Uninspired by the Octatrack MkII


Gotta sit at the pump for awhile…but when we get back on the open road, sure will feel good to have the turbo charger button called an octatrack hehe.

Plus, it appears elektron is done for so owning an octatrack made in sweden is gonna be like a real 808:)…ok just blabbin to show my support to you!


Yeah, hopefully in a few months I’ll be able to relax some and refresh. I really appreciate the encouraging analogy. Just running in cruise control for now swimming in synth ambience.
It’s definitely going to remain a staple out there like the MD for sure. In spite of the slow up take on doing some of structuring of my music it has been a rewarding experience getting familiar with it.

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The fact that this is a totally valid take but it’s equally valid to say the OT is an inspiration improvisation box kind of sums up how versatile it is.

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I’m sorry but OT usually doesn’t give results within a few months. It’s a different beast and completely different tool. The only bad thing about OT is that you have to invest decent amount of time on it - like everything else. When you know every gimmick of it like back of your hand, that’s when you get good stuff out of it.

Approach it like an instrument rather than a synth, sampler etc.

But ofc, you might not click with it as well. It’s not your fault. You’re not supposed to like or get inspired by it just because someone else does. Fomo is the curse of 2021


No other gear needed, do @sezare56 science lab - sample the metronome and make a track.

Have a listen to the variety of tracks submitted, pretty cool.


Same from yours! :wink:


That’s ok, it can happen. From my experience, as a novice, it can also be great to use it in a easy way as a traditional groove box/sampler and slowly master its advanced features. Despite other sound devices there is not a unique workflow to follow, it can be whatever you want if you imagine it IMO. I would’nt sell it so easily tho.

man i just got an octatrack and im so inspired ive only had it a couple of days and i’m really loving it. I think i’ve had a good head-start as i have owned a digitone for a couple of years, im just sitting in front of the octa with laptop open and manual up, when i get stuck if search the manual…
Ive had about 2-4 hours on it ( bloody real work gets in the way)

heres a link to my first little beat ( its an insta link sorry )



I’ve given my OTmkII another run out this morning… it hasn’t been switched on in 6 weeks as per my original experience with it…

I’ve had my Digitakt next to my computer for the last few weeks, using it for the USB Audio I/O, then I have my synth rack mixer feeding the DT’s inputs… it’s a cool, flexible little set up for when urges strike.

I put the OctaTrack in it’s place this morning, used AB inputs for the synth mixer and set up a thru track… trying to copy what I’ve been doing with the DT.

And, it hurts me to say it, it just frustrates the sh*t out of me and stresses me out… I have the DT, DN, AR and A4, I flip between them seamlessly and love the workflow. That completely falls down for me with the OT… I think I just need to sell it and admit it’s not for me… this process makes me actually dislike it. It’s a total buzz kill of a device for me.


the OT is tedious in the same way that C++ is tedious… because they are both essentially platforms, and both are essentially program languages where you only get out what you put into it

the way I had the most fun using the OT was with MIDI sequencing and also sequencing effects with external sounds

in every instance of “fun” - there was always a significant amount of prep-time leading up to it, in terms of creating and testing and refining a set or project until its at a point where it becomes usable

ultimately the best way to use it IMHO is to have a handful of generic set or project “presets” you create yourself where you know beforehand how to use it and what its for… like a “sampler with looping” project and a “4 midi arps with delay/reverb” project and a “midi triggered sampler with scenes” etc. etc. and so forth

it needs a bunch of templates, you cant just go in cold every time unless you are a serious poweruser


Thanks for the info/advice… I’ve realised from this latest experiment that there’s no intuitive intro/translation from the Digitakt to the Octatrack… everything to do with the OT seems to have a learning curve.

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I find sampling into the OT really frustrating. I’ve mentioned it elsewhere, or maybe up-thread. I also find making long melodic passages in MIDI hard because of patterns. The solution someone offered for getting longer phrases was to use samples… but then I’m back to fighting the OT with sampling.

I can see how learning it better will get me faster. I have had fun with the device (the most fun as been sampling from the inputs with nothing attached and using the noise to ping filters and the comb filter: amazing stuff). But @CCMP’s post above has actually triggered me into thinking I’d get more out of a DT. Maybe I should sell/swap my OT for a DT and some other gear. Anyone in London want to trade for like 3months?

EDIT: note, this is just day-dream talk


This is one of the best analogies, really.

