Has the OT aged well?

you’re asking the wrong question, what you should be asking is if the octatrack is interesting to you


Sorry, pal. It‘s the other way round: are you interesting to the Octatrack?


My son will have half a decade soon. :sketchy:
Is it possible to exchange with an MKII ? :smile:


I’m picturing it as the Gandalf the Grey of samplers, an old wise grey haired sampler with vast timeless knowledge, and it’s a freakin magician… Smokes a pipe… :smile:


Maybe that is what’s happening. People don’t choose whether they keep the OT or not, it chooses if it keeps them… That’s why each side has a hard time understanding each other, If the OT chooses you you just like it, if not you can’t stand it, but we can’t explain why to each other because it was the OT that decided… :upside_down:


Meanwhile the user is often…


I’m pretty sure over 26 is officially old now. According to the tech sector.

EDIT: I turned 39 last spring, gramps.

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This thread is getting better by the minute.


Seriously, if you don‘t think too much about what it could be (but isn‘t), OT‘s still unique in what it allows you to do. I beg to differ with regards to the FX and timestretching. They sound dated to my ears. Likely the reason is my lack of skill, though.

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If any instrument is timeless, immune to the ravages of age or changing-taste, it’s a sampler–even more so because it’s made by Elektron.


I picked up my first OT a few years ago and connected with it immediately and yeah it became the core of my rig for a long time. This was mostly due to an unstable Ableton environment. I loved it with all my body (yup that part too) and I never even thought of replacing it. At that time I was using it to control an array of small desktop synths and I only looked at a computer (during music time) for recording and mastering.

3 years later, I’ve grown a bit as a musician and producer, and my synth tastes have changed and I have an obsession with eqs, compressors and mixing details. I’ve done more to make sure I have a high performing laptop and have been somewhat selective with VSTs (I still get a crash here and there, and its only from some mystery PC only M4L bug that occurs randomly).

Through costly and time consuming experimentation I’ve found a rig that works for me involving a laptop, analog mixer, and outboard effects. At that point the OT started losing value to me. Sure I could probably mix down stems from my work in ableton and transfer them to the OT and then arrange them again…and mess with all the sound shaping tools…again…but IMHO if I’ve already done all of this on a laptop, why do it again?

I’m controlling a 7U eurorack system through CVOCD via midi in ableton, and most of the FX pedals are receiving midi from ableton. Ableton is acting as a midi controller, drum machine/sampler and vocal processor, all outputs from my audio interface go into an analog mixer in order to use the FX pedals with no latency. I monitor everything from the mixer (as I would in a live setting) and run it’s outputs back into the audio interface for recording (slight bit of latency but doesn’t matter since I’m monitoring from the mixer). My FX boxes currently are : eventide space, OTO BIM, RML Electron Fuzz and Analog Heat. So that kind of gives you an idea of why the OT is becoming less relevant for me.

With the introduction of conditional trigs I was extremely excited. I’ve always loved sequencing with the OT and after dipping into eurorack, conditional trigs are something I would love to have on the OT. However after a quick tease and no back to the “who knows when or where” things kind of fizzled out for me again. I mean if you dip into M4L there are quite a few sequencers that you can modulate to get similar results, and if you can’t, you can learn MAX and make your own.

Yes the OT is still a completely valid machine for some people. I’ve seen people do sets with just volcas, gameboys and one time a pocket piano + eventide space. Any machine in the right hands can be useful. I don’t see a difference in someone using an OT and pushing buttons vs a Push 2 and pushing buttons vs Eurorack and twisting knobs. I don’t really understand the “i hate computers, but here let me use a gimped computer in a different form factor” (definitely looking at YOU MPC LIVE). I do understand the tonal difference, but processing stuff from ableton with analog FX has pretty much put that to rest in my ears.

The limitations (which some people love) of the Octatrack at this point are a little too limiting for me. I had really hoped an Octatrack revision would have brought more ins and more outs but with just 4/4 (not to mention the loss of portability when you are using all 4 in say a 2 stereo, 1 mono, 1 mono configuration) it just isn’t making me happy anymore. Also if each track by default had a filter/eq/compressor that wouldn’t eat up slots needed for other FX. Sure using neighbors and parts will help. Then you go down the path of resampling and eventually I’m doing all of this in a DAW with quite a bit less effort, and the capability to go back and adjust things rather painlessly. “Once you learn, you can’t unlearn” (see the below article for context).

I’m not trying to be negative or overly criticizing the OT, so hopefully it doesn’t get interpreted as such. Just adding my own experience to the conversation. Props to those that use it well and power to those that still swear by it.

