Downfalls/cons of Octatrack?

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Dimension
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Downfalls/cons of Octatrack?

Post by Dimension » Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:14 am

Im wondering especially toward the people who have had the Octatrack and then sold it and why? I am so close to buying it I was thinking of the Electribe esx 1 but I was thinking I like doing things realtime, but somewhere I read the Octatrack is "too expensive for it's gimmicks" and "you can go too quickly no-going-back to the point of going nowhere", it was rather a discouraging comment and started making me think of getting a Electribe again...

I really like the fact that you can record and cut/assign the recording but maybe he was right.., MAybe it will just end up being messy? Hmm

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Post by meatcliff » Mon Jun 15, 2015 4:12 am

https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=35412

maybe read this thread. it's even on the first page of the General Gear forum.

there's also a great search function and a ton of good threads about the OT here

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Post by heckadecimal69 » Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:21 pm

Don't buy it. (this is my reply every time I see this question)

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Post by clarte » Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:33 pm

how do you see it fitting into your workflow, i owned one for a while, if you let me know how you plan to use it i can give you the drawbacks

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Post by tIB » Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:35 pm

I've had two- fussy interface is the biggest drawback for me. It's useable but was never enjoyable in the way that other elektron machines had been for me.

I'll probably get one again at some point... and sell it again.

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Post by udbhav » Mon Jun 15, 2015 1:14 pm

I borrowed a friends' for a month or so and was very very close to pulling the trigger for myself, but eventually backed away.

Cons for me:

- As somebody who already uses computers pretty heavily in their music making process, the Octatrack covered too much of the same ground as my laptop and the UI/workflow wasn't amazing enough to justify giving up the flexibility and convenience a general purpose OS can provide.
- I loved using it as a performance mixer, but I'd want more inputs and outputs if that was the main way I'd be using it.
- It seemed a little to silly to buy an Octatrack w/out Overbridge after Elektron announced it for their other products.

Pros:

- PARAMETER LOCKS
- really great MIDI sequencer
- would be great as the hub of a live performance setup

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Post by pre55ure » Mon Jun 15, 2015 1:33 pm

I had one for a little over a month and ended up selling it.

It was a while ago now, so it's hard for me to remember the exact things about it that I didn't like, but some major ones.

I found the whole machine to be generally confusing. There were just too many functions and not enough buttons, so too many things required using button combos. Most of the necessary combo's aren't screened anywhere on the panel either so you'd have to hunting around for a list of button combos online in order to remember how to do anything. It also meant that unless you were using the Octatrack pretty much every day you'd forget how to do certain tasks and need to look them up again.

It wasn't just the button combo's either, lots of things were just overly confusing for what seemed like none or very little benefit. I can very clearly recall the moment that I decided things weren't working out was when I spent approximately 10 minutes trying to record a simple loop, I had recorded stuff into the octatrack many times previously, but suddenly the exact same series of actions no longer seemed to get the job done. Probably some setting somewhere that had been changed inadvertently, or I was forgetting one obscure button press along the way... but it was just too much effort and hassle to fulfill a basic task.

There were a bunch of other little things that just kinda got to me as well (like you can only transpose by +/- 1oct, so playing a sample melodically was difficult).

Anyway, obviously some people get great results from it, and some people seem to "click" with it.

I will also say that I had heard all of these complaints before I got one and had dismissed them as the result of people who didn't get how samplers work or likely just noobs that had bought an octatrack because someone that they thought was cool on youtube had one. I already owned an A4 so I was aware of the "elektron workflow". I have also worked with music tech for the past 15 years or so (including programming and designing hardware) so I really didn't foresee myself having problems understanding how a piece of gear works... But I was wrong.

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Post by cs1729 » Mon Jun 15, 2015 3:59 pm

I usually don't like to talk bad about machines because it really is hard to say what somebody else is looking for, but I need to get my post count up.

I had one for a year and sold it.

I didn't like:
-midi sequencer was attached to patterns so it was hard to jam on it and take it with you to another sequence.
-thought it sucked life out of the sounds I put in, maybe from the timestretching, I don't know. But I also don't like the sound of the esx.
-too many button combos. you have to memorize a lot of stuff.
-you have to plan out your improvising, which is sort of not intuitive to me.
-sometimes something would happen at a show that would cause a big problem. ie accidentally putting a rec trig down and filling up your flex memory, then having to figure out why and what's going on while playing the rest of the stuff.

