Arranger tutorials?

Are there any tutorials on the Arranger in Octatrack, ideally some videos which may have some clever tricks? There isnt much documentation on this…

You don’t really need a tutorial on the arranger. As with song mode, what you see is what you get.
The OT manual has 4 pages (107-110) on the arranger and it describes everything you need to get going.

There aren’t a lot of hidden features or tricks, what is useful and makes it stand out are full control over pattern sequencing:

  • BPM can be set per row
  • sequence part of a pattern (eg. step 13-17)
  • scenes
  • mutes
  • etc…

for the midi part:

  • transpose midi !!

It’s stupendously straightforward and like a lot of creative tools, limited only by you.


Thanks for clearing that up. I have developed a paranoia with Octatrack that im missing out on so many of its secrets. But guess not with the arranger!

As mentioned, not much to make an tutorial of in that sense as it would pretty much need an overall tutorial fully covering most (if not all) features in the OT. As working with the Arranger will base upon what you do (or don´t) know or learn about patterns, parts, crossfader and playback settings etc among others. They all gives you a lot of possibilities AND limitations at the same time.

IOW, it can lead to some nifty ideas OR just plain confusion…

I e:
A tracks playback setting (if set to auto or loop), will be muted in the Arranger if it´s starting as muted. But it won´t mute again if/when unmuted. Since that´s when the Playback setting overrides the Arrangers control.

Crossfader, is also something that can be quite a source of confusion. Since you´re able to set what supposedly will be in Scene A/B in each row in the Arranger (which in itself is quite an powerful feature). But remember that the crossfader are always in top priority too, which means that if you´ve programmed an Arranger structure based on that either Scene A/B will be the one active, you will have to (manually) make sure that the crossfaders position isn´t somewhere towards the opposite side when that row plays.
An easy way out of it in specific rows, is that you set the same patterns in both Scene A/B, that would render the crossfader “disconnected”. But you would still need to have it in the physically correct position for the next coming rows if you start programming different patterns into scene A/B.

There´s probably a quite few others things that I haven´t mentioned that will also have its impact on the Arranger and its (or lack of) control in certain situations.
However, when you are aware of them you can start use them to your advance in other situations.

Programming rows with certain steps of the pattern repeating can i e, be used as having it sounding as the full pattern. But the specific trigs inside/outside that step lenght repeating, will have its affect of how this repeating section plays. Which will sound as an variation of that full pattern. Use that with the abovementioned crossfader example, and yeah you´ll soon reach another layer of complexity.

There´s a lot of possibilities in the Arranger, but it´s still limited and totally dependent on the rest of the features/settings you´re using. What will fit you, is probably just an trial and error procedure you´ll need to take.

Thanks for the info, had a play about tonight and not as daunting as it seems.

I have a couple of quick questions from tonights play about -

How can i select a later Row to play straight away? It only seems to want to play from Row 1…

Cant get scenes to work in this. I specify Scene 1 (basic pattern) and Scene 9 (basic pattern but with delay on a snare). Play back in arranger and nothing happens, it just plays the pattern as normal - no delay (unless i move the cross fader).

As ever - thanks for the help so far.

actually ignore the scenes bit - sussed that out

Has anyone noticed that the arranger does weird things when you have one shots as compared to when you switch patterns manually? I came across thos weirdness recently - I’ll try to reproduce this and explain it better (biut not now, as I just got back from playing hockey and drinking beer :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: ).

Step to the row you´d like (with the up/down buttons) and pressing yes (perhaps even double press, don´t remember right now)?

I don´t remember if it switches straight away or if it´s finishing the pattern and/or its repeats first (if sequencer running)…

Not sure if I runned any Arrangement within a project utilizing One Shots. But please try reproduce it and share!

The arranger is pretty simple actually. I use it all the time. So I really don’t have a tutorial for you. But the set below on my sound cloud page is all the OT in arranger mode. In this recording I literally just push play and walk away from it and let the OT arranger do it’s thing. Hopefully it will give you a sense of what you can accomplish with it.

Hey Obsrvr - liking your sound - very accomplished. Reminds me a bit of Hybrid/Adam Freeland type vibe, very nice!!

Yeah i spent a couple of hours with it last night. I like the way you can incorporate scenes, change track lengths (great for little bridges) and mute individual tracks. Essentially you could build a load of patterns from one loop in the arranger which is cool. I like.

@ Octacalm. Hybrid, Adam Freeland. Damn! I’ll take that as a huge compliment. Thank you. Glad you enjoyed it.

Yep, that was a very nice example indeed!

I was just thinking in the intro of the clip: “hmmm, Mr Reznor could start singing anywhere here”. Funny that the second comment were asking/stating that is sounds like a sample from “I´m afraid of americans”. Do you have an rough estimation of how many patterns/rows that were used here?

Do you play guitar, singing and/or anything extra in liveperformances?
Or do you just push play and walk away? :wink: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

This section was about 125 rows, and about 50 different patterns, and tons and tons of different scenes.

It has now swelled to 240 rows and almost 40 min in length. I’m polishing it over the next couple of days so you all can hear it. I’ve got some transition fills to program and some parts still need some ear candy. I’ll post it as soon as time will allow.

My live rig is the OT with a Nord Lead 4. I’m doing some live sequencing and a bit synth leads while the OT holds down most of the music. I have it setup so Scene A is default and Scene B is some sort of modulation. So I can easily crossfade to add some spice as the set progresses.

I’m a bassist, so I’m planning on adding some live electric bass guitar to the mix in the near future.

It’s no secret that the NIN sound has found it’s way into my productions. I’m a huge fan Reznor’s work.

Thanks for taking the time to listen.


Hi guys,
I still don’t understand how to use scene in the arranger mode or what you can really do with it. I.e, you want to have a (smooth) transition between 2 scenes.
Do anyone of u have a solution/trick?

The OT is an audio tool. People use it in different ways. Thats what I love about it. My scenes all transition the way I want them too. I’m not sure what your having a problem with unless you post an example.

Of course, i know u can do it on the fly when you play in the arranger mode (or another one). But, i just want to automat a transition between 2 scenes in the arranger. If you set “scene 1” to “Row 0” and then “scene 2” to “row 1”, i want to have an automatic and smooth transition between “Row 0” and “Row 1”.
Tell me, if it’s not enough clear for you guys, i’m french and my english is…

All the arranger does is load the scenes, you still need to move the fader to make things happen.

Also if y’all have not realized this, one-shots can’t be armed in arranger mode.

Yes, as Allerian answered in the post above. And as I also wrote in one of my replies above.

The crossfader is probably one source of confusion in regard to the Arranger, since the crossfader is always top priority (unless scenes are de-activated?). But I think we humans normally consider an Arranger (the concept of it) to automate the humans role. Which it does in some certain ways, but not in all ways as we understand here.

There are, as I mentioned in my reply earlier, a few things in the OT that one would need to understand the priorities of. In example: in which cases the crossfader, parts/patterns, arranger etc overides each other. They do have an quite complex relation combined.

The position of the crossfader always affects the output from the Arranger (if you have different parameter settings in Scene A/B). You gotta take the bad with the good with this.

Perhaps one way to possibly get an smooth automatic (scene) transition would be to utilize an external box/synth that can/will send an CC sweep (in the duration of choice) to the CC# of the crossfader. Gonna try this out myself…