be due to bugs rather than your error. Telling the two apart can be exhausting and frustrating. That’s when this forum can be really valuable

What about a "WTF thread"

I’ve had people up and sequencing on the OT within a half hour. These are people that are not music savy. I think so much of peoples hang ups with the OT is that they are expecting it to be exactly like what they currently use and it is very much its own thing. That being said, I don’t think they could have made a purely standalone unit that does this much without the UI being what it is.


Toggling between Grid and Live Rec Mode also toggles many of the functions in the menu, it took me awhile to get that. But essentially, it is having the manual bedside while programming your “muscle memory”.
I think for the most part, the common template order for learning OT may been my own experience:

  • Learning how to:
    Load samples into slots and tracks/
    Disk Mode
    (prior sampler user with library on hand)

The sequencer, scales and trigs
(How that machinery runs!)

Parameter locks and track effects
(The fun of tweaking them sounds and sonic discoveries)

Gain staging and EQ
(Now, getting the most bang of your sounds/tracks. It’s all about the mix when working with 2 stereo outs)

Project and bank/track personalization settings
(For when it’s time to perform your work to tape#)

Sampling into buffer/ Rec Trigs
(This was easier than it appeared, basically setting up the monitor, record times, and a couple button presses to fire it up…)

(Gotta have some variation, essential to knowing the structure of OT to get more out of 64 bars and add transitions)

MIDI sequencing
(Still haven’t used it, actually with other OB sequencers and thru boxes available to me out of habit. I’ll get there!)

File Management
(Clearing out unused samples from projects because my composition process gets crazy)


Step 4: Mess around and experience how you can be both very satisfied and frustrated at the same time.
Step 5: Read the manual.


True story: I’ve owned mine since the end of 2011 and I still refer to the manual. LOL.

  1. Feel what’s it’s like to fly!
  2. Hit wall/Crash and burn!
  3. Pdf search manual.
    -Repeat as necessary…


True story: I’ve owned mine since day one and never read the manual. LOL.


I read mine every night before I go to bed…
I read it to my friends kids before they go to bed when I get a chance… :rofl:

First elektron machine in 2019

Nightmares ? :smile:
Mummy ! I can’t record ! Help !


I like the method of making a list of your session watermarks. I try to do it but I get sucked into the music I frequently miss steps. As a result, certain (essential) things are constantly having to be relearned(still having a bum time dealing with record buffers and how hey relate to flex/static machines.

I also ordered mine from Sweetwater with the same idea but despite what seems like breaking rocks, I don’t think I’m returning mine in 30.

Happy trails!