Transferring Octatrack audio tracks to computer?

Hello OT users!

Having a hard time figuring out the answer to a seemingly simple question about basic Octatrack functionality.

To setup the question I guess I should probably explain the workflow I’m working towards: I want to use the Octatrack as a live looper to capture streams of audio coming out of several other pieces of hardware gear — these would be routed into the OT through a mixer. Once in the OT I would layer, process, chop up and manipulate, etc.

Once I’m happy with the results there I want to ultimately transfer the eight audio tracks off the OT and into Ableton for final processing and mastering, and maybe adding some additional VST sound sources.

Which brings me to my question for OT users: What is the process for dumping files from OT to computer (in this case a mac)? Is it possible (and easy) to dump all eight tracks of audio to the computer, and would those audio files sync up to an Ableton project set to the same BPM?

I have googled a ton and seem to find a lot of information about transferring samples TO the OT, not so much info about doing the reverse. Any thoughts?

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When you save your samples in the OT they become available for dragndrop from CF card. That doesn’t include any automation or plocks you’ve put on afterwards, obviously, so you need to resample. Easiest way is to record them one by one into ableton

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Separate track export is prob the biggest OT achilles heel for me… Especially if you like to often jam loose scene tweaks etc when you’re putting a finally ‘mix’ down. If there’s no scene stuff happening it’s not so bad though. Like above post suggests easiest way is prob just record separate tracks to ableton. You could midi sync etc from ableton for some added tightness/control. Sequencing scene movements and then Recording separate tracks containing those scene movements is apparently possible like this too but I still haven’t tried it.

So let’s say you have a 16 bar loop with 8 separate tracks on it.

Could you hypothetically create a sequence of 8 patterns where each one contains one of those eight tracks soloed? Then export those 8 patterns and get all 8 tracks separately as wavs or aiffs or whatever?

There’s no export function on the OT, you need to manually solo and record each track one at a time or use the seperate outputs to capture your audio.

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exporting patterns doesn’t mean exporting audio.
you could do it this way, but tarekith’s suggestion of simply muting them and recording one by one is essentially the same thing.

EDIT: and much less work.

You can also resample each track inside the OT and capture your ‘performance’ to up to 8 tracks at once, assuming you’ve loaded your samples into static slots, leaving the flex recorders free to resample each individual track.
I do it this way to make stems for exporting to the computer.

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Is it easy to save / convert from a flex sample to static?

My hope is to figure out a workflow like this:

  1. capture audio coming into OT from external gear with flex or pickup machines (not sure of the best method yet)

  2. manipulate / mangle / chop / whatever

  3. bounce mangled loops out to ableton for final mixing / additional processing

How long is maximum record length for 8 tracks simultaneously in 8 separate stems?

I’m normally kind of impatient with switching between units and transferring files etc. Even just re-saving and re-naming multiple samples etc inside OT bugs me a little. I know that’s just me being whiney tho :wink: If you aren’t anti-computer you might find a better workflow for your needs with push 2 and just stay inside ableton? But OT definitely has some magic that will take you places creatively/randomly etc that Push won’t. I don’t have Push yet so I can’t say whether the opposite is also true…
Re your questions. A sample is always just a sample. It’s made ‘static’ or ‘flex’ by its assignment. So you don’t need to convert. But you might need to juggle and switch out some sample slot assignments in your projects if you plan to do resampling for stems and require maximum flex memory available. Could be a chore depending how complicated the project is at the point you decide you need to free up your flex mem. But also could be very quick in less complicated circumstances.

The total memory available is roughly 85MB when it comes to recording internally, and you can decide if you want to do so at 16 or 24bit… For a single long track, you can get a song’s worth out of resampling this way, though you lose a track to do so.

Trying to do 8 tracks at once will not only be tedious, but only get you like a minute or so for each track with the available memory. It’s dead easy to get audio INTO the OT from a computer, but for getting it out you ideally need to treat it like a piece of hardware and record the outputs manually.

