Audio into Octatrack

Hi All, I just bought an Octatrack and I’m starting to get a feel for everything. Lots to learn! One of my difficulties has been getting sound in at the right level. I’ve found that my miced electric guitar either results in clipped audio at a decent level or cleanly recorded, way too quiet, and in need of boosting.

Do you find you need to compress/eq/limit audio signals on the way in? I understand it’s probably optimal to do so but I’d rather not invest in new hardware if I don’t need to.

So, how do YOU optimize the signals entering your Octatrack?

By the way, is there any input monitoring function other than the LEDs that I am missing?

There are no other signal monitoring tricks other than looking at the leds or opening the sample editor while it is recording to see if the waves are clipping.

For the gain structure, I think it is best to cut rather than to boost signals. On each track level, try never to go past 100. In the end you probably will have a more punching sound. The unit does have 32 bit floating point so don’t worry about cranking the levels down so other elements come back to the surface.

Other than that, put a compressor on the track caus compressors do what compressors do. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

On that learning curve myself. Guitar, Bass musician for years. Octatrack X 1.5 years. Don’t think I’ve noticed as much talk about this in this forum.

I ve had to approach it like regular recording- which I’ve had to slowly teach myself.
Never been satisfied w direct input either guitar or bass. Not warm.
Transients and highs peak/ clip the signal, so I turn the input gain down .
Best to get good sound before input. Try slight comp and/or EQ from small affordable unit ( e.g., FMR Audio , Summit) . Trial and error.

I Currently record * Acoustic Upright bass mic’d >preamp > Saffire I/O > Ableton
*Electric bass > real amp+ cab > mic > Preamp > I/O > Ableton

BUT , good results with Guitar or Bass guitar direct > Preamp ( e.g. Summit Audio) > I/O > Ableton .
A simple guitar DI box or SansAmp might help instead of preamp.

Then I can more effectively edit the chords, arp’s, or bass loop and levels ( inside Ableton) into an WAV.

Reason for above technique - Awkward to record lengthy phrases or perc loops beyond 16sec OT limit, ESP without MIDI footswitches. Careful of the live recording “rabbit hole” - mic’s, compressors, EQ’s .bla, bla, bla…

ALSO for live percussion , found sounds,… a ZOOM stereo recorder, load into Ableton , edit , load all of the above into Octatrack. Very useful.

I’ve had bass + guitar amps for years.
LED’s are only input monitoring I’m aware of.

Direct to OT is tricky. Recently realized adding para-EQ then Compression FX on the track can “nice up” a flat audio track. For you, maybe guitar> SansAmp > OT, low to med input gain on OT , then a little per-track EQ then Comp inside OT

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AFAIK the need to “boost” recordings of A/B or C/D inputs is normal to the OT.

OT is not to the only sampler I know of that seems to reduce the recorded loudness. My MPC does the same. If you compare the samples recorded by the OT to samples recorded by recorders, or samples of sample libraries, you will often see, that the OT levels are reduced.

To prevent clipping during sampling, the only thing you can do, is watch the two diods and keep the input levels low enough. Don’t let them go red too often. It is sad, but there are no other useful gauges to check on the input levels.

You can boost the gain during playback, which is nondestructive, or you can normalize the sample in the audio editor and save it out. If you are not forced to record your samples with the OT, I would suggest to use a convenient digital recording device or your DAW and transfer the samples to the OT later.

When I record audio in the OT, I try to get the maximum in-level and use the audio editor afterwards to normalize the recording, or at least increase the volume as needed.

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Great tips here
Thank you

You can bypass this using the dynamic recorders setting fwiw

There’s a gain reduction of 12dB at the inputs so if I was being precious about recording something one off, I too might resort to computer/soundcard … but following the above link i’d also offered up a blind test between a pro source recording , an OT capture and a capture into a hand recorder through the headphone outs … the forum responses were pretty mixed as to what was what, it was extremely subtle in terms of variation to be fair and from my perspective it took a bit of critical listening to distinguish source from others, certainly nothing there to dissuade me from recording direct to OT, particularly when that is where you’re using the captured audio

offering the OT a signal of the type it’s expecting is really all there is to it, it’s not expecting a guitar signal so best not to

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