Elektron Officially Announces Octatrack Release Date
Elektron has officially announced a release date for their new Octatrack DPS-1, an 8 track dynamic performance sampler. The Octatrack is suited for radical audio processing and performance oriented sampling. Every track features real-time pitch scaling and time stretch and the next generation Elektron step sequencer has been designed with maximum usability and efficiency in mind.
The Octatrack offers a variety of machines, each designed to fill a specific function. The machines can be assigned to the eight available tracks in any combination. Here some of them and their functionality are presented.
Flex machines offer the most extensive sound manipulation possibilities. A sample used within a Flex machine is loaded to the RAM memory of the Octatrack. From there it can be twisted, stretched, warbled and reassembled in multiple ways. Flex machines are unbeatable sound processors.
Static machines are the perfect tool for handling extremely large samples. Samples assigned to Static machines are streamed from the Compact Flash card, thus their size can be in the order of gigabytes. Of course you can time stretch and pitch scale them as needed.
Thru machines do not sample or play back sounds. Instead they let the Octatrack affect incoming audio with the dual FX blocks. Two powerful FX chains each consisting of up to four linked tracks, totalling eight effects per chain, can be formed.
The Octatrack will feature special machines for recording audio from the four external inputs. These machines can be used as strange effect devices, intricate loopers or as simple audio recorders. They will allow for quick assembling of audio structures.
Every track can be up to 64 steps of length and all the tracks of a pattern can have both unique length and time signature settings. A master length parameter sets the number of measures the pattern will play before all tracks are restarted from the beginning. If the master length is set to infinity, the tracks will play and loop within themselves infinitely. This amount of pattern customization makes it easy to create intricate and continuously evolving poly rhythms.
The Micro Timing menu brings detailed and very precise note trig editing to the Octatrack. Every note trig can be nudged back and forth on a 1/384th step resolution note grid. The resolution doubles when the time signature of the track is set to 2x. Lightning fast flams through special repeat parameters, off-kilter stutters and organic grooves are all made possible by the Micro Timing feature.
Apart from the eight internal tracks the Octatrack offers, by the simple press of a button, eight dedicated MIDI tracks. Every MIDI track features an arpeggiator, three assignable LFOs and two pages of CC parameters. Micro Timing and individual track length and time signature settings further enhance the MIDI experience. The eight MIDI tracks can play in conjunction with the eight internal tracks, making the Octatrack well-suited for controlling other instruments during a live performance.
The parameter lock feature contributed a great deal to the functionality of the Machinedrum and Monomachine sequencers and is found in the Octatrack as well. A parameter lock allows individual parameter settings for all note trigs. Trigless trigs is a parameter lock variant that doesn’t trig samples, instead they alter only parameter settings for chosen sequencer steps. Through the use of trigless trigs the melodic structure of for example a vocal loop can be completely changed. If the loop is subject to timestretch the pitch can be altered without affecting the timing.
Ruggedness and durability is paramount in a live setting and the smooth action 45mm crossfader meets these criteria with ease. Due to it being optical it is very resilient to both dust and humidity and with a life time rated to more than 5 million operations it is definitely going to stand the test of time. The crossfader in conjunction with the Scene functionality makes live improvisation with the Octatrack easy and rewarding.
A Scene is a set of parameter values. All parameters that can be parameter locked can also be assigned to a Scene. At all times 16 Scenes are instantly available and ready to be assigned to the two Scene slots of the crossfader. The Scene assigned to slot A comes into full effect when the crossfader is at its leftmost position and the Scene assigned to slot B comes into full effect when the crossfader is at its rightmost position. For all other crossfader positions interpolation between the Scene parameters will occur. Scenes can be both muted and assigned in real time.
Scenes controlled by the crossfader make it possible to add sudden bursts of effects to a sound, make smooth transitions between tracks, pitch one loop up while another loop is being pitched down or to completely and utterly change the sound of a whole pattern. The choice is yours.
The Octatrack has plenty of LFO power under the hood. All internal tracks have three dedicated tempo-synced LFOs at their disposal, meaning 24 LFOs in total are available. The LFOs can be assigned to a wide range of parameters and are useful for adding movement and evolving changes to samples. The LFOs can be set to eleven basic waveforms plus eight LFO designer waveforms.
The LFO designer allows for customized LFO waveforms. An LFO designer waveform consists of 16 steps where each step can have a manually set value. The steps can be either interpolated or stepped. LFO designer waveforms are very versatile and can almost be regarded as mini-sequencers. They can for example be used to make rhythmic track parameter changes or, when modulating the start point of sampled drum loops, function as instant remix tools. Each track contains an LFO designer and all designed waveforms are available for all LFOs.
The audio editor is where editing of imported or recorded samples takes place. The sample waveform is displayed graphically in the audio editor and for precise interaction waveform zoom and zero crossing search commands are available. A number of tasks are carried out in the audio editor. Trimming, loop point settings, normalization and, maybe most important of all, slice point handling.
Slice points are markers that offer a flexible way of dividing a sample in different regions. Set the slice points either automatically by transient detection or manually by using the data entry knobs. Once the sample is sliced parameter locks can make different steps of the sequencer play back different sample regions. In the audio editor it is even possible to customize or randomize the playback of slice points. Keep shuffling the slice points around until the perfect loop is obtained. Slice points make it easy to break down samples and restructure them from the ground up.
The Octatrack will be officially released on December 20th and comes with a power supply unit, a USB cable, a printed user’s manual and a 4 GB Compact Flash card. The card is filled with 2 GBs worth of 100% royalty free loops and samples from our friends at Loopmasters.
Elektron’s Octatrack costs $1490 / €1240 and will be available for pre-order on December 13th. More information on the Elektron Octatrack.