Potentially weird Oktatrack usage question

I am starting to grasp how cool Oktatrack is and that it may allow me to ditch my computers entirely for live performances, something that I find attractive. But I am as much of a beatless ambient artist as I am a sequence-driven artist.

Consequently, I have kind of a strange must-have requirement and I need to know if Octatrack can do it, and what the limits would be.

Here’s what I need: when I play live I commonly have anywhere from 8 to 16 loops at my disposal. These loops are generally very long, usually anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes. And they are beatless. I have software that will play them endlessly, starting over seamlessly at the start when they reach the end with no skip.

To prepare these loops, I record myself playing something live, and then I pull the resulting wav file into an editor and do any processing I feel like. Then I use a weird tool called Zero-X Seamless Looper to crossfade the end of the file to a point somewhere near the start of the file. This way the loop can play forever and it sounds perfect. The cross fade is often many seconds long, sometimes as long as a minute long.

So … my question is this: can I accomplish the same thing with an Octatrack? Play back very long wav files that are looped to play back forever independently of the tempo of the overall piece. And be able to use the Oktatrack for all the other things it is so great at, at the same time.

Like I said, a weird question. The Octatrack is a hefty investment so I want to ensure I can do this before I pick one up. Anybody know?

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I think the sequencer ‘plays free’ option p. 75 in the manual would do what you want. I’ve used this for live sound in theatre but some time ago. I could def. try this out tonight & remember how seq tempo works in relation to this feature.


Ahhh I see. That’s almost exactly it. Let’s say I had four of these tracks playing free while playing live. Could I control the volume of each of the tracks in real time? I assume I would need to somehow map the track volume level to one of the knobs?

By the way, I neglected to mention I am an Analog Four mkii user already so I have a little bit of inkling of ‘the Elektron way’. I’m late to the party but I am enjoying myself. :sunglasses:

cool - they are just regular tracks (‘playing free’) so you control the level by selecting track in the normal way ( the 8 x ‘T’ keys) & adjusting the level pot.


Right on. Thanks for the help. Now I need to start saving my pennies. :slight_smile:

You can also play your samples directly with Track + Play, looped, quantized or not, timestrech on or off. Long files can be directly streamed on the CF card, up to 8x3h30m (8x2 GO).

Levels can be assigned to the crossfader’s scenes, and you can morph them progressively, add slow attack at the beginning, lfos…


Cool. Now I am starting to think about all the other fun things I could do with an Octatrack. Sequencing wav files instead of sequencing synth notes is something I’ve never really tried. I’m starting to think that this has to be my next gear acquisition.

I’m realising there’s not really any such thing as ‘weird’ use of the Octratrack. The more I move away from the xox mindset, the more interesting it gets. Although there are obviously some limits, it’s often more a question of ‘how’ to implement an idea, rather than ‘if’. And usually @sezare56 can tell you 37 answers to ‘how’ :slight_smile:


I am a relatively new OT user (got it this spring), and this is exactly how I use the OT live at the moment for my ambient stuff.

The OT functions as master clock for my other gear, but on the machine itself I set all tracks to Run Free with Static Machines loaded with long (2-3 min) samples (drones, field recordings, noise) and time-stretch disabled. Just a trig on step 1 for each with condition set to “1st only”. This gives me 8 loops I can start and stop independently as well as fade in/out as I please by using the crossfader.

Combined with the real-time-manipulation of pitch and fx (+all the other stuff you can to with the crossfader besides fading thing in and out) this is loads of fun and very easy to use. Using the Cue Out a lot too for external processing on selected tracks (loops).

I know I am nowhere near the depths possible with the OT, but this is already some of the most fun and stress-free gigs I have played! :slight_smile:


It’s kind of weird that one of the limitations is that OT is that you can’t record an 8 bar melody in an straightforward manner. It took me a long time to get over the 64 step limit and just use other tools when I wanted to do something longer, but each day with the OT reveals some new way to play with it. Definitely a keeper.


Is there a workable way you could also assign (maybe as one shot trigs), different samples to each step on each track? That way you could multiply the selection of samples available, even though you would still be limited to 8 tracks at a time.

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Um…I think, but have never tried anything like this yet, as I just want my stuff to run free and interact in unpredictable ways over time. Some of the more experienced OT users in here can probably answer this better…

I sometime use parts to have different sets of 8 samples set up on different patterns, but I know, that this is not really, what you ask about.

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Not really. Only if you use sample locks. I think you could use TRC to start them one after another but they’ll probable never start at 1st trig of a bar.


37 ways of course! :wink:

If your selected samples are in the same folder, you can choose them quicky and alternatively with FN+Right Arrow, after double clic on track.

In Slots mode you can play all available samples.

You can also prepare slices with your loops, change slice number or use Slice mode to trigger them directly. You can assign slice number to crossfader and change them for any track.

Mute track, use several one shot trigs, arm with YES : the last one is played, unmute.
Same with FILL TRC.

I don’t see the real benefits of using Plays Free tracks to trigger 1 sample without sequence.
Maybe @fmw @catbox or others can detail advantages?
An idea to use them : use a TRC followed by a /PRE with -23/384 microtiming, with a different sample lock, in order to alternate 2 samples.
With same principle you can use one shot trigs and arm them.

Yes. But if you don’t care about timing, you can use different sample locks, with the track muted, hold and release Plays Free tracks : the last sample lock is played, unmute track.


Or even 3 samples with +23/384…


I tryed once but didn’t find a way to alternate them all 3. Any solution?
With +23/384 it can be played after the first track loop only, if you want to play the sample at the beginning of the track.

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Oh maybe not…

Would +23 / TRC 2:3 : on grid / (non)PRE : -23/ 3:3 work?

The on grid might play / cut off for a hot second before the -23 fires…

EDIT: probably not if setup around 1st trig of pattern

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The wizard has spoken! :wink: Not sure, that there are any great benefits - I think, that it just shows my limited understanding of the OT, to be honest… Lot of things yet to learn! (Which is wonderful! I :hearts: the OT!)


Yes this works, the last one (+23) cuts others, so it can be clicky. I wanted to find a real alternate random behavior, but it is usuable like this. :wink:


… some of the most fun and stress-free gigs I have played!

I feel that. I have determined that using a general purpose computer while performing live is just a dead end. I love it in the studio and would never give up my DAW but for live I need stuff that consistently works and isn’t one software update away from an on-stage train wreck.

Right now my Analog 4 mkii is the master clock in my rig. I assume it will be easy to switch to having the OT be the master and the A4 just chase clock like all my other gear.

Starting to get really excited about the OT … !

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