Sequencing Octatrack: Polyphony?

The Octatrack will realize your dreams.

However, if you are planning to use a sophisticated sequencer like the Pyramid and you already have a sampler (e6400) that you are familiar with, you might find that there are cheaper alternatives for want you want to achieve with the Octatrack. Consider whether a nice MIDI-controllable effects unit or two would also meet your needs.


I love my Emu but it has some major drawbacks for me:

  • To big and heavy to transport
  • Not a tabletop machine
  • Not user friendly
  • Classic effects, quite poor quality
  • Not encourage experimentation with sample

In the otherside the OT seems to have powerful and state of the art effects for tweaking each sample!

Is there any workaround to select the sample playing on the OT track 1 with my sequencer? For example with midi program change…

Because the Octatrack was designed to be the central hub of a live performance system, many things are more easily achieved by hands-on interaction that by control from an external sequencer. This is why some previous posters were a little perplexed by your original question.

Because the Octatrack is primarily a sequencer, MIDI Program Change messages select Patterns, not necessarily sounds. Therefore, only if you send a PC message that selects a Pattern that has different samples associated with its tracks, will the samples playing change. To do this, your new Pattern must have a different Part already associated with it. Parts are like “kits” of samples, machines, and effects settings.

Other possibilities for external control of OT (by MIDI notes and CC messages) are listed in Appendix C of the OT’s manual.

Wanted to double check on something… does the octatrack midi sequencer if you set your first note length very long and then half way through the sustain of the first note add another trig with a note continue to play note 1 giving you 2 notes playing at once with different start and end times? or will it cut off the first trig and just play note 2 alone? I am assuming that you are sequencing a poly synth with it

The 2nd trig will cut note 1 and play note 2 alone.
All 4 notes of a trig have the same lenth, another trig will cut them.

But you can use several tracks on the same midi channel :
Long note 1 on track 1 channel 1
Half way note 2 in track 2 channel 1
Up to 8x4 notes.


To play chords on the Octatrack you would be better off sampling the chords you need, d minor C major, b diminished etc and then you slice what you need.

If you don’t mind them sounding a bit artifacty you can even just record a c scale version of each chord variation and then pitch them accordingly.

Also agreeing with this idea that not using the Octatrack sequencer is some serious missed potential. If you just want a sample bank in a piece of hardware you could just use a volca sample and save some serious dollars.

IMHO sequencer is a core part of each Elektron machine and sequencing it from external sequencer is like to buy a Ferrari and drive it using only 1st gear and don’t exceed 25 mph…

I was this close to buying an OT today, and sadly I will have to go with another sampler sequencer because of this limitation. Why doesn’t the OT play polyphonic pitched sequences per track? If a 20-year old EM-U sampler can do it a modern $1300 USD hardware sampler should be able to do the same. I souldn’t be limited to having to sample the chord, what if I want to modify the midi notes which make up the chord on the fly? maybe adjust velocity, transpose a just the lower octave note? I can’t do this on a sample.


It bothered me too at first. I bought another Mpc1000. I didn’t use it. :smile:
Sequencer is the key.
I bought a cheap MPC 500 though.

Actually it’s possible with midi tracks playing audio tracks with a midi processor.