Confused about Octatrack song/arrangement/project workflow

Hello again!

I’m starting to get the hang of my new OT. I’ve had it for about 3 weeks. I am already pretty familiar with the workflow of AR and AK. Both of those have “kits” that are saved and named. Then you can use and reuse those kits in different patterns, chains and songs. I assumed OT would be set up in the same way. But it’s obviously not.

I couldn’t find anything about a “kit”, nor anything that even sounded vaguely like a kit in the manual. So I created one arrangement of patterns in bank A, and then began working on another arrangement in bank B. Since I couldn’t find a way to save the “kit” of samples/thru machines/etc. that I was using on the first arrangement in bank A, I attempted to just add new samples to the tracks I was using in patterns in bank B. Initially I checked with bank A, and my changes in bank B didn’t seem to affect it. So I thought I was in the clear. So I added new samples to all of the 6 tracks I was using and created a bunch of new patterns. The next day when I powered up, I went back to my bank A arrangement, and discovered all my samples were gone and replaced with the changes I’d made in bank B.

So now I’m really confused. I found another topic which sounds vaguely similar here: Workflow with projects

In that topic they seem to be suggesting that each song or “arrangement” be inside of it’s own project. So basically they seem to be saying that a project = a song. But that doesn’t make any sense to me. If there are 16 banks with 16 parts per project isn’t that a massive waste of space for a song? I mean, I can’t even imagine creating a song that even comes close to having that many parts (256 parts?). Because of this I feel like I’m missing something. That plus the fact that on the AR and AK things are set up completely differently. A project can contain many different songs/arrangements.

So I would be very grateful someone mind helping me to understand how the OT is meant to be used when creating and saving songs/arrangements as well as all the samples and settings contained in each individual song!

Thank you so much!

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The OT is different to the other Elektron instruments. But the equivalent of a kit on the other instruments is a “Part” on the OT.

Once you know that, and then review the chapter in the OT’s manual “Banks, Parts and Scenes” so that you know that each Bank of Patterns can use four Parts, and then save the Part when you make changes, you will rapidly make progress.

That’s just a suggestion. If you only need 16 Patterns to make a piece of music, then it’s OK to do so. Then you can have a separate piece of music in each Bank of Patterns.

If you want a pre-programmed song, you can make an Arrangement (Song) using as many or as few Patterns as you want.


Yeah, like Peter said an OT “kit” is a “part”. The OT gets 4 of them for each bank. When you went to a different bank you were using a different part as each bank has its own 4. The banks default to using Part 1 but if on any pattern in the bank you load one of the other parts it becomes linked to that pattern so that every time you switch to it again it’s using that other part.

With your samples changing its because the sample slot lists are global for the whole project. When your in another part either by loading another to a pattern in the bank you are in or just by switching to another bank, you don’t want to change the samples in slots 1-8 to other samples. Instead you point the track machine to a higher unused slot and load the sample there, like slots 9-16. You add samples to higher slots up to 128 for each flex and static, but if you replace any sample in a slot it will affect any patterns/parts targeting that slot.

There’s a lot of ways to use the OT but I’d say you can easily get 16 songs per project, one per bank. Some folks probably squeeze 2 to even 4 songs a bank I’d imagine, so 32-64 songs. The general advice is usually one song per bank and split the banks parts equally among the patterns like: patterns 1-4 part 1, patterns 5-8 part 2, patterns 9-12 part 3, patterns 13-16 part 4.

I always recommend taking Octatrack advice as a starting point but know that the OT has a way of allowing you to create your own workflow with it eventually that can get really customized to your specific sonic environment. It’s a goofy box and it’ll take a moment to get used to it, but as you go things that seem weird start to make more and more sense until you get why it is that way. It’s a bit of a journey but it’s worth it. Octatrack Rules… :monkey::sparkles:


It took me some time too, you are not alone. I set it up so each project was a set of songs… each bank was one song… and I only used part1 of each bank.


The main thing to understand about the Octatrack is there are a myriad of uses cases, you could for example use a project for each song - with no requirement to use all the parts, slots, patterns banks etc. Or you could have an entire album or live set in a project, this takes a bit more planning, and a greater understanding of slots, parts and banks. In short there isn’t a way it is “meant” to be used, there are many ways you can choose though.

At first, as you have discovered it can seem a bit counter intuitive and obtuse, but eventually you realise that its flexibility is its strength, the best thing that I can suggest it to spend some time actively not trying to work on anything other than learning how everything works, be prepared to inadvertently lose record buffers, mess up your parts and find the other (many) limitations, remembering that you can save if you get something you like.

Read the manual, merlins guide (search forum for it) watch videos, and consider joining in here:


I’ve discovered that this will happen whether you want it to or not.

Yep same for most owners I suspect. 1 user even killed their Octatrack by blunt force trauma and burnt the manual out of frustration (really!)

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Interesting thread, I was scratching my head over this too. I have this situation: I have set-up 4 PUM’s on tracks 1-4. I started looping and got someting interesting I’d like to save. I also made some scenes to use with the crossfader. All this is in part one. To save my samples, I did “function-rec3” where I was given the opportunity to “save all recordings” which I did, I found it a convenient workflow. Now these renamed-and-saved samples a in the sample slot list, and are assigned to their original record buffers. So far so good, at least this is saved (I saved the part). Say this was Jam1.

No I’m wondering what will happen if I change banks, and start another jam from scratch, also using PUM’s. So I guess I will overwrite the corresponding record buffers now. That leads me to two questions:

1: if I do the same save-all-recordings then save the part in this new bank, Jam2, when returning to the first bank, will I recover the exact state of Jam1, with the original recordings loaded in the record buffers?

2: if I change the track type from PUM to Flex, will I keep the same sample loaded, same FX, same scenes? Or doesn’t it make sense at all to change the type once I decided that I’d keep the recordings made with the PUM’s, a,nd just keep them where they were in the first place?

Hope my questions make sense…


1: The save all saves the recordings to the cf card but they are still loaded in the recorder buffer sample slots so they will be replaced when sampling again. If you want to keep and use them in your project you’d load the saved versions to regular sample slots and assign them to some flex machines, freeing your recorder buffer slots for sampling…

The part stores information regarding sample assignment but it doesn’t save samples themselves. It won’t do anything to save the part after saving recordings. If you for example assign a recorder buffer to a flex machine, saving the part will save the assignment that the flex machine plays that recorder buffer, but it won’t save the buffer itself.

2: I’ve been away from my OT for awhile, I can’t remember the specifics of changing track machines. I think the other machines will load to a default state, no harm trying and checking it out. I think scenes will keep their locks but they point to whatever parameter is in the same position as the previous parameter on the last machine…

Since the OT has lots of patterns and parts, I’d leave one set up for looping with your pickup machines and instead of changing those to flex if you want to keep your samples, save the samples and make another pattern/part with flex machines that play the saved versions, leaving your pickup pattern/part intact for more looping…


You guys are amazing. Thanks for all the helpful advice!


Totally agreed. One of the best user forums around!