OCTATRACK // uses / tips / tricks //


Though I must say that there are people who are able to do things with just the OT which are pretty cool, but it seems to work better for certain genres (more beat/loop oriented) than for others.
I agree it’s a great hub for live performances, probably to be seen more as a “glue utility” than an instrument. What could make it even more useful though is better (and easier) gain staging. It would be great to be able to run lots of things thorugh the OT, but often I find myself not doing so because I don’t want to mess with it until it sounds right.


Not sure if you know but you can work around this and get 2 recordings in a track using the Spatializer. The big caveat is that you have to prepare it beforehand and you only get to use mono recordings, which is not ideal.

What problems are you having stopping them? I haven’t had any problem with that I think.

The thing I hate about the Pick up machines is that you can only have one recording at one time, so I can’t have 4 inputs and 4 fading loops with 4 pick up machines. You can work around this with Flex machines but you can’t use a thru for effects if you do iirc. Definitely not ideal.

I was hoping that the Mk2 update would be bigger, but I’m still happy with the OT. I’ve been playing live with “Modular/Ms20/Radio/random thing + Octatrack” a lot this year and to me it hits a very nice spot where it’s flexible enough to let me do the kind of thing I want most of the time while also being very compact and performative. I usually fill up half or so of the scenes for each part beforehand and then start making new ones on the fly, which to me is very fun but of course ymmv.


yes I know about that. It works in some cases (eg. drum parts) but does not solve the problem with release tails being cut off. For field recs it’s a bit limiting because - as you say - it’s mono, and you always trigger both sounds even if you only hear one.

Well it’s complicated. The way the OT works is very tuned for short samples so the idea is to not stop sounds when changing parts / patterns, which totally makes sense. but I find it to be a problem that keeps creeping up in various situations when working with long samples and one-shot tracks. though I’d need to try that out again to remember the details, I’ve given up on it some time ago.

Yes that is fun, though it only works for me uf I always do them from scratch, retracing my steps on the OT for things like scenes and parameter locks is very hard and focea me to wrote down everything I do.


Ah, I get what you were saying now. Yes, that’s very annoying. Honestly thought it was a bug, but your explanation makes a lot more sense.


Hey @marcus_fischer, you mentioned (much) earlier in this thread that you used the OT without pressing play, i.e., without the internal sequencer. Having never used an ER-301, but considering it as an alternative to the OT, is this possible on it? Does it require an external clock or trigger to start loop playback? I’m only interested in playing and manipulating asynchronous (mono and stereo) loops.


Yup. The 301 can do that. That’s one of the ways I’m using the 301 at this time. One thing you can’t do (yet) on the 301 is overdub w/ out the volume dropping which is kind of annoying.
It’s kind of funny that there is still not a module out there that can do what a $100 guitar pedal can.
But I guess If my goal was simply to have 8 asynchronous overdubbable loopers the alternative is buying 8 ditto pedals instead of an octatrack or a 301.


Maybe the Magneto will finally fill that hole, though. Or what do you think?


I hope this statement will be outdated in a day or so :wink:


right! that’s true.



Just curious - are you still using an Octatrack at all? I’ve been on the fence for a long time and got to try out my friend’s setup, and he uses his with long loops, ultra slow tempo, and sparse triggers with some other little tricks to do some really interesting asynchronous stuff, but it still doesn’t seem like a device that would come very naturally to me.

The ER-301 surely has its own learning curve, but the fact that it is within the modular is hugely appealing to me…


With the 301, one is limited to two stereo loops (as opposed to several more on the OT), right?


It’s got 4 outs, but you can fit as many loopers as you want, just put them in mixer channels. I do not know how many loopers the cpu can handle, but it’s surely more than you need.


@marcus_fischer I was right! :smiley:
The Er-301 has a pedal looper mode and the middle layer has been exposed! woohoo!


