Still clueless after 3 days. Please help

I got my OT 3 days ago. I had read the entire manual twice and watched a good 5 hours worth of tutorials before even obtaining the device. After at least 5 more hours worth of tutorials, I still have no idea what I’m doing and am just about tearing my hair out. I’m almost starting to regret my purchase. I seriously need help.

A few notes about my intentions, before I start explaining my problems:

-I am using a DSI Tempest and a Cyclone TT-303 Bass Bot, running into the OT. I am also planning to purchase a polysynth (most likely a Mopho X4) very soon. I wish to use the OT as a central hub for this hardware, as a mixer, effect unit, and remixing device. I also want to be able to record the various beats and synth lines onto tracks for future recording at my friend’s mastering studio. Currently, I have the Tempest running into inputs A/B and the 303 into input C.

-I’d like to be able to remix recorded loops from these devices, primarily the Tempest, on the fly, and use the SCENES to transition from “normal” versions of the input music to the remixed version. I had made a tiny bit of progress toward this goal after watching Mindrobber’s “Lesson on quick and dirty sampling…” and Cuckoo’s “Octatrack tutorial #1”, but seem to have gotten confused and now am unable to even do what I was doing yesterday. After unboxing, I immediately followed Cuckoo’s directions and was able to record a drum loop into the OT, which I then MANUALLY sliced up and was able to “remix” by setting the LFO to randomly start different slices. Yesterday, I experimented a bit with scenes and effects, and seemed to be getting the hang of recording into the OT, using MANUAL sampling. But again, I’ve gotten seriously confused and incredibly frustrated today.

-I have the OT set as the master midi clock, running through the Tempest to the 303.


-Once I record a drum loop or 303 line into the OT, I can still hear the original input material coming through, along with the recorded sample. I’d like to be able to record, and have what I’ve recorded be SILENT until I transition over to the other scene, (I’ll need your help setting this scene up) which I want to be the “remixed” version of what I’ve recorded. I remember Cuckoo mentioning that you won’t hear what you’ve recorded unless you turn up the DIR in the mixer controls, (Currently, I have the DIRs turned up) but have gotten so frustrated with other problems that I haven’t gotten far enough along to experiment with this. But if I turn down the DIRs, then how will the audience hear anything to begin with?

-As mentioned, I was having a bit of success yesterday recording drum loops and acid lines into the OT, to individual tracks. However, today I can’t seem to record to an individual track - No matter what I try, it seems that when I initiate recording via a one-shot trigger, it records to ALL TRACKS. I’ve spent a good 2 hours on this problem today, and my failure was my reason for registering on this forum. I seem to have experimented with just about every setup control (in setup controls 1&2) with no luck today. The only difference in my approach is that I have been experimenting with one-shot trigger sampling today, where I was manually sampling yesterday.

-Once we solve the above 2 problems, I’m ultimately going to want to have the OT record on the fly, via a one-shot trigger, in silence, automatically slice up the drum loop, and have it be available to me in scene B, so that when I move the crossfader over, it transitions to the remixed version, which I believe would be arranged by setting an LFO to trigger the slices randomly. When I was randomly triggering slices yesterday, the only way I could seem to switch back and forth between the “remixed” version and the original was to physically turn down the volume knob on the Tempest while the OT played the random slices, OR to mute the recorded drum loop on the OT, which then required me to turn the volume knob on the Tempest back up. There’s got to be a better way, right?

-Probably the simplest problem is that today, the 303 (plugged into input C) was only coming though on my left monitor, until I managed to record a sample of it onto the track, and then it would play in stereo. Obviously in a live performance, I’d want any music coming in as mono to be played through both speakers, prior to sample recording. When I get the polysynth, it’ll be plugged into input D only. I’m sure this is just a setting that I’m missing somewhere.

-Another thing I’d like to be able to do is listen to a CUE through headphones while performing live, before the hardware device (Tempest/303/Mopho) is heard by the audience. For instance, if I were to want to add in some chord progressions from the polysynth on top of the music already being heard, I’d need to experiment with notes and progressions, and then either silently record them into the OT, OR instruct the OT, via midi information, that I’d like it to “play” the polysynth in my intended fashion, possibly via a “thru” track. But for the mean time, I am more concerned with learning the process necessary to remix my drum loops on the fly, so we can leave this discussion for later if what I’ve asked is already a lot to explain.

