Digitakt vs Octatrack in 2019 (OT as a mixer)

Hello there,
I’m new to the Elektron devices and I’m considering buying my first machine.
From what I can understand from the many many tutorials that I’ve watched on these 2 machines, this is a famous dilemma among us. For me it goes down to a simple idea that separates the 2 machines that no one has mentioned (from what I know of course), so I’m asking for your help.
Except from the fact the OT is more complex and can do more, and the DT having a great workflow and screen, I’m thinking of this difference:

  • The OT can be used as a mixer AND controller of all your other hardware while the DT can only be a controller. What do I mean? I would need a separate audio mixer to mix all the sounds from the all the synths while with the OT I mix everything inside the machine and I don’t need a mixer at all.
    Did I get this right, or am I making a weird mistake?

There are other differences…
On the sampling side, OT

  • has a cross fader that makes it possible to evolve from a scene to another one
  • can live resample
  • can use slices

MIDI side: OT has midi arps and can be constrained to a scale

Regarding the mixer side, you can have two mono inputs or a stereo one on DT, but you can’t resample in live cause it cuts the inputs, while on OT you have two stereo inputs and can put FX on top. And as I said, live resample and slice and mangle etc…

DT has a simpler workflow, not only but rather beat oriented, and an ace sound.

I’m not talking about re-sampling live through the inputs, I’m talking pure audio. Let’s say I’m sequencing an external synth from the OT. The audio from the synth can run through one of the inputs of the OT (it has 4, right?) for further manipulation of the sound (adding fx for example). In the DT I would need an external mixer in order to do this, right?

I answered such question already, I wanted to give you a bigger picture.

About the mixing aspect, getting a mixer when you have more than 3 machines is always interesting anyway, IMO.
For mixing two audio sources OT is good.
But if you want to mix 4 mono sources you have to use THRU machines on a track for each source, so you’re left with 4 tracks, or 3 if you are using the 8th track as a master.

The DT can do basic mixing, in the sense that it can take two inputs, sum them to mono and send them to its outputs. But yeah if you want any extra processing you’ll need external gear, or an OT.

I used the OT as a performance mixer live the other day, bouncing audio between two delay/loop pedals on the cue outputs. Very flexible and fun routing and FX options for this kind of task.

Can I mix the audio AND sequence 4 mono machines with the OT? Then I’m totally covered.

You can sequence any gear with the DT, you have note from C0 to B5, and 8 midi CC per midi track (8 midi track). 1 LFO and trig cond and P-Lock from the sequencer apply to midi too.
You can enter 2 mono sound (/!\ no stereo, just mixing L+R in 1 mono sample). Choosing to sample L, R or L+R.
You can sample 33 seconds from the input, and assign the sample to any track, then add FX, change pitch, start point, reverse, etc…
I don’t know the OT, but I think you can do the same and much more with an OT, but it’s bigger box, higher price, and more complex.
I’m asked the same question last year, I ended with buying a DT, and I’m so happy with it that I resell everything to only keep DT as main and only instrument. You can sample your PC from USB too, sampling youtube is very fun to make lofi beat in 5min :slight_smile:

Yes, just be aware that as lyingdalai said you will need to use 4 of the 8 tracks as thru machines. There is a mixer function that lets you hear the inputs without using tracks, but AB and CD are hardpanned with no option to sum to mono so it won’t work for 4 separate synths.

1 Like

This is not the case. You can sum all 4 mono inputs to mono using a Thru machine on a single track using the A+B and C+D settings.


Oh, you’re right indeed :slight_smile:

Well, the point is to be able to individually process the audio from each synth that runs through OT. And that’s possible I guess, right?

If by “individually process” you mean “apply different effects” to each synth then, yes, you can do that by using a Thru machine for each separate input at the cost of one track per Thru machine.

You can also use a flex machine assigned to a record buffer which gets constantly filled by a recorder. Using flex+recorder gives the benefit that you can even use additional tracks with flex machines playing from the same record buffer but with completely different settings (with thru machines only one at a time can play from the same input).

You can perform quite nice parallel processing tricks this way with the OT.

1 Like