# Octatrack: Altering samples for 8 patterns (A1-A8) with only 4 parts?

Okay, I’m proper mindf*cked right now. I watched the Octatrack tutorial that distinguishes between parts and patterns, and how you copy A1 to A2, then change A2 from Part 1 to Part 2 to be able to alter the samples on A2’s 8 tracks. Also read Merlin’s notes on this question. From these, I was easily able to figure out how to do this.

But, very quickly afterward, I realized I still wasn’t understanding something fundamental about parts and patterns. Let me try to describe my confusion in as easy a way as possible. (*I’m super new to the Octatrack. I’ve made 2 tunes now, so I understand the workflow of sampling, loading samples, and tweaking them, but I’m not on the same level as most of you who are about to reply; which means I’m not going to be on your level with terms, so clarity here in the written response is of prime importance: what may be second nature to you may seem like esoteric engineering speak to me haha.)

The way I understand the above is that if you wanted to have each pattern with its own set of samples (on the 8 tracks), each pattern needs to be set to a part. While watching the video and reading Merlin’s guide, the way I understood this is that A1 would be set to Part 1, A2 to Part 2, A3 to Part 3, and A4 go Part 4. But what about patterns A5, A6, A7 and A8? In the parts menu, there are only 4 parts.

Can someone help me understand how I make it so that A5, A6, A7 and A8 can have their own set of samples? Am I missing something here?

I have a Digitakt, and each pattern easily gets its own set of samples without having to deal with parts. And there is no menu diving. So what’s going on above with the Octatrack that is confusing the hell out of me?

IMPORTANT NOTE: I’m not asking this question because I need to solve a live performance problem—that is, switching from pattern to pattern, each with its own variations. What I like to do, based on how I work with my Digitakt, is this: I like to create a new project and on the first pattern, I’ll write one song, and then on the next pattern I write another song. I like to copy one pattern and paste it to another pattern slot, and then tweak it until it’s an entirely different song. Don’t ask me why I do this. I just do it. haha

You can’t, there are only 4 parts. You could P-lock a sample selection to trigs for the other patterns?

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That is a bummer, man.

I recommend using 4 patterns per part for organisation. as in part 1 on A1-4, part 2 on A5-8, part 3 on A9-12 and part 4 on A13-16. Do you know about sample locks? (with Record on hold a trig and turn the level knob and you can change what per step.) You’ve got a lot of space to work with with all those banks, You don’t need to constrain your whole song to 4 patterns. focus more on that a part is all your FX setups and stuff for all your tracks, the assigned sample on the tracks doesn’t matter so much cause you can put any sample anywhere any time with sample locks or p-locks if you work with slices. Get used to copying and pasting patterns and trigs to save yourself scrolling through the list as much. You can work by pasting patterns and adding variation on OT too, func and copy with record on copies the focused track, func and copy with record off copies the pattern

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You’re not missing anything. The Digitakt’s sample assignment is quite different to that used on the OT. There are only 4 Parts available to any individual bank of patterns on the OT.

The good news is that:

• you can use sample locks to assign any sample from your project’s sample slot list to any step in any pattern;
• each sample can include up to 64 slices (each of which can be a full sample or loop in itself: search the forum for “sample chain”) - you can assign a specific slice to play back when a Scene is selected, and there are 16 Scenes per Part.
• you have another 15 banks (B to P) of patterns to write stuff into, and each of those banks has its own 4 Parts;
• if you’ve filled up one project, just start another - you can use as many projects as fit on a CF card, and they can always be copied to a computer for backup if you need more space.

A lot of people get confused by the OT’s way of doing things, but you’re just on the verge of finding out all the amazing things that this instrument can do.

Stick with the manual; use Merlin’s excellent guide; watch tutorial videos; browse/search the forum if you have questions and, finally, don’t be afraid to ask here.

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@jb and @PeterHanes have good advice…
And like @jb says most users use four patterns for each of the 4 parts in a bank to fill up the banks patterns, but I’ll just throw out that my looping workflow often leads me to just use 4 patterns per bank assigned to the first 4 parts, and then I just switch banks…
This still gives me 64 individual pattern/parts which for me is absolutely more than enough and I don’t even worry about the patterns I don’t use, they are still there for me to make more variations which I sometimes do or to use if I change my workflow…

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Yeah, I had no clue that it could do what you just described! Are you aware of any video tutorials that go into the how of what you just described with slicing and assigning samples to each of the 64 steps (not that I’d use all 64 steps)?

I haven’t gotten into sample locks. My strategy, in these early days of usage, is just to get the sampling down and the building of songs with those and then FX, filters, LFOs, etc.

That’s a good idea for part organization.

Do you know of a good video tutorial that clearly goes through the slicing and assigning of those samples with sample locks and p-locks?

I’m not sure I follow what you mean by “4 parts per pattern assigned to the first 4 parts, and then I just switch.” I’m a big novice here. hehe Are you saying you have 4 patterns per each of the 4 parts? What does the switching of banks accomplish?

