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Octatrack - How does it fit in your setup/workflow?
Old 25th September 2012
  #1
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Octatrack - How does it fit in your setup/workflow?

Been using an Octatrack for the past few months now. I was curious to hear about how others are using it in their setups and for what purposes? Right now I'm really only using it as a drum machine and MIDI sequencing for my soft synths (I've sold off my hardware aside from the Octatrack), but I feel like I could still be making more creative use with it, so I'd like to hear from you guys!
Old 25th September 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
 
xanax's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
the beauty of it is it can be used in so many ways, drum machine, looper, midi sequencer, sample mangler, live performance... that being said my personal workflow is i like to use it for remix duties, i'll import/sample loops from various sources including records but also my own synths and drum machines. i will then slice them up using the grid, replay bits and pieces, place p-locks, use scenes.. change track lengths & time signatures and basically recompose something i would have never ever come up with itb or with a general hardware sequencer... in that i find it unique & excellent (btw i suggest you check out the elektron forums for more advice/talk)
Old 25th September 2012
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Barfunkel's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I'm kinda torn between getting an MPC3000 or an Octatrack as the heart of my new setup (sold all my music gear a few months ago, now planning a new one). Both have their pros and cons, so opinions would be welcome.

I'd be mostly making 90's inspired house and techno.

MPC3000:
+ Authentic sound
+ Pads
+ Great for sequencing external gear
- Old, hard to service
- Never for sale in Finland, and I hate buying 2nd hand from abroad
- SCSI for data storage

Octatrack

+ Modern
+ Great for sequencing itself, with parameter locks and stuff
+ Serviceable, warranty
+ Easy to obtain
+ As a former MnM user, I know how Elektron gear operates
- Probably a lot harder to make it sound like a 90's sampler
- Only 1 midi out
- Sequencing external gear harder, due to some issues (lack of midi note off data for example)
- Not enough outputs

It's a tough decision!
Old 25th September 2012
  #4
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
The problem with the Octatrack is, that you only have max. 4 note chords in the midi sequencer. But it is a huge tool for live improvisation. I use the octatrack with an mpc 2500..best of both worlds..

I would start with an Octatrack and later add an MPC 1000 and a DSI Mopho 4x and use the Octatrack as heart of your setup.
Old 25th September 2012
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
sushiluv's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I love the Octatrack but i have to admit that iΒ΄m an elektron fanboy, machinedrum is the last bit to leave my studio, if ever.

Workflow: i sample phrases or chords from my other synth into the octatrack and start to mangle those sounds until i come up with something i like. from there on i start to use scenes and mangle even further, this way you can get very cool breaks, versions of the basic pattern. sometimes i make a tune out of onyly one bar pattern but 5-8 scenes. not only do i uses the fader to switch between scenes but also like to switch between them with the scenen buttons, gives some great effect. i think itΒ΄s hard to make a song with the octatrack but for quirky techno/electronica itΒ΄s just perfect.

oh, i also use the cue outs, this way i get two extra outputs which i can use outboard fx on.
Old 25th September 2012 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Barfunkel's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veck ➑️
The problem with the Octatrack is, that you only have max. 4 note chords in the midi sequencer. But it is a huge tool for live improvisation. I use the octatrack with an mpc 2500..best of both worlds..
Not a bit deal in my books. I make simple minimal stuff, I don't even know any 5-note chords, lol.
Old 25th September 2012 | Show parent
  #7
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Synthpark's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veck ➑️
The problem with the Octatrack is, that you only have max. 4 note chords in the midi sequencer. But it is a huge tool for live improvisation. I use the octatrack with an mpc 2500..best of both worlds..

I would start with an Octatrack and later add an MPC 1000 and a DSI Mopho 4x and use the Octatrack as heart of your setup.
4 note chords per track, right? But you can combine two tracks using the same midi channel to overcome this, I would think.
Old 25th September 2012 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veck ➑️
The problem with the Octatrack is, that you only have max. 4 note chords in the midi sequencer. But it is a huge tool for live improvisation. I use the octatrack with an mpc 2500..best of both worlds..

