Considering ditching the OT. but first, a question

Had the OT about 6 months, and have had a pretty smooth time. But every now and then…I just encounter things beyond explanation. lights blinking to presumably indicate something I’m not aware of, that damn frowning face when loading samples, samples not being where I thought they were, hitting play and watching the step indicator move forward two steps and then returning to step 1 (when the pattern is 64 steps). too many mysteries. it’s become a distraction.
so ive started looking into the squarp pyramid. flavor of the month, or as cool as it seems? also: CV.

my question.

aside from incorporating ableton to capture loops, is there any other device that has any sort of functionality similar to the way pickup machines work on the OT? i really really don’t want to use my computer when I jam, so dedicated hardware is really what I’m after.

I use my OT for one hit samples, pickup machines, and midi sequencing. but with pickup machines, OT has to be master clock (annoying). for one hits, I could break out the mpc. for capturing loops, ableton…but again…id love to ditch the computer.

you guys have any suggestions for hardware I could incorporate alongside a squarp pyramid to maintain the functions of the OT?

It’s not that Octatrack does any one thing the best, it’s the synthesis of what everything Octatrack can do in total: sound manipulation, recording, sequencing, slicing, among other things. Nothing out there I think matches its capabilities, maybe with the exception of Push 2 and Live 9.2 and Max for Live but that’s not really fair comparison.

My advice would be to give it another 6 months of angrily flipping through the manual and making mistakes and surprises on the Octatrack. It took my more than two year to feel comfortable at it and make it do what I want and expect it to do. I’ve learned that buying more gear, synths, or whatever doesn’t help me make better music; it just makes me spend more time learning how to use gear instead of improving my music.

Gear should be just a tool for creative expression. Maybe the Octatrack isn’t the right tool for you, but with any instrument (like the drums, piano, etc.) don’t expect to be fluent and have complete mastery after only 6 months. You can’t expect to fully utilize it’s limitations and work-arounds or push beyond what you would think it capable of.

With that said, I think the Ditto Looper was a good enough replacement for me for the pickup machines.


Ive barely touched pickup machines but when I did it felt kind of clunky. Much prefer using my rc300 for that kind of stuff. Nowhere near as versatile as OT as far as what you can do with your loops tho. But great for basic looping. Annoyingly its similar to OT in that it has to be master clock to sync it so I normally just manual sync it by dialling in same bpm as OT and hope for the best! Surprisingly this normally works OK for what im doing…

Edit - not really answering the op, sorry! Guess I’m saying possibly grab a basic looper and keep OT for everything else it can do and see how you feel about it in 6 months…

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The pyramid is a very different approach to sequencing. I’d research deeply into it before switching from an OT if I were you.

Some people seem to think that combining the OT and the pyramid for sequencing is awesome though, so I see them more like complementary devices, neither being totally able to totally mimic the other.


^ I think that’s a right statement.

I just find it easily use a simple looper pedal with undo function and then record that into the pickup/flex buffer.

The OT is the only piece of gear I’ve sold, and seriously questioned why afterwards.

Anyone benefits from an OT, no matter your style.

Keep it. Bring it on your journey while looking for other tools to complement. But dear lord, keep the OT.

I picked up an Akai Headrush 2, on sale for like $80, at a time I was struggling with live looping on the Octatrack.

A couple of years later, it’s still sitting in its box, while I’m now live-looping fine on the OT, with a Keith McMillen Softstep 2 for triggering the pickup machine functions and switching tracks.

A key tip I picked up (no pun intended) from Anders B. is to never set the recording time to MAX. Always set it to some finite value. I usually set it to 32 or less.

The OT has always had a bug with slave pickup machines and I’ve never seen an OS release addressing that issue, in the time I’ve owned my OT. Thus, I avoid using more than one pickup machine simultaneously as much as possible. I do have 2 pickup machine tracks set up next to each other, but when one of them is playing loops I just use the other one for basic FX on my electric violin - no looping on the 2nd track until I stop the loop on the first track.

Another thing i learned from Anders is using a Flex machine track, with the sample slot set to the Recording (buffer) of another track. This is great for further mangling of whatever loop one has running on another track, especially when one gets into messing with the sample start, retrigger, etc. and setting those to be modulated by track LFOs.

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The OT and the Boss RC505, superb combo. As everyone else pointed out the OT is ok at looping with pickup machines but it’s great at all its other duties. I find the rc505 is just quick no fussing around to get the loop or undo, get the sound and shove that into the OT.

I sold my Octatrack and bought a kaoss pad 3. No hassle, just music.

Maybe once i will buy the ot again, then in will use it on its own for a while as a sampler… Finding loops all around and creating new loops and scenes. Together with song transition this instrument can do it all on its own.

The Octatrack is such an insiring machine. Its now 3 months I am using it. I had Ableton Push before, but I ditched it for the Octatrack, because mainly I needed the cash to buy the Octatrack :wink:

I am yet to get deep into it…just playing with audio and sampling keeps me grooving. I record directly into Ableton as I am jamming on the Octatrack, by storing ideas in patterns and banks.

It is the most spontaneous and immediate approach to sampling.

Just be patient and go slow. Avoid gear lust :slight_smile:


I’ve got the Pyramid and the OT.

I find the Pyramid pretty great to work with for sequencing. Despite the somewhat unfinished feel of its OS (which is constantly changing and improving), it was one of those things where I powered it on and it was immediately obvious how its basic features worked.

In terms of its function as a MIDI sequencer, I’ve heard the Pyramid is far better at that job. I haven’t taken the time to learn the OT MIDI sequencer as I got both of them around the same time and just stuck to the Pyramid for that stuff.

lights blinking to presumably indicate something I’m not aware of, that damn frowning face when loading samples, samples not being where I thought they were, hitting play and watching the step indicator move forward two steps and then returning to step 1 (when the pattern is 64 steps). too many mysteries. it’s become a distraction.

There could be a few blinking lights you are talking about. But the one I know got me a few times is the blinking track LED’s next to the LCD. This means the track is being CUE’d. Just hold the CUE button and press the track button to stop it. Nice and easy. If you are talking about the trigs blinking weirdly and it isn’t from a p-lock then maybe you have set a one shot trig or a trigless trig. Hold Function and press the trig. It should start changing colors until it returns to a normal trig with a red LED.

The sad face is explained somewhat in the manual on page 29:

If the file browser was opened from a Flex sample slot list, the bottom of the LCD screen will show how much RAM memory that is available to the project. The size of the samples are indicated in MB to the right of the sample names. When the cursor is moved over a sample, the smiley symbol at the bottom of the screen will show a happy face if the sample is ready to be loaded without any problems. If the file is too big to be loaded, or if the file is incompatible with the Octatrack audio engine, the smiley will look sad. Samples with an unsupported sample rate, like 48 kHz, will make the smiley look indifferent, indicating the sample will be played back albeit at the wrong speed. To the right of the smiley the sample rate, bit depth and number of channels of the selected sample is shown.

The pattern length thing I can only imagine is due to you selecting independent pattern lengths per track. Your track might be 64 steps but is your master track length also at least 64 steps? Also keep in mind the master length can be really long so if you set 66 steps on the master then your pattern will play for 64 steps and then the first two steps again before resetting to play all 64 steps again. This can get you some interesting glitch effects but typically this is not what you want.

Also the OT can sort of handle CV. If you have some really strong but short click samples you could mimic the Machinedrum’s impulse machines which just send strong clicks out of the outputs. This can make enough of a voltage change to trigger CV devices. The same could be done on the OT using the CUE outputs as individual outs separate from the main outs and then you change the sample pitch (maybe even volume or gain) to trigger your CV devices.