Your favourite sampler workflow

Just out of curiosity…

Anyone here owning (or having used extensively) both an Octatrack and a modern MPC?

Which one is more complex/harder to learn?

I own both (an OTmk2, MPC X and MPC Live).

It’s not that easy a question to answer, because I feel the entry barrier with the OT is higher as it has a bunch of key combos at the heart of its workflow aand a few idiosyncracies in its design that you won’t find anywhere else (what’s a rec trig? Why are there 3 record buttons? What’s the difference between “One One” and “One Two” recording mode? How does a track and its recording buffer relate? What’s the difference between a flex machine and a static machine? etc etc)

The MPC Series has its own idiosyncracies (what’s a drum program and how is it different to a key group? Why do audio tracks and midi tracks handle differently? What’s the difference between rec + play vs play + overdub? etc etc) but those are firmly rooted in the MPC legacy, so if you’ve handled an MPC before, it won’t take long to find your way around.

That said, to me personally, once I understood the Octatrack, I became more and more proficient with it. Nothing is more than two layers away from your fingertips and the sequencer is very tactile. Muscle memory builds up and translates well to this machine.

With the MPCs I feel they’re much slower and less direct, at least to me. Wanna change the filter cutoff on a sample? No problem, make sure you have the correct track in focus, then go to menu > program edit > there make sure you select the correct pad, then turn a knob. Not rocket science at all, just a little more tedious to me than on the OT. (This is more true for the MPC Live than the MPC X due to the additional hardware controls).

That said, bear in mind that an MPC can handle A LOT more content than the OT…be that samples or midi data.

So my personal opinion is:
OT has one of the best sampling workflows out there (DT is best in my book), the MPC’s workflow is a little less immediate, however, given the amazing amount of features that a modern day MPC packs, I’d say the workflow makes available all these features in a fairly even manner.


No dedicated step sequencer though…to me that wishlist spells “Toraiz SP16” more than anything :slight_smile:

I’ve never really used a sampler that’s worked for everything I want to do. But in combination, my Digitakt and Sampletrak can mostly do the trick.

For my purposes, the Zoom Sampletrak is an almost perfect sketch pad. The UI is just super intuitive and it’s a lot faster than other samplers from the late 90s and early 2000s that I’ve used. I’ve always got my turntable and my synths running through it so that I can play around with anything that catches my ear.

All that said, the sequencer is pretty okay for putting down a pattern or two. But there’s no way to chain them or jump back and forth between them. On top of that, there are only 3 banks of 8 pads to work with. On top of that, you can only use one effect at a time. And you’re filter counts as an effect. So if you want to make a full track with it, you’re going to be doing a lot of resampling, which isn’t my thing.

The Digitakt has the opposite problem for me. There’s a lot of friction between hearing something on a record, sampling it, and chopping it up that isn’t there on the Sampletrak. On the other hand, I love sequencing with the Digitakt. I came up on FL Studio. So I’m kind of wired for step sequencers. And the Elektron sequencer works the way I wished the step sequencer in FL worked.

What both samplers aren’t particularly good for is playing samples polyphonically. On the Digitakt, that requires using multiple tracks and an RK-002. On the Sampletrak, it requires assigning your sample to multiple pads with different pitches.

So yeah, it’s not perfect. But it’s the best that I’ve tried


I am really loving the MDUWII atm. I have a OTMKI sitting on the shelf but trying to get as much out of the MD before I try the OT.
Combined with the sequencer it really is a winner. All the limitations just add to the experience.

My first sampler was an Yamaha A3000 and was far too complicated for a beginner and more like a synth really but still love it too

PS - I just discovered the reverse function last night. Holy Heck the gift that keeps on giving

Nahh, the MPC doesn’t have the Elektron sequencer, particularly the ability to parameter lock quickly on the fly, so I really wouldn’t compare the two.

1 Like

Yeah, a sampler that was basically MPC drum programs and keygroups with an Elektron sequencer that could also sample at different sample rates would be my ideal sampler.


I’m not sure I agree with this. The magic of the Digitakt, in my experience, is manipulating samples and even sets of samples using ctrl+all, modulating parameters through free running LFOs, and very quickly getting a track going with surprising happy accidents in somewhat random p-locks. The Digitakt is definitely the hardware sampler with the highest ratio of “how the hell did I come up with this thing?” moments.

The MPC is much more deliberate, where you can certainly approximate p-locks with pad copies, but where you can never quite get to the ctrl+all magic and where you’ll likely avoid the step sequencer altogether (which means some happy accidents will never happen).

In other words, the magic of the Digitakt is not in the feature spec, so in the quest for “a Digitakt with polyphony, stereo samples and more effects”, the MPC isn’t a great answer. All in my humble opinion.