Please help me. I know 3 people with OT experience, and 2 of them ended up selling their units. I’d ask the 3rd guy, but he’s on a world tour until mid-May. Please make NO assumptions about my level of competence with this machine. I barely understand what triggers, machines, slots, etc are, despite the amount of “homework” and preparation I’ve done. I knew this was going to be complicated, but I thought I’d be a lot further along in 3 days. I wonder if I’ve made changes to machine/mixer/set/project settings that are further complicating my intentions, and I have no desire for any samples that might have been included with the machine. So if resetting EVERYTHING might be advantageous, please let me know.

I’ll be anxiously awaiting the response of anyone who can help!

I think for the issue of still hearing the input in your “remix” scene you need to have that scene set the dir value to 0

So you will grab the audio in scene 1 (crossfader left) then slide to scene 2 (right) that scene will silence the dir level.

hey - the Spatializer FX may help with the 303 Left/Right thing. Make sure Send is all the way up and Have a look in the manual for “Spatializer Setup”. Turn on M/S, then leave on Mid gain in the middle to start and turn down Side gain all the way.

Hell, I’m still clueless after 3 months!

Hell, I’m still clueless after 3 years!

hey brother, my sympathies. it’s a steep learning curve on the ot and we’ve all been through it.

gotta crash soon but – while i realize you’ve read the manual a few times – you might take a closer look at these sections if someone doesn’t give you better answers:

-remixing slices: go straight to the tutorials in the manual, especially track recorder sampling and loop remixing. follow the instructions slowly, and try it a couple of times. took me a few days to get the process under my belt even after i’d owned the ot for a few months, so be patient.

-on DIR levels and xfading to scene b as transition to your remix: haven’t watched cuckoo’s video, but look up the section on scenes and reread the parts covering xvol, xdir and xlev. they are your friends here. also check out octatrack setup examples, as performance hub … i suspect the dir method is what you and cuckoo are doing but look at the thru machines method just in case.

-recording to all tracks: you might be arming all of your 1-shot trigs by hitting the YES button when you’re not in rec mode. i do this all the time inadvertently.

hope this helps!

3 days aint enough … imho, start with 4 samples, on 4 tracks, each with a fx track next to it, make a simple house song … boom, clap, hats , synth … add fx, then scnene plock fuckery ,… start over again, and again and again … this machine is so deep that I dont have her anymore … took me at least several weeks without touching all of the basics…

If you could master the OT in 3 days you’d sell in within a month!

The OT is a deep machine. She’s’ like a girl who needs some attention before you’ll get the best out of her :slight_smile: so worth the investment of your time!

Highly recommend you read and watch these… oh and read the manual as hard going as it is! ( First and a Foremost)

Also check out Rusty’s OctaEdit. looks promising

Love to hear how you get on, the OT is just sick, worth the time investment!


As much as we all love the Octatrack, I think this thread - which I’m not hijacking, so I’m keeping this brief - proves that what the instrument can do and what it offers in depth, is no excuse for its hostile user interface.

Once you’ve learned it, it’s not so bad, though.

But it is an instrument designed by developers who at the time weren’t as skilled in the user experience department as they are today. Let’s make this clear, to make sure they try harder once they build an MKII.

But - anyone can learn the OT. It’s not an exclusive club. And it doesn’t take you 10,000 hours. And it’s a lot easier to not go for the full symphony as your first project, and just get to grips with how to trigger and record samples, for example.

Try working with the Octatrack by itself before including other hardware. Learn how to use the Octatrack on its own, it will allow you to become more familiar with the interface. Having a base understanding of the machine before adding other machines is paramount to success.

It took me a solid 2 weeks of watching videos, reading the manual, and putting in 2 hours a minimum of practice a day with the Octatrack until I was able to grasp the basics. Even now, I still have a lot to learn. You should feel frustrated within just 3 days of owning the OT. Something would be direly wrong if it you weren’t experiencing frustration.

Patience, give it time.

Check out Tarekith’s Octatrack Transition video.

clueless after much more time too

I suppose i know how to use 90% of it’s functions but i feel like i mastered only 9% of the playing techniques. That’s why i like to compare it to a piano or a modular. It’s not because you understand how it works that you know to play it musically.

First things first read Merlin’s guide to the OT. What is a part, what is a machine and how to hear it? If you can answer without brain seizure you’ve gone already half way.

Trial & error on very simple tasks if i had to do it again. Allow yourself 30 mns tops every f***** day. Don’ procrastinate and fall into the 3 hours jam ending miserably with broken sequences.

