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MPC1000 vs Octatrack for playing live
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next [all]
Author MPC1000 vs Octatrack for playing live
Trilo
I'm trying to decide between an Akai MPC1000 and Elektron Octatrack. I've owned both machines in the past and still cannot decide. I'll be using the machine to play live. Currently I produce with a MacBook Pro, Ableton live, PUSH2, modular w/ expert sleepers, and various hardware synths/drum machines/effects. I make beat driven, noisey, funk influenced music. Sorry, nothing is online yet.

I do not wish to bring my laptop, audio interface, MIDI controllers, synths, effects, ect... around with me while I play live. I'd like a "one trip" type of setup. Plus, lets face it, seeing a laptop on stage is a let down, even for people who know nothing about music production.

My intent would be to make my songs/compositions with hardware and Ableton and then create easily "jammable" live versions of the tracks to play with and along to using my bass guitar and one small hardware synth. I was able to do this easily with the MPC. I didn't use the Octatrack in this manner while I had it. I know both machines are capable of doing what I want and both are in my price range (the MPC would have all available upgrades and JJOS).

So, please offer me your perspectives! I'm running circles in my own head about this. Also, the MPC1000 is 11 years old and the Octatrack is 5 years old and there may be new offerings I'm unaware of. Maybe I should wait and see what the specs on the Pioneer Toriaz will be or maybe Roland will issue a new sampler...

We could compare specs but here is a shortlist of my personal pros/cons for each:

Octatrack Cons:
unintuitive user interface and workflow (big con for me)
only 8 tracks (7 if I use #8 as a master)
easy to mess up things that unintentially mess up other things
less outs

Octatrack Pro's:
Rackmountable (big pro for me)
Fun in its own mysterious way
lots of sample mangling possibilities (although I prefer to do this in Ableton)
lots of fun sequencing tricks
so deep I could probably explore it forever

MPC Cons:
Old technology? First came out it 2005.
non-rack mountable
would need to modify for increased RAM and storage
not as flexable as the OT
kinda vanilla

MPC Pros:
Easy, intuitive, and fun to use
PADS!
more audio outs
more MIDI outs

There are probably alot more pros/cons for each...

I would have use the search function but Dead Banana
Biff
Awesome topic idea, I've been debating the same thing (for gigs and because my wife is always using my laptop).

Some crack-pot ideas I was thinking too were to run the octatrack with the mpc-1000 or getting a mac-mini and setting it up to Ableton, then for the shows removing the screen and using it as a coaster (course if anything fails you're kinda in a bind). For me, the biggest issue is sequencing midi, even if it means controlling the octatrack with another seq.
Funky40
i have both, i use both.........or "used" as i´m not so much into making music with beatboxes anymore, at least right now.



The octa is utterly fast for programming your stuff.
the fader gives you the Jam capabilitys nothing else i have or had gives me in that way.
though things tend to get noisy of some sort.
As "noisy" is a attrribut of your music.........i´d say go octa.
that the octa is unintuitive to use is just not true.
The truth is you have to be deep into the octa that things can get fluffy.
But then its the fastest machine ever. my opinion.
these both points are related, but its not the same. wink

i would boil it down to:
the octa is totally cool to "programm" funky shit.
on the MPC have you, at least i have, to play it by hand, live, to get the funk.
for a live performance is the octa the more "alive" tool. more livingly.
you can "work" with your given base and stretch it into other things.
what can you do with the MPC ? mute tracks, change patterns........anything more ?
MPC seems more a "working by plan" for live uses while the octa can have so much sweetspots on the fader yielding to results just not plannable upfront.
you need to feel it !
but is not exactly this "making music" ? thats what in personally like so much with the octa
Trilo
Biff wrote:
run the octatrack with the mpc-1000


I like the way you think. Mr. Green But before getting both, I'd actually have to play a lot of shows to be able to justify both.
Trilo
Funky40 wrote:

that the octa is unintuitive to use is just not true.


I agree with a lot of what you said about the octa except for this. For me personally it was unintuitive mainly as if I would take a week or two off from using the OT, it would be difficult to remember exactly what to do. I never full memorized or mastered it so it felt like i was relearning it all the time. I think I tried to do too many things with it and didn't really dig into learning just a few aspects of it really well. The MPC on the other hand felt like I mastered it after a few weeks.

Funky40 wrote:

The truth is you have to be deep into the octa that things can get fluffy.
But then its the fastest machine ever. my opinion.


Yes, I agree. For a moment there, I saw a ray that fluffy light through all the clouds.

Funky40 wrote:

i would boil it down to:
the octa is totally cool to "programm" funky shit.
on the MPC have you, at least i have, to play it by hand, live, to get the funk.

