Octatrack fx vs Heat

I like its somewhat contained nature. It has a nice, squeezed-together sound. Took me awhile to find the sweet spots, though. To be fair, I should give the Heat a fair amount of time as well, to properly know if I want what it offers.

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I havent used one but Id imagine the strength of the Heat lies in the more extreme end of fx and mangling… taking a signal and turning it into something with lots of added “color”

but yeh - always dig the OT fx… pretty much the full range of them actually, and im not sure where any of the negative comments ive heard about them are coming from - but i suspect it has something to do with lack of presets that give you the instant gratification thing

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Sure enough, to like the OT’s fx, you need to work them a bit. But as long as that’s true for the OT, it’s true for the Heat. So I should work the Heat some more, I guess.

for some reason the Heat makes me think of something the Beastie Boys would be using on like every track… for drums, vocals, and keys and so forth

for example, the melody line on this one… either guitar or synth… cant even tell at this point

I love 'em both. Both OT FX and the AH have a place in the signal chain, but for different purposes. I’d be curious to hear any specifics you can provide about how you’re using them and for what purpose.


Good question. I use the Heat on the master.

I’m between Octatracks now (tho I leech on a friend’s), and I record my stuff into the Octa, and then apply compressor and filter on the Master track on the Octa, and the EQ effects on the tracks that I feel could use them.

When I’m happy with the results, I add the Heat at the end. And while good things come out of it, I’m thinking - I don’t need this. It’s fine as it is. And if I remove the Octa’s fx and apply the Heat instead, that’s cool. I just find I’m liking the Octa’s version, more.

So it’s an end of chain thing, where I just like the way the Octatrack compresses and filters more than the Heat. Those other things the Heat add, they’re nice, but I just don’t find myself yearning for them.

I don’t know if this makes sense. Maybe I’m using it all wrong, and it’s not intended to be primarily an end of chain thing, or if I just need to find a better way to use it like that.

I’m using the heat as a send effect mostly through the cue outs of the OT. I’ve been also experimenting with it as a send effect through ableton. Personally I can get lost in it when I get it setup so that the dry/wet can as smoothly as possible transition from nothing to something without changing the level too much. I think I went into it thinking I would be able to achieve some izotope trash 2 level distortions so I was disappointed there. I’ve done some side by side comparisons on my own between the heat and decapitator, and decapitator is pretty damn close in most cases.

I haven’t applied any external modulation to it, which is what I want to experiment with next, but most of me feels like keeping it. Anytime I can get lost in applying subtle changes to a device and not experience agony and frustration it’s usually a keeper. I definitely like it more than the OT distortion which I’m rarely using at this point, for some reason that distortion effect just doesn’t do much for me.

I’ve also done some testing where I just play well mastered music through it and mess with the different settings. Every-time it definitely does something great to the sound, but so far I think it’s a device where it’s strength lies in subtlety and blending. It is at the very least staying until I can use the A4 and AR with it.

I might have come into it jaded though as some of the videos that caught my interest were also using other distortion fx before hitting the heat.

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Whenever I’m lucky enough to meet another Elektron player face to face, if they use any of the instruments I use I always ask them to show me a bit about their approach. And it never fails to amaze me how different they are from mine, and from one another’s.

I don’t have much of a theory as to why, other than the obvious one of we’re all trying to do different things musically, and with different brains. :slight_smile: Anyway.

In your case, you’re using them fairly similarly to where I do in the chain: Similar choices on the OT master efx, Heat at the very end. We do have different sound source instruments though. I run MD and MnM through OT, whose compressor options I find helpful. While I love the silver twins, their reputation for being thin and sharp is well-deserved, and I find the AH a nice thickening agent for them. Combined with OT compressors, it adds the glue and softener I seek on a house track.

Maybe I’d find it an unnecessary addition if I had your sound source. I remember you settled on a synth you loved, but can’t recall which one … was it an analog? Anyway maybe for the styles you’re making and your raw tools a Heat is extraneous, while OT efx are just the ticket.

I’m rambling, likely cos there’s not necessarily an answer to this question, or a need for one. I just find it useful to discuss what we’re doing more broadly when we talk about what works for us and why we like it.


Ya know I could never really figure out what the point of buying the Heat unit is when you have Octatrack? I mean if you have tons of gear and synths with FX and stuff seems overkill and a waste.

sounds great with the Octa compression…more warmer and less boxy…

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is it ( Heat) meant to be more suited towards live performance (expediency factor)?

Well, I have a Synthstrom Deluge and a Sub37. Not a lot. I might get an Octatrack again, but if I do, the Heat goes.

So I don’t know about a lot, in my case.

Thanks. Yes, I think without it, it was just all over the place. But with it, quite nice.

I went for a Sub37 in the end, and also use a Deluge now. The Deluge certainly benefits from what the Heat’s doing, and has a bit of a thin character, like you’re describing the silver boxes. Could be, though, that it would just benefit even more under the influence of some Octatrack magic.

I kind of like how the slightly fragile sound of the Deluge just rises to the track when the Sub37 enters.

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I bet the sub37 and the deluge contrast each other in the mix? Use this to your advantage.

As for you not liking the heat… I guess everything is subjective. If you think its redundant and adds nothing to the table, by all means get rid of it. I’ll never sell mine though :nyan:

But still, before you pass final judgement, try using the env follower modulation for processing only the transients or the tails of sounds. I have no idea how to recreate that sort of processing with an octa.


Good point. I actually spent a good chunk of time on that yesterday. I think where the Heat really shines, is when you apply all that movement to it. There’s a lot more to it than I thought, with the filter panning, the assignable envelope and the LFOs, and whatnot.

I’ve got something cooking hear, just an eight bar thing, but I’ll upload it in this thread for reference, get feedback from all these great Elektronauts on it. I don’t wanna give up the Heat until I know for sure it’s just not for me, not that I’m not using it properly.


sounds more like DT to me :grin:

Whilst I found that the heat did sound nice, I also found that I could get equivalent or better results elsewhere (AR, Modular, OT, etc) so I sold mine. However, as a self contained purpose built and easily modulated box of FSU it does represent good value, I bought it mainly for processing samples to be captured, but for that purpose I found that I was better covered with my existing gear, both in terms of flexibility and sound.


it might be so… from my point of view this little box is a all-in-one sounddesigner-tool (all the harsher distortions) and a sound-enhancing processor (Saturation, Clear Boost, Enhancement).

The next thing would be a compressor and a pure digital FX-unit

I had a bit of an interesting Heat experience yesterday. I’ve got my first proper track cooking on the Deluge now, and connected it to the Heat just to see what I could do with it, to make it tighter from the master. I managed to get a nice compression going, as well as some subtle but very much alive filter movement, using the Saturation circuit as a base and the second lp-filter.

However, I did find that the track lost a lot of its punch when I applied the Heat to it. It sounded quite rich and full without the Heat, and while tighter and perhaps more “right”, it also lost something through the Heat.

Or so I thought.

Turns out, as I’d dialed in my own Heat preset and worked it to fit the Deluge track, it became apparent that the track was actually missing something in the low end. It’s not that it was richer without the Heat, it’s just that I didn’t really hear what was missing until I applied the Heat. All the good stuff came out so clearly, that it became obvious what the track still needed.

Took me awhile to realise that. But it was quite the revelation, when I did.

Once this track is done, I figure I’ll upload it here for feedback, and do a few Heat on / Heat off-comparisons, to get your thoughts on if I’m using this thing right or not.