Octatrack Audio Processing

As we all know, the OT has a quite unique sound due to the internal audio converters.

What external or internal processing do you use to get the best audio out of your OT ?

Understandably this is a creative choice and a lot of this comes down to taste, some people might enjoy the raw sound from the OT, others might like the throw in specific pre amps for colour. - I’m curious to see how you guys treat your signal chain before recording.


The recently often discussed ‘sound quality’ of the OT has never bothered me. But I don’t use it as a stem playback machine. If you’ve been listening to your tracks in Ableton or Logic and then export them as stems to play back I can see how you’d be more sensitive to it. It’s so close to transparent that it doesn’t bother me.

The flexibility of the OT is it’s real power though. I’m working up a new set at the moment using the A4 hard panned left and right sending 2 ‘mono’ channels to the OT. In the OT each track gets a DJ EQ and spatialiser on the Thru machine, then a neighbour machine with the Filter and Lo-fi machine (Spatialiser on a mono signal is pretty good).

I’ve also then got the Cues setup to an effects loop, sending a stereo output to a Volante the H9 running the Dual Verb algorithm. This comes back into the OT though the Mixer rather than thru machines.

Then I have another 2 OT tracks for sample playback, 1 track for the transition trick recorder, and a master track with compressor and DJ EQ for final output.

The aim of this is a dreamy minimal beat soundtrack vibe, but I use almost the same setup with different effects for everything these days, swapping out the A4 for a Rytm (or MD now too). The different effects just give a huge ability to sculpt sound while playing live, and less about colouring the sound of the OT itself.


…whenever i recorded ot’s, i recorded both outputpairs at once…
main out always plain as it is…while cue out processed by an analog heat…

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FWIW I know some people have had good luck plugging instrument level signals into the OT directly but for me that has always sounded terrible, and I use a GHS Colourbox II as a DI now (and more recently as a mic pre for an isolation cabinet), with really good results in both cases. For line level sources I’ve never had any major concerns about how it sounds.


Interesting! Do you have some examples of the sound?

i don’t have any of it used as a DI handy but all of the guitars in the streams on this channel are a miced amp with the Colourbox used as a preamp and EQ in front of the octatrack.

the guitar doesn’t come in until the second half of the most recent one because of network issues (I’m playing remotely)

there are some older VODs of my streams from before I moved archived here but I don’t remember how long ago I switched from DI to using the amp.

I don’t use the Octatrack so much for production, especially not with the guitar, so I don’t really have any examples outside of streams.

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I don’t think the OT sounds bad, so this is just a comment in general, but if you run a sampler or instrument through a nice EQ, it can really enhance things. So that is what I would suggest.

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Has anyone mentioned Stimming’s latest mastering box already?


So far I’ve gotten the best result running line-level signal into the OT inputs. In my case, I just run the Aux Send of my humble Mackie mixer into the input. So obviously I don’t use any so-called coloring preamp.

There are 1 or 2 individuals here who have mastered the black art of using internal OT Amp Page settings and FX to compensate for instrument-level signal. I have not mastered this dark art and probably never will because, well, I don’t need to. :sunglasses:

BTW, I appreciate your choice of a straight to the point title for this thread.


My main problem with OT recordings is some constant pitch rise I can’t get rid off…

(Risset rhythm)


Have you tried disabling timestretch?

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As far as guitar into OT, Simplifier works well. JHS Colorbox also sounds good.

Lately I’ve been using the eventide H9 as a preamp for my bass guitar into Octatrack. It’s working well

i find focusrite ipad dock has half decent converters, currently looking at mastering type programs, up gain, little saturation, little compression, little bit EQ and hard limit at -6db

Really ? What were your settings ? I tried that with mine and didn’t have any luck

You need to hook it to ipad or computer to get into the deeper settings, set input instrument to bass guitar, output to line level, and I think I had to set the gain as well. All were in the settings menus

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I have an Aux channel of my mixer running everything into the OT and have the OT running into separate inputs if my audio interface than my mixer giving me the ability to either use it along side everything or to run everything through it.
I’ve heard some huffs and puffs about tbe “quality” of the sound out of the OT but I don’t really care about the internals, the converters or anything I just know that running shit through the OT can sound excellent and gives me the ability to use it as an effects processor with per step automation.
I often run drum machines (like the AR and MDUW) through it and add some light to medium compression on the master track of the OT and it fucking bangs.
Also fantastic to throw some reverb on a synth or use the bit reduction, distortion, amplitude modulation, delay or whatever.
In general I find the OT to be an amazing effects unit and I think the “quality” of the sound can really act to glue things together in a variety of ways, it also allows me to quickly resample whatever I want on the fly as well and either loop it or mangle it beyond recognition. I highly recommend setting up the OT like this.


Fair . Do you recall if you had to have those settings cranked ?

That’s been my experience, too. I do notice a subtle change in quality even with straight passthrough but I usually find it makes things work better in a mix if it makes a difference at all.

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Every time I’ve had an issue with the octatrack’s audio quality it has been a gain staging issue. First thing to check, if the master volume is below half then the problem is that I’m pushing the track volumes too hard to get any “volume” and then the master amp is too low. Bring up the master and bring down the track volumes to get more headroom and clarity.