After reading this article things started to come together for me:

PS: Buy my OT!


I think the GS demographic might be a bit older (mentally) and crustier (elitist), and possibly resentful towards forums (like this one) which display more enthusiasm and proactive-ness about music-making, in general. Also, I think “Elektronauts” (the community, and Elektron allegiants) might be regarded as somewhat zealous (w/blind enthusiasm), re: Elektron gear - I get a sort of jaded/cynical vibe from my experience lurking about the GS forums.


I hear you on that, it’s certainly hard to integrate. I use it most as an idea starter, which it’s very good at, then rapidly move to Ableton for arrangement. The part I haven’t cracked yet is getting it back into the OT for live performance, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

At times I feel guilty that I’m underutilising it, but I already learned that I miss it like crazy when it’s gone. Chameleon machine.


It’s funny, I avoid using timestretch as much as possible for sound quality reasons but the other day I was kind of flipping it on and off while a loop was playing and decided I actually think it sounds good. I wasn’t actually changing the duration of the loop at all, just turning the timestretch on and off and while it sounded noticeably clearer and more detailed an had a bit more high end with timestretch off, subjectively I liked the way it sounded with timestretch on a little more, it gave it a kind of blurriness that worked for me.

I also think minidisc compression sounds better than CD audio, though, so take my opinion here with a grain of salt. Although to be fair, back in college one of my professors set up a proper, level matched A/B comparison between minidisc and CD for a class to demonstrate how lossy compression degrades sound quality (complete with then top of the line Apogee D/A converters and his personal far-field monitors that were the size of small refrigerators and cost his old studio something like $8k each back in the 80s, and really did sound incredible) and everyone in the class, including him, unanimously chose the digitally transferred (so the only difference between the two was the compression) minidisc dupe as sounding better than the CD audio original. So it’s not just me. It’s technically worse but it sounds nice.

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excuse my rather crude categorizations, but reading the DJ Shadow article made me think what you experienced has a bit to do with the producer/dj/instrumentalist ‘conceptual/workflow spectrum’

I think those closer to the dj/instrumentalist end of the spectrum will have the longest and most fruitful relationship with the octatrack compared to more ‘producer’-oriented types


That’s definitely a thought provoking idea. I don’t feel it’s accurate for me, I think I would fall more on the dj/instrumentalist side vs. producer end if that was the spectrum. I’m interested in mixing and mastering just for the purpose of polishing my songs. Most of my time is spent generating beats and melodies, then chopping them up and trying to arrange them in an interesting way (maybe that is a producer thing idk), and the rest of the time is spent experimenting for sound design.

I think for me it was more learning to do all the things I could do on the OT, in Ableton and not sacrificing limitless options. I know that the limitless options are something that we sometimes associate as being a creativity inhibitor, but then I get 20 plugins deep on a single kick sample and demons are punching through the walls and I’m grabbing my rainbow blanket reciting lyrics from Sacrifyx…and… :evil:

I had that with the OT at first, but maybe we got domesticated too quickly and she just wasn’t into experimentation…

I’ve gone back and forth a few times since, trying to get back to that place where I was with the OT being the center of things, but every time I do, ill find myself back in the DAW for what seems like simple things; routing, mixing and arranging. The OT sequencer is still my favorite hardware sequencer but aside from parameter locks I haven’t found much that makes me think I can’t live without it. Maybe when I used to sit on the couch and write beats the OT was pretty nice, but I’m strapped for time these days so it’s pretty much in the studio or not at all.

I think I’m saying the Octatrack has definitely aged both in physical capability and sound, but just like the MPC 1000, or any instrument, an inspired person will be able to make amazing music with it.

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11 posts were split to a new topic: MiniDisc and ATRAC (spinoff topic)

No worse than an older mpc.

In my experience, one of the biggest crippling factors for older gear is storage media. For example, Roland used the zip disk for the sp808 which was the bees knees back in the day but aged terribly. The correct voltage SM for the 202s & 303s are rare/expensive. Otherwise they’re still fantastic pieces of gear.

Stocking up on CF or SD cards while they’re still plentiful could go a long way in protecting your gears from future obsolescence.


That DJ shadow interview took me back to my ITB years… Seems like nothing has changed on that front. MPC live & OT for me any day of the week pls, DAWs are a necessary evil but THEY R NO FUN.

btw - u need cubaase for making dnb? :troll: Interesting that many cats doin dnb use MPCs, something that should have been a very familiar instrument to Mr Shadow…?

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