Questions before purchasing

I’ve been doing a lot of reading in the manual and forums however I have some specific case-use questions for live performance. Disclaimer: I already have a lot of experience with live looping in many different formats but not the Octatrack.

  1. Live Looping audio. I want the loop record to start at the beginning of a bar and start overdubbing automatically after a set length (4 or 8 bars for example) It looks like the OT can do this however I just want to confirm.

  2. Live Looping Midi I want to also do pretty much the same with midi. EX: have a master keyboard controller running into OT and out to a synth. I want to be able to play the midi in live and have it run in a loop so I can tweak the synth.

  3. A and B song sections . I’m hoping for example to also do the above looping (“A” part) then seamlessly switch to a “B” part that I have already sequenced then seamlessly switch back to the “A” part. I need these transitions to be quantized at the end of the bar but be controlled by me as far as when that happens. This would be like changing scenes in Ableton’s session view.

  4. Midi Control. I want to assign the above functions to a midi controller as well as some other functions. I also want to have a master keyboard controller but there is only one midi input. Is there a way around this or would it be best to have a keys controller with assignable knobs and buttons?

It might be apparent by now but I am trying to build a live rig to replace an Ableton Live set up. I realize this is not inherently possible but if I could come close with the Octatrack I would be willing to re-arrange my material to fit the OT workflow and consider making the jump. I desperately want to go dawless. Thanks in advance for any insight on these issues!

Never used a DAW except for recording, wonder why people are so enthusiastic, after having worked that way to go all hardware?
Why not both Ableton and OT?
OT has a flow of it’s own and may change the way you compose and perform the more you get into it.


I can already do everything in Ableton with Push 2 but I’m looking for a smaller dawless live rig with no laptop. If I stay with Ableton I wouldn’t need an OT. Do you know if the things I asked are possible?

I have not used OT in live looping setting but No. 1 seems just just be a matter of setting up the record and play trigs corresponding to beginning of loop/seq and when it overdubs.
On the live MIDI recording, pretty sure thats just a matter of entering live rec mode and playing them in. The transitions you can set in preferences on when the sequence changes, 2
bars minimum. Also Plays Free option.

More experienced users on live.looping and MIDI controls may chime in. Thats all I got lol.

  1. Yes.

  2. No midi overdub, no overlapping notes, 4 notes max. You have to play all the notes of a chord at the same time to be recorded correctly.

  3. Arranger

  4. Midi merger

Pattern Chain / Behavior?
2 steps minimum. Can be set per pattern.


Sounds like you’d just need to switch to a different pattern with a different part.
Each pattern in OT is linked to a part. Parts contain a lot of things, for example which machines are loaded on which tracks and how they’re configured, which fx are on these tracks, which samples are loaded, which midi channels and midi cc are set up on midi tracks etc. So if you want to switch to a already recorded/programmed pattern with different samples etc. just use one of the four parts per bank on the OT.
Arranger could even automate that for you.

For midi looping, you’ll probaply need to bring another box with the OT.

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Regarding MIDI, you perfectly record a pattern while the machine is playing.
You can record on top of this loop, but if you let on top of the previous note it erases it.
Still, you can use the 8 midi tracks to control the same synth and then plays with mutes in mix view to get an approach that is close to playing scene.

One thing, though. If you try to bend the OT to a workflow you decide before knowing it, you’ll most likely end frustrated.
My advice is to learn it like an instrument, and at some point you’ll be able to assemble the bricks and create your own workflow.

This machine is a beast, but it’s very different from your actual setup. The key with hardware is to accept the limitations and either find workarounds or adapt your workflow.
OT, while being far from perfect, is extremely capable and I bet each user has their own way to play with it.

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Ok thanks for that description. If I buy an OT that will no doubt be useful. It sounds like the behavior I am hoping for. As far as needing a separate device for midi looping I’m confused as to why? As I understand it I could use two midi tracks for more polyphony? And would midi sequences in the OT not be able to be programmed to behave like audio clips?

Ok thanks for replying. That midi behavior seems to be what I am already used to so that shouldn’t be a problem. I’ll have to give this decision some more thought. Since I already have a set up that works for me I need to decide if I Am up the challenge and commitment to design a new live set up around the OT

Whatever suits you :slight_smile:
A good thing to discover Elektron workflow and what it can bring to you could be to try a second hand Digitakt or a Model:Samples.
You should find that it’s a lot of fun already.

I thought with “live looping midi”, you meant oberdubs, quantization options and stuff like that.
Or maybe I had that in mind, because I was looking at midi loopers when I wrote that reply^^

OT either quantizes to sequencer steps or if quantization is off, trigs are recorded with microtiming.
For overdubbing on midi tracks, you can record into another midi track (both set to the same midi channel), but there‘s no easy way to merge those two tracks into one midi track.

OT is actually pretty capable on the midi side, especially now that we have trig conditions.
Trig Conditions combined with per track tempo multiplier, different track length, master reset length (can be infinite), that’s pretty powerful.

With parts you can switch midi channel, midi cc and program change assignments for the midi tracks as well as all parameters on the midi tracks.
OT sends program change when you switch to a pattern with a different part.

And yes, you can use several tracks on the same midi channel to get more polyphony.

With a keyboard controller set to the auto channel, you can record into the active track, (active track up/down can even be controlled with a midi message).

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Ok thanks for the reply! I have a lot to think about!

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