Decisions: Can’t keep them all (Part 1)(Elektron Octatrack MkI)

I have a tough decision to make in my studio.   I went and did what I always seem to do and overbought on drum machines/samplers.   I have an absolute weakness for these machines, and there have been some NICE machines released recently. Unfortunately, though, this is just too much to have…particularly for someone who’s mainly using software in his workflow these days.   All that and I just don’t have the desk space…so something has to go.

Its a messy work space.

In no particular order, let’s look at each device and what it has to offer.    I’ll break this up over a few posts over the next few days, so if you’re interested in my take on any of the pictured gear, check back in a few days.

Farewell old friend?

I’ve had the Octatrack a LONG time…almost since it was first released.  With the release of the MKII, I’ve not even thought of upgrading.  Why?  Because they didn’t really upgrade it.   It’s got a new coat of paint and a little bit better button layout…but I’m happy with the current unit.

Old, but reliable.

The Octatrack has hung around specifically because it does a lot of things very well.  It does require a certain level of thinking, though, and planning.    In my use, it’s been much better an FX processor / sound looper than it would ever be a drum machine (though, admittedly, I’ve not used it for that much).   Its MIDI sequencing is pretty powerful, though, and I did try once to have it control a bunch of external MIDI synths.   That was…..OK.  I didn’t honestly like the experience much.   Maybe if it had a keyboard connected…

I don’t think I’d get rid of the Octatrack unless I replaced it with a MKII.   It’s made a great simple mixer for live sets and provides FX processing for other gear (which is, actually, my main use for it).   It’s about as close to a DJ Mixer as I think I’d ever get.    Also, familiarity makes it hard to part with.  I *know* what it does and how it works and how I use it.   That counts for something.




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