I would start with an Octatrack and later add an MPC 1000 and a DSI Mopho 4x and use the Octatrack as heart of your setup.
Long term, I've been considering a setup like this. An MPC along side the OT would free up audio tracks on the OT and I could use it for sampling from the inputs entirely. I would also like to get into building a modular and send MIDI from the OT and resample from inputs again. Or, skip the modular and go with a collection of smaller synths, like and OP-1, Shruthi, or Gotharmans deMoon.

Love the input so far everyone!
Old 25th September 2012
  #9
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Does anyone have any tracks they'd like to share created primarily with the OT?

(I mean their own, not Dataline's stuff. Cenk is an f-in wizard on the OT)
Old 25th September 2012
  #10
Lives for gear
 
xanax's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Matthew Dear used it quite a bit on his latest album Beams released last month

Old 25th September 2012 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Barfunkel's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmkato ➑️
Does anyone have any tracks they'd like to share created primarily with the OT?

(I mean their own, not Dataline's stuff. Cenk is an f-in wizard on the OT)
The Elektron users forum is full of such tracks, go check it out, if you haven't already!
Old 26th September 2012 | Show parent
  #12
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bloodsample's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmkato ➑️
Does anyone have any tracks they'd like to share created primarily with the OT?

(I mean their own, not Dataline's stuff. Cenk is an f-in wizard on the OT)
Not so much tracks as they are improvised jams, but I made a few octatrack-centric vids back in the day (before I sold it).

I too used it primarily as a drum machine + midi sequencer. I just couldn't find a good flow with the sampler (this was during v1.00, things are probably simpler now).

Example:
Old 26th September 2012
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Gil missFlag's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Can you sequence external midi gear on the Octatrack while at the same time running that gear through it's internal effects? And switch back and forth between tweaking the sequencer to tweaking the effects easily live?

EDIT: for example, say I'm sequencing 4 external monosynths using the Octatrack. Can I run those 4 monosynths through the Octatracks 4 audio inputs, each with different internal effects?
Old 26th September 2012
  #14
Lives for gear
 
xanax's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
mmm i can't confirm but i don't think OT fx can be applied to the inputs, only the 8 internal sample tracks
edit: the looper might allow this, i haven't tried it yet though
Old 26th September 2012 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
sushiluv's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gil missFlag ➑️
Can you sequence external midi gear on the Octatrack while at the same time running that gear through it's internal effects? And switch back and forth between tweaking the sequencer to tweaking the effects easily live?

EDIT: for example, say I'm sequencing 4 external monosynths using the Octatrack. Can I run those 4 monosynths through the Octatracks 4 audio inputs, each with different internal effects?
yes you can, use thru machines on 4 tracks, route your audio through them and apply fx, no problem.
Old 26th September 2012
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Gil missFlag's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Great thanks! I think I'll be getting one of these babies.
Old 26th September 2012 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
DeckardTrinity's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by sushiluv ➑️
yes you can, use thru machines on 4 tracks, route your audio through them and apply fx, no problem.


The more I learn about this machine the more I think it'll be going on my xmas wish list. First gotta conquer the MD tho!
Old 26th September 2012 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
@bloodsample - great video man! reminds me of music for a video game app on the ipad.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DeckardTrinity ➑️


The more I learn about this machine the more I think it'll be going on my xmas wish list. First gotta conquer the MD tho!
How are you liking the MD? I'm considering this or an MPC to use alongside the OT. I mainly use samples or use soft drum synths and make my own. I'm not opposed to the MD but would you say it's restricted to a certain kind of sound or is it flexible? How would you compare it to something like a Tempest or an MFB drum machine? I mean just in terms of the analog sounds of the MFB, I know the MD is much deeper than those.
Old 26th September 2012
  #19
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
I use it three ways:

1) To sample, and then quantize/sequence sounds from the modular or vintage synths w/ no MIDI. This is fun when you hit a sweet spot on the modular. You can grab it, and begin sequencing it.

2) As a sound design tool: taking waveforms/samples and making basslines, drum hits and melodies.

3) As a mixer/fx unit/MIDI sequencer/looper when I don't want to use the computer. I plug in a drum machine and a synth or two into and jam using the internal mixer of the OT.

