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Replacing Ableton with Synthstrom Deluge or Octatrack MK2
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear  
Author Replacing Ableton with Synthstrom Deluge or Octatrack MK2
Hello, I have a hybrid setup containing Eurorack modules (4 voices) and Ableton for FX and sequencer, however, I'd like to move away from Push 2 and Ableton and I'm looking to purchase either Deluge or Octatrack MK2. There are a few questions I'd like to ask before I make a final call:

1. As I understand, Octatrack has 4 ins and 4 outs. I can route each of my voices into its own Line IN channel, add FX and route it OUT to the mixer. How does it work in Deluge since there is only one Line IN and stereo OUT? I know I can use CV/Gate/MIDI for sequencing, but how can I add FX on Deluge for every voice (ext audio) like I can do with Octa? How Deluge's FXs are being added to the signal?
2. I've heard that FXs quality on Octatrack MK1 are not that great. Has it been fixed on Octa MK2? How does it compare with Deluge?
charlie360x wrote:

2. I've heard that FXs quality on Octatrack MK1 are not that great. Has it been fixed on Octa MK2?

The reverb is not the strymon lush kind thats for sure. But the rest of the FXs even though basic, are fine. And having 2 per voice is pretty cool.
Elektron's FX is garbage that tends to muddy up your sounds.

The Pioneer SP 16 is also worth checking out... it destroys the other options in terms of sound quality.
I own both machines and they are both great machines. Each one has its own advantages.
Talking about FX, with the Deluge you can add any number of effects you want to the live input, and even transpose the signal live. But yes, you only has 2 inputs vs 4 inputs of the Octatrack.

The Deluge is newer and the firmware is still improving a lot with every update. The OT is death, talking about firmware updates.

My advice is get a Deluge!!
The Octatrack is brilliant device, but very different from Ableton. The effects are very serviceable. It does take some manual reading and youtube to learn (although I felt that way about Ableton too). The crossfader is very fun to play with. Paired with YARNS or a CV.OCD (what I'm using) it's a great trigger and modulation device as well. The probability stuff is amazing.

I have used some old Boss mixers (BX-8 and BX 16) as submixers for other Elektrons/Modular/Monologue and then ran their main outs into the two pairs of stereo INs. This gave me some ability to EQ my sounds and put some mild effects on, and then I could use the OT for the real mangling. The McMillen K-Mix would be really nice for doing that too, since it has assignable outs. Anyways, just an idea.

Depennding on what you are trying to do, the Octatrack really can be a lot of different things. if you have finished tracks or stems (from Ableton) it can be a live remix and mangling station (almost like 8 sets of CDJs). It's also a fully featured midi sequencer, for Eurorack just add something that does CV->Midi.

The Deluge looks pretty damn cool but it's much more limited than the OT, in my opinion. I hope they stick with it and eventually come out with something 'bigger' because some of their ideas are better than Elektrons. At this time, I think it's not contest.


Panason will try to derail your thread with his anti-Elektron rhetoric so take everything he says with a dumptruck of salt. Does he have an alert set where anytime "Elektron" gets posted he makes a beeline for the thread? Sad.
Having played with neither but seen them both in action also take my advice with a dumptruck of salt. The Octa is the more full featured of the two and a more mature product. When I talked to my buddy about his Deluge a year ago there were a lot of bugs still being ironed out. That would be worth looking into. That said, he was trying to get me to buy one for months but I already look at the laptop as kind of the best sampler/sequencer money can buy.
charlie360x wrote:

2. I've heard that FXs quality on Octatrack MK1 are not that great. Has it been fixed on Octa MK2? How does it compare with Deluge?

Well the Deluge FX are nowhere near as good as the Octatrack's, not even in the same ballpark, the kindest thing I could say about them is that they are ok but very basic, and just about usable. The mkI and mkII Octatrack fx are identical, since they are pretty much the same aside from a few additional buttons, new screen, styling and slight update to the audio in/outs.

I have and use both machines, the Octatrack is a lot more complex and capable of a lot more use scenarios, but the Deluge is probably closer to the Ableton workflow due to the arranger/song and the way it handles stems. It also has much higher voice count. Sampling on the Deluge is a bit simpler and feature lacking than the Octatrack, also you do not have the editing facilities as of yet, although the promised forthcoming update is going to add quite a lot of features.

