Playing Back Stems of "Produced" Tracks, Implementing Transitions and BPM Changes

Hey Guys.

New Octatrack owner here - I absolutely love it and can’t wait to start playing sets with it.

Currently, I’m working to compose totally new material within the Octatrack, doing all of my arranging and production in the box, for immediate playability in a live situation.

However, I also have some older songs I composed in Ableton that I’d like to bounce out to stems and playback in the Octatrack. These songs are not particularly “loopy” and have a lot of long effects tails that span across sections, so I’m looking for a semi-specific way to actually ‘play’ with these tunes live using the Octatrack.

Currently, my thoughts toward accomplishing this are to have 7 stems and a master for these tracks, each loaded into a bank on Static machines with one shot trigs on the first pattern, to start the playback of these long stems. I then want to use the additional patterns in each bank to sequence effects using Trigless Locks and play some parameters with the Xfader.

I’ve almost wrapped my head around this, but I’m unsure how to accomplish the following aspects of this:

  • I’d like to be able to keep the songs synced to their original BPMs, so I can change songs and have the BPM of the new song apply. I know many people use the arranger to do this, but I’m having some issues with the looping and ability to choose new arrangement slots on the fly. Currently, I workaround the arranger by choosing a new bank/pattern (new song), leaving bank button held to delay the pattern change, then popping the tempo option open, using Function (held) + Level to adjust the BPM and delay the BPM change until it’s ready to switch patterns, then release all buttons before the current pattern resets - if I time it right, the pattern and BPM changes in unison. are there any better ways of setting BPM changes on the fly? Maybe some tips for the usage of the arranger in this situation?

  • While I’ve worked out how to launch the long stems, I’d also like to implement “jamming” clips for each song in a separate pattern before I launch the main song structure stems, as to be able to do on-the-fly transitions between the songs. This is where the main snag applies. I’d love to be able to do smooth transitions between tracks while still implementing BPM changes at the proper time. I’ve thought about using the crossfader trick to accomplish the transitions, but was unsure how to resolve this technique alongside the BPM changes. Any ideas for this?

I guess I’m just looking for any insight or tips that may help me accomplish this. Overall, I want to be able to playback long track stems in sync, while still having flexibility to play around with effects and triggless locks, with the ability to do smooth transitions and BPM changes. This may be asking a lot, I realize.

Thanks in advance for any tips or points in the right direction!

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Any thoughts anyone? :slight_smile:

I do stuff like this. I’ll post a bit about my experience when I’m not at work.

I do 8 stereo busses for each track I want to play - I set up each bank as one song, and the most simple case is that I have pattern 1 with 8 one-shot trigs on each bank to play each track.
I guess the tunes I have usually have beatless heads & tails to them so I can just change banks while the first track is playing, slowly ramp up/down the tempo at the end, and then hit ENTER/YES to reactive the oneshot trigs when it’s time to change tracks. It’s not very DJ, but then neither is tempo changes per track. The main point of interest in the performance is setting up a bunch of scenes/playing with the track FX/Muting and unmuting parts.

If you wanted to do really smooth transitions, set up T8 as a recorder for every song (your songs, not OT ‘song’ mode), then sample the main output. Have a scene that is setup the same on every song so that it’s T8 MAX vol, all other tracks MIN vol so that you fade out the stems so that it’s just the loop playing, change songs, and then fade in the stems from the song you just switched to.

I’ve personally found it more interesting to take the stems and manually slice them at interesting points into 1/2/4/8 bar bits (or smaller if I want percussive hits from something). I then set up a couple of different parts with the 8 busses on them and use the slices to remix the track into something totally different. I put the remixed stuff on the same bank as the one-shot trig thing I described above, so that I have freedom and ready access to both ways of playing something.


Hey, this is like exactly what I was looking for!

Thank you so much for taking the time to type all this out, it absolutely hit then nail on the head for me.

Excited to try it out, much appreciated!

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Share some results when you’ve got it working how you like!