Questions about Octatrack and Workflow

I’m thinking about getting the Octatrack and I’ve been studying it for years so I’m not a complete simpleton here.
So here are my questions/thoughts:
It seems like the Octatrack is really only as good as the sound sources you’re pulling from. Is this correct?
I’m mostly interested in sample-heavy stuff like The Orb and Future Sound of London, creating stuff out of sampled loops and textures and stuff. Using the MIDI sequencer mainly to sequence something and record it back into the OT.
I see a lot of lackluster OT demos, and I wonder if that’s because people are too lazy to try sampling all sorts of stuff with it.
Or perhaps they’re just not the kinds of people who are comfortable with sample-heavy music production.
To me it seems like the OT’s strength is using it like a super looper rather than an MPC. It’s all about mastering the art of creating interesting loops in layers to build sets out of, rather than building a set of of JUST one-shot samples. In fact a lot of one-shot heavy OT sets seemed to be weaker than people looking at it as an audio capture machine, it seemed a lot of those people want the OT to be something it really isn’t. Because it really isn’t an MPC, it seems more like using Ableton Live’s clip launcher to record chunks to then arrange into songs (with plenty of mangling features)

So that brings me to my second question:

Is the Octratrack kind of like the OP-1 tape on steroids?
I really enjoyed the OP-1 workflow of recording stuff to tape and jumping between different “chunks” you’ve made. And I wonder if the OT encapsulates a similar workflow. Drawbacks of the OP-1 were monaural recording and difficulty jumping to far away patterns etc.

I’m just hoping I understand the workflow’s intent before I pull the plug and order one.


Hello. :slight_smile:

  • How about to telling us what you have and how you work with what you already have ?

  • what’s your goals ? (bedroom producers with no goals for now, producer with EP release goal, Producer + Live performance goal, …) ?

  • Do you work only hardware, software, hybrid setup ?

  • What are your skills and understanding of the Elektron workflow / ecosystem ?

  • What you missed in your setup to be after a sampler (more particularly the Octatrack) and how you think/want to use it in your needs/missing area ?


I have all sorts of stuff and different workflows. I use several DAWs including FLStudio and Live.
I plan to use samples from BOTH software and hardware, it depends on what sounds better.
My main goals are to have a bunch of pre-recorded loops and materials to load and/or record into the OT and assemble sets for live performance.
I have lots of software and hardware, including some samplers like the ASR-10 and Mirage. I also own an MS-20 Mini, AN1x, JU-06, JP-08, OTO BAM, DX7 etc.

But even the ASR-10 can’t handle a lot of audio data at once and can’t be used properly for my live purposes (that’s not to say that I won’t use it to record material into the OT)
I’m looking to the OT as a performance tool for allowing me to perform without a computer and to take what I’ve previously made and have control of how I transition from one pattern to another.

I might even make loops in FLStudio and drag and drop them into the OT.

I understand the Elektron workflow, but even though the OT uses a similar workflow I feel it’s a different beast from their other instruments because it really relies heavily on having OTHER gear and sample sources to record.

it’s depends really here it’s a bit subjective… Some say it’s transparent and say they liked more old MPC stuff for the Warmth they get through it with there sample… Personally I’m not after that. I don’t care :slight_smile:
But, generally speaking the more nice a sound source is the more you can do with it… and have a control on stacking things and get the most fine sounding at the end. (especially when it’s over processed… but it’s right for any recordings, any sampler… any work audio based.

I don’t know if we can say that. The OP-1 is more limited of course when the OT seems to not have limits… or have so much to gives. OP-1 is imediate, portable, powerful, effects are very cool and interesting. but you have 4 tracks and somehow at some point you start to work destructively when maybe with 8 tracks on the OT the moment when you need to start to be destructive in your work is reach eventually way later in the process.

I’d say you have to create your own workflow with OT. Many possibilities, so you have to make choices…


It sounds right for me then, based on these comments.

