I'm building the ultimate portable music box

Some of you may remember this post from last year, showing my portable Octatrack and Virus setup. Well, I’ve been using it every single day ever since, building up my Octatrack muscle memory and learning the Virus menu structure inside and out. Since early December, I’ve been designing a MKII version of this box, with some huge improvements.

People have shown interest in how this all fits together and have been telling me I should log the build, so I figure I’ll use this thread to post my progress.

Here’s a breakdown of the specs:

  • Octatrack as the main brain and sequencer
  • Virus TI Snow, sequenced via four of the eight midi tracks
  • Intel NUC mini PC, with a 7" portrait touchscreen, running Bitwig and Reaktor
  • Bitwig/Reaktor instrument tracks sequenced by the remaining four midi tracks
  • Audio out from the Octatrack and Virus into two stereo Bitwig audio tracks for additional processing
  • Two Behringer UCA202 interfaces with outputs summed through an external mixer circuit for live monitoring of all four RCA inputs
  • Custom I/O panel, rerouting all the necessary sockets from the Octatrack, Virus, interfaces and computer to the front, so they’re easily accessible, with a battery level meter and individual power switches for everything
  • Custom built 12-cell lithium ion battery pack with individual boost/buck converters for each piece of gear
  • Laser cut plywood case, with quality flight case fittings, gas struts, and neoprene foam strip seals. When the box is closed, it should be totally sealed from the elements.
  • Custom laser cut front panel to house the Virus, NUC and touch screen
  • Custom JavaScript application to bounce individual tracks from the Octatrack as audio stems

And here’s a 3D model of the overall design, though it’s slightly outdated now:

Here’s the power schematic:

Here’s the signal path diagram, though this is also a bit outdated:

I’ve got loads more to post, but this will do for a start! The build is well under way already, so I’ll post some pics soon.


Interesting. Following.


Very cool. Following here too…

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So awesome. I always feel so inspired when people go to amazing lengths and get there dreams from their heads and into their hands. You are what the Japanese call “shokunin”. Good luck!



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DOA massive member registering interest . Inspiring stuff

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Niceness !

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Big ups mate!!!

Haha thanks man! I’m far from a master though - in fact I am very decidedly a Jack of all trades! I didn’t know anything about electronics before this. This is like my equivalent of the Atari punk console lol.

Here are some pics of the process, including the battery pack and power board, headphone amp and interfaces, mixer circuit and bitwig running etc:


Very nice… also following I think. Not sure how to follow but I hit the little bookmark icon :joy:

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This is my landmark for the evening. Battery pack running everything all at once, proper test run with all the audio and midi working at once. It’s alive!


This is badass

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This is so sick, can’t wait to see the result

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Cheers everyone! Glad you’re all into the project! I can’t wait to have it done so I can get back to making music lol.

I’ve had a VERY interesting time setting up Bitwig this evening. I’ve managed to get it responding to the OT crossfader AND scene selection, so I can have a total of 8 scenes in the Octatrack, which correspond to 8 scenes in Bitwig (toggling scenes in BW happens automatically when I switch scenes on the OT), and the crossfader affects global macros which can modulate any parameter. It’s nuts.


That’s going to be killer! Looks amazing!

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Love it! Good choice of equipment to combine. Following.

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WHAT A GREAT IDEA. This is better than the AKai MPC X.

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Mindblowing ! Opens up a lot of possibilities for the crossfader and external modulation ! If dreams come true…:grinning:

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Gogogo Looks very promising!

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Absolutely awesome!!!

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