Op-1 vs octatrack mkii?

so im thinking my next big musical investment will be either an op-1 or octatrack mkii. I know elektron does other units more similar to op-1 but i am mostly interested in sampling and sound manipulation. but i also love the sounds and recording capability, as well as portability of op-1. thoughts?

I had a OP-1 for a couple of years, and it sure is a cool unit. Used it mostly as a sampler and sequencer. The real strenght IMO is the portability. I found that I could do sampling and sequencing duties better with DAW, and that I didn’t really need the portability. I do miss it from time to time. It is fun to play and can trigger ideas and stuff.
I have no experience with the Octatrack. I think Knobs has a cool demo of it, that focuse on sampling?

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Firat of all you shouldn’t consider the Octatrack mk2. The mk1 can be bought for half(!!) of the price and it can do exactly what you can do on the mk2.

The octatrack is amazing. So is OP, but its apples and oranges. Personally I would get the octatrack.

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I have both right now. For sampling and sound manipulation? I’d choose the Octatrack.

If you prefer a portable, more versatile machine, go for the OP-1.

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I considered an octatrack (used mk1) when the mk2 went out, but ended up with an ER-301 :smiley_cat: I wanted a sampler to use as a sort of “room full of magical tape machines”. There seemed to be a consensus that the octatrack has a strange workflow (along the lines of “difficult to get but very efficient once acquired”), so I read the octatrack manual, looked at videos of the ER-301 (there’s no manual yet, but some great user documentation); and one of those machines clicked with me, so i went for it without regrets. It’s probably not the same use case though.

I have both at the moment. Whilst the octatrack is almost magical in its abilities I’m probably going to get rid of it in the next few months. I mention it because maybe you also suffer from ‘option paralysis’. The octatrack can do almost everything and can be configured in so many different ways; live sampler, effects unit, midi sequencer, sample mangler and time stretcher, synthesiser using single cycle waveforms, this list goes on and I think for most this is it’s strength. For me it’s like having a big studio full of loads of really nice gear, I’m sure that’s a dream for some people but I get easily distracted and hate the feeling that I’m never using something to it’s full potential. Op-1 doesn’t compare in terms of sample manipulation but I love its focus and speed as an instrument. Saying all that I still haven’t actually managed to part with the mysterious black box…

You might want to search for my long account on my experience with the OT Mk1 here on the forum here:

While I do not have an OP-1 my bandmate has one and we’ve been using it a lot in almost every track we’ve made. Personally I really do not like the synth sound engine, but my bandmate loves it. I find it very hard to get the plastic/static feeling out of it. But that’s just to say that it might be one of those love it or hate it things, as somehow everything about the OP-1 seems to be.
This said, if you are unsure about going with an OP-1 or an Octatrack I think you might have to think again about what you want to to in your music and about your process and workflow. I’m saying this because the two instruments – while having some common elements – are really two completely different things.
There’s really little that can be compared between the two.


I have both. I love composing and creating tracks on the OP-1. I can’t do that (from scratch) on the Octatrack, the workflow just does not work for me. On the other hand, Octatrack is indispensable when performing, if you want to ditch the laptop. So what I do is I transfer stems into Octatrack, add some effects, some scenes, and I’m done!

For my next project I will combine some stems and some live looped guitar + effects on the Octatrack.

I actually sold the Octa, since I couldn’t compose with it, but re-acquired one recently when I realized I need one for live use. The second time has been much more pleasant.

Hope this is useful information to you. And yeah, get the MK I.


thanks for the advice, ill definitely look at an mk1

i am leaning more towards octatrack at the moment (although someday i hope to get op-1, too)

OT is definitely about figuring out what you want it to do. For me it’s another instrument, i’ve settled on how to use it as a four track looper and mangler. I’ve wanted to hate it so many times but there’s always something in there that keeps you hooked. Focus is key for me. I think it’s also worth mentioning connectivity, mine’s hooked up to a Rodec Resyler and Eventide pedals…

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id also love to use it for a looper and mangler!

I have both too, Octatrack mk1. I prefer OP-1, simpler, faster and more creative, from my point of view. You should have an idea on what do you need, how do you want to use it and, finally, which gaps, in your workflow, you would like to fill with this instrument. for example, sometimes I still use an Electro Harmonix 2880 (my first multitrack sampler)

I kept the OP1 and flipped the OT.

The OP1 is a great portable sketch-pad. The sampling on the unit is very, very basic. I find that it works best in a stand-alone capacity, but still use it as an auxiliary synth/sample player. It still manages to surprise me and a lot of the effects and sequencers on board are great (synth engines are a mixed bag).

The OT is a great studio hub and the sampling capabilities are much deeper and more robust (no polyphonic sample playback though). I found it to be a bit of a frustrating experience, but if you want deep sample mangling in hardware it can’t be beat.


I’m quite interested in this topic! I’m looking to (1) playback (and perhaps edit, if needed) pre-recorded, mono and stereo tracks of independent length and tempo, and (2) import separate loops (with individual length) and manipulate them separately.

Is this most easily (or intuitively) accomplished with the OP-1 or OT?

I bought op-1 when it first came out.
Sold it years later, (after a good long, hard try) in frustration.

Now, no joke, I have recurring dreams, in which I buy it again.

But in real life I don’t.


Easy on the OT, you can achieve pretty much everything with some planning. One shot trigs will just loop the sample but you can programme or record manipulation data into the pattern. Scenes and patterns extend things much further. I like to keep it simple and instant but there so much scope for complexity. As is well documented though there is a learning curve.

Things that are exciting about the OT:

  • trig conditions
  • polymetric tracks
  • live sampling and mangling (thanks to p-locks)
  • midi sequencing, using LFO designer to creative fugues or generative melodies
  • DJing!?
  • scenes in general (the crossfader is very fun)
  • not sure if true of the mk i, but at least the mk ii’s outputs seem to be dc-coupled (based on a video from cuckoo)

Things that are a bummer

  • learning curve (though you can accomplish a lot just by mastering small portions at a time)
  • the effects don’t sound that great to me, though some people prefer the OT reverbs over the rytm/a4/digitakt’s reverbs

hope that’s helpful

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Octatrack all the way!!! But you aren’t going to be using it on the bus or out in a boat.lol You can do those thing with the OP-1. I only have the Octo, and I have all the Elektron stuff, I’m kinda a Elektron fanboy. I’ve used the OP-1 though and although I thought it was well thought out and pretty impressive, I just didn’t click with it. That being said, you can start making tracks on the OP-1 from minute one, where as the Octotrack is going to take a good amount of time and reading/studying. You said you wanted a sampler looper type thing earlier and the Octotrack is going to destroy the OP-1 in that regard. I personally don’t agree with everyone else that you shouldn’t consider the mkii, although the functionality is essentially the same, the similarity ends there. I own the mkii and had the mki and I can honestly say it’s a completely different machine with all the improvements, anyone who says otherwise probably hasn’t owned both. Hope you have fun with whatever you choose!!!

Could you elaborate on the improvements you see between mki and mkii? I have constant back of my mind octatrack itchy trigger finger GAS, but from what I’ve seen the updates may not be worth the > $600 increase in price between the two versions?

Appreciate your input!

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