It may sound counter intuitive but don’t learn it and play it at the same time. If you know an instrument or do sports, you know that there’s a time for learning, a time for practicing and a time for performing. Technique + drills + the real deal

Even 10 mins a day = one trick. You can’t even master the sample editor in one day. Or the arranger. You could try but your brain is gonna explode. You could take a week just exploring a scene setup per day. You could have 365 different approaches to Parts in a year - no kidding. I’m pretty sure you need 3000h to be very good (not sure you have to be that good to create good music). That’s if the Ot becomes the center of your setup; you can limit it to one or two function like dj fx or a live sample player and that’s totally fine.

Fuck. Just bought one

i think the cockoo tutorial is a very good first step. It doesn’t explain all,but it helps you to start with using flex machines.

As kwtsh said, this document is very important to understand OT basics in a way that isn’t covered by the manual :
Merlin’s thought about OT

There is a difference between reading a manual and mastering these techniques to achieve your goal.
I agree with Dtroy when he says that you should start with learning to use the OT without external device first.

Dtroy mentioned video : it’s rather tricky but opened my mind about how deep you can go with this instrument.

OT is not that hard to learn, it’s crossing all the possibilities offered that adds quickly complexity.
You wouldn’t learn guitar in 3 days, be patient and you’ll get rewarded :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

A thing about recording tracks : on each track you have a “playing” track and a “recording” track.
If your recording track is recording on RECORDING1 flex buffer, you can hear it on the recording (flex) track by setting it on RECORDING1.
To listen to what you record, be careful to set a trig on the first step of the playing track.
To record you’ll have to set a trig on the recording track (if you want to record each time) or a one-shot trig (if you want to record once and then mess with the sample).
I really like to use it this way. I used to forget to set a trug on step 1 of the playing track, once you get it you can really mess things up by putting trigs everywhere :wink:

The recording buffer has to be save as a sample copy if you want to use later what you just sampled.

Be brave, be patient, you’ll get it quickly.
But I understand the urge…

don´t forget to learn how to save your work and do backups on your can easily happen that you mess up or loose hours and hours of work.
also have in mind where your samples are stored (set or projekt) when editing them.
everytime i work on a projekt and i´m happy with the result i save all parts, save the projekt and sync to card…automatically.
get familiar with copy clear paste undo reload functions.
(i messed up things with that regulary, especially when i was more cofident and “gone wild”)

I created some test projects for special topics (midi test/remix test/single cycle test/pickup test…) dedicated just for learning things.

as mentioned before, cuckoos tutorial is very good for beginners. it took me a long frustrating time to find out the things he´s explaining there.

good luck

Apologies if already mentioned but Merlins OT manual is really good and to the point and might address some of these issues. Sure helped me get a few things straight in my head. Search on here for it or on the old elektron users forum.

Edit: +1 for Merlins OT manual as I see it has already been mentioned

Yep, I’m in the “still fairly clueless” camp 18 months on.

My initial frustrations formed when trying to do something similar. I had the OT set up as the central hub and was just trying to do a little too much. Was very off putting and I nearly came to selling it a few times. Knew I’d regret it though!

So the OT lay neglected for a short while until I decided to keep it simple and try again. The other Elektron boxes helped hugely - AK doing the synths, AR drums, leaving the OT to just muck about with samples and scenes. It clicked and now I’m happy and experimenting much more confidently.

The OT and a Tempest will make a great combo. To design synth patches and record them into the OT to then layer with Tempest drum patterns would be a lot of fun.

Be patient. The first 3 months or so will be completely shit and you’ll be super frustrated but it will click if you perservere.

Had it since day one, still don’t have a clue what I’m doing, three months is nothing.

3 days is not a long time for such a feature packed instrument. I’ve had my OT a few months and I’m only just starting to realise the full potential of it.

I found it useful to delete everything and start from scratch a few times, each time i start again, i know a bit more so it feels like progress and i start to work faster. The manual is your friend but at the same time, some of it is written in a strange way and also, not everything is listed in the index so it can be confusing at times.

I think it has to be said that the best resource out there is this Elektronauts forum! :slight_smile: I have had answers to a few problems that are much better explained by fellow users rather than the slightly confusing manual and by using the search feature it is highly likely that someone has already had the same problem in the past. Thats not to say you should post about every problem you have but when you are stuck the guys here will get you through it and help you understand what you are stuck with.

Good luck with your OT journey! :wink:

It’s not that bad, you can do it if you put the time in. And from seeing you on here I know that you will! :+1: