Underwhelmed by the Octatrack Mk2, looking for advice!

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Not much consensus on ‘tone suck’ here when folk were asked to do a blind test (of sorts) … take from it what you will, but I take from it that the myth is way stronger than the reality merits and is meaningless in the context of time stretching anyway (if you use that)

It strikes me that it’s really not possible to explore what the OT can do for you in two weeks, so the perceived minuses can’t be balanced against the perceived pluses until you have enough time to find what those will be for you … I think the pluses take time to discover

You also can’t compare a single send FX pair to 8 pairs of flexible FX slots which obviously can’t demand the same of the CPU - the OT effects need more tinkering from default and you’ve got the flexibility of Neighbour FX tracks and Master FX Tracks

The DT seems to have some mojo which is not something i’d say about the OT, but the OT rewards patience and it makes a perfect hub if you have midi gear or want to skip a mixer for hooking up 4 ins … the OT does so much more but it takes a lot more time to get how it’ll do your thing


@Mike145 - First question I’d ask is how determined are you to get to know the OT? I’ve been in your shoes having bought an OT and getting into a funk with it early doors. I didnt have the stomach to learn it so eventually moved it on. I don’t mean this as a criticism but if you can’t really be arsed making the OT work and if you can trade it back in then I’d do so and move on.

What I will say though is once you suss out the OT and you find a place for it in your workflow (and everyone is different in this regard) it can be a joy to use. The OT is like one of those rare orchids that take forever to bloom but once they do its amazing. Elektron suck you in with the OT’s feature straplines and sounds amazing on paper but it’s genuinely like a proper acoustic instrument to learn and be a pro at - this thing takes time, patience and a lot of practice.

I dont notice an issue with the sound personally but then I’ve never really been bothered by small details - I didn’t hear much of a difference between the A4 and AK for example (though can hear much between A4 Mk1 and Mk2).

With the mute issue you have could you not sort of work around it by having two identical patterns but pattern 2 would have no trigs for the tracks you’d like to mute? Not an ideal solution but you’d get the FX tails trailing off that way I guess.

The DT will absolutely give you more instant satisfaction. I enjoyed mine and produced things I would never have dreamed of out of one sample. But there very much feels as though there is a low ceiling to what you can achieve on it and having previously owned OT’s that always played on my mind - “I could do this or that on an OT” sort of thing. You’ll be flying on a DT in no time at all but you might find you’ll hit a wall with it eventually. It’s kind of like dreaming of being a guitarist and settling for a ukulele. Nothing wrong with that choice but not as cool! I love my uke though to be fair…!

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More GAS for the Octa

@Mike145 whereas DT is pretty minimal regarding configuration, it does sound really nice.
Problem in your case is you can’t add FX to external synths, ony on samples.
And you cannot use DT as a mixer either, nor sample on the fly.

I had much trouble with the “tone suck” problem in OT, only to discover you HAVE to know the machine pretty well to find where the trouble is. Even after having read the manual twice and read documentations, there are still things to discover.
Still now, I am unsatisfied at times, only to find I had let the “timestretch on” setting on AUDIO EDITOR/ATTR…
Gain staging has to be well handled, as there are so many places where a parameter affects the signal.

Take the time to address this point that annoys you, find the workarounds and you’ll soon be figuring how powerful OT is.
While you would master DT in a week, OT takes more time :slight_smile:

About mutes : this subject is not new, many solutions have been given… And latest OS having brought trig conditions, there might be solutions using one-shot trigs in combination with PRE trig conditions…
The usual solution I believe is to lower AMP VOL to achieve what you want to do…


Same things than you bothered me at first, I had the feeling the sound was not good enough but the creative possibilities finally made up for it. I also switched the machine to work internally in 24bits and load the samples straight to the CF most of the time, not doing much sampling from the inputs.

I also think gain staging is really important and quite difficult to handle at first given the fact that there is no level meter whatsoever in the machine (except the inputs leds but not very helping in my case…)
I noticed that if you use the 8 tracks, it is quite easy to stuff the output and the overall sound can suffer so now , when I’m done with the mix, I always try to lower the level of all my tracks by the same amount to see how it sounds and compare both mixes.

For the FX tail issue, a workaround could be to work with tracks in “Play free” mode. I use it extensively, it allows you to launch/stop your tracks in sync in an Ableton clip kind of way, without muting them, so the FX tails should be preserved.


Sorry I am not much of help here but I just start to doubt more by this post and want to share that.

This … scares me away of getting the OTmk2 next year, having a family and a full time job, time spend on music making is limited/precious and I need it to be hands-on as fast as possible.

I feel more and more the A4 (MK1/MK2) or Keys (MK1/MK2) will end up being my first Elektron.

And… eventually when a super deal comes along for an OTmk1, grab it - stuff it and take it on the first vacation as the ONLY toy around.


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re mutes, fx tails.

