NAMM Weirdness: Elektron Octapong

2016 NAMM Show: At the Winter NAMM Show, Elektron was showing the latest version of Overbridge.

And featuring Elektron Octapong, above – a version of Pong for the Octatrack.

Here’s another look:

32 thoughts on “NAMM Weirdness: Elektron Octapong

  1. Seems cool, I want one. But every review I read, I see so many complaints about the LCD and how everything is buried within menus. Makes it seem like editing on the device is a HUGE pain in the ass. Am I wrong?

      1. It’s not the easiest interface, admittedly, but it’s a lot easier than people make it out to be. There are a fair number of menus, but they are logical and easy to memorize. You have to put in some time to learn your way around it, but I think it’s as easy/easier than a lot of, say, matrix programming synths (Evolver, Blofeld, etc.). And it’s an enormously powerful interface, once you understand it (performance macros, sound locks, parameter locks, etc.). In other words, it’s not just needlessly obtuse; it’s complicated because the A4 is complicated and therefore capable of things that other analog synths are not.

        1. The same could be said about the other Elektron boxes. They’re laid it out so logically that after a while it becomes second nature. Nothing is more than two keypresses away, really. Exception being options you would rarely configure anyways.

        2. Second that, it’s deep, but definitely not complicated after a while. You need to learn it for a while, but then everything is really logical.

          Overbridge is still far too broken and unreliable to be used. At least for me.

          1. I also second what the others are saying. As long as you have a little patience, the reward you have in the end is well worth it. Once you grok how the sequencer works, plus knowing all you can do with parameter locks and performance mode, it is synth nirvana.

    1. I’ve owned an Octatrack since 2013. I definitely wouldn’t say usability and transparency are Elektron’s strong points, but it does become second nature. At first I felt like everything was a cheat code combination, or yes, buried in some menu. But I would relate it to learning a new operating system. You get the hang of it.

    2. I agree with what everyone else is saying. I have an analog keys and it probably took me about three months to learn the ins and outs. But, it’s like buying a four track ableton hardware synth basically. You can do so many crazy things with the parameter locks and sound pool and now with overbrige you can use you computer as a monitor for every aspect of the snyth. I just wish the encoders were twice as big.

      1. As people have said elektron takes time, I have the dark trilogy, and have many nights just walking away in frustration only to be tempted back the next night to be blown away, over four years I’m still finding new methods and ways frustrations and joys. I’m a fan of overbridge plus the continual updating although the octotrac could do with one final huge update, just a few things and then let’s move on to the next machine!

  2. To get the most out of the Elektron gear requires familiarity with their programming workflow. Elektron uses “machines” (think of these “machines” as assignable modules or building blocks) that can be used to accomplish various tasks. I had an Octatrack just sitting collecting dust for a while, but once I got hands on with it and started to understand the workflow better, I really began to reap the rewards. The initial learning curve is higher than most equipment, but I really love what it can do now that I know how to use it. The small size and resolution of the screen become far less cumbersome once you know how to navigate the menus.

  3. Please add finally the granular modular into that octatrack!

    Or maybe a granular effect 🙂

    I wait so long for this features….

    1. Granular +100

      I understand that the maschine cant get an upgrade like overbridge…

      But the granular engine or effect is possible if they spend some hours on programming…

      I have an octatrack since 3 years and I wait since “microgranny” for an granular engine in my OT…


  4. lol they can do pong, i hope this means update.

    add audio input triggering, envelope following (the machinedrum has) etc to the octatrack. give me a good reason to pull it out of closet. 😉

    1. There’s a soild list of much more basic additions that need to happen too. Mutes that allow for envelope decays/fx tails, midi one-shots/scenes off the top of my head.

      I doubt it means anything. The faders transmit midi, this looks like just a game running on a laptop, being controlled by MIDI, with an Elektron badge on top. I can set that up in all of about 5 minutes with Controllermate.

  5. It’s just my opinion but I think after they get Overbridge somewhat staple then there going to update the OT. And yes there is a bit of a learning curve but it’s not much, once you learn your machine it just opens up and becomes a very playable instrument. The A4 is one of my most favorite synths, and with its new OS it can do FM synthesis.

  6. “It’s just my opinion but I think after they get Overbridge somewhat staple then there going to update the OT.”

    I don’t see that it needs a ton? As an owner of both, the Rytm needs more machines more than the OT needs extra features.

    1. + 100000000k

      the ot is feature complete, there are some minor bugs , but it’s close to perfection.
      The Rytm on the other hand is like a dog with three legs.

  7. they put pong in this thing but they can’t be bothered to update the OS?

    come on, Elektron. The Octatrack OS really needs some work. This is a machine that has been neglected for far too long.

  8. Navigating around this is quite a pita and i disagree matrix programming is a lot easier because you just know where the matrix is. Having said that it took m less than a week to gt my head around it but i found what i could do with it not very interesting..A copy of renoise is a lot more usefull and costs 30times less….

  9. Have an Analog Rytm and an Octatrack myself and yes their hard to learn initially but completely worth the effort, I’m an Ableton certified trainer and I hardly touch my DAW anymore. Talked to there expo guys at an event in NYC and they said the Octa will never support Overbridge due to design limitation…Think this pong setup may be a hint at either them figuring it out or maybe even developing an program specifically for the Octa…Gets me hard just thinking about it, lol

    1. There’s nothing to figure out. The fader sends MIDI, the OT sends MIDI. The two connection options are the MIDI ports and USB storage. That’s it. If you really want to manage your OT from a PC, take a look at OctaEdit.

      Also, ew. Next time don’t pour thought-activated krazyglue on yourself.

  10. User : “Please Elektron, can you implement tempo trig locks for the Octatrack? We need it since ages.”

    Elektron : “No, that’s useless. But we will do Pong instead.”

  11. the original grey machines were much more fun to play with, the machinedrum is a joy to use.
    the octatrack is needlessly complicated, it tries to do to much and really lacks killer features like granular.

  12. Seriously …octapong… Elektron should stop pratting around and implement some of the core features in the looping engine of the octa that were hinted at but never delivered …or how about seamless copy and paste of parts so I can evolve my beats live without having to stop… I could go on but I suspect I am wasting my time

    1. Please elaborate on this, which features were hinted and not delivered? And you can copy parts without having to stop, easy peasy. I think you mean pattern, but you can of course copy them without to stop the sequencer.

  13. Ahhh, Pong is just the retro trend of the moment.. You can use the pitch bend on the new Korg minilogue to play Pong while the VCOs tune themselves during startup…

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