Unfortunately I don’t have the internet bandwidth right now to search for videos, but if you read Merlin’s document one step at a time and then search on “Octatrack slicing”, “Octatrack sample chain”, “Octratrack scene” etc then you will surely slowly start to use the potential of all these features.

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Noted. I’m sure I’ll find some helpful videos. I’m a visual learner, so as helpful as Merlin’s guide was in understanding the parts, it clicked even more when I saw a video of how it worked. So that’s why I asked: Merlin’s guide will only be so helpful for me. It’s strange… I’m a writer, journalist and voracious reader, but when it comes to learning equipment, it’s just not the way I learn best. haha I don’t understand it.

Sorry, I wrote that funny and it became unclear… I edited it to make more sense, sorry about that, didn’t me to cause more confusion…

That’s what I changed it to and to explain it a little more:

You get 4 parts per bank of 16 patterns, so many people use part1 for patterns 1-4, part2 patterns 5-8, etc…
When you switch bank you get a fresh 4 parts and 16 patterns to work with in that bank…
All in all the Octatrack has 16 banks of 16 patterns and 4 parts, so 256 patterns and 64 parts total…

For me the answer in my reply is that I simply don’t use patterns A5,A6,-A16…
Instead since I like more parts and use less patterns in my particular workflow, I use patterns A1-A4 each assigned to its own part, leave patterns A5-A16 blank, and continue working on Bank B where I get 4 more parts to work with, and again each assigned to its own part. When those are full I switch to Bank C and use its 4 parts, etc…

This is not advice per say, it’s more of a reminder that the OT has 64 parts, 4 in each bank, and that if you find your ultimate workflow requires more parts and less patterns, just leave patterns blank and move on to another bank. The OT still has a lot to offer even if you leave tons of patterns blank, 64 parts is a lot…

I say “ultimate workflow” above because when learning the OT you often morph your workflow several times as you learn the device. Give things some time and try some of the different approaches and after awhile you will prefer and use one of them, whether it’s what I do or what someone else does or perhaps a combo of multiple approaches with you own personal flair…

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And just for some more clarity…

The basic recommendation to get used to the Octatrack is to use part1 for patterns1-4, part2 patterns 5-8, part 3 patterns 9-12, and part 4 patterns 13-16…

The idea is that the part holds you sample selection, types of tracks, fx, and scenes, and that the 4 patterns give you variations using the same machines/fx/etc…

Often it’s easy to come up with 4 patterns(or more) using the same samples, fx, etc…
So this is why it’s not “mandatory” to have a part for each pattern, often you make several variation patterns using the same part…

There is an advantage in using one part for multiple patterns in the case that you want to make changes during a performance to the edit pages, fx, and whatnot, and when you switch to a pattern using the same part those changes will be there and not yanked back to a saved state…

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Waaa ok I have a super stupid question. Why use a Part when I could “just” use a bank? Don’t I get just the same thing as when I switch to a different bank? ie new machines?

Ok I see I get non-empty patterns if I use a Part, but isn’t that just more annoying, because the trigs in the pattern won’t be relevant to the new, possibly different machine?

(I obviously totally don’t understand what Parts are intended for, and I would be humbly grateful for elucidation!)

Ah gee @Open_Mike you might have answered my question just before I asked it

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Oooooooohhhhhhhhhhh…!!! OK I think I finally get it …

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Just think “kit”…
Make 4 patterns using one kit, 4 patterns using another kit, 4 patterns using a third kit, and 4 using a 4th kit…

Now you have a full bank of 16 patterns, with each progression of 4 patterns using its own “kit” or part…

When your on pattern A1 and you happen to change the pitch of something and add reverb to something else, when you switch to A2 your next pattern, it still has the pitch and reverb change there…

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I rarely if ever change a part while in a pattern, that is a next level technique and requires a good amount of thought and detailed programming for desired outcomes to be achieved…

The easiest use of parts is just to leave them assigned to patterns, and use pattern change to change part/pattern at the same time…

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Ah, yes… it’s clicking now, sir! Thanks for clarifying and elaborating.

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Parts
I don’t think they are nearly as difficult to understand as people make it out to be, let’s see if this makes sense.

Parts contain your machine assignment, sample selection, fx, and scenes…
Each bank has 16 patterns and 4 parts available…

Now, if you want you could use one part for all 16 patterns and make 16 variation patterns using the same machines, samples, fx, and scenes…

If you wanted you could use two parts, one for patterns 1-8 in otherwords 8 variation patterns using the same machines, samples, fx, and scenes… And now patterns 9-6 are assigned to part 2 so are 8 variation patterns using completely different machines, samples, fx, and scenes…

And of course you could use three or all four parts if you want…
The general idea is that you can make many patterns using the same samples, machines, fx, and scenes, so it doesn’t seem necessary for every pattern to have its own… And again the big advantage is for live tweaking where you can edit things on the fly and not loose your edits when you change patterns, the changes remain as long as the pattern your switching to is assigned to the same part…

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