Sample chain strategy

So I’m waiting for my new octatrack to arrive and have decided to make some sample chains. What are the strategies for these that people are using? 1 sample type per chain (eg kicks)? 1 drum kit per chain? What about synth sounds - are you using a chain of 1 shots or a chain of different notes for a particular synth sound? Also, is there any downside to using only chains for uploading your samples?

The downside is (like with single cycle samples) that you loose the standard preview functionality.

About the strategies itself: I use all kinds you mentioned. Why restrict yourself to some special ones? You can also mix the strategies: for example using a chain of 8 different drum kits (8x8 sounds). Only your imagination is the limit … :slight_smile:

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If you want to be able to swap them around easily then I’d definitely be you own kit layout and make your own chains

Some of mine are setup with 4 or 5 of each sound , the types of sound are in the same order and they’re mostly on a set grid at the same tempo
This allows me to have variations on each sound , it’s easy to edit in audacity ( I use the bpm of 120 so it’s an easy set of numbers , ie each sound might be half a second , 22050 samples which is half of 44100 )

It’s a bit wasteful in terms of sample memory (eg high hats are much shorter than half a second ).
If you use the same amount for a variant them it makes selecting sample slice easy to remember.
Sound wise
Bass drum
Hi hats open
Hi hats closed


If I use them on the same track I often group them in terms of general sound
Bass drum , toms.
Snares , high hats , clap

So if I compress / effect the freq are similarly altered.

But that’s just me.

If you group them then it allows you to use an lfo to add variety but you’d need to understand how to set default values and which lfo waveform / depth values to restrict the lfo

If you make a chain if only bass drums , eg 64 , using lfo gets a bit easier as you can be sloppy

Sound wise you might want varieties to be purely the sound or mono / stereo / pre compressed / distorted etc etc.
If your chain is setup nicely then it makes it easy to create weird kits by just processing the chain with a daw plugin .

Take advantage of octatrack envelopes etc , there a lot of realities stuff you can do and avoid pre processing , but it can make things a little easier in some respects. ( eg vocodered drum kit )

If you use a simple grid for sample chain it also helps if you use it on another machine , it means the sample start points are easy to remember numbers
Eg on digitakt , based on grid , each sound might start on 0,5,10,15,20,25 and be 5 units long.

synth wise i tend to sample a range of notes going up a scale.

typically C1 , c2 , c3 but it depends.
i dont do a lot of single cycle stuff on octatrack.

i do sometimes cut off any envelope on the sample , and do the envelope stuff on octatrack instead (so the sample has no soft attack to blend in , i do that on the device.)

in general , octatrack has lots of memory , sample chains help but i mix things up

I have ac few folders of drum chains. 64 one hits on each chain.
Im also in the process of making AKWF chains, I am making those chains inside octatrack.(so then I might actually use AKWFs!) Other than that I dont really use chains.
I use drum chains less and less now I have a dedicated drum machine.

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Yes OT is great to make sample chains!
Soft to do it Octa Edit, Octachainer…

I employ both and name them accordingly.
(I use “OT” in the name so I don’t confuse them with Rytm chains, which have a different format).
It’s good to be flexible as sometimes you will want different sounds of a kit in the same track, Monomachine BBOX style. And sometimes you’ll want a lot of variation of another sound, using the LFO on sample start for “round robin” variation.
When employing both strategies, naming chains accordingly is crucial to stay organized.

  • TT-606-SD-OT32.wav = 32 TT-606 snares
  • DrumatixKitOT64.wav = 64 various samples of Acidlab Drumatix Drums

When I have a LOT of samples to chain up, all from one device, I organize them by file size and then group them accordingly. For instance I made 10 different 64 slice chains from samples of a Dinky’s Taiko module (you can download these chains in the files section.
This way I keep the finished chain file size as small as possible, thanks to using slices of similar lengths, and therefore reducing times of silence in the chain. So they use less RAM when placed into Flex machines.

  • Dinkys01_OT64.wav through Dinkys03_OT64 = 64 various samples of Dinky’s Taiko drum module, all very short samples in each chain.
  • Dinkys04_OT64.wav through Dinkys07_OT64 = 64 various samples of Dinky’s Taiko drum module, all medium length samples in each chain.
  • Dinkys08_OT64.wav through Dinkys10_OT64 = 64 various samples of Dinky’s Taiko drum module, all very long samples in each chain.