I also think that the user community is much larger and better supported with the Octatrack, the Deluge forum is pretty quiet because for some reason they prefer using facebook to discuss it, (including bizarrely the beta!?) which presumably most of the users have no problem with, so thats a bit crap if you don't do FB.

The synth section of the Deluge isn't very good so don't let that be a deciding factor, the Electribe 2 has a better sounding and more featured synth engine than the Deluge, the filters sound pretty bad to me, I hope that Synthstrom give some badly needed attention to the synth section, as the machine as a whole and its feature set are very promising.

The Octatrack only has 8 voice polyphony, can't play more than 1 sample per step, per track at a time, so no chords (Deluge can). The Octatrack can though be used in many more ways than the Deluge, and feels much more tactile and instrument like as long as you are prepared to put the work in.

Both are good machines, I like them both, both have a learning curve, and both won't do everything you want. As pointed out earlier the OT is probably unlikely to see much in the way of major OS development, the Deluge more than likely is.
I used to have the octatrack, now I have a deluge. To me its just the most amazing peace of gear ever. Its intuitive and a delight to work with, because everything is just a buttonpress away. Its also quite deep, f. i. you can modulate LFO 1 with LFO 2. You have fm, ringmod, a quite decent time stretch algorythm, and you have all areas covered, including arrangement. And the sequencer 8 * 16 is the sexiest in the market. The octatrack on the other hand is so difficult, that you can learn it, but most people including myself are never going to use it intuitively. Deluge = fun and hands on, plus developer keeps adding amazing stuff. Octatrack = Brainy, more limited, no new stuff anymore.
2 Things: next update of the deluge will make it possible to jam out while recording into arrangement. This will be huge!

Not so huge, but useful: Through the stereo input you can record 2 mono sources individually, each to a separate track. I set the thing up so that the synths go into a mixer and the alternative output of the mixer goes into the deluge, so I can decide which instrument I want to record by routing that channel into the deluge. One thing that the deluge is still missing but Im sure it will come is record a source and loop it automatically after recording synced to the whole song, but there is a workaround, because you can record the output of the deluge synced to the beat. You just need to solo whatever you want to record and record the output. The timing is tight!

Another thing where I choose deluge over octatrack is that in the deluge has no screen. This makes you work more with your ears. Sound-design-wise I have never been so successful with any other machine or computer-program.
Rex Coil 7
charlie360x wrote:
... I'd like to move away from Push 2 and Ableton and I'm looking to purchase either Deluge or Octatrack MK2.
I am doing the exact opposite ... almost dove into hardware loopers in a BIG way just last week, instead I ended up designing a computer that I am currently neck deep into the design and component acquisition phase now (link to project thread in my signature). I'm going with Live 9 on a purpose-built Win 7, liquid cooled, quad core, ASUS mother board, 32gb, Thunderbolt equipped machine controlled by Push 1, a Dot Com QKB61 5 oct keyboard with custom built MIDI controllers.

A brand new computer with the combination of Live 9, Push 1, Win 7, along with a liquid cooled Intel i3 8700 3.6ghz CPU makes for a very stable, ultra-well supported, time proven rig with modern improvements such as Thunderbolt/USB3 and all SSD storage is like running it on rocket fuel. The whole thing is being built in a wooden box and espousing the same construction and design engineering notions used in modular synthesizer designs. It is to be my "Modular Computer".

It replaces a Squarp Pyramid MIDI sequencer, two Boss RC-505 live performance phrase loopers, three Boss RC-1 live performance phrase loopers, and one Boss RC-202 live performance phrase looper.

(I am not monitoring this thread)

seriously, i just don't get it
This is a post from the developer in the facebook beta-testers group. I hope its ok to post it here, but I see no downside to it. Anyway, this should settle the argument between octatr. and deluge:

Hello Deluge beta testers! I'm extremely excited to present to you Deluge firmware V2.1.0-beta1!

Feast your eyes on this list of new features and improvements.