But there is nothing else like it really. There are some things it can do that nothing else can. I just didn't like the sound of it.

This is just my opinion obviously. I ended up getting an mpc 1000 and an xbase 888 which I am happy with the sound.

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Post by vasculator » Mon Jun 15, 2015 5:51 pm

i hear you on that (hey Chase!). i like the OT a lot more now that it's not trying to be the center of my live set. it can do that and some people can make it work but i'm happier with it just playing a few samples and doing more complex effects chains with it. mostly for the reasons below tho i do like the sound quality (i rarely timestretch anything).
cs1729 wrote:I usually don't like to talk bad about machines because it really is hard to say what somebody else is looking for, but I need to get my post count up.

I had one for a year and sold it.

I didn't like:
-midi sequencer was attached to patterns so it was hard to jam on it and take it with you to another sequence.
-thought it sucked life out of the sounds I put in, maybe from the timestretching, I don't know. But I also don't like the sound of the esx.
-too many button combos. you have to memorize a lot of stuff.
-you have to plan out your improvising, which is sort of not intuitive to me.
-sometimes something would happen at a show that would cause a big problem. ie accidentally putting a rec trig down and filling up your flex memory, then having to figure out why and what's going on while playing the rest of the stuff.

But there is nothing else like it really. There are some things it can do that nothing else can. I just didn't like the sound of it.

This is just my opinion obviously. I ended up getting an mpc 1000 and an xbase 888 which I am happy with the sound.

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Post by koyl » Mon Jun 15, 2015 6:18 pm

I bought one, sold it a year later... Another year after that, I bought another one... and sold it a year later... And I almost bought one a few days ago.

Let's say I have a love/hate relationship with the Octatrack.
I love how you can compose while jamming: it has often led to cool results.
I love the ability to live-sample and treat that in real time.

But what led me to sold them was this feeling "I'm almost there" aka I was never really able to properly produce a track.
I did some by recording every track from the octa in the computer to proper eq/compress and mix them but you have to do this one track at a time and it's loooong ! And you always lose that special groove you had in the machine.

Other than that, some things are quite annoying or missing: side-chain compression for example.

I plan to buy a Beatstep pro and I really hope that it'll give me the same composing while jamming the octa did, and that I'll be staified with that... until the Octatrack 2 is released of course, the one with 8 separated outputs, pads like the Rytm and Overbridge of course. :omg:

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Re: Downfalls/cons of Octatrack?

Post by Funky40 » Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:04 pm

Dimension wrote:Im wondering especially toward the people who have had the Octatrack and then sold it and why?
if one can love...or live....with the octa has so much to do with how you work
and what your preferences are.........and what the no-gos would be for you......


for me, the octa is knocking itself out, ...at least for "what i would like to achieve with the octa"- by having "track-mute" as a global thing and NOT a pattern based thing.....i cannot live with it in regards to go in the direction of making full tracks
- i also hate the load times when switching around between old projects etc....but can live with
- i hate the file management but can live with..partially /partially not
- i miss at some points some visual feedback
in general ----> many little things missed or not optimized within the octa making your live harder than it could/should be.
- not speaking about the looper for which i originally bought my octa - really, i still could "flip out"

musically, the octa is gold worth and much fun to jam.
But: you HAVE to be into the machine. Means, you better be a poweruser over some period of time to get enough into it,
..........everything else isn´t working. my opinion
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Post by lvoemachine » Tue Jun 16, 2015 12:38 am

I've had mine a month and love it. But it does have its limits.

The looper basically works in a weird way where it can't be synced to an external clock if you want to overdub, so looping in time with drums etc isn't going to happen. Yes you can quickly record into the 8 tracks but that's not looping. Feels like an afterthought in some ways.

The time stretching is crazy and is best used for glitchy extreme sounds and ambient roars. Both a strength and a weakness.

I've found it to be strangely enough, intuitive after a week of really reading the manual and talking to other users directly to get tips on workflow. It does a lot so my take has been not trying to get it doing everything but rather set it to specific tasks. At this point I'm goin to start filling it wih modular wierdnees, vocal bits and some breaks. Everything else is covered in the a4/rytm.