MPC seems more a "working by plan" for live uses


I'd definitely rather play the funk than program the funk Rockin' Banana! which is why the MPC pads are such a big PRO for me. Also, I may be "working by plan" a bit for a live performance which also swings me towards the MPC.

I appreciate your reply and thoughts about this, especially as you own both. cool
dkcg
I had an MPC1000 with the JJ OS and currently own an Octatrack. The thing about the MPC I miss the most is the pressure sensitive pads and the repeat function (hold down pad and it repeats quantized notes with pressure sensitivity), so much easier to play dynamically when you can control levels with pressure. I do that sort of stuff with Ableton and Push, but miss the portability of the MPC.

Sequencingwise, I like the OT with the multitude of possibilities, including polyrhythms.

To me the main difference other than the pads is experimenting, the OT was made for that, the MPC is more traditional style of performing. I could see finger drummers totally preferring the MPC for the dynamics. I could see experimental enthusiasts preferring the OT. You're gonna have a harder time playing an Autechre style song with an MPC, but you could more easily with an OT. Likewise, I think an MPC drum track can sound more realistic more quickly than with an OT where you would have to go back and P-Lock velocity or add LFOs to animate them. A good finger drummer might get a loop in one measure w/o additional tweaking.

However, I think both machines could do tracks that you might have trouble deciding if it was an MPC or an OT, but they could also do tracks where you know with the first hit.

If I didn't use Ableton, I might have an MPC that's sequenced by the OT. The OT is usually the master clock in my studio, unless Im using Ableton.
lvoemachine
One way to expand the octatrack to make it more mpc like is make a sample chain, hook up a pad controller and play those slices. It allows you to put like 64 samples in one "track" and use a korg pad kontrol ($100 upgrade)or whatever and still get that funk. Run it into a neighbor track and loop that audio and then chop it up elektron style. The thing that makes the octa so rad is that you can approach it lots of ways where the mpc has one language. The main advantage of the mpc is the polyphonic sample playback and the roll feature.
Sinamsis
The GS answer would be both. Haha (I typed that before I saw that others had said the same thing). But honestly they probably would pair well together. MPC for sequencing, and playing. The OT for processing the audio.


But I would ask why the 1000? I snagged a 5000 not too long ago with the plan to use it for live stuff in the future. My set up is pretty similar to yours. What the MPC5000 has that the 1000 does not is the ability to stream 8 tracks from an internal hard drive. Don't let the bad wrap fool you, it's actually a pretty nice MPC. Can be found for cheap (I got mine for $500) and is easily upgradable. Also feels like more of an instrument than the 1000/2500 (I used to own a 2500). No JJOS, but I don't really miss it. And the pads!!! Hahaha. Also built in preamp for turntable. VA synth. Etc. The 5000 is bigger. But still portable. And honestly sturdier.
Trilo
dkcg wrote:
To me the main difference other than the pads is experimenting, the OT was made for that, the MPC is more traditional style of performing. I could see finger drummers totally preferring the MPC for the dynamics. I could see experimental enthusiasts preferring the OT. You're gonna have a harder time playing an Autechre style song with an MPC, but you could more easily with an OT. Likewise, I think an MPC drum track can sound more realistic more quickly than with an OT where you would have to go back and P-Lock velocity or add LFOs to animate them. A good finger drummer might get a loop in one measure w/o additional tweaking.


Thanks dkcg. I finger drum but as I could do this with PUSH while producing my music, perhaps I don't need to during the live performance... I'll probably be too occupied with playing bass and moving the song along.

lvoemachine wrote:
One way to expand the octatrack to make it more mpc like is make a sample chain, hook up a pad controller and play those slices.


That sounds like a brilliant idea! Do you do this? I had a hard time searching this out on the internet... seems like many people would like to do this but have yet to be sucessful at it.

Sinamsis wrote:
The 5000 is bigger. But still portable. And honestly sturdier.


Good point... I did not consider the 5000. You got an excellent deal! It is quite big but I do like the fact it has an on board synth... which may make having a hardware synth in my live setup unnecessary. But loading single waveforms in the Octa could turn it into a synth of sorts too...

