OCTATRACK // uses / tips / tricks //

Doesn’t really make sense to do this with DIN sync, as the OT doesn’t support it.

The Rytm can send either MIDI sync or DIN sync.

The OT can’t receive or send DIN sync - it can only work with MIDI sync.

So - you can sync the OT to the Rytm (or vice-versa) using MIDI sync, but if you have a DIN sync device that you want to control, you need to connect it directly to the Rytm.

If you want to use the OT as a master with a DIN sync device, you have two basic options:

  1. Add the Rytm (or Digitakt / A4 etc.) as a MIDI slave to the OT, and then add the DIN device as a DIN sync slave to the Rytm.
  2. Use a device to covert the OT’s MIDI signal to DIN sync, such as the Doepfer MSY-2.

Whether you can use a MIDI cable for DIN sync depends on how it’s wired. Some MIDI cables are only capable of sending MIDI, but others can send both. Cheaper modern cables are likely to be MIDI only.

Hope that all makes sense!


Also, https://www.synthanatomy.com/2019/10/elektron-analog-four-analog-rytm-os-updates-midi-out-more.html

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Replying again in case I’ve over-complicated things and you were just asking about syncing the two devices in general. Absolutely any MIDI cable will let you sync the OT to the Rytm or the Rytm to the OT. Unless you have a device that specifically requires DIN sync, you don’t need to worry about anything else.

Ok awesome. Yes thats all I want to do. My setup is pretty simple - Ableton with Overbridge VSTi loaded up and analog rytm synced to that. I then can hit play in ableton the RYTM plays and sends sync to my modular which triggers the DFAM and Boog with CV sync. So basically I have everything working together in sync with minimal headache. I just want to do the same with the Octatrack - start stop and sync. So MIDI should be good, I just got a little confused there.

The RYTM has 2 MIDI outs so 1 will go to the Octatrack.

If I’m reading this right, what you probably want to do here is connect your Rytm’s MIDI thru port to the OT’s MIDI in. This way your PC will be the master source and the Rytm and OT will follow it, both using their own sequencers. You’ll also be able to control parts of the OT from live, should you want to.

Yes you nailed it. Thats exactly what I will do. The Octatrack should arrive this weekend. Sounds like an easy setup.

Actually the more I think about it, I can sequence my modular with the Octatrack. I have the Intellijel umidi 1u currently receiving clock from my Analog Rytm. But if I have this right. I can instead send clock from the AR midi out into the octatrack and send that into the modular.

From there I should be able to sequence my modular with the octatrack and then record the audio back into it.

If I have this right, it could be a much more powerful way to use the OT.

Here’s a bit of an oddball question to all of you fellow Octatrack users. The one thing I do find myself coming back to most on the OT is its capability to sample/playback simultaneusly allowing you to create variations on material that is playing live on the fly.
I do however go back and forth between two music setups, which are located in different rooms on different floors. One revolvs around the OT, the other around a Laptop+Ableton.

Now my question is: any idea about how to somehow replicate the above functionality from the OT on a computer?


came across this which was really helpful in my understanding of creating longer arrangements in the ot. also just learned after a few months that you can have 8 different scenes for both A and B :sweat_smile: having good success with workflows so far but man this thing is deep!

Parts are a weird Elektron thing not found on their other machines.
Think of them as Kits. Each Bank holds 16 Patterns & each Pattern can reference any of the 4 Kits (Parts).

A simple way to start is to use
Bank A, Patterns 1-4 with Part 1
Bank A Patterns 5-8 with Part 2
Bank A Patterns 9-12 with Part 3
Bank A Patterns 13-16 Part 4
(Bank B gives you fresh set of 4 Parts & so on thru all the Banks)

The above gives you 4 songs comprised of 4 sections each. With Scenes & Mutes etc that’s plenty for most people.
Of course any of the Patterns can switch to a different Kit (Part) on the fly at any point. Once you get the hang of this system then you’ll be free to mix it up however you want. Flex on one Part. Statics on a 2nd. Thru on a 3rd or whatever.

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ive had these same thoughts. the closest i’ve come to getting this in ableton is with slate + ash cycles. it doesn’t live sample but you can drag and drop loops. the loop mangling in cycels is incredible though. you can really take loops in to completely new places very quickly all while being really fun to use. it is weird to me that there aren’t more experimental step based cutters in software. seems like there is a lot of room for creativity there. especially in taking whats good about the octatrack and simplifying it.

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not an OT user, but if anyone can describe a specific functionality or set of uses we might be able to think of an ableton solution.


I agree that this is somewhat unique to the octatrack outside of building a custom patch in a software modular environment. If i understand what you meant here, the closest thing in Ableton land i’ve encountered to OT’s realtime sample variation capabilities is Re:Mix with a revolving input buffer, but even that may require you to work a bar or more behind the live input.

oh cool idea. well there are two things the octatrack does that i love.

