Octatrack, Analog4 and Rytm sync


I am new here and this is my first post so I apologize if it is not in the right place.

I have a somewhat traditional music background, playing a lot of classical guitar and some piano. However due to a recent, long term hand injury it looks like I will have to give up instruments for a long time/potentially indefinitely.

This is where electronic instruments come into play for me. I have an Analog Rytm as well as a good analog polysynth. I have had a great time with the Rytm, mostly using it in a straightforward, simple way, but I feel I have a decent understanding of the basic workflow. I want to really move into seriously learning electronic music in place of playing the guitar. I am considering the following set up:

.Rytm on drums
.Analog 4 for sequencing bass, melodies, chords
.Octatrack for mangling samples into drone like territory, usually prerecorded sometimes live

This would allow me to play instruments for maybe 10 minutes every few days, and get a ton of mileage out of the material using the Octatrack. Im aware I could sequence my synth with the Octatrack but this doesn’t interest me, using the 4 seems more straightforward and gives me access to more timbres. Plus playing simple chords on unweighted keys is one of the only things I can kinda still do so I would like to keep it free for this.

My questions are:
How does the setup work syncing them together? I am concerned about what happens with things like odd meter, polyrhythms ect. How does sync work if Octatrack is doing polyrhythms?

In basic use of sync does pattern change at the same time on box? I suppose I could easily change pattern length or use song mode? Not too much of an issue but I am curious. Perhaps I want a drum loop to repeat while another machine moves through several patterns. Manual pattern changes on multiple machines while playing some synth/guitar seems like it could get a bit crazy. How does syncing multiple devices using song mode work?

Can Rytm be master?I would like to use Rytm as a master because as of right now all of my bpms are saved per pattern on the Rytm. It would be at least mildly inconvenient if I had to reprogram all of this info into the master (there are a lot of patterns) when using Rytm as a slave. Also I plan on using Octatrack for ambient drone, textural kind of sounds. Makes more sense to me for the device generating the beat to send the tempo. However I heard the Octatrack likes to be the master and doesn’t always function properly in pickup machines when slaved.

None of this is a complete deal breaker for me but I would like to know what to expect before I purchase Octatrack and 4.

Any help is so greatly appreciated. I know this is kind of all over the place. I am quite confused and generally new to this style of music making. I apologize if anything sounds ignorant or off base, I admittedly am a noob.


Sync is based on MIDI clock pulses and, while you have to be careful with your settings, this shouldn’t be a problem.

If that’s what you want then you can easily do this using MIDI Program Change messages.


You can either program the elements of the song into Song/Arrange mode on all the machines and simply time synchronize their playback, or you can use use the Song/Arranger mode on the transmitting machine to send Program Change messages to the other machines.



Okay that is very helpful, thanks!

Sorry to hear about your injury. I wish you full recovery. :muscle:

Just to want to address polymeters on the OT/AR cause I do this a lot.

It’s not great. At least not how I’ve been using it. This is beacuase the AR/A4 use an updated sequencer.

In Advanced mode on both boxes you select the Master length.

The AR and A4 have the (glorious) Direct Start/Jump mode where you can change a pattern immediately. This is great for lengthy patterns where you can’t wait 900 steps to change.

The OT has nothing like this. The workaround is to use the arranger, however this would require the OT be (forgive the problematic language here) Master. In that case, the AR would receive the program change, but being in advanced mode, the shortest change length is 2 steps, which would then put it out of synch with the OT.

I have not yet tried the AR as (cringe) Master…but I don’t see it helping.

I could be wrong on all this and neglected some work around somebody else knows. But that’s been my experience.

Thanks for the kind words and insightful comments. Seems like it may be slightly complicated but it is good to know it is possible. I agree that the language is problematic!

When the Octatrack is receiving and syncing MIDI clock from another device, sampling via sequenced triggers will be sketchy at best e.g. set it up to record 4 bars and you might get 4 bars of the recording, or you might get a short noise / 1 beat / nothing — it’s infuriatingly random!

This drove me mad for a while until I realised the Octatrack cannot reliably determine the length of “4 bars” if it is not running on its own internal clock (which is a fair design decision, since MIDI has an inherent jitter).


p.s. also sorry to hear about the injury. Hopefully you can find a happy level of expression through electronic gear :slight_smile:

Thank you, I appreciate it.

I run AR and DN into OT fully in sync and it is an amazing setup!
OT is master. Let me know if you have questions.