To Octatrack or not to Octatrack?

I’m split between the octatrack and digitakt. The DT seems to cover my needs but I feel as I grow I’m going to wish I had more control and could appreciate the extra complexity of the OT. Another concern of mine is the time stretching and sampling length limitations of the DT.

I’ve done my share of research on features of both devices so I know either way what I’m gaining/losing between the two. Although what I still have been unclear on is how to finish a song and save the recordings on these devices.

Correct me if I’m wrong but what I know is the DT does not have abilities to create full songs on board then export to a computer as a finished song(I am planning on getting a zoom h5 to record the DT live). On the OT will I be able to do this? I am interested in being able to have a finished product without the need for a recording device if I go with the octatrack. Will I be able to achieve this?

My purchasing options
●digitakt(650$)+zoom h5(200$)
●octatrack mk1(800$)

I thought to go with a DT originally to go the cheaper route but still get a solid product, but if I’m needing an extra peice of hardware to record songs on the DT then I am at the same price as an OT and might as well go with it. With I be able to achieve what the DT and Zoom h5 will do on an OT alone?
Thank you everybody. Elektronauts have been very helpful and your topics are going to be worth diamonds in the future.

In my opinion it’s a misconception to think of the Octatrack as the “pro” version of the Digitakt. You can create full songs (or fail miserably at doing so) on both machines and they cover completely different ground. As you mention the recording side of things: the Octatrack has two stereo outs and there’s no way to get more than that into your DAW at any one time via audio out. Digitakt however will allow for proper multitracking through Overbridge at some point (and I’m deliberately vague here).

Of course you can use OT’s recording capabilities to record the individual tracks to CF and I remember someone calculating the exact amount of time you could get, but it’s not a process I’ve read or seen about much, so I assume this is not something a lot of people do.

If you’re planning on using a lot of loops, OT has more to offer, and you’ll also have a lot more FX options at your disposal. Also, OT has a lot of performance related features, such as scenes and stuff like beat repeat, that DT doesn’t have. Also, DT doesn’t offer the option to run external audio through, which in light of the fact that it does MIDI sequencing seems like a gross omission.

Overall, I would lean towards the Octatrack. You should have a very clear picture of what the workflow you want to apply when recording will look like and check that against what OT can do.


Yep. OT records and handle stereo files, (not the DT). Max recording length : 8m28s, 16 bit.
With rec trigs (sequenced recording), or quantized recording it is much easier to resample with already perfect length, where you’d need further audio editing with the DT.


I am planning on using loops, also recording long vocal samples that I’ve decided the OT will be more convenient of as opposed to working around the DT limiting me to 33 seconds. As far as the OT vs. DT I dont see the OT as a “pro” model, I’ve done quite a lot of researcher and see why people have love for them both and use them together. The extra fx, scenes. time streching and a far larger amount of storage make the OT much more attractive.

My ideal setup would be able to record without including a daw or recording device such as the zoom h5. My question is would I be able to live perform my song on the OT and have that finished song saved on the hardware without inclusion of a daw or recorder. Maybe I’m asking for something impossible and I’ll have to face using another source for recording, if that’s the case I’m learned torward the DT to keep my cost around 850 or if I could find a way to keep the octatrack and recording solution around the same price I’ll definitely go that way

Yes. Max recording length is 8m28s without samples in RAM. You can record several individual tracks at the same time (1m3s max for 8 tracks), premixes with CUE, whole mix with MAIN.


Ok great that’s what I was looking for. So just to be clear I can be running my loops playing in notes or tweaking fx all while recording what I am doing, up to 8m 28sec. Then that will be saved to the sd card as a finished product?

Is this a common use of the octatrack? Or am I just avoiding buying a recorder/daw? Haha

Save is not automatic but not difficult, and files are saved on the Compact Flash card (not SD). 64GO max.

Yes I think. I don’t use my DAW except for precise audio editing or mastering.


Good deal. Well it’s looking like I’ll be ordering an octatrack soon, thank you for your help!

Digitakt is an awesome machine. Genius, really. If you sidestep all the things people say are ‘limitations’ and look for creative solutions, you can do great music and it’s easy and fun. I started on one and still have/love it. I’ve heard it’s Elektrons biggest selling machine and that’s not shocking to me. But because of its popularity, sales of Octatrack have supppsedy spiked a fair amount too. This also makes sense to me. I added an OT because of the potential added possibilities. Tougher to learn than the DT, but why wouldn’t it be? It does so many crazy things.
So while I’m thrilled that I’m lucky enough to own both, if I could only keep one? OT in a heartbeat. But again, I’m very happy to have both :slight_smile:


DT is not a sampler, it’s a simpler. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I don’t think so. Besides @sezare56 I don’t read comments from other people using the OT for recording their songs internally. I’m pretty sure most people use a DAW or something like a Zoom to record.
But obviously it’s possible.
I guess many people are not aware of the maximal recording time. But I just speculate :wink:


From all the reviews and videos I’ve seen on the Digitakt, heck yeah! It’s an amazing peice of hardware, at first thinking it wasn’t for me because I was worried about having any limitations whatsoever because this will be my first and sole, front and center work station, now after a lot of looking into the DT is a beast of a sampler that for sure would let me stretch my creativity as far as I could want, even if one of those “limitatins” stops me up theres always another way to work your way into a creative solution. The added complexity of the OT for sure just means more ways to mangle, chop, screw, flip, bake, microwave… yeah haha. And plus I really enjoy a new learning curve especially if it’s as rewarding as the OT


Any suggestions for a daw recording solution if I go that route? I currently do not have a daw, simplicity and budget are important to me.

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Recording in OT avoids DA/AD stupid conversion. You need a “good” soundcard first, if you want to record in a DAW. Maybe a recorder like H5, with a DT? :joy:


there are several DAWs for free.
Ableton live lite, Studio one prime, Garageband (only Mac), Cubase LE and many more.
If you use it just as a tool to record the stereo output of your OT or DT, there is no need to buy a full version. Just watch some basic overviews on youtube to find out which workflow is appealing to you.


what does that mean?

Good deal. Very helpful thank you!

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poor digital to analog & analog to digital conversion can mess up your signal.

going out of the octatrack, the signal gets DA converted, going into an audio interface, the signal gets AD converted and then coming back out of your interface it gets DA converted again.

EDIT: rule of thumb is, garbage in = garbage out. the octatrack doesn’t have th best sound quality anyway, but if you were to get a crappy interface to record through, the recording would sound worse. I never thought this truly mattered, till my wife bought me a UAD Apollo 8 to replace my TC Elektronic Konnekt and on the first listen it was like the Apollo lifted a blanket and everything sounded more pristine, more 3D, sweeter.


So are you saying to record into a daw I would need a recorder like the zoom between the OT/DT and daw on my computer?

OT/DT -> zoom h5 -> computer/DAW

If you record OT in a DAW you have 2 additional Digital / Analog Analog / Digital conversions. Same with a recorder, but even worse because you’ll have to copy the file on your computer, which could be directly done with OT.