**Sample engine**
-- Automatic pitch detection and transposing of all samples loaded into “synth” instruments, including single-cycle waveforms
-- Multisampling
-- Waveform view
-- Higher quality sample pitch adjustment / sample rate conversion
-- Higher quality and less CPU-heavy pitch shifting and time stretching
-- AIFF file support
-- 8-bit WAV file support

**MIDI / gate**
-- Greatly reduced jitter on MIDI, gate, and trigger-clock output, regardless of CPU load
-- When MIDI clock or trigger clock output is enabled, stopping all tracks and then starting one again no longer restarts the clock
-- Can set to ignore MIDI clock input

-- Adding / deleting instruments directly in arranger - press an unused “audition” pad to add
-- Learn input MIDI channels to instruments in arranger - press learn + an audition pad like in track view
-- Arrangement recording from live performance in song view
-- Automation of “affect entire song” params, in arranger only

**Media management**
-- Can import a whole folder of samples as a kit
-- Collect media tool - copies all song’s samples to folder
-- For certain sample params (MODE, REVERSE, SPEED, PITCH/SPEED), holding affect-entire while editing the param will apply the change to the whole kit

-- Further, sizeable improvements to CPU optimization, leading to increased polyphony
-- Horizontal scroll position numeric indication is now present in arranger, and has been changed everywhere to the more standard “bar.beat” format (let me know your thoughts on this change?)
-- Settable defaults and randomness for tempo, swing, key and scale
-- Multiplying a track now alters notes’ iteration dependence to keep the piece sounding the same where possible
-- Sidechain and pitch adjustment at the “kit” level, under “affect-entire”
-- Can now see and change a track’s preset when holding down a pad on it in song view
-- Factory reset function - hold down the select knob when powering on

Instructions below.

** Multisampling ** (see video, though it's since been changed so you no longer auto-import with the shift button: -2-1-multisampling-sneak-preview/?fbclid=IwAR1B5qRB4G_JdXGsYxwzVmKhTyw D8fpEUzpaPo-IPipJFh312vLCzkt2ukQ

“Synth” instruments are no longer limited to having just one sample (per “oscillator”) across all notes - different “ranges” of notes may be set up with different samples. This is especially helpful for replicating the sounds of acoustic instruments by importing recordings of various different notes.

When entering the “browse” shortcut for a sound's “oscillator”, you are first prompted to select the range of notes you wish to select a sample for. The default option is “BOT-TOP” (bottom to top, meaning applying to all notes).

The easiest way to set up a multisampled instrument, if you have its various recorded notes all in the same folder, is to go into that default “BOT-TOP” range, browse to the folder, and long-pressing down on the select encoder, either while viewing that folder’s name or a file in it. Select “MULT” from the resulting context menu. The Deluge will import all samples in the folder, perform pitch detection on them, and set up note ranges for them based on those detected pitches. This will work whether you have a separate sample for every single note, or a smaller selection of files and notes, in which case the Deluge will set up ranges with bounds halfway between neighbouring samples’ pitches.

The Deluge’s pitch detection algorithm does a fairly good job on its own, but will then also compare its results to the sample files’ names. If it realises that it’s got the samples in the wrong order, it will re-evaluate the pitches. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have your samples named alphabetically from low notes to high notes. Numbers and note names are taken into account when looking at the order - e.g. the Deluge knows that “B#2” comes before “A3”, despite B being later in the alphabet than A. Only the ordering of the files is important though - the Deluge does not read the actual note names - just looks at the files’ ordering and then uses its pitch detection for the rest.

You can also manually edit the multisample note ranges. When selecting a range (e.g. after pressing the “browse” shortcut), the existing ranges may be flicked through by turning the select knob. They will display in the format of “A2-D2”, meaning that the range covers the notes A2 to D2, inclusive of those notes. Sharps are represented with a “.”, and “BOT” and “TOP” are used to mean that the range applies all the way to the bottom or the top.

To edit a note range’s bounds, turn the <> knob to select either the lower or upper bound (it will blink). Then turn the select knob to edit it. The corresponding boundary of the neighbouring range will be moved as well to accommodate the change.

To insert a new range, hold the shift button and turn the select knob clockwise or anticlockwise to create a new range above or below the currently selected one, respectively. And to delete the currently selected range, press the save/delete button.

** Loading a whole folder as a kit **
Similar context menu. Long-press the select knob on a folder (or a file in that folder), and select "ALL". The slicer option now lives in this menu too. The menu is only available if it's a brand new kit.

