Step number for polyrytms on Octatrack?

Fellow forum roamers,

If I remember correctly, the Octatrack isn’t limited to 64 steps per pattern. You could set it up to something like 512 or so, and you could do this per track. Correct me if I’m wrong (and I’m sure you will).

I’ve got a bunch of recorded polyrytms. Some of them are 8/16, 12/16, 20/16 and so on. They’re all divideable by four, so at some point, all these different step number loops will find their way back to each other, and start from the same point again.

So what I’d like to do is to get an Octatrack (again).

Once I’ve done that, I’d like to create a pattern in the Octatrack, where each track has its own step length, and I know this can be done, but I want this step length to be able to stretch far beyond the 64 steps, to make sure that the loops all start and finish on a perfect 4/4, thereby creating a transition perfect restart from step one - essentially, the same effect as if all rytms and tracks were regular 4/4 64 step loops that just played on repeat.

Can this be done? Thanks for your help and advise.

I think you can do it.
I’m not used to polyrhythms or polymeters but I would precise that you have only 64 steps per track, not 512.

If Scale is set to Per Track, you can have different tracks settings, and change the Master Scale number of step to 2 - 1024 or Inf.

By default, the track multiplier is 1x, and the step duration is a 16th. If you set it to 1/8x, it will be a half note. A 64 step track would be 32 bars long, or 512 16th, if you prefer.

Maybe if you write the exact lengths of your tracks we can try it…

Ok, thanks, this is what I was after. I might’ve made my question more complicated than it had to be.

So if I change the Master Scale, then one track can have 32 steps, one can have 128 steps, one can have 24 steps, and so on?

And that track won’t retrigger from step one until it has reached 32, or 128, or 24, and so on?

If so, I’m good.

You might want to re-read that portion of the manual (P. 94). There is a step length per track, a mutliplier per track and an overall number of steps for all tracks (Master Scale it is called). The step length per track has a max of 64. The Master Scale is important because all tracks retrigger from step 1 after that many steps.

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Ah. Now, I get it. Many thanks.

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works fine, but needs a bit of mathematics :wink:

another thing to have in mind is that the OT waits for the end of pattern to switch to another pattern, and if you change the number of steps to match the longer track of the pattern, then you’ll have to wait for this duration before the OT switches to another pattern.

no on-the-fly pattern change.

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Thanks. I wonder if I’m not better off sticking to the default four bar pattern, and be creative with various step lengths between 1-64 and work the lfo’s for additional depth in variation instead. Sounds like I’d just cross the river to get water, cause I got a fancy boat to take me.

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I mean, each track can only have 64 steps max

In the OT you have the master scale setting. You can set the master scale from 2 steps to infinite steps.
By default, the master scale is set to 64. This means that every 64 steps, ALL of the tracks will reset, and start from it’s first step.

If all of your track lenghts are 64 steps, this wouldn’t be an issue. But, lets say you have a 4/4 track and a 3/4 track.
The 4/4 track = 64 steps
The 3/4 track = 48 steps
So you press play and when the 4/4 track reaches it’s 3rd cycle(?), the 3/4 track should have reached it’s 4th, right? Do I make myself clear? haha That’s polyrytm right there, so in this case, having a master scale set to 64 is not what you want.(because that wouldn’t let your 3/4 track run entirely)
What you want is find the number where 64 steps and 48 steps meet, which is 192

In this case setting the master scale to 192 steps. will allow both tracks, (the one of 64 steps and the 48 one), to loop within their own time signature, creating polyrytm, and reseting when they reach 192 steps, without interrumpting their flow

Specifically in your case, you may want to set your master scale to 120 steps.

And try all these things! :slight_smile:

Excellent @juanmenderica that’s exactly what I was after. Thanks :blush:

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Just 1 week ago I happened to upload a video to my IG account which you may find it relevant to this topic.
At first you can hear a 3/4 synth sequence and a 3/4 beat. (12 steps each track)
Then I start placing the hihats (16 steps)
Then you can see I change the scale number for the hihats from 16 steps to 7 steps. Polyrytm happening all over the place.
Then I change to a pattern containing a 16 steps beat, 48 steps rhodes sample and the original synth sequence which is 12 steps.

Here’s the vid


Ah! Makes even more sense now. Thanks.