Thanks again for the opinions! I'm leaning towards the Octa right now with the intent of supplementing it with a MPC in the future. But honestly, I'm still on the fence hmmm.....
oisin
cool thread. ive found it really difficult to find some hardware that replaces the clip style sequencing im used to in Live. i tried an MPC but could get it to do what i wanted. . curious about the octarack.

actually the sequencer that was most abelton-y, and most fun to play was an alesis mmt8, but i would never tour with one.
Sinamsis
Yeah, keep in mind that the MPC5000 supports key group samples. I have yet to really mess with it. But you can sample your studio synths and play them back through the 5000. You can connect a midi keyboard to it. I have been toying with using Autosampler in MainStage to create an EXS24 file (that can then be used in Ableton's sampler) which is basically the single voice sampled across a bunch of notes in a user defined range, with multiple velocities. So then you basically turn a monophonic modular patch into a polyphonic synth. It's quicker and easier than doing it yourself. I have yet to figure out how to convert it to something compatible with 5K though. Ha, so not really helpful.
sleepmcevox
OP, have you actually sat down with an Octatrack before? Do you personally find it unintuitive and hard to use?

Because I got mine a couple of weeks ago, expecting it to be all difficult, going for what others were saying, and honestly it's been a breeze. I think it gets a bad rep, mainly from people who werent bothered learning it. It's not that complex. I was up and running with it after an evening playing around, and I really think it'd suit what you describe as your needs.

Plus as well as being great for live, the OT is a great compositional tool. You can do so much with it. My 2 c This is fun!
Smokey
Yeah, "unintuitive" would be my informed, subjective opinion as well after owning one for a year. I read the manual, read Merlin's guide, watched tutorials and yet had difficultly remembering certain workflows.

come over Trilo when you get one!
Trilo
sleepmcevox wrote:
OP, have you actually sat down with an Octatrack before? Do you personally find it unintuitive and hard to use?


Yes, I had one for less than a year though. Unintuitive might not be the right word as somethings were very intuitive! I should have gave myself more time before giving up. I find other equipment way more unintuitive, like the Ciat-Lonbarde stuff MY ASS IS BLEEDING

I know my way around electronic music gear WAY more now than I did when I had the Octa so I feel more confident about owning one now.

Smokey wrote:
come over Trilo when you get one!


two heads are better than one, eh? Mr. Green sounds good mate.
valis
I got my mpc1000 to replace my midi sequencer and the reel to reel decks that I was bringing to shows (yes, I know). Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person who finds the mpc uninspiring, clunky, and unintuitive. And I'm using jjos. I like to do midi sequencing but working within the grid is clunky and the note resolution is pretty finite (is it something stupid like 1/16? I can't remember). I just can't really get into that sequencer. I find the sequencer on the Roland MVs to be way more useful and intuitive for me. I end up just banging on pads mostly to write material which is not preferable. It's also a machine that I'm constantly having to refer back to the manual for seemingly simple stuff. It could be just me though. I also find the on board effects dreadful. Furthermore, I find myself editing sounds on my computer and then loading them into my mpc. I kind of wish the wav editor was a bit more hands-on and less menu based. Again, maybe it's just me or how I use the machine.

That said, I love hitting pads and turning on and off pads with the pads while performing. If you're willing to work with the mpc it makes for a useful live tool (I've never used a OT).

For the price of a used mpc they're hard to beat and I still find it useful. I do wish those Roland MVs weren't so huge though. The mpc Has ruined many evenings where I wanted to make music but ended up going through the jjos or mpc manual looking for answers. I feel somewhat ashamed to post all of this since everyone is always praising the mpc and jjos for how simple they are to use.
Sinamsis
Dude, the MPC I mentioned has been shat on for like a decade now. Haha. I still love it. It's all personal preference. I like having many different work flows, depending on what I'm looking for. I think you have to distinguish the MPC as a compositional vs performance tool. The OP is asking for performance. I haven't played around with the effects section of mine too much yet (I've only had it up and running for a couple months now, and I've been pretty focused on my modular stuff), but people usually have very good things to say about the effects section. The 1000/2500 usually not quite as much. And trust me, if you read the MPC forums people shit all over the 1000 and 2500 as well. If it isn't associated with Linn it aint an MPC to some folks.

I honestly don't use my MPC too much for composition. More so planning to use it for live stuff. The ability to stream 8 tracks from a HD (I installed at 750 gb one on mine) is huge. You can dump your sequences and samples from your DAW into the MPC. So you can set it and forget it while you're doing other stuff, but come back and mute/unmute, play, etc when you'd like to. As I said before it's big. But not that big. I wouldn't carry it around town, but I suspect you're driving to gigs. I imagine with a bass, you need a bass amp too; dunno what you're using but any remotely decent size speaker cabinet is going to weigh in close to 100 lbs haha. So what's an MPC in comparison? The difference in build quality is huge; this MPC was supposed to be the new flag ship. I'd also look at the 4000, which really is more of a sampler than the 5000 (I mean like derived from the AKAI line of samplers, with key group samples, able to load a vast variety of other file types, etc). But the MPC is really a fantastic instrument that has been forgotten by many these days.

