Advice on Integrating Octatrack + Monomachine

I’m an Elektron newbie that got an OT 2 weeks ago, and have now added a MnM in light of the recent price drops. I’ve got some of the basics down on each unit after lots of manual reading and messing around with each of them.

My main question is this: With a focus on live performance/jams, how would owners of these two units have them working together?

I currently have the the audio of the MnM feeding inputs A+B on the OT. The OT is to become the main brain and sequencer of my studio and live rig, and has MIDI out to the MIDI in on the MnM. From there, MIDI thru on the MnM goes to a MIDI hub and onwards to other outboards synths. With the OT being more performance oriented than the MnM, I am wondering how to proceed from here to make the OT/MnM combo as friendly as possible for live play as well as composing live sets. Would it be best to sequence the MnM from the OT (and how complicated will this be given how deep the MnM is?) or on it’s own sequencer? Should I be bothering with ‘song mode’ on the MnM, or just worry about learning the Arranger on the OT (i.e… will I have to use both of them)? How will pattern changes and such be handled between the two machines during live play?

I’ve got a decent grasp on what each machine is capable of, on it’s own but I’m struggling with how to set things up best for my needs in terms of combining the two. I’d like to settle on a workflow as I’m getting to the point of wanting to arrange and compose tracks/live sets and I’m unsure of how to proceed. Any help from those experienced with both machines would be a huge help. Cheers!

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Both of these machines are great but require a lot of time, attention and exploration to understand what they can do and what their strengths are. In both cases they are far too numerous to list and mostly subjective.

I suggest you pick the one that intrigues you the most right now and put the other in the closet until you feel like you’ve developed some chops on the first. Since you already have other synths, the OT might be better to start with.

Also, sequencing the Monomachine only externally is a waste; this won’t play to its strengths (parameter locks and very flexible voice architecture). Once you get more comfortable with both machines, though, sequencing just 1 or 2 Monomachine tracks externally opens up some possibilities, namely arpeggiator tricks.

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license is right !
I’d suggest you play the Monomachine alone for while and get the basics of this excellent machine.
You’ll learn the basics of Elektron sequencer and learn the OT easier :slight_smile:

I usually play both machines while keeping them separated : the only signals I send from OT to MnM are clock and transport.
I change the patterns manually, so far.

I can’t tell you what you should do, because you will have to figure out what your preferences are based on personal taste, but at least we can cover some options. You probably know about these already, but:

You will lose some flexibility if you sequence the MM from the OT. You gain microtiming but you lose p-locks.

Pattern changes:
You could do manual pattern changes if you want maximum flexibility, and learn some manual dexterity for when you want to change patterns at the same time.
You can have 1:1 pattern changes, so that changing to pattern x on the OT changes to pattern x on the MM.
You can have arbitrary pattern changes controlled by the OT, but only when you change to a pattern that uses a different part.
You can trigger arbitrary patterns on the MM using its MULTI MAP EDIT feature by sending MIDI notes from the OT’s MIDI sequencer.

You can have the MM’s Song run in parallel with the OT’s arrangement, or you can use the pattern change systems to control the MM’s patterns from the OT arranger, or use neither and just jam with patterns.

Depending on your preference and how quickly you can get up to speed, I concur with license’s post above: you might be best just focusing on the OT as the hub of your system and seeing how far you get.

As usual, if you don’t know what you want yet then leave your options open as far as possible.

Thanks for the all great advice and points everyone. As I bought the OT with the purpose of being the new centrepiece of my rig, so I will focus on learning the OT to the best of my ability before tackling the MnM. I just made the mistake of plugging in the MnM as soon as I got it and immediately became enthralled with the sounds I was able to get out of it right away…as hard as it will be, I’ll wait till I get a firmer grasp on the OT before bringing it into play.

As I’ve already got some sounds and patterns that I really like on the MnM, I will just sample them into the OT and practice/experiment with slicing/tweaking/mangling from there. I will also get a good handle on how to sequence other external gear and use the OT’s arranger before bringing the MnM in the mix.

Thanks again for the helpful replies everyone, greatly appreciated it.

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I’m wondering if, with the OT + MM couple, one can avoid this problem I have with the MD (I copy here another post I wrote in Elektronaut):

When the MD is slaved to the OT (or to the RS7000), if you want the MD to follow the pattern changes of the OT WITHOUT waiting for the end of the current pattern, the only solution is to send a midi note at the beginning of each pattern (on the OT) and to use note midi mapping on the MD.

OK, but when you do this, each first step sound of the pattern playing on the MD is doubled (“BBoom” instead of “Boom”).

The only way to get rid of this problem is not to use the tempo sync on the 2 machines. This way, the sound is not doubled anymore. But of course, you cannot change the tempo anymore on the OT, because if you do so, the MD won’t follow.

Can someone test this with its OT and a MM slaved? I’m hesitating between an A4 and a MM…

Welcome man, you’ve now got two amazingly deep pieces of gear to dig into … you’ll never have more fun working hard :slight_smile:

Per your second post, sampling the MnM into the OT is bound to hint at what can be done with slicing and effect chains, to name a couple of fun pathways.

More generally, I’d echo what Peter Hanes says above – a lot of what you’re asking about in your first post will come down to your style of working/performing and what you want to accomplish musically.

But I will venture one suggestion, as I gig with the OT and MnM:

I’d recommend you start by exploring the MnM using its own sequencer. Many of its really interesting effects (to my ears anyway) come as a result of this interaction, and I’m not sure you would get as much out of it unless you understand what’s possible on its own.

In any case, the beauty of it is that once you get comfortable with its own sequencer, you can still send MIDI from the OT to its various tracks. Cuing and muting the OT’s MIDI channels will give you another dimension of control that may help you overcome some of the inherent difficulty of live-tweaking the MnM, which doesn’t have the equivalent of performance macros.

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this may or may not be a silly question, but!

is there anyway to have the MM’s song mode “follow” the OT’s SPP (Song Position Pointer) and vice versa? i’m sure you’d have to do some midi wizardry to have it both ways without causing a crazy midi loop explosion.

again, i know that you can control one with the other via it’s SPP messages, but i don’t think you can go both ways (e.g. the OT controls the position of MM’s song mode and the MM controls the position of OT’s arranger mode).

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I think it’s a silly question. Why would you need bi-directional control of a synchronized advance in song position?

haha, totally get why it wouldn’t make since :stuck_out_tongue:-P

I kind of get why right now… I have a MnM, OT and an Analog 4 (Have I gone too far?) :slightly_smiling_face: . And I’m finding that I’m going to have to program three different arranger’s…and line them all up. Oh, well. After a while it should be easy.