Learning The Elektron Octatrack

The Elektron Octatrack has a reputation for being notoriously difficult to learn, in part because the machine is so powerful, but also in part because there are a lot of features that are hidden behind several menus.

In this Patchwerks Seattle video, Jeremy Blake (Red Means Recording) gets an intro from Patchwerks’ Matthew Piecora (EZBOT).

If you’re an Octatrack user, check it out and share your thoughts on the video in the comments. If you’ve got your own recommendations for learning the Octatrack, share your feedback below, too!

14 thoughts on “Learning The Elektron Octatrack

    1. I think it’s difficult for anyone who may not have prior elektron experience. It’s certainly the most complex and powerful machine the they ever built.

      To have it put in front of you without any explanation and have to figure it out, I wouldn’t say it would be hard – but certainly confusing at times.

      Personally I had been using an MD and the original A4 before I decided to go near an Octatrack so i was familiar with many of the things it does.

      But it is still a deep beast. There are many things it does that I haven’t even tried yet. Pickup machines being one

  1. as a previous owner who plans to re-purchase at some point (as i sold it only for moving purposes) – what I can say is that while the Octatrack is not necessarily difficult to learn or use, the sheer number of possibilities and configuration options it offers will truly bend your brain…

    and it definitely has its own style entirely to itself, so there is very little that you can relate to any other device or software

    so Id say the difficulty lies more in attuning yourself to this realm of “endless potential” that is structured in its own way – which again isnt quite pointing at the device itself, but more like pointing to the relationship between the musician and the device

  2. Good news! The faster a person can learn the Octatrack, the sooner they can be disappointed and move on to better gear.

  3. In a time when so much gear is available, thats a blessing and a curse for the octatrack. Its an amazing piece of gear that needs a ton of dedicated time to learn. Once learned, you can master, just takes a lot to learn. For sure you can record a sample, chop it and loop it. But when your sitting in front of an octatrack doing what you can do on a $400 sp 404, you get disappointed at either your skill or how much effort it’ll take to get tot he next level. Then you sell it, spend a year wondering how it will be if you were to try again. Rinse/Repeat. I’ve repeated twice already and It just clicked. Parts/ the fader/ arrangement, midi…So much.

  4. The Octatrack is not that difficult to learn. But it’s realy easy to forget, if you don’t use it on a daily bases. When I didn’t use it for 2-3 weeks, I had to look into the manual several times!

    Sold it and never missed it. I am much happier with Ableton Live and Push 2!

  5. Notoriously difficult? I got my Octatrack a few months ago. I don’t understand this idea that’s it’s impossible to understand and infinitely complex. It’s quite intuitive if you spend just a bit of time actively learning the machine. Laziness.

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