Setting up a track in Live to record the OT, then pressing play and one by one muting and unmuting each track in succession while Live captures it all is the fastest way of getting it into the computer. Set Live to the same tempo as the OT project, and you can set your clip start point once and slice it all up however you see fit in Live.

You can get the same result with just the OT eventually, but it’s going to be a LOT more steps/time.

Just my $0.02 though.

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This may be a dumb question, but why don’t you just record those loops into Live directly? It’s Live’s strong point. Recording and saving large streams or number bits of audio is definitely not one of the OT’s strong points.

Don’t try and use the OT just for the sake of using hardware. You’ll spend more time managing the interface than making music.

Of course if you are messing with the loops on the OT after recording them, then by all means, but i think then the best way to get them off the OT is still to record them directly into Live. Otherwise you’d just be recording another flex buffer, saving the sample, stopping playback, mounting the OT for file share, finding the sample, copying it to you pc, loading into Live, etc.

I came across this question myself, and the dream of a multitrack-out octatrack still lingers…

Anyway I found the best way is to record directly out of the Octa into Ableton but using the [CUE] output to select which track you want to record from, (and using obviously the [MAIN] output to listen to what your doing).
it only allows recording of one track at a time (not ideal eh) but for me this is the best workflow.

I found using the internal re-sampling to confusing and hungry on memory for ‘rendering’ finished loops. However.
There might be a nice way to organize is using parts - for instance
[PART ONE] - this is where you capture your audio and mangle / chop /whatever
[PART TWO] - Identical to part one except all the recording buffers are set to resample their respective tracks and therefore ‘render’ a multitracked take of your loops.
From here you would then have to save each track as a sample and mount the Octa in usb disk mode to be transfered to ableton.
If your new to the Octatrack this may be a bit advanced…
Please note - I haven’t actually tried this … just though of it as I was writing this. I can;t try it myself because I left my studio gear at a mates place.

Good luck !

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I think the goal was to use the OT almost as a way to capture “snapshots” of jams on my other hardware (P08, tempest and A4 currently), then once those loops have been committed to the OT’s memory do further manipulations within the OT sample engine.

It’s also very appealing to me to be able to use the OT as a live performance tool to be able to play something like a “DJ set” and mix between all of these looping snapshots. They would be mostly short loops and probably no longer than 4 bars, so the limited recording time is not really an issue for me.

I thought it would be nice to be able to bring those loops into Ableton for additional processing with VSTs, but it’s sounding like the process of getting them in there might be too time-consuming.

Sorry, I know this is a late reply, but once you have the loops on OT, you can save them to wav and load them into ableton via the usb file system. That’s not such a big deal, as long as you don’t mind working within the confines of the 8 recording buffers. It helps too if you have an app to help you sync your files across. I like using Beyond Compare, but i imagine there are plenty of backup utils that will happily copy across new and updated files to your sample library whenever you connect your OT.

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yeh not sure what the problem is… this is all pretty easy

select track, go into audio editor, go to file menu, “save sample copy”, name the file, plug in the octatrack usb, select usb disk mode, copy the file to computer

there you go

Hi there, this sounds very doable but I am not an experienced OT user. Does this mean you would use the 8midi tracks as recorders - each recording one audio track?

8 recording buffers to record the action on the 8 audio tracks.

The MIDI deals with external MIDI gear.

Read about the recording buffers in the manual

Ah this makes more sense, thanks.

So each track records into its own buffer - and all record at the same time into memory. Then you can take these recordings from the memory onto your laptop.

This approach seems very doable.

Thanks again.

The buffers are the ONLY place any recording takes place.

View them as separate from “tracks”

View the recording area as separate from MIDI and audio tracks.

It took me a little while to begin to understand this.

You can sample into a buffer but not hear it on playback, unless you assign it to an audio track and place a trig to “trigger” its playback.
It took me forever to understand this.

I barely understand the basics with the OT. It’s an amazing machine for life.