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Post by minphase » Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:30 am

I sold mine, bought an Akai MPC25000, and have been EXTREMELY pleased with that decision. Having done that, I think an MPC1000 would be sufficient too. I find it quite useable as a chromatic sampler, more than I had expected from info on the web. I basically get stuff done with the MPC. It leads you towards finishing things, somehow, which is exactly the opposite of how the OT was for me. If you have only a few pieces, OT might be worth the frustration. If you have a lot of devices to run, and some outboard effects of good quality, the MPC kicks OT ass in my opinion. Getting stuff done is ... priceless.
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Post by Nelson Baboon » Tue Jun 16, 2015 9:55 am

The octatrack was definitely not for me, but I'm someone who would use it, then put it aside - maybe for a few weeks, then use it again. And I don't have the greatest memory for unintuitive keystroke combos, and unintuitive work fllow sequences.....

BUT - I know people who use it all the time, and who have made it the centerpiece of their performance. In such a case, I think that its operation becomes so second nature that one can use its sampling and the parameter locks, etc, and just 'think out loud' with it.

If you're on the fence, I'd recommend buying one used at a good price, so that
you can sell it without losing $ if you don't bond with it.

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Post by bizmuth » Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:10 pm

While I can't speak directly on this, have two friends that own OTs.. The "cons" I heard most often were early on, with a frustrating first couple of weeks/months while you learn the machine. I've definitely heard the comment "taking things to the point where you can't get them back"... but I also find myself doing this pretty frequently in my DAWs. I think those "cons" are pretty minor. I jam on my synths while my friend uses his OT, and the stuff he comes up with is seriously creative and sounds sick. The hardware itself is solid as a rock, and it is leaps and bounds above the ESX 'tribe. Maybe you should look into the new "Electribe sampler" as well?
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Post by koam » Tue Jun 16, 2015 2:50 pm

tIB wrote:fussy interface is the biggest drawback for me. It's useable but was never enjoyable in the way that other elektron machines had been for me.

I'll probably get one again at some point... and sell it again.
+1

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Post by cheliosheart » Tue Jun 16, 2015 3:28 pm

I had one for a few years before selling it. I'd use it on and off for months at a time and each time it felt like I had to re-learn the workflow. I'd always get confused about the recording buffers and track assignments. The terminology of trigless locks, trigless trigs, parts, banks, flex machines etc. seemed rather convoluted to me. And I never got the hang of using the pickup machines effectively. I got tired of the menu diving so once I found usuable settings, I was only using it for basic p-lock sequencing. After awhile it just became a glorified mixer for me, and by that time I already grew more and more disinterested in sample based music, it didn't make much sense for me to keep it.

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Post by mokomo » Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:40 pm

Frets, scales, modes, circle of fifths, transpositions, root notes, alt tunings, hammer ons, hammer offs, comp strumming, harmonics, arpeggios, triads - guitars are too complicated and badly designed.

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Post by ignatius » Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:44 pm

mokomo wrote:Frets, scales, modes, circle of fifths, transpositions, root notes, alt tunings, hammer ons, hammer offs, comp strumming, harmonics, arpeggios, triads - guitars are too complicated and badly designed.
yeah. it seems the people who learn them have to dedicate their lives to them.. so much so that every other thing that isn't a guitar needs to be painstakingly explained to them in the most basic terms or they just can't understand how they work or what on earth they could be used for. :razz: :mrgreen:

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Post by cheliosheart » Tue Jun 16, 2015 6:19 pm

mokomo wrote:Frets, scales, modes, circle of fifths, transpositions, root notes, alt tunings, hammer ons, hammer offs, comp strumming, harmonics, arpeggios, triads - guitars are too complicated and badly designed.
Ha, touche. Surely your miles may vary and I wouldn't want to dissuade anyone from giving the OT a shot. Certainly it's capable but for me I just couldn't stick with it. I quit trying to play baritone tuba for lesser reasons.

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Post by GNSDG » Tue Jun 16, 2015 9:46 pm

ignatius wrote:
mokomo wrote:Frets, scales, modes, circle of fifths, transpositions, root notes, alt tunings, hammer ons, hammer offs, comp strumming, harmonics, arpeggios, triads - guitars are too complicated and badly designed.
yeah. it seems the people who learn them have to dedicate their lives to them.. so much so that every other thing that isn't a guitar needs to be painstakingly explained to them in the most basic terms or they just can't understand how they work or what on earth they could be used for. :razz: :mrgreen:
:hihi:

Love both of these comments. I'm a guitar player for whom the guitar is like an extension of my body, and I strive to make my modular rig the same way, so this hits home.

Plus, as someone with a very strong theory background, I must say guitarists are dumb.