The MPC is great at other stuff though and it’s so far the device I’ve made the most full sounding tracks on.


About this specific point, if I remember right (not in front of my MPC right now) you can long press Main to select a different track while staying on the same editing window.

In your example, you’d open Program Edit and move to the filter page to tweak the cutoff of your drums program on Track 1. Then long press Main button to select your bass program on track 2, and you’d still be on Program Edit filter page, to change your bass cutoff frequency.

It does have a dedicated step sequencer.

They are very different, yes, and let’s remember the Digitakt isn’t a real sampler, it’s a ‘drum sampler’, and for that role it’s amazing… but all those limitations that make it unique as a drum sampler stop it from being a serious sampler.

Using those DT midi tracks to sequence other samplers is an option though too.

You’re just talking about sequencing here though. When it comes to actual sample manipulation and sound design the MPC is light years ahead IMO.

I sold my DT last year though because I stuck with my Analog Rytm mk2, and I find the Rytm a better sampler than the DT in terms of sound design/resampling.
(On this resampling/sound design note, I’ve got to say I found the Pioneer SP16 the best sounding sampler I’ve had…)

Not quite in my book :slight_smile: . It has its 16 drum pads which turn into four rows of four beats in step sequencer mode. To me that’s more of an add-on than a dedicated, highlighted functionality. The touchscreen step sequencer IS more of a tailored expefience, but I don’t really consider here, cause it’s on a touchscreen.

I meant dedicated as in dedicated in the hardware layout, as in the SP16. 16 pads + a row of 16 trigs. Nice stuff :slight_smile:

Or just press EXT In and let skip back grab what you want. Of course that’s 40 seconds but still one of the best features!

1 Like

I have quite a few samplers/sample players… DT is great as a standalone, M8 is great if you are the type to get hung up on missing features… oddly the one I use constantly is the Squid Salmple, Obviously you have to get your sequencing from elsewhere but that means you get glide or whatever fun sequencer features you favorite sequencer has. You can slice and crossfade looped samples, overdub on top of sample in the same way that a looper will do it (it pushes the old sample down a few bd with each layer you add in), you can extend recording on the end of a sample… I think the most important feature of it is I can get things sounding the way I want very quickly, kind of the “it just sounds good” effect.

1 Like

I know it’s early but the KO II has been designed with so much attention to flow and sound quality.

Fader issues aside from the first batch, it has no right to be this good for the price. It’s just fun and you get so much more variety out of four lanes of up to 99 mix and matchable patterns in real-time, beat matched and pressure sensitive punch-in FX that can be stacked, the looper that can jump around, automation recording with the fader, and the biggest thing is that these can all be manipulated at once, only limited by your dexterity. Everything is surface level and that’s where this thing kills it.

Scenes that can act as snapshots is really smart, different than the mix n match patterns.

The hybrid buttons- Elektron-like mechanical switches with pressure sensitive pads underneath are genius.

Built in mic, battery and USB-C power options, LEGO compatibility, and the general design are all useful and inspiring.

This sampler is going to be everyone’s secret weapon, IMO. A couple QOL updates like USB-C audio and possibly resampling would put this into best sampler territory at any price. Feature saturation isn’t always the way for creation and fun. Looking at you 404 MkII.


Yeah, if they address the build issues and add resampling and pattern chaining then I might have to pick one up

1 Like

I’ve had mine for a few days and finally got to start sampling into it this morning. The KO 2 really is fun. I don’t see it as a whole song composer yet, haven’t wrapped my head around how scenes, patterns, etc. work, but the fun factor with this machine is up there with the best of them. For sheer immediacy and joy of use, I think it’s up there with the SP-16.

1 Like

Agreed, although it literally says sample composer on the unit. Once you figure out patterns and scenes, it can definitely create at least the base of whole songs, which is what each of the 9 projects is designed for. I run it through a 404 for FX and performance capture or into a daw to process or add tracks but as a beat machine/sampler/live performance box, I don’t think there’s anything else that does so much with so little, with fewer buttons/desk space/processing power, at a price point much cheaper than the competition, from TE no less.

1 Like

Oh definitely. It seems ridiculously capable. I just haven’t been able to get enough consecutive minutes with it to start learning the ropes because family, work, etc. But even so, the few five or ten minute sessions that I’ve had with it have been intuitive and fun as hell.

1 Like

Actually portable. Best UI Ive ever used. So easy to use. Cool sequencer. Bascially does everything. Cheaper than everything else.

I only list octatrack second as it is so much more than just a sampler. So much more.


I’m not trying to poo poo the thing. I’m just saying what I would need to see added before I picked it up. Same thing with pattern chaining. It’s cool that it can jump between scenes. But at the end of the day, I want to be able to put a beat down without needing to perform it every time. Again, personal preference

1 Like