OT workflow question

I’ve mainly been using my OT as an effects box and mixer for other gear lately. I really like its sampling and sample mangling power, but I find it hard to switch my attention to the OT while jamming. Changing and tweaking scenes feels immediate and rewarding–sampling and changing said samples into something useable often feels too cumbersome for me (in a jam setting). What do you guys do to work around this? Do you have a quick workflow that works for you? I end up feeling a little guilty for not using its full power.

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You could use stems of your ‘finished’ tracks, slice them up and go to town remixing them with p-locks, LFOs, FX, scenes and lots of crossfader. It’s all about the preparation with the OT in my opinion :slightly_smiling_face:


OT definitely shines brightest when it is used in a live set where the person prepped things. This can often mean bringing a lot less gear with you as an added bonus.


As @craig and @0mega already said: preparation is the key. A standard sampling workflow with nothing prepared before hand won’t cut the cake in a jam situation.

But let’s say you have prepared a few patterns which mangles various rec buffers, then it’s easy to sample into them and let the patterns do their magic. This way you can re-use the prepared patterns with all kinds of input signals.

@Open_Mike uses (still?) his OT mainly in this fashion. You can search up some of his posts where he explains it.


I know the feeling but have got over it in the past six months or so (got OT about a year ago). I think the power of OT is that it CAN do many things but you DON’T HAVE TO use it to its full potential all the time. For example, I’ve often used it just as a sophisticated multitrack looper, very little mangling involved or anything. Just use OT to take you where YOU want to go, no matter how attractive some of the detours might seem (and of course those are sometimes worth travelling as well).


With OT, the key is experimenting (aim at the weirdest sounds) ⇒ isolating interesting techniques ⇒ practicing ⇒ mastering and back to step 1

I guess such protocol is valid for any gear, but especially with OT in my personal experience.


In my experience some extra knobs (midi controller) helps to use the OT as a jamming machine without much preperation.


I have my static machines full of samplechains that I’ve been making for years. Then I load up a static machine with a samplechain and jam out on the pads (in slice mode) in record, then while still recording I start turning knobs… I’d say that would be what I do when I “jam”. Also if you have your samplechains consistently set up, you can go through after messing about and switch them out. But, most of the time I don’t really jam. If I didn’t have the BlackBox to record quick creations (before I had it), I’d set up a recorder buffer to record the mains, mute everything I don’t want to record, load the new loop into a new slot and then erase everything and move on.

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I tried this before. My favorite method (so far) is to have two different tracks recording/playing back at different rates. It’s great for glitchy stuff.

I think what I’m struggling with is that I had an idea of what the workflow would be with the OT, and so far I haven’t been able to do that. I’m guessing that’s a me problem, and not the OT’s fault though.

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This is a great comment and a great mindset. Thank you! I appreciate that a lot.

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I see the OT as a sophisticated tool kit with many building blocks from which you can build your own device or set of devices. And with parts, the number of devices immediately available is multiplied by 4. Nothing short of amazing. I never use it “at it’s full power” but I use it all the time for different tasks. But so do I with my other gear! Sometimes I have a 2000€ synth that goes “bleep” every 4 bars and that’s fine (because that was a perfect bleep :wink: )



Its been said already, but I wouldnt worry abouy achieving full octatrack. It does so many things that using all of its functions at once would just be a mess.

Careful selection of a few choice features always yeilds good results. And because the feature set is so broad, you can pretty much never get bored with an OT.

In this example, I’m using my octatrack for a live set. Its the main brain. On the sample side its the drum machine, using one sample chain across 3 tracks.
I use a flex sent to the cue to trigger the DFAM.
Then I have a thru machine receiving the DN audio, with a scene set up so I can make delay loops.

Then one track serves as a feild recording channel, then the master has the dreaded beat repeat effect…

Additionally, I’m using lots of the midi LFOs to send very complex midi arps to the digitone, sort of generative style. This basically means I can just set it do its thing while I jam along with it. Call and response kind of thing.

Each track is just one pattern. Im not really doing much sample mangling, just balancing the elements into something that sounds good.

Anyway, for an improvised set I was happy with it. Octatrack is so deep, and way too much fun once you have learned it.


…pretty much all ot users don’t use it’s full potential and options how to use it…

only ones i can think of might be sezare and cenk…

so, no shame at all…just too many ways to rome in this case…


Thanks all for the replies! I personally like using my OT as the “centerpiece” of my hardware. I’m glad that a number of you also don’t use all its possible functions in every set–that makes me feel less guilty. I think my takeaways from this are not to feel bad under-utilizing it, and to let go of the live sampler idea. I’ll keep experimenting with the sampling though to see if I can make it quick enough to work in the way I want it to.

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Never give up, just take your time. At some point you will get what you want out of it. It just takes tenacity.

Glad you’re sticking with it. One thing I forgot to mention… You could work on a blank project and really go into the settings (midi included), make all the tracks you need ready to go at a moment’s notice, even laying down your record/playback trigs for either a 16- or 64-step pattern, and save it as something like INIT. Then, every time you fire it up for a jam, load INIT, save it as a new project, then you’re ready to get going very quickly! :slight_smile:


…listen to craig…every complex sonic system needs it’s personally suited pre prepared blank projects to start from…

so have one perferctly suited for studio worx…and one for live worx…and u’ll be all fine…

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I treat the last 4 banks (M-P) as preset banks (midi channels, cc assignments, flex and statics setup etc.) and banks I-L as sketch pads. My Analog Keys (as well as most other Elektrons) has eight banks per project, that’s why I left them empty at first, but quickly realised how much easier it is to setup gear when I use them for presets and experiments.

The 4 parts per bank could even contain different setups (for example different cc assigments for synths, presets for scenes), that’s a lot of storage for this job!

Then, when you’d want to start a new track, just copy pattern and part over and everything is set.
Or if you want to set up synths with midi ch and cc# just copy individiual tracks over.

You could have one bank always ready for sampling and slicing with recorder trigs already set up etc…


I come from Maschine and to be honest I’m quicker on the Octatrack.
I found everything extremely intuitive and I generally fill up all the track where in Maschine I probably would still find sample for my first group.
The more I use the Octatrack the more I noticed how generic my sample has become. I don’t care anymore how a sample sound, I just load in the OT and it become something completely unique. I end my subscription to Splice because I don’t really need 1000 ki k when with the same kick I get more than a 1000 of new sound from the OT.
I have different templates for different set up.
1 with the OT alone
1 with the OT as a mainbrain
1 with the OT working with a DAW
1 for live
Once you have everything set up is really easy.

One thing I noticed about the OT compare to other gears is that it doesn’t matter how much I try to incorporate other people workflow it will never feel natural. Same if you force the OT to do what you used to do with other gear.
The OT is so deep and unique that you will never use all of its potential and that’s a good thing because it means it can do many different things and what you end up doing is what the OT inspired you to do.
The thing I like the most and probably where it excel is the fact I don’t have to switch on or bring with me my synth/drum machine, it’s so performance oriented that those loops feel played live and more. But more important those loops can be transformed in something completely different and new.

Try to get a track you did on the octatrack, resample all your track and make something new from it, you’ll be amazed how everything change drastically and meanwhile you start to visualise what you can do live with it.