This thread has really inspired me on the possibilities of using the OT in live performance settings. I pulled the trigger in an OTMKII and it should be arriving today. From what I’ve seen of the ER-301, it will probably fill a different area for me at least in the euro realm, but I guess I won’t know for sure until I can try them out together. Excited to be part of the conversation here.


hey everyone,

i recently got a octatrack mk2. i was looking for a sampler that would let me remix/mangle on the fly, specifically for live performances. my old setup consisted of a monome grid, a surface pro, the samplr ios app and a couple midi fighter twisters. though that setup was a lot of fun, it was cumbersome and unreliable. my new simplified setup consists of only the octatrack and samplr. i’ve had it for bout 5 months now and i couldn’t be happier about it.

my setup is

tracks 1-4 flex machines

these are loaded up with very stripped down “stems” of my songs. these are all pre sliced so that they can be mangled by lfo (start position + fader = a lot of fun) or triggered by hand. one thing i do often is save a few bare patterns, usually consisting of just the main drum loop on flex machine 1, so that i can ra-arrange the track 2-4 slices on the fly and come up with new patterns/variations.

tracks 5-6 static machines

these consist of drum breaks and percussion. the samples are loops that are triggered by the first step. i can scroll through loops on the fly and mix and match loops. i usually use this to transition between songs. i can lay down some drums then mangle some slices, play things on top using samplr then use the arranger to go to the next song.

track 7 flex machine with recording buffer

the buffer is setup in “quick record mode” so that at any given time i can record the signal from samplr with a single button press. a sampler sampling a sampler in real time. this is so much fun. especially after laying down parameter locks and replacing the audio in the buffer.

track 8 thru track for samplr

samplr is loaded up with the same loops as the ot along with some other samples that are tuned to the song. I also setup a couple synthesizer sounds (from Aalto) to be in the same key/scale as the song i am playing.

thank you for your in depth write up @papernoise! that post really re-enforced what i thought/ imagined would be plus and minuses regarding the ot. since i make experimental hiphop music (i.e teebs, four tet, madlib, gold panda) the ot really works for my style of performance. like you said, looping/slicing/ live sampling are some areas the ot excels in and those are precisely the features i was looking for in a sampler. and i agree with your statement that calling it a “dynamic live performance sampler” is a bit misleading as it does require a lot of setting up and pre-performance tweaking and practice. personally, after tailoring and practicing with the ot, it has become an irreplaceable instrument for me. i cant imagine any one piece of gear coming close to all the things the ot can do. and so seamlessly once setup to suit your needs.

so far i have used it only for live performance. i would love to eventually incorporate it into my song writing process. it just feels kind of counter intuitive to re learn the most basic sampling techniques when i can do them so much faster/ in the inspired moment with ableton/max. i would love to hear how others are using it in the studio.


You’re welcome, really happy that is was helpful!
I can see (hear) from your tracks that the OT is indeed a pretty good choice for your live setup! Sample mangling with a relatively clear rhythmic grid is what it does best!


Hey guys I haven’t read the thread as I don’t own an OT any longer but I wanted to tell you about octaedit


My mate Rusty is a Champion and has put so many hours into this it’s amazing - just opens up the octatrack so much and its only $100

Anyways I hope someone finds it useful…


Have been extremely interested but the site is a little confusing – it seems like there’s no way to get the old version (I’m updated so compatibility might not be there anyway) and the new version isn’t out for a bit pending an indiegogo campaign which is imminently ending and… not close to its goal.

If and when it plops out, finished, as a single unit for a reasonable price (~$100 or so seems great) :confetti_ball: sold :confetti_ball:. I hope he doesn’t get discouraged by the campaign or misinterpret it as an actual lack of interest.


So you own version 1? If so its a free upgrade :slight_smile: if you read the campaign spiel he says he’ll probably still do it but in his spare time…as is its freakin amazing…unfortunently I sold my OT before it came out and I swear if I find a nice price OT I’ll grab one…I don’t think I ever made better music Than I did with the OT…
i have an digitakt which is perfect for my current needs but the OT beckons



Everything on that page is version 1 - the updates on the campaign are far more advanced and looks like a burgeoning Nord modular type environment for samples