Making songs “mobile” via Octatrack

Hi all,

Let me start by stating that I do not own an Octatrack, but from the videos/guides/posts I have read, I think it would be doable on the Octatrack, and I am very curious about the machine.

I make a lot of my music in the studio with a number of hardware synths/guitars/basses, tracking each sound independently (thanks in a large part to Overbridge!). But, it really isn’t feasible to “bring” that setup with me to play with other musicians, to play at venues, to take with me when traveling, etc…

Would it be reasonable to bounce and slice those existing tracks in Ableton, add them to a compact flash card, and then arrange them on the Octatrack? My thought is that this would let me take my songs with me, allow me to still perform them with some live enhancements/remixing via the Octatrack, and even possibly making new songs from the stems.

Would this workflow be pretty simple? Are there any potential headaches with this method?

Thanks for the advice!

Easy. drag and drop samples from your computer to OT .

Simple? Well… its an octatrack… so once you get over that bit , yes simple.

Potential head aches? Mostly caused by not understanding how the OT works.

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There are already multiple threads discussing this topic like this one:


I’d say that thread looked more like a more general, usual Octatrack use-case. My question was not looking to use it as a looper or background music and not determining if the Octatrack can do it, but more interested on whether the Octatrack is a good fit from a workflow perspective for just making music more mobile.

Everyone seems to have their own unique spin on workflow for the Octatrack, and so my intent was to determine if this particular workflow works well on it in practice.

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Maybe I’m too dumb, but that sounds exactly like you want to play (and arrange/re-arrange) pre-existing stems. From where these stems are initially coming (the OT itself or from a DAW) shouldn’t matter.

What particular workflow exactly? Beside using pre-existing stems/songs you haven’t explained much about a particular workflow. If you use that stems mobile or not doesn’t make a difference.

The thread I linked was just an example. As I wrote: there are already tons of threads discussing how to play / arrange / re-arrange pre-existing stems. So feel free to use the search function.

It doesn’t make much sense to make a new thread each time.

And, of course, it fits well into this mobile use case to perform without having the original sound sources around.

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Yep, this is a good way to use an OT. There’s quite a few who run this way.

It’s infinitely more reliable and robust than a laptop. Only thing you may want additionally is a fader box to control the mix of each track quickly - that’s the only painful bit about performing with the OT.

There’s a great Stimming video of him performing with 2 OT’s, and another video of him talking about the setup. It’s pretty interesting. He uses one with the drum hits, programmed in, and the other with his stems (very simply…it’s a bit more sophisticated than this).


It’s as simple as you make it i guess… I would say not a simple box. Have you looked at Blackbox 1010? That’s actually a more portable solution. I think it runs on a phone power bank and it records and plays longer samples easier.

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Just slicing stems and making patterns is very easy on the OT. Just make sure you prepare the files well so they can all be sliced the way you need in OT. Then ignore everything that is not a static machines. Ignore scenes. Focus on static machines, Sample editor, p-locks with the desired slice and you’re good to go…
Most head aches will come after that when you dive deeper in the magical underworld of the OT


And just read Merlin’s guide. Easy peasy


Excellent advice! I don’t know if the learning curve is overblown or not (I have a few other Elektron devices), but having a particular starting focus will be a great help.

You described my use case exactly, basically recreating the songs on Octatrack as a start, and then eventually learning it enough to breathe a life into the arrangements, since I don’t want to completely lose the improvisation element. Listening to finished studio tracks can be enjoyable, but it isn’t something you want to see in person, ha

Good point, always open for suggestions on hardware. The reason I am eyeing the Octatrack over the Blackbox is that I still want to keep a spirit of improvisation, even if the tracks are bounced from studio versions, and I think I’d be able to have that and still be able to bring a single box with me with the Octatrack.

Thanks for the input!

the learning curve depends on what you want to learn. focus on the big picture of what you want, and you’ll be going quickly. especially if you have other elektrons. if you want to learn “the octatrack” from scratch, you’re in for some head scratching madness… and be carfull messing around in the settings without knowing what they do :slight_smile: manual is your friend for that. and there is a mighty search function on this forum! and we’re here as well :wink:

the hardest thing I found when I tried transforming old production to OT, is the transitions. I found it easiest to as much as possible delete transitions on the stems, so you can create them (or other) on the OT.


I was just thinking that if you were getting the OT for stem playing, it’s overkill. I kinda did that, thinking I would just use the OT for stems and sampling the DT. 3 years later, no more DT needed really, and I am down the rabbithole where I question using any other piece of gear. I suppose if you have self discipline, you can just use it for a few focused things, but good luck with that.

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If you have other Elektron devices, it shouldn’t really be that big of a deal. The Octatrack was my first Elektron gear, so I had to learn the sequencer and the Octatrack system, but even that really wasn’t that complicated to at least get going.

You won’t need to move a Compact Flash card around, just plug your OT into your computer and drop them onto the storage, that’s the best way to do it.

Biggest issue you’re going to have is possibly running out of ram if you’re running really long samples or many of them, but honestly, it’s such a versatile instrument, it’s almost impossible to not recommend it if you’re interested in it.

The Blackbox 1010 may also work but from what I can tell that’s really not going to mangle up your samples the same way, and would really be more of a playback machine, but best to look into that separately, I just know what I’ve read briefly about it.


Very good point, and I’m kind of excited about the creativity the Octatrack enables. I’m guessing the DT is mostly just a way to free up tracks on the Octatrack for you now?

I traded it for a Monomachine + cash. Two Elektron samplers felt redundant at the time. I just got addicted to the OT and the DT sat unused most of the time, and really the Monomachine has a more similar of a early Elektron workflow, like the OT… The do everything, never stop learning feel. It feels easier to jump from the MnM to the OT, than the DT to the OT.

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