It's a fun and stimulating box; I really like it. However, I don't find it very intuitive and feel as though I am always learning how to use it over and over again (YMMV).
Old 26th September 2012 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by sushiluv ➑️
yes you can, use thru machines on 4 tracks, route your audio through them and apply fx, no problem.
You can also sample them all into flex machines in real time...(at the same time!)
Old 16th March 2013
  #21
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Anyone using the Octatrack to sample mono synths and stack the tracks to make a poly? With all I have read about the "pristine audio quality" and "sample editing flexibility" it seems like it would be ideal for this task.
Old 16th March 2013
  #22
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
the audio quality isn't that great, I think the mpc3000 is higher quality. It adds some kind of "plastic dimension" to it..

I really like the Octatrack, it's a great piece, it's really fun to work with, and you can create very unique results with it.

But as a high quality sampler, i'd vote no, it's not got the best a/d converters in there or maybe it's the d/a converters? not sure?
Old 16th March 2013
  #23
Gear Addict
 
Bonkks's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I totally disagree about the audio quality, make sure your sampling is set at 24 bit not 16. Octatrack is not great for layering mono samples in to poly, it eats up too many tracks. An mpc is much better since tracks are polyphonic and you can layer samples.
Old 16th March 2013 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3001 ➑️
But as a high quality sampler, i'd vote no, it's not got the best a/d converters in there or maybe it's the d/a converters? not sure?
It uses a Cirrus Logic chip for the converters (I forget the part number), one that can go well beyond the 44.1kHz they have it set to. The quality of the circuitry attached to those DACs/ADCs I can't vouch for.

The headphone DAC is some cheapy iirc. Most digital instruments seem to have a crap headphone DAC no matter how expensive they are
Old 16th March 2013
  #25
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I continue to be puzzled by this piece of kit. I do not get it, but I am obviously not alone in this. So the bottom line seems to be that the Ocatrack is designed to be a really fun hands on toy/tool rather than a studio worthy production tool. For those of you that own the Octatrack and use it regularly...what does it excel at that sets it apart from a DAW with a good control surface?
Old 16th March 2013
  #26
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
I use the Octatrack as the hub of my minimal set up. I have the midi out of Octatrack to a Midi Solutions Quadra Through and send the 4 outs of the Quadra Through to the Analog4, MachineDrum, Monomachine and Moog Voyager. The Octatrack controls the Elektron stuff and Voyager via transport, and Voyager being sequenced on midi channel 1. Next I have the Voyager midi through going into the Sub Phatty which is sequenced on a midi channel 2.

I have the Voyager Main Outs going into the Octatrack A/B and I have everything else going into a mixer and then routed into the Cctatrack C/D.

As a side note: If I dont feel like sequencing from the Octatrack I will send the midi out of the Voyager or Sub Phatty to the Octatrack midi in and live-record that way. This is also great because it has the cc-learn feature so very easy to start p-locking what you want on the Voyager/Sub Phatty.

For sampling, I will usually use tracks 1-4 to provide some extra drum stuff with one-shot samples, and tracks 5-7 for sampling anything in my set-up and track 8 as a master track.

I love the flexibility of the Octatrack and find it very useful to me for the set-up I currently have.
Old 16th March 2013
  #27
Lives for gear
 
Looneytune's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I am using mine as a sequencer. It is fantastic, except it is limited to 8 tracks and this why I got 2 of them wired together

Great machine.
Old 16th March 2013 | Show parent
  #28
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shponglefan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by sctt_stone ➑️
what does it excel at that sets it apart from a DAW with a good control surface?
Possibly with the exception of Live, it's the fact that a "good" control surface for a DAW is not going to be as good as a dedicated piece of hardware. And especially for sequencing.

So it comes down to the immediacy of the hands-on control of the OT (once you figure it out, of course).
Old 16th March 2013 | Show parent
  #29
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by KrisM ➑️
It uses a Cirrus Logic chip for the converters (I forget the part number), one that can go well beyond the 44.1kHz they have it set to. The quality of the circuitry attached to those DACs/ADCs I can't vouch for.
Can you elaborate on that more, in terms of setting the chip? Is there someway to "reset" this? Sorry, electronics are as foreign to me as, well, anything else incredibly foreign.
Old 17th March 2013 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmkato ➑️
Can you elaborate on that more, in terms of setting the chip? Is there someway to "reset" this? Sorry, electronics are as foreign to me as, well, anything else incredibly foreign.
We can't mess with it's settings at all. What I meant was that the part itself is capable of a better sample rate than Elektron is using it for.
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