Only way i know is to use the amp page level control to mute…whether u use a midi controller or OT fader to control it is up to you…prob best with a controller with 8 faders mapped to amp page volume on each of the 8 audio tracks is best. Nothing stopping you using scenes / fader to turn down amp page volume tho;) if you dont want a external controller.

Your tails will be left in check.:ok_hand:


The Tanzbar and the comb filter really do work well together.

As far as tone suck, since I started using defaut values for input, AMP volume and track volume, and brought the main output volume up to +12 (which should give you unity gain from inputs to outputs on thru machines but ith some track headroom left in case you need to turn something up in the mix), and then started recording everything a bit hotter than the manual recommends (up into the orange on the LEDs, not worrying about goign into the red regularly but not pinning it in the red) I’ve had much better results. It colors the sound but it’s at least as good as the old MOTU 828 I used to use and once you get a feel for the weird gainstaging it really is possible to make it sound pretty good.

This is with a MKI, with a MKII you should have a lot more headroom to work with on the inputs and can probably get slightly better results than I do, but it definitely takes some work to figure it out. I usually do that sort of thing by ear but with the OT I really did end up having to go through the gainstaging threads and figuring some stuff out on my own and generally being a bit methodical about learning how to get consistent good results with thru machines and sampling from inputs.

Also, I know I keep bringing it up but learning how to set up a send track successfully made a huge difference for me, even a tiny bit of send reverb on all tracks makes everything sit together much better and sound a lot more finished. Using Dark Reverb and adjusting the low cut filter on it to keep the lows from getting too muddy works really well. Plus, setting up a send means you can mute tracks and still get a reverb (or delay) tail from the send track.


I agree. The Elektron digital filters and audio engines are not that hot. They always sound a bit small and cheap to my ears, and as you use their pricey machines you discover some disappointing cost-cutting.
My only elektron box is the AR because it’s got decent analog synthesis and hence sounds lively, and because the DSI Tempest is too expensive / unavailable and the Jomox drum machines are really terrible to use. I would never buy an Elektron digital box- or the A4 - unless they teamed up with Waldorf to provide the sound engine. Elektron’s strengths are in their step sequencers and general workflow in their more recent boxes, not in their sound engines.

Did you really not get into the Push 2? you can use it to do most things without having to stop the sequencer or turn to the mouse.

Otherwise you could try external analog filters (waldorf & jomox are both great) or plugins to feed the OT’s sounds into, bypassing the OT’s internal filters and FX when you want to produce your tracks. (Sketch out ideas on the OT and then remix with the other gear)…

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: I think people expect way too much from the OT. It’s not a computer and doesn’t try to be.

It doesn’t try to be a high-end audio interface, but is certainly comparable to some most prosumers.
It doesn’t try to be multiple external, dedicated FX boxes but what it does offer in its package is certainly nothing to sniff at.

There’s going to be cost-custting, certainly, but after having put it up against all other comparable machines, it still wins the day…by a long shot, imo.


Try turning up the distortion just a little in the filter setup page.


Already a lot said regarding gain staging, etc. And though I think the OT’ s fx are fine, they definitely aren’t Strymon, Eventide, Meris, etc. I would stress the importance of proper preamps for instruments going into the OT. Also, using the pitch shift and timestretch as little as possible (these are very source material dependent as are the fx) For my bass guitar, I use a Darkglass B7K, and what I play into a pickup machine is exactly what I hear coming back. For my acoustic tanbur (piezo) I use a PZ Deluxe, and again, what I put into the OT is what I get out.
Experimentation is the key, but some find that the OT just doesn’t make the grade for them, and that’s cool :sunglasses:


The OT sound have never impressed me either, but sampling with a decent interface and sending proper leveled files to it (instead of sampling directly) definitely helps. The internal digital mixing is not something you can compare with an analog mixer or even a modern DAW. Because of this I usually send only the 4 separate channels to an external mixer / DAW and everything I can MIDI sequence with the OT goes to a different input channel.

Playing live it’s a different story. In that case I could think about using the OT inputs and mix with it. But this is just for convenience.

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sorry to play devils advocate but I love OTs filter


I am pretty determined to know the OT, and I’ve been pretty diligent about it, but theres one thing that bothers me. No matter how well I know the machine if this “tone suck” issue is a real thing, then I will constantly be trying to polish unworthy samples in my OT. The OT is so so fun to play and mess around with, but my concern is that I’ll have a difficult time being happy with the music I’m making if I’m consistently unhappy with the original synth samples that I’m using. What I don’t want to happen is waiting too long with the hopes that I’m currently doing something wrong with gain staging, just to find out in months time that I didn’t really like the tone of the instrument and at that point I wouldn’t be able to return it anymore for the digitakt. But you are right, knowing the OT now I will definitely miss so many things about it :frowning: So i guess the question is, which machine would i miss the least?

Good idea, I’ll try sampling through Ableton instead and then I can A/B the sound. Thanks!

Yeah I like the filter too, no issues there!

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Can you make a video or find one online where they are sampling and this tone suck is evident so we can hear what your talking about?