  1. parameter locking step sequencer with probabilities.
    i love having steps in the 16 step sequence control sample start position, sample rate ( pitch and time together ). its also nice to have an lfo randomly choose the start position whenever the sample is triggered by the sequencer.

  2. doing it live.
    the ot can lock al of these paramets to triggers in the steps ( even using probability to trigger or not ) while replacing audio in the buffer live. so at any point you can lock the parameters in to the steps and replace the audio with a push of a button so that whatver audio you replace in the buffer is now being manipulated by the parameters you locked in to the steps.

hope that makes sense.

oh also ! you have a norns right ! ? you can get a better idea what I’m blabbing about via the amazing takt script if you want !

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Here’s a relatively inexpensive m4l device that is like buffer shuffler on steroids. Some great ideas here.



Ahh yes I forgot about buffer shuffler and variants! It’s interesting that these sorts of tools mostly seem to be used to chop up and rearrange individual beats and beat subdivisions instead of bars or parts of bars (as I tend to do on the Octatrack).

I find that most of what the OT does can be done easily with ableton. Workflows are of coruse different, but that’s anoter topic.
You can of course sequence samples, add automation to these, add fx, slice samples (simpler actually has a neat slice mode built right in) etc.
What Ableton can’t do the same way the OT does, is the ability to read from a buffer while it records and do stuff with that buffer and of course the probability sequencing thing @kin.sventa mentioned above.

@madeofoak the basic functionality (and @kin.sventa already explained a good portion of it) is that you have 8 recording buffers. You can record into these in various ways, either by pressing a REC button, using a guitar-pedal-style looper, or by setting a trigger in the sequencer that will intiate the recording.
You can have 8 of these and each track on the OT can read from any of them.
The intersting bit, as already mentioned above, is that the OT can both record to and read from the same buffer at the same time. Playback on the OT is controlled by a sequencer. Once you put a trigger on a step, the buffer will be read, and you can define the speed / pitch but also from where to start to read. You can apply an envelope, filtering, fx.
It’s a very powerful feature and people do use it in very different ways. If you have the OT record continuosly, you can use it to create an alternate version of what is going on another track or a group of tracks. You can quickly one-shot record a phase, then create a variation of it, then replace the buffer with another phrase, getting a different variation of it on the fly, you can use this as a beat shuffler or glitch effect. You can create a whole track by just playing one held note, have that recorded and played back by different tracks in various ways.

This one is actually on my list. I need to find a moment to check it out in depth yet though. Seems pretty cool at first glance though.


OT can do this sort of realtime resequencing (altering pitch, rate, start position, envelope settings, etc.) fairly well but it’s definitely easy to cause playback to stop abruptly depending on the settings (e.g. pitching up a buffer as it’s being recorded). If elektron makes a new version of the octatrack, what i’d hope for most is a system in which you wouldn’t have to be concerned about these stoppages - the OT would make “intelligent” decisions about what to play back to get you as close as possible to what you’re trying to do. For example, if you attempt to pitch up a buffer that’s being recorded such that the playhead is located “in the future” it seamlessly switches to a previously recorded bit of audio. Granted, i imagine this would be hard to engineer, and you would have to expand the idea of a recording buffer into something like a “playback buffer” which acts as a composite of multiple recording buffers working together simultaneously. It’s not great for quick improvisation, but with careful planning you can manually make some of this kind of thing happen using the current capabilities of the OT. For example, alternating playback of two record buffers recording the same material to achieve near seamless backwards playback of live inputs (see Max Marco on youtube). Most OT users seem far more interested in manipulating pre recorded material, but it’s the live input manipulation that makes it worth the frustrations inherent in using this box.

a couple years ago i used ~karma + max for live to hack my own looper that decoupled recording and playback of an audio buffer into separate units. it was a step in the direction you’re describing.

now we have softcut ported to max for live and i imagine that something more advanced could be built from that.

none of these are ready-to-go solutions but perhaps somewhat helpful?

ha yes, this is the one thing that really annoys me about the OT. As far as I can tell it’s because when you start recording into a buffer it instantly erases the whole existing buffer (although there is some weird ghosting that max marco showed in a video where you can get to some of that previous buffer… so the erasure may not be as complete/instant as i think)…
from a technical point of view if it just wrote new values to the buffer progressivley (sample by sample) you could then do some awesome stuff similar to what you can do with buffers in Max/Msp etc, it’s how i used to use my Aleph… with the OT it might get messy as you’d need to decide what to do about buffer length / timestretch values etc (if you record using HOLD for example)… but actually just an on/off setting for this buffer erase nide and a buffer length setting would keep me very happy!!! I can dream :slight_smile:

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if anyone wants me to I’ll add an option to ekphras to share buffers between devices

might accomplish some of what I’m skimming through here. in general tho softcut + ableton has room to be pushed much further - definitely want to spend some time with it for a future project