What's the most efficient way to get a sample in time?

I’m a bit confused about this.

It seems that sometimes the Octatrack likes to guess what the bpm of the sample is, and sometimes it automatically assigns the BPM to whatever the Octa is set to? I imagine this depends on if you’re using pickup machines, or whether the sequencer is playing or not? So when you guys record, say, two bars of music from your iPod or record player or whatever, what’s your method for getting it in time? Also, how do you record it in the first place? With a recorder trig or just by hitting record+track? Do you tap tempo the sample ahead of time to get the gist, and then change the BPM in one direction or another in the file settings until it fits perfectly? Or do you record it first and then tap the tempo?

What’s the workflow for this kind of thing? I’m willing to put in the work to get samples nicely in time (I did it on my 404SX, and out of all my friends I was the only brave soul who sat there listening for pops and clicks and minutely adjusting the start/end level by ear), but I wanna work smarter :wink:

EDIT so now I just did this:

Tapped tempo to find bpm: 175 or thereabouts
Recorded the sample to a flex machine by pressing rec C-D + T1 when the part came up that I wanted
…And it says the BPM of the sample is 80 something

Trim the sample to a perfect 2 bar loop in the audio editor. When you do that you will see the BPM change (should be accurate so long as your trim is accurate). So long as the sample length says 2 bars. You can then change the BPM to what ever you want it to be in audio editor Attributes.
Bit fiddly.
Octatrack hardly ever gets the BPM right for me, I always have to edit it manually as above. Save the edited sample and you are done.
Hope that helps.

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This is something I’m not understanding as well. There are so many settings for “qlen, qrec, slen” etc. I don’t know what they are, what they pertain to, when I would choose one over the other.

I know some are specific to recording, so let’s set those aside for now.

I have noticed the OT doing that a bit myself, but haven’t pinned it down.

Usually if you save a sample with bpm information from PC/DAW, it loads correctly, and in most cases when you record a sample it should also save it with that bpm, buttt maybe there is a bug where it saves the original bpm of the time you first used the flex machine? In any case, it’s pretty easy to fix it by pressing [track + edit] and adjusting the BPM manually in fx1 (from memory) and then, importantly remembering to save sample settings in fx2 after you’ve got it right.
Additionally to avoid pops on your loops, you can hold [func] while adjusting the start and end position to find zero crossing points (it should make a little box on the sample display).

Also if you want that sample to be cut nicely in time you can set up record trigs, or quantise the record time so it starts recording at the start of your pattern, set the record length to the length you need in the record setup. I do this all the time to make nicely This is assuming the content you want to record is synced to your OT though.

Yep I’ve been doing all of this already :slight_smile:

Right I’ve got that part down. I’m talking about specifically sampling from my iPod, or youtube, or vinyl, or whatever. Something I can’t possibly sync up and have to do it “old school” where I press record when it gets to the part I want, and stop when it’s over…Then trim it up and get the right BPM in there.

qrec is the quantised record time, in step increments. 16 is one bar, 64 is four. slen is the length of the recording in step increments. qlen might be quantising when you release record for when you do it manually. (straining my memory a bit here)

Yeah ignore all that. Just work in the audio editor with your recorded sample. If you know your recorded loop is 2 bars long, trim it so it is a perfect loop, OT will detect the BPM, then assign the attributes page BPM to match.
As with everything octatrack, it is way easier to show than it is to describe.
Good luck!

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Is there any reason to use a quantised record time when, say, recording a MnM that’s MIDI synced to the Octa, and you lay down a one-shot record trig on beat 1?

Like I guess I just don’t even understand the purpose of the qrec setting?

Gotcha okay. So I am going to end up using my ears to get the start and end time, just like in my 404 days :slight_smile: But at least it will then be BPM synced and I can get it working at different tempos, with many other samples, unlike the 404…

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qrec is for pressing the [track+rec] manually. shouldn’t affect record trigs.

According to the manual:

Recorded samples can immediately be time stretched or time compressed to
match the BPM of the Octatrack. Note that TSTR in the PLAYBACK SETUP menu
must be set to either AUTO, NORM or BEAT for this to function. If set to AUTO,
make sure time stretch is activated for the recorder buffer. That is done in the
ATTRIBUTES menu of the audio editor. Read more in the section “ATTRIBUTES”
on page 102.

The attributes for the recording buffer is the FX1 option in the sample editor. I notice there is also a “cal bpm from selection” option there as well, which i’ve never used.

Edit: as onerous as it is, sometimes with the OT, the best thing to do is read through whole sections of the manual, most of it will be teaching you to suck eggs, but there are always a couple of ah-hah moments (at least for me) in those areas you don’t use all the time.


Important with Pickup : there is a bpm range.
From my tests, the actual range is 80.7 - 161.4 !
Let me know if I’m wrong, or confirm I’m right!


Precisely. Go forth and trim those samples!

I’m not sure you can deactivate timestretch for Pickups, that would solve some wrong tempo guessing problems. Please confirm.

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It’s one of the main reasons I got a Octatrack to replace my other looping devices. (I use a lot of bass and guitar in my live work). Qrec=Plen allows me to hit a footswitch just about anywhere in the middle of a groove so that recording will trigger when the pattern loops next time. Which is great for guitar/bass players because you don’t have to concentrate on hitting that “rec” switch JUST on time, so you can return into relaxed playing mode way before the “crucial moment” and don’t worry about it. Timing will always be perfect.


With patterns you can also record all the time, and stop recording with pattern change, next pattern playing the recording, ready to mangle!

I don’t know any hardware looper doing that…


You can set Pickup buffer TIMESTRETCH to OFF, but with a new recording, it is set to NORMAL. Apparently you can set it OFF after recording, and overdub after.

Maybe that’s a kind of workaround for tempo doubling / dividing problem. Record, deactivate Timestretch, change tempo back to intended tempo.
I didn’t try it with audio.

Hey guys I’m still struggling with this. Again, it seems my Octatrack is automatically assigning the BPM of the project to the sample I record.

Here’s what I do:

Set up T1 to be recorder 1
Record about 2 bars of a piece of music from my iPod into input CD
Trim it up so it sounds good and is exactly two bars
Look in the ATTR setting of recorded track 1
It says the tempo is 171–which is what the tempo of my project was

I don’t understand the context. Is there a setting I need to change somewhere? What is the context in which the OT automatically detects the tempo of the selection you’ve made?

So what I just did was go to the EDIT mode of the audio file, then pressed FUNC+EDIT and did “calculate BPM from selection” which it tells me is 149.58. I guess this is one way to do it, but if I’m understanding you guys right it shouldn’t even be necessary?

In Attributes, you have to set the correct number of bars of TRIM LEN.