I was just having a conversation with an old friend last night, who asked me what the OT could do. I waxed on and on about it’s power and capabilities. He said “maybe I should get one, then, for a gig I have coming up”. I told him he should not.

Based on what he already has, and how happy he is with what he has (lots of euro, and a TR-8S), it would just be a distraction, and the time limit/goal he has would not be compatible.

I told him that to get the most of the OT and be able to utilize what he wanted from it by a certain date, it would be like having to learn a different language. And the most effective way is full immersion.

This would lead to frustration one way or the other. He would either be frustrated with having to learn the OT under a crunch, or he’d be frustrated with not having as much time to get the instant gratification of using the language he already knows (his modular and TR-8S).

The moral of the story is the OT can and will frustrate one way or another, and rushing the learning process is littered with these kinds of pitfalls. Go into it with this language analogy in mind, and know that one day you will become fluent. But it won’t be quick. The kind of gear that you can quickly adopt and hit the ground running with doesn’t have the same power the OT is. It takes time to learn the language, but once you do, you’ll have accomplished something, and that is a personal reward that you can appreciate.

The OT can be many things, as we all know. But most importantly, it is also an instrument. And no instrument is learned quickly.
Add to that, it’s capable of being multiple instruments at the same time. Learning multiple instruments quickly is as difficult as learning a foreign language quickly. Verbs and tenses interact, and there is new vocabulary that must be memorized.
The student has to give themself time to absorb it all. And cramming for the test is no way to guarantee comprehension.


This thread has been going since Aug of 2019? I’d say it’s okay to not get along with the workflow of a machine. Just move on. Sell it. If you need longer samples, you could try something like the blackbox 1010. I am the opposite of you. I tried almost all the other Elektron boxes (analogs and digis) and I much prefer the OT workflow. The only other box that really clicked was the Monomachine. I’m understanding what I like and don’t. And it’s okay to just move on and use what you have that gets the job done.


April 18th 2021.
That’s part of the issue, I know I’ve not given it enough time, but in that time I’ve got quite familiar with all of the other Elektron units, which is probably a hinderance in learning the OT.

I think I’ve always approached it as a Digitakt Deluxe (stereo, with scenes, more LFO’s, more FX, etc) and that’s caused my frustration with it. I keep thinking about giving it dedicated time to learn it, but then why not use something else that you can make music with more intuitively??
This has been my biggest dilemma machine to date. :upside_down_face:

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Digi owners thinking it’s a big digitakt is the biggest hinderance I think it currently has. It’s not a drum machine it’s a flexible real-time sampler. Can you use it as a drum machine, sure. Should you? Maybe?


Too often the lineage is misunderstood.

OT’s sample implementation was more inspired by the MD UW, but taken to the nth degree.

DT’s was more inspired by the Rytm, and yet many parts of it were more simplified.

Very different machines, even from core design principles. They took very different paths from their respective parents


Oh my. Well… I mean I might have thought all these things you post when I first got my OT, but just dealt with the frustrations. But I had a focus, that this thing wasn’t going to kick my ass. I think I spent around 3 months in Mexico laying around in bed, practicing the OT, and learning along with the manual. I would get out of bed twice a day… get a lunche at the little corner store, and nights at the taco stands. On the weekends I took a break. Learning the OT was a challenge, and I took that challenge and overcame it…
I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, so I just pushed through. I put away all my other gear (except one piece to sample) for almost 3 years. That’s my experience.
I feel like the OT requires that kind of dedication and blind trust that what you will receive from your work will be worth it.
If you don’t feel like you want to go through the frustration anymore, sell it. Move on. I heard this interview with one of my favorite artists that made total sense. He hates machines like the OT because of all the time learning, and not making music during that time. I get it. It’s not for some people.
And since everyone has their own workflow on the OT, if you never find yours, you’ll never even know what you are missing.


Yeah, unfortunately, finally realized I don’t at all gel with the Rytm (had the same sort of experience with the DT) I tried so many times. Still enjoy the AK for certain things.
And yeah, was just using a Machinedrum of my friends, and you are so right about the MD and OT lineage.
It’s strange how with elektron machines the workflows are all very similar, but there are little differences that can throw me off.

Did you expect the learning curve and accept it when you bought it? If so, stick with it. You’re second guessing because you’re at the worst part of the learning process. You’ll look back in 6 months and be glad you have super powers. Intuitiveness is overrated and must be sacrificed at some point for power (and OT is plenty intuitive in many of the ways it can be).

If you just bought it for stereo then perhaps it’s not worth the time to learn.