Oh, and regarding work flow, I find the 5000 does everything I need. I don't miss JJOS. I can do everything I want within the AKAI software. Handling samples is much easier. And the stupid omissions from the 1000/2500 are not present in the 5000 (if I recall correctly, there were no pad mutes on my 2500, just track mutes).

I've spent a lot of time thinking about this specific dilemma. How do I take my studio work and make it something that I can do live? Do I need a computer? I may still bring my laptop with Ableton/Push. But I may just use my MPC. Maybe both? I like having the option though.

These are the guys that really inspired me to check out the MPC for live use. Looks like now they're using them with Push. There used to be another singer, and all 3 of them had MPCs, along with other hardware.


Bath House
valis wrote:
I got my mpc1000 to replace my midi sequencer and the reel to reel decks that I was bringing to shows (yes, I know). Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person who finds the mpc uninspiring, clunky, and unintuitive.


Nope, I'm with you. After years of hype, I bought an MPC 1000 witih JJOS 2XL and was shocked at how unintuitive, clunky, "homemade," and generally terrible the whole thing was. I even bought a few books that teach the OS and just found it to be a completely unpleasant and goofy way of doing basically everything. I thought I was the only one!
sleepmcevox
Trilo wrote:
[Yes, I had one for less than a year though. Unintuitive might not be the right word as somethings were very intuitive! I should have gave myself more time before giving up.


Man, the forums here and at Elektronauts are full of people who have owned multiple Octatracks, where it didn't click the first (or even second) time for whatever reason.

I think part of what made it easier for me to learn was that I previously had a Machinedrum and so was familiar with the Elektron workflow. There's nothing like the OT, you could easily do a complete live set on it alone, no problem.
Funky40
Trilo wrote:
Funky40 wrote:

that the octa is unintuitive to use is just not true.


I agree with a lot of what you said about the octa except for this. For me personally it was unintuitive mainly as if I would take a week or two off from using the OT, it would be difficult to remember exactly what to do. I never full memorized or mastered it so it felt like i was relearning it all the time.

I absolutely know what you are saying here and agree.
I´ve had the same experience in fact. wink relearning things......
at first the machine felt unlogic to some part. True is, ......my opinion, it lacks a button or two. oh well, make it three. wink
so yes, it can feel unintuitiv.

and yes, ...oh well,you have to find your way how to work with some "specialitys" like the parts and how "you" want to arrange them.
scenes are less a problem, but to work strictly and allways after the same organisation sheme is also one of the points to "make" the machine fluffy.

so yes, beside some initial hickups of the machine one has to get over,
and some given shortcomings and unlogic, respecitvly inconsistency which allways will remain ( one just has to memorize it...repeatedly haha) ....aaaand the neeed ( which is in that sense not a shortcoming) that one has to learn how to organise a given flexibility.....its a very intuitiv machine wink
hehe

to MPC1k, from start on with JJOS2XL, took me longer.
it felt not unintuitiv as such, it felt more like several aspects that one has to learn alone, and together its one machine.......
oscilloscope
MPC 1000 live in Atom tm techno set:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLcenNCHC4w
oisin
oscilloscope wrote:
MPC 1000 live in Atom tm techno set:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLcenNCHC4w


great set up and sounds! woah i saw an in depth interview somewhere where he explains how he's using the mpc, i think also to control ableton? cant remember where i read it. . but its out there somewhere
oisin
oscilloscope wrote:
MPC 1000 live in Atom tm techno set:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLcenNCHC4w


great set up and sounds! woah i saw an in depth interview somewhere where he explains how he's using the mpc, i think also to control ableton? cant remember where i read it. . but its out there somewhere
Sinamsis
Controlling made me think of clocking. Which in turn reminded me that the MPC has rock solid timing. Does anyone know how the Octatrack compares? Honestly, I'm sure most modern instruments have pretty rock solid timing. Also, I don't know if I buy into the hype of MPC magic sauce with timing and swing. Either way, I don't think that would apply to this discussion, since it's usually used in reference to the Roger Linn MPCs, which none of the aforementioned are. But I thought that clock and timing are probably worth while to mention.

And on another note, has the I/O discrepancy been discussed? I mean, if you include larger MPCs like the 5000.
Sinamsis
Did you come to a conclusion? There's an MPC2000XL up for $400. Seems like a pretty good deal. Decent shape. Some scuffs. Two fine lines in display. 8 outs. Not sure if there are any other upgrades. But looks decent and $400 aint bad.
Smokey
Go for the Octatrack
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