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Octatrack vs Toolbox + Bitbox

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  • Octatrack vs Toolbox + Bitbox

    Hi!

    Does anyone here have an opinion on this? I’m getting a bit frustrated sometimes with Toolbox’s sequencing and arranging capabilities and Bitbox’s live sampling. So I was wondering in how far an octatrack works in a similar way or what you get more/less?

    Thanks for any opinion here!

  • #2
    Be careful here. While you'd get similar functionality (probably even more), the issue will probably come down to being less about capabilities and more about workflow. In the competitive landscape of sequencer/samplers there are many options.with differences in tech specs ranging from marginal to enormous. But to me, the most significant factor is workflow. What I mean by that is "playability" according to your objectives (studio vs live, etc.).

    Over the years I have migrated from an Alesis MMT MIDI sequencer paired with outboard samplers (Akai S3000XL, Ensoniq Mirage) through to grooveboxes (Electribes) and even an OP-1, to now an MPC Live. Actually your best sampler/sequencer combo is Ableton but assume you want to avoid DAW. But I am finding that for my situation the flexibility and hands on nature of a Bitbox (haven't used Toolbox) plus a BeatStep Pro are the most creative and flexible. That's not to say they are the most powerful combo. But the "in-the-box" restrictive feel of the MPC (not to mention sample playback limitations I mention elsewhere on this forum) are pushing me to the modular workflow for something I never thought would be its forte - sampling/sequencing.

    All that said, I have had hands on experience with the Octatrack. Try to watch as many videos and tutorials as you can. To me, all gear/arrangements have learning curve. This is especially true of sequencing/sampling - as opposed to say the more simple interface of a subtractive synth. I believe you'd be hard pressed to get your head around Elektron's workflow faster than the 1010 interface. Again, the OT could provide a lot of other functionality in the bargain. But I found it exceedingly convoluted. Even experienced users I know will admit it has a cryptic nature.

    Just think about/explore workflow/mechanics when considering a solution versus only function/specs. There's capability and then there's playability. Sometimes simpler solutions with less features are actually more creatively useful in the end.

    Scott

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    • #3
      Short follow up: I visited an experienced Octatrack friend and I will definitely not move away from BitBox as a sampler. I couldn’t possibly live without polyphony! My feeling is that with a few minor improvements, like choosing the preview channel and play-after record channel, the bitbox would fit my workflow perfectly.

      As for ToolBox, I started using it mostly as a toolbox, i.e. clocks, LFOs, arps etc and making sequences themselves outside the modular. Having 8 LFO’s really opens up a lot of possibilities :-)

      So 1010 has a firm place in my rack!

      Hikari_Sound ​​​​​​: thanks for your reply! I was also a bit too focused on wanting to do everything exclusively in eurorack world, but workflow wise this didn’t really fit for sequencing. So I got a Squarp Pyramid for Christmas and so far, it seems to be a very good fit!
      Last edited by yrn1; 01-01-2019, 01:15 PM.

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      • #4
        yrn1 good feedback and speaking of agile workflow, I have heard and seen good things about the Squarp. As well, I believe 1010 listens and like the awesome Disting Mk4 will continue to update based on user input/feedback. I performed with pauk this past weekend and we were discussing the particulars about the Bitbox. He mentioned having written in and requested a feature and 1010 added it. Again this engagement with customers (can't say it about Akai unfortunately) along with the magnanimity (multiple firmwares for free that completely change the purpose of the hardware!) is a big part of the value.

        Good luck with your work!

        ​​​​​​​Scott

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