** Waveform view ** (see video:…/synthstrom-deluge-2-1-sneak-pr…/ )

Waveform view allows you to view sample waveforms as a low-resolution graphics on the Deluge’s pads, and edit a sound’s set start, end and loop points.

The view is entered via the zone start and end shortcuts for either of a sound’s “oscillators”.

You may scroll and zoom using the <> knob, in much the same way as in the Deluge’s other views.

You will notice the a green and red vertical bar, representing the set start and end points respectively. One will be blinking by default, meaning it is selected for editing. Tapping any of these points will change that selection.

For the point that is selected for editing, you may move it by tapping where you want it to go, or turning the select knob.

Loop start and end points may be created, and may then be edited in the same way. To create a loop start point, hold down a pad on the regular start point, and press a new pad to its right. To create a loop end point, hold down a pad on the regular end point, and press a new pad to its left.

** Arrangement recording from song view **
You may wish to place track-instances in the arranger by way of recording a “performance” in song view, launching and stopping tracks as you wish and tweaking parameters as you go.

In song view, this mode is activated by pressing record+song. This will immediately begin playback, with the resulting music being recorded into the arranger. The record and song buttons will blink fast to indicate that this mode is active. Recording will stop when you end playback, or if you press either the record or song button.

While arrangement recording is active, some functions are not available - for instance you cannot delete tracks or enter track view or arranger view.

You can however adjust track parameters from song view by holding down a track and turning a gold knob. You can also use MIDI inputs to affect parameters, or play notes, and these changes will be recorded into the arrangement too - see further details below.

As tracks play, your performance is recorded into the arranger by way of track-instances being placed in the arranger on the relevant instruments’ rows. These track-instances refer back to the original track (i.e. they have coloured head-squares), so if you modify the track later, the change will show up in your arrangement too. You can always clone these track-instances into unique instances in the arranger if you wish.

If you adjust any track parameters or live-play any notes by MIDI, however, the corresponding track-instance is instantly cloned into a unique instance, and your adjustment is recorded into that new copy of the track which exists only in the arranger, and will not affect the original track which exists in song view.

When you begin arrangement recording, the recording of your performance in the arranger will begin from wherever your current scroll-position is in arranger view. (This defaults to time 0 for new songs.) Anything which previously existed to the right of this start-point is immediately deleted to make way for what you are about to record. You can, however, undo arrangement recording by pressing back, which will also restore whatever arrangement existed previously.

If you instant-launch a track (shift + launch pad), then it will be placed in the recorded arrangement as if it had been played right from the start of that loop - this may be helpful if you forget to launch something quite in time.

** Collect-media tool **
This tool allows you to collect together all sample files which a song uses, allowing you to transfer the song to another SD card, or give to another Deluge user.

When saving your song, after selecting the slot number, long-press the save button. A context menu will appear with just one option, "COLL". Select that. Now, as the song is saved, a new folder is created with the same name as your song file (inside the SONGS folder on your card), containing all copies of your song’s samples.

To transfer the song to another card or user, both the song file (e.g. “SONG100.XML”) and the song folder (“SONG100”) need to be placed in the SONGS folder on the destination card. The song can now be loaded from that card with all its samples.

As soon as a song loaded in such a way is re-saved, the samples are all copied into that card’s normal SAMPLES folder.

The Deluge automatically adds a string of random characters onto the ends of Deluge-recorded samples, so there won't be confusion / overwriting between Deluge users who all have a different e.g. "REC00001.wav" file present.

** Higher quality sample pitch adjustment **
This sounds "better", and less "bitcrushed" than the "linear interpolation" that was used previously. It defaults to on. However you can manually revert back to linear interpolation, which might give a desirable sound in some cases - there's a menu option - OSCx->INTerpolation. Old song files for which sample pitch was adjusted have it default back to using linear interpolation - so your existing songs should sound the same as before.

** Defaults submenu **
"DEFA" in the settings menu allows you to set default tempo, swing, key and scale to be applied to new songs. You can also set most of these to have a "range" within which a random value will be selected each time - to do that, turn the <> knob left or right to edit the minimum or maximum.
octatrack is god.

one of the best grooveboxes/samplers/mixers/synths/loopers/fx box/midi controller/etc...

ever made. everyone should get one.
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