Another big question: is the OT good at recording a loop of something it’s CURRENTLY sequencing with a MIDI track? Any sync issues with that kind of workflow?

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For short Sound sources there plenty of Gear in a live setup there’s plenty of stuff.

if you need to include extra long materials.
Only the MPC Live and the OT left.

I personally choose the OT, because I’m in the Elektron workflow and Ecosystem on Drums and Synth. because I love the OT power ! there’s always tricks to make something works.

I like to MORPH sound sources between with 2 sets of parameters
I need Trig Conditions to make my random evolving long sequences to existing in my Live Performance without the use of Ableton.

What about the occasional sample I only want to trigger ONCE (like dialog sampled from a movie or something)?

And what about a sample longer than the current 4-bar pattern length?
I know the OT can handle REALLY long samples but what’s the point of a sample longer than your pattern?

Nope. it’s perfectly Fine @sezare56 is more the guy to reply to this question but there’s a lot of people using it in the Real Instrumentist Looper way (guitarist or another synth is the same because same process… it’s just midi sequencer triggering the instrument and recording a pre-writted melody)


Here’s some examples of the kind of stuff I’d like to build with the OT so you know what my expectations are:

No PB with one, one shot. it’s just not declare as a loop it can play one time only. like the intro.

It’s where the sequencer is powerful. you can trig sample… but also trig any parameters page. So you can trig a long evolving sequence… let say on 10 minutes and the automation only will be looped on 4 bars…

The point is to make at least some part in repetitive music being more alive, organic so it’s not something you can notice as a 4 bars loop. it’s help to un-boring a track for the listener, clubber, and me as well :slight_smile: it’s a personal use of course here :wink:

(But you can un-bored the track by tweaking LIVE, that’s the main goal to play Live normally is to un-bored or re-interpreted something completely different… at least that’s how I see a Live Performance. Each Live Performance normally is unique, when it’s happening.

It’s perfect for that I’d say.


Any sync issues with that kind of workflow?

You may find that you need to offset by a few samples, but I’m pretty anal about sync issues and there’s nothing you would notice without a microscope.

I feel the OT may well be good for you.
It’s popularity shows something. I was told I’d benefit, but not until I got it did I fully appreciate and only then after spending time with it.
2nd hand prices for v1 it’s hard not to.

That 2nd track you posted seems more software but the other two, yes, I feel you know enough about the process, it’s strengths and your goals. (You even had me re-evaluating the workflow of OT -and I have one). It’s a beast at loop based seq and sampling. Plus the mega lfos, condition trgs and fader are a total blast.

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Oh dear - just seen this was one year ago - Doh! :embarrassed:
Oh well, let us know how you got on maybe @Biopharmer :slight_smile:


There a plenty of points when you free yourself from strict pattern oriented thinking. Just a few to kickstart creativity:

  • you can use it as simple playback device in between acts (a 64GB jukebox, so you can stay in the bathroom quite long)
  • play along pre-recorded parts or the other way around
  • long field recordings as background (raw or live mangled and fx’ed)
  • using the OT to record complete songs in a kind of overdub workflow (record master, save it and use the playback from CF as overdub source for the next round to free up the memory again).
  • simple media composing where you augment a given audio recording with whatever (music, fx, etc.pp.)
  • some even use the OT (or better two) for DJing
  • … and, of course, much more …


Sorry, just seen how old this thread is. Man, I should get some rest …


Quite essential for what I’m doing!


Thanks for coming back a year later and answering my questions, people!
I ended up getting a Cirklon.

I’d be interested in a OT MK3 if they ever revisit it (perhaps with the filters from the A4) and change up the abilities of the system. Something I really need is more flexibility with melodic samples. I just can’t deal with the limited pitch range for now.
I know people insist that Elektron don’t intentionally gimp their products but that’s such a strange limitation that I don’t understand.

The OT could be the ASR-10 or Fairlight CMI of our day if it wasn’t for that one strange limitation.