Master Track (+thru machines) Guilt

So I’m a few months into Octatrack ownership and I just love it so much. I’ve not actually recorded anything out of it yet but have been learning away, crafting little beats and ideas along the way as I get to grips with things and I think I’m doing not too bad so far.

The one thing that I’ve crept into tonight is that I came up with a situation where I actually wanted to use the master track (so far I’ve just had it as a normal channel because why would you want one less sample channel right?) and it’s so great to run the other tracks through a filter and compressor BUT I just feel so guilty giving up a track that I could otherwise use for lovely sample nonsense.

Is this something that other people have rubbed up against? Do you think the feeling will dissipate or will it always feel like a sacrifice?

Not really a serious question but maybe one that’s more based in philosophy.

(NB - I have other hardware and mixers etc that I can use if I wanted to but my main Octatrack time is just sitting with that on my lap and some headphones rather than being at my big desk. There’s aso a part of me wonders if it’s another bit of Elektron marketing/sales strategy and my OT is trying to tell me that I should just get a Heat and be done with it).

You’ll learn to realise that is falacy.
Sample locks, sample chains, and conditional trigs. all of these trancend the idea of one sound per track. So basically I could run 2 sounds per track to give me 6 drum sounds on 3 channels. Leaving four.
But why stop there? I could if I wanted to resample my 6 drum sound pattern, bouncing that all down onto one track.
This means I now have 6 tracks spare (if T8 is master)

Or, four sounds per track… etc

It takes a long time to find your way with the OT. Its amazing. Ive just been getting back into it. 7 years on and Im still blown away.

I like to use T8 as master for the compressor, cant say I find any trouble at all with track count. And as always, it keeps me disciplined. Less is more.


I had the same issue. But here’s the way I look at it after trying it both ways. Keep the Master track if you perform live, because it circumvents a lot of other equipment you’d have to bring—compressor, reverb, etc.—in order for your non-master tracks to sound as good on their own as the Master track offers. Your compressor, reverb, and other effects are baked into your signal chain. And the OT’s Master tracks effects are totally good enough in live situations.

1 Like

YES, for a long time.
Finally got an RNC and freed up the master track.
It goes;
RYTM > T1 Thru Lofi/Comb
T2 Neighbor Flanger/Delay (no lock)
T3 Neighbor Filter/Delay (locked)
T4 Neighbor DJEQ/Darkverb

AK > T5 Thru Lofi/Comb
T6 > T6 Neighbor Filter/Delay (locked)

T7 > Static, ready made samples Filter/Delay (locked)
T8 > Flex, live resampling Filter/Delay (locked)

I REALLY wanted that T8 for years, worked my way there. :wink:

1 Like

I considered it wasteful to use a master track as well, but I got over it after getting more acquainted with the instrument.

If tracks were locked to a sound throughout the song/set/session, I probably wouldn’t sacrifice a track for master processing, but this is the Octatrack – you can have so much variety on a single track, because you can parameter-lock, sample-lock, scene-lock, and completely change the machines in different Parts! You can also layer stuff by resampling multiple tracks, effectively collapsing them into a single track, so even if you had only like 4 tracks, your options are still virtually infinite.

As a side note: each of my tracks tend to get really busy. I’ve noticed that if I have 8 OT tracks at the same time, it can be too busy. I used to make stuff with a crap ton of tracks, but I’m making a conscious effort to reduce the number, because I end up with better mixes and more impactful music when I don’t clutter it. I try to vary sounds over time, rather than play too many sounds at the same time. That’s just my own personal thing I’m working on, because I just get really excited and I just keep layering shit, because I love creating textures and harmonies… I almost went less tracks these days :slight_smile:

1 Like

The first time I owned an Octatrack this sort of stuff really bothered me, to the point that I ended up selling it.

Bought another recently and I’m approaching it very differently. Pretty much using it as a performance mixer/looper and some FX. I’ll probably only end up with maybe one track for samples, which is enough for me.

T8 will probably always be a master track for me, so I can record/loop/resample the master whenever I want to.

1 Like

Resample resample resample.
Infinite bouncing down with zero loss in sound quality. Layer as many sounds as you want.

We would have given any thing for that when we were kids.


For most OT only things I never use T8 as master, when using OT with other gear though I often do.

So I guess it depends what you are doing, but it is for sure nice to have the flexibility.

A recent example, in 10 years of having an OT I probably used neighbour tracks like 3 times, but nice to know they are there when you need them. I wanted to do some very processed samples using OT, so I set up track 1 and track 5 to each have 3 neighbour tracks, giving 8 fx on each. I set t1 and t5 as thru tracks looking at input A. This allowed me to very quickly record tons of different effected samples with minimal hassle, and I also set up some scenes adjusting things like compression, eq and other fx. Amazing box.


Well yeah, that and a slap up dinner with Linda Lusadi.

1 Like

Sam Fox - Digitakt
Linda Lusardi - OT


1 Like
completely off topic

I was trying to explain page 3 girls to a teenage lad the other day. Just explaining it sounds absolutely mental that that shit was just normal.

What a mad world we grew up in.


When T8 is set as a master track, it seems I can’t preview the recorder/AED on that Track. Is that others’ experience, or am I doing it wrong?

I think it might be - had that the other night while trying it out for the first time but wasn’t sure if it was user error, it being quite late at night or OT weirdness.

1 Like

I didn’t think you could do this for Thru or Master tracks. But you can do it for flex tracks that are set to record those tracks.

I think.

I know nothing though.

1 Like

I use T4 = transition looper, T8 = master (filter & compressor).
OT main outs go straight to speakers so it’s my mixer.
Leaves 3x thru/neighbour tracks to bring in ext sources (Rytm & 1-2 synths) and 3x flex tracks for recording/sample playback.
That’s just about as much as I can handle!

The way I see it this saves me buying a Boum/Heat/RNC etc. and keeps the setup to a minimum. I’m very much about learning to performs and improvise grooves just now, I might set it up totally differently in the future of course!

You can only preview tracks which have samples assigned, or the record buffers on a track which has samples assigned (not necessarily assigned to the record buffers though)

1 Like

Pretty sure I can also preview ([FUNC]+[YES]) the contents of the AED (inspecting a record buffer), even on Thru tracks (there’s a toggle to apply track FX or not, and I have it off)…

But on the Master track, I can’t seem to preview.

Master track.

Thru track.

Because there is nothing to preview when T8 is set as master.
You don’t have the first page either, as retrig or start mean nothing for a master track.

I always have T8 as master, it’s a nice tool to sculpt the sound, e.g. with trigging the filter or using lofi’s AM to apply a square wave on the volume (16/32/64 values for AMF are in the tempo).

I know y’all are trying to help. Thanks! However there’s something I’m not communicating well because you’re all showing me stuff that doesn’t match what I’m saying. I made a thread about it so as to let this thread go back on-topic.

1 Like