Anyway, love/hate the OT. I love the MIDI sequencer and it's the brain of my rig. I love the effects processing as a quick, intuitive way to flesh out an arrangement. I love the mangling capabilities. The recording/looping functionality is so finicky and poorly designed that I've just decided to ignore that entire side of the machine. The sound is quite underwhelming, at best, for a machine of that price.

So, if you use a lot of samples and don't need extreme processing, I'd look elsewhere. If you need an extremely in-depth MIDI sequencer, I don't think there's anything that can touch it below the Cirklon.

But yeah, waiting for the Beatstep Pro.
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Post by mokomo » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:56 am

As a guitarist who has an OT, while the subject matter is totally different, getting to know the OT and being able to 'play' it and getting from zero to fingerpicking something like Babe I'm Gonna Leave You are somewhat similar in terms of effort.

Totally doable and rewarding with a bit of practice, but it seems very daunting when you first pick up a guitar and your fingers are like big sausages.

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Post by tIB » Wed Jun 17, 2015 7:38 am

As an ex-guitarist and ex-octatrack owner I can say I far enjoyed the challenge of getting to grips with my guitar's interface (and subtleties) than the octatracks... I was better at playing the octatrack too!

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Post by Nelson Baboon » Wed Jun 17, 2015 9:12 am

mokomo wrote:Frets, scales, modes, circle of fifths, transpositions, root notes, alt tunings, hammer ons, hammer offs, comp strumming, harmonics, arpeggios, triads - guitars are too complicated and badly designed.

I think this analogy fails, because it doesn't take into account how one learns a guitar vs how one learns the octatrack. Sure - ultimately one needs to learn scales, etc, but one learns these things over a period of years while simultaneously developing physical skill on the instrument. I can't comment on the guitar - just violin, but the notion of forgetting where a note is, or how to generate a type of sound with the bow, etc, is rather absurd. The learning is really entirely different.

I experienced the octatrack, embarassingly more than once. It isn't an instrument that I WANTED to practice like a violin (or guitar) - with electronic musical instrument I think that one generally hopes that he/she can apply their knowledge to its operation, and have some idea as to the amount of dedication it will take to use it. Yes - people who use it as their main instrument and devote lots of time to it generally don't have issues. But I mean - some people want to use it as a tool some of the time, and for that type of use, I found the thing too maddening to hold onto.

I don't quite understand why that experience (similar to quite a few others, obviously), is being mocked here. I don't think that anyone has claimed that everyone has a bad experience with the octatrack - but I sure think that it's better to go into it forewarned.

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Post by Nelson Baboon » Wed Jun 17, 2015 9:17 am

GNSDG wrote:
ignatius wrote:
mokomo wrote:Frets, scales, modes, circle of fifths, transpositions, root notes, alt tunings, hammer ons, hammer offs, comp strumming, harmonics, arpeggios, triads - guitars are too complicated and badly designed.
yeah. it seems the people who learn them have to dedicate their lives to them.. so much so that every other thing that isn't a guitar needs to be painstakingly explained to them in the most basic terms or they just can't understand how they work or what on earth they could be used for. :razz: :mrgreen:
:hihi:

Love both of these comments. I'm a guitar player for whom the guitar is like an extension of my body, and I strive to make my modular rig the same way, so this hits home.

Plus, as someone with a very strong theory background, I must say guitarists are dumb.

Anyway, love/hate the OT. I love the MIDI sequencer and it's the brain of my rig. I love the effects processing as a quick, intuitive way to flesh out an arrangement. I love the mangling capabilities. The recording/looping functionality is so finicky and poorly designed that I've just decided to ignore that entire side of the machine. The sound is quite underwhelming, at best, for a machine of that price.

So, if you use a lot of samples and don't need extreme processing, I'd look elsewhere. If you need an extremely in-depth MIDI sequencer, I don't think there's anything that can touch it below the Cirklon.

But yeah, waiting for the Beatstep Pro.
The Octatrack is a decent midi sequencer, but it doesn't really compare to the better dedicated ones. Obviously the cirklon is one example, but the schrittmacher is also far superior, as is/was the Octopus, and there have been others that I can't recall at the moment.I'm sure , from the specs, that the forthcoming fuzion (next week or so) will have a more comprehensive sequencer. The Octatrack doesn't have intertrack modulation, for instance, or probabilities, etc. Track lengths can differ among tracks (finally elektron listened on that one), but gate lengths must all be the same. It's a relatively basic sequencer.

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