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The Elektron Octatrack Hardware Sampler

The Elektron Octatrack Hardware Sampler

Elektron looks to revolutionise the concept of sampling without a piece of software in sight.

The Octatrack is designed to revolutionize the concept of sampling. The improved Elektron sequencer and the ingenious audio engine bear witness. Never before has so much potential been offered by just one machine.

Sampling has become a staple of modern music production across almost every genre, but the hardware sampler has been quickly replaced by software equivalents. Even in live performances, hardware samplers are being replaced with laptops, which have access to far greater storage and RAM than dedicated hardware samplers, and in many cases feature more advanced sample editing functions.

Hardware innovators

Elektron is hoping to change all this, however, and recently announced a new hardware sampler at the global music showcase, MusikMesse 2010 in Frankfurt. Swedish manufacturer Elektron has a history of creating revolutionary instruments – combining incredible sounds with a user interface that’s quick and easy to use. This approach has led to the company’s instruments becoming favourites among cutting-edge musicians, who have used the Machinedrum and Monomachine to develop entirely new styles and sounds.

Justifying the hype

The Octatrack looks set to continue this trend, with eight stereo tracks, four audio inputs and outputs, real-time sampling, pitch- and time- manipulation and built-in effects, alongside an improved Elektron sequencer and CompactFlash storage. Loops sampled into the Octatrack are analysed and can be instantly stretched to match the current BPM, remaining in sync with your track even when pitch-shifted or if the tempo of the sequencer is changed. This feature led to the Octatrack being hyped by many after MusikMesse as Ableton Live in a box!

As well as live sampling, users will be able to transfer loops to the Octatrack over USB, enabling direct connection to a Mac or PC.

Each of the eight stereo-tracks on the Octatrack has two built-in effects blocks, which you can assign effects to, with one independent LFO per track that can be routed to any parameter. Global parameter settings can be saved to a Scene, which can then be crossfaded into another Scene using the built-in optical crossfader. With two Scenes assigned to the crossfader, the Octatrack will interpolate the parameter settings of each Scene as you slide the crossfader, providing some interesting live sound manipulation opportunities.

“The Octatrack is an elegant sampler. Recording of sounds is a breeze thanks to the intuitive user interface, but the fun really starts once the samples are inside the machine. Loops are now completely elastic. They will always stay in sync no matter if they are pitch shifted or if the tempo of the sequencer is changed. Single sounds can be molded into any shape or form. The static nature of samples are finally a thing of the past.” – elektron.se

Watch this space…

Octatrack are being held back until closer to the release date later this year. However, Elektron have hinted at some powerful sound design tools for editing and manipulating your samples alongside the powerful effects bank.

Elektron clearly sees the Octatrack as a partner to the company’s existing Machinedrum and Monomachine instruments. Octatrack can add loop handling and audio manipulation tools to the rhythms and beats produced by the Machinedrum and melodic material produced by the Monomachine. However, the Octatrack will also appeal to DJs and electronic musicians looking to add a creative sampling instrument to their rig, both for live work and in the studio.

Star Quality

As software samplers get ever more powerful and complicated, Elektron has produced a creative hardware sampler, which should put the fun back into sampling.

The Elektron Ocatrack is available to buy at Dolphin Music very soon. We will update you as soon as we can! In the meantime keep checking for more news here


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