Elektron Octatrack MKII Performance Sampler

Electron just keeps em coming, each machine is distinct has a specific purpose yet continues a thread of style, layout and functionality that is consistent and meaningful. This is no less true with the Octatrack MKII.

Elektron Octatrak MKII

Sound Remixing/Re Creating

The Octatrack MKII has an absolutely crazy ability to transform sounds into something you’d never expect to happen in a real time on the fly fashion with many different ways of expressing the sound.  This of course is extremely useful in remixing, sound design creation of unique tracks out of samples that sound nothing like the original sample and create a whole new world of sound that quite literally never before existed.  Very few other samplers have this ability and the Octatrack really stands alone in this regard, I could list the technical ways the Octatrack can accomplish this, and will try in the following paragraphs, but you have to just hear it in action to properly grasp the ability it has.

 

Pitch Shifting and Time Stretch Capability

Pitch shifting and using time stretch to get a sample or beat to match a specific tempo is the backbone of remixing sampling the Octratrack does a job like no other except for maybe it’s earlier version in this regard. The Octatrack can even take rather large samples and bend and stretch them into your overall mix in ways samplers and drum machines in the past jsut could not accomplish without great effort if even at all.

 

Playback Modes

The MKII gives you the following play modes for playing sounds and samples:

  • Slice,
  • Slots,
  • Chromatic
  • Delay Control
  • Quick Mute

With Slice you can play specific slices of a sample or loop which is very powerful for remixing a beat in just the way you want, or for experimenting and making a new beat out of an existing beat.  Chromatic plays the keys up and down the notes as they would play on a keyboard giving you a synth like way to lay down baselines, pads, textures and much more. Slots can play specific sample slots from the audio pool once loaded. Delay Control can freeze the echo delay effects. Quick Mute, mutes the settings in the mixer menu while leaving the various track parameters visible.

 

 

Programmable/Assignable Cross Fader

The Octatrack has a very nice, very dominant, capable cross fader that can be assigned to loop remixing, interpolating parameter values between A and B set at the scene level, experiment with scene locked parameter settings, modulate start parameters, mix between internal DJ decks, remix loops and samples, create new rhythms.  The cross fader is where much of the sound design and sound transformation process takes place, the above paragraph does not really begin to list all of the various roles the cross fader on the Octatrack can play.

 

 Recording Your Samples Live, Real Time

The Octatrack MKII can record samples live in real time during a performance. After the sample is recording the real fun begins with live time stretching, pitch shifting. You can get a real rocking, sound re shaping performance going live with all the flexibility you want in a sampler, this device can be not just a stand alone electronic music performance center but the control or nerve center of  a complex setup.

 

 Dedicated Buttons

Dedicated feature access buttons make working with the Octarack MKII a fun and intuitive experience, being able to access a feature with one touch and not a clumsy menu set can make the difference between shutting off the machine in frustration or cutting a production short of its potential and seeing a finished sonic production that exceeds your original expectations.

Dedicated Button List:

  • Project
  • Part Edit
  • AED Slice Grid
  • Mix
  • ARR Arrange Mode
  • MIDI
  • REC 1
  • REC 2
  • REC 3
  • T-1 (Cue-Mute)
  • T-2 (Cue-Mute)
  • T-3 (Cue-Mute)
  • T-4 (Cue-Mute)
  • T-5 (Cue-Mute)
  • T-6 (Cue-Mute)
  • T-7 (Cue-Mute)
  • T-8 (Cue-Mute)
  • SRC- Note
  • AMP- ARP
  • LFO
  • FX 1 (Control 1)
  • FX 2 (Control 2)
  • CUE
  • BANK
  • PATTERN
  • ARM- YES
  • DISARM- NO
  • COPY
  • CLEAR
  • PASTE
  • A-MUTE (cross fader)
  • B-MUTE (cross fader)
  • TAP TEMPO
  • PAGE (Scale)

 

 

High- Quality High Resolution Precision Encoders

In adddition to all the well laid out dedicated function/feature buttons  the Octatrack has some of the finest encoder knobs you’ll ever turn, they can control the 3 LFO functions, level, start position, end position of samples and loops, zoom and scroll in an A, B, D, E, F layout so the knobs can also control other parameters depending on the play or programming mode you are in on a specific scene or sample.

 

Elastic Loops

The ability to hold all of your loops and samples together and  keep the BPM synced while also being able to re slice and re mix down to a very deep level is a big part of what makes the Octratrack MKII stand out above and beyond.   No matter where you are in a performance you can stretch and bend, slice and re tool your sounds but keep them together in the overall flow of the performance tempo.

 

Five GB of Factory Content

Today the memory capability of flash drives is taking drum machines to levels that make them dedicated computers without the hassle of an OS and internet viruses and this machine keeps that trend going by including gigabytes and gigabytes of samples and sounds from the following sources:

  • Origin Sound
  • LoopMasters
  • Samples From Mars

With this much to start with you’ll get up and running on the first day without having to create a whole sound set from nothing.

 

 

Effects

  • 12/24DB MULTI MODE FILTER – Resonant Hi-Low-Band Pass Filter
  • 2-BAND PARAMETRIC EQ
  • DJ STYLE KILL EQ – REmixing EQ for eliminating entire bands and isolating sounds
  • 2-10 STAGE PHASER (Sweeping, modulating effects that make sounds appear wider)
  • FLANGER – (modulating effect common with guitars but can be used with anything)
  • TAP CHORUS – (stereo enhancing and sound softening )
  • SPATIALIZER – (stereo imaging and creating stereo sounds from mono sounds)
  • COMB FILTER – (metalic, pitch tuned overtones)
  • DYNAMIX COMPRESSOR (get a loud beat by compressing the sound and smothing out the high and low volume )
  • LO-FI COLLECTION (a collection of effects for griming up, dritying, grittyifying your sounds)
  • ECHO FREEZE DELAY (echo- delay effects that freeze or loop creating beat patterns of their own )
  • GATEBOX PLATE REVERB (gated reverb effect)
  • SPRING REVERB (classic grungy twangy spring reverb)
  • DARK REVERB (spacey wide stereo reverb sound)

Back Of The Box

  • 1/4 Headphone Out
  • Main out 2 stereo 1/4 jacks
  • Cue Out 2 stereo 1/4 jacks
  • 4 1/4 input jacks
  • Midi IN
  • Midi OUT
  • MIDI thru
  • CF flash card slot
  • USB input for file transfer and midi to computer
  • power input
  • on/off

Artists that use the Octatrak according to the Elektron.se website:

Nine Inch Nails | Boyz Noise | MGMT | Laurel Halo | Del the Funky Homosapien | Wilco | Andreas Tilliander | Susanne Sundfør | Mogwai | Zombie Nation | The Horrors | Kid Koala | Puscifer | The Field | Basecamp | The Bug | Claude Violante | Simonne Jones | Youth Code | Klute and many many more

 

Who is the Octatrack MK II for?

Anyone with an imagination and $1300 bucks.  Ha Ha, no really this machine is just fantastic, capable and could really be the center of just about any electronic music maker, beat maker, remix artists setup.

That said, like most of Elektron’s devices there is a bit of a learning curve, that is because of how capable they are as sound design stations and control centers they can be using tons of features, the best way to approach machines like this is not to get overwhelmed and just work with you can understand at first, then branch out into the other features and things get more familiar and the inspiration takes you. After some time you’ll begin to imagine a sound and know what function can best accomplish that goat but it does take a little time.