How does pickup machine set the bpm after recording?

Hi everyone,

this is my first new topic here. Apologies if I missed something obvious before posting but I really can’t find an answer to the problem I’m dealing with even if some topics are really close.
Here’s the thing:
I don’t understand how the pickup machine sets the tempo after a recording. I’m trying to record a bassline with a pickup machine then add it a drumloop programmed in the OT that would sync to it.
I don’t understand why but the OT always sets the tempo on twice or four times the original tempo I’m playing. I play around 40bpm and it sets bpm around 80 or 160. And so, either my drumloop is twice (or four times) too fast, either if I slow down the bpm, my record is twice too slow.
Does anyone know how the tempo is set? And is there a way to say to the OT “the record length is equal to, let’s say, 2 bars”?

this tip may be of use

Thnaks for the reply Clancy. I tried it but unfortunately it doesn’t change the problem.
It works to make recordings with different lengths from one track to another.
But the bpm of the first loop I record is still set up automatically by the OT and is still twice or four times faster than I want.
Thanks anyway

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It is noted as follows in the manual, should help you see where the issue arises from

The tempo guessing algorithm analyzes the sample filename for tempo figures,
checking if the initial guess is off by a factor 0.5 or 2.0. The ”normal” BPM range
the Octatrack uses to make its initial BPM guess is 85 BPM-170 BPM. If you have
loops with tempos outside this range, it might be a good idea to put the BPM value
in the filename. Typically, a 70 BPM loop is initially loaded as 140 BPM loop, but if
the number 70 is found anywhere in the filename, the octatrack will use 70 BPM
instead. Similarly, if 280 is found in the filename, the BPM of the sample will be


Salut. I use Qrec and Qpl set to PLEN in Recording Setup 2. This way the tempo is the same. Hope it helps.

this trick is useful for imported samples, not recorded ones, isn’t it?
Or is there a way to extend the bpm guess range for pickup machines?
Thanks anyway

Setting rlen to 32 should get you a two bar recording.
I assume you have qrec and qpl enabled?
I never play as low as 40bpm but I use qrec and qpl and record when sequencer is going, my loops match the sequencer bpm after recording. I have found if I go above 160something, it gets halfed after recording, probably for same reasons as yours doubled.
Perhaps try setting OT tempo to 80 and using 1/2 scale on your patterns…
Or maybe you can set the recording buffer attributes to 40 before you record, or set the length, save settings maybe even…
Like avantronica said the OT expects about 85 to 170 so you may have better luck going for 86 instead of 80. Timestretch is used by PU’s so the OT does try to adjust them if outside of range…
Not by my OT right now so I can’t test for an exact answer, but these are areas to look into…


The only way that I know of is to manually set the recording step length in that pickup machine’s record set up menu. You then need to have the sequencer running, use the AB/CD record buttons to “punch in/out” to record a perfect pickup loop. I’ve actually altered how I construct a song live because the OT’s tempo guessing algorithm couldn’t get it right and thus play back an accompanying drum loop correctly. OTOH, the OT often guesses just fine. It can be hit or miss.

Yes, unfortunately number naming trick for samples only applies to imported samples and not recorded ones.

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I would like it if your using qrec for pickups and already have the sequencer going, that the OT just sets the PU sample at the sequencer bpm no matter what it is set at…

@Open_Mike yes, I think you’re right, the difficulty probably comes from the range of guessing of the OT. And maybe the best option is to change drum patterns to 80.

Setting rlen to 32 does get me a 2 bar recording but, as I play the bassline first, I have no tempo indication. And so my recording will probably be too short or too long.

@Tanburi as you say, you need to have the sequencer running meaning you follow the OT.
I wish the OT could follow me, whatever the tempo is.

Many thanks for your answers!

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Good luck @clementroussillat :wink:

One other thing to note, it does make a difference what you play/record into the OT as far as what the OT has to guess off of. A bit of audio with very recognizable transients is much easier for the OT than something with not much transient material.

I’ve found that it doesn’t matter what you set the bpm of a drum loop to be, if you are having the OT guess the bpm of a pickup or undefined flex recording, the OT will hazard a guess that generally has no relation to what you’ve designated a drum loop’s tempo to be.

Doesn’t it do that already under those conditions? Maybe I’m not understanding what you mean @Open_Mike

Nope, with qrec and qpl enabled and sequencer running first, if my sequencer tempo is set above 160something (I forget maybe 163) when I finish the recording, the entire global tempo of OT is halved…
My workaround is to not go higher tempo than that, or actually use it as a feature planning on my tempo halving when I’m done recording!
Works perfect every time below 160whatever, don’t usually go into the 80’s and below but I suspect will get doubled…

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Weird. I generally don’t have tempos much above 155, so I guess I never ran into that issue.