Pyramid + Elektron (digitakt / octatrack) midi questions // sampler advice


#1

I think a sampler is my next purchase, and these elektron boxes are tough to pass up. Anyone using one?

I’ve been trying to figure out if you can mute patterns/tracks from the pyramid? Can’t quite tell from the manual so far. Also wondering how people like sequencing on them from the pyramid, and using them with the pyramid in general.

Also down for any sampler suggestions (I know it’s well tread territory, sorry). All I’d want is:
1-ability to play samples from pyramid
2-ability to mute/unmute patterns from pyramid
3-ability to load samples on/off computer easily
In that order.

I was looking for something cheap and simple but those elektron boxes just look so fun to manipulate samples on… yarg. Anyways any input from owners/fellow GASers is much appreciated.

Thanks!!


#2

I use an Octatrack with the Pyramid, the Pyramid controls the OT, selecting OT Patterns and Mastering MIDI Clock.

I don’t use an option to mute OT tracks from the Pyramid, but it is a function of sending MIDI data to the OT.

1 - I can play individual samples on the OT from MIDI msgs from the Pyramid, but that’s just not a thing I do because the OT Audio sequencer + Trigs are extremely sexy. I have my OT Audio tracks/patterns triggered from the Pyramid. Also there is a thing on the OT if you want to trigger sample slices on one Track there is an annoying delay (60ms I think…doing that from memory…might be 30ms…I dont’ remember - it was an issue when I was programming a pad controller for playing slices on the OT). You have 8 Audio Tracks on the OT which can do different stuff on how you set it up (FLEX (loads sample into RAM), STATIC (plays samples from data card), THRU (processes incoming data per FX settings which can be sequenced parameters, modulated in realtime via the box or via MIDI, etc), NEIGHBOR (adds another layer of processing for an existing track), PICKUP (for recording audio data into the buffer for realtime looping, sample recording, lots of stuff I don’t currently use, etc)). If you want immediate sample playing for one shots, OT might not be the best solution, but you could do it forced to stick to 8 sounds/loops and not have the options to process incoming audio in realtime or use the Master Track settings.

2 - Mute/Unmute: Sure, probably. OT has some pretty robust if not quirky MIDI Implementation.

3 - Load/Unload samples via computer: Yeah, the OT you can just connect via USB, click an OT setting, and copy the files over. It’s extremely siimple.

Note: In my process, and I would infer the process for many OT users, I use a sample chain…that is up to 64 individual samples in one .WAV file which is then sliced on the OT and each slice can be triggered individually from one Audio Track. Also if you use any loops (I tend to create some on a DAW, then bounce them over to the OT) you can also embed a trigger for the loops in the patterns, and/or slice the loops to do some really tweaky stuff.

The OT is much more than just a single sample player and its power is in trigs, trig conditions, parameter locks, and creating basically a ‘sequence’ of effects parameters, modulations, and sample triggers, both cyclical modulations from LFOs and sequence oriented trigs (ie “at this beat right here, make the reverb really big just for that beat” or “at this beat, play this slice, and over here, play that slice” etc). Caveat: However, triggering an OT pattern from the Pyramid isn’t immediate as the OT is slave to the almight PLEN or Pattern Length - Triggering a pattern on the OT requires it to ‘play out’ to a predetermined length before starting the new pattern. There is a simple workaround for this that I use on my system, but requires a MIDI data translator such as a BomeBox or a MIDI Solutions Event Processor. (Sidenote: when I send a PgmChg msg from the Pyramid to the OT to select an OT Pattern, I stick a [Sequencer Stop] just before it and a [Sequencer Start] right after it…so i dont’ have to go back and forth with pattern lengths running out before a Pattern Change while I’m working on a section of a song)

The OT is a beast and an extremely intense learning curve if you’re not familiar with Elektron devices. That being said, it is extremely powerful in its sample handling for realtime modulations and patterning modulations via Trigs, etc. IMO they both work together beautifully, and it gets easier if you can run a translator between the two.

In my rig, I have 2 OT Tracks set to THRU machines processing incoming synth data, 5 Audio Tracks (sample chains & loops; FLEX and STATIC machines), and I use the Master Track feature that dedicates OT Audio Track 8 to a Master Effects Channel.

Caveat: I dont’ use a Digitakt, but I may add one if they get the OS stable and offer either Overbridge or a decent way to transfer/backup samples. (Been out of the loop on that device for awhile, so a recent update may have made things a bit easier) Also: I don’t get as heavy into the OT as most people, as I use it to enhance live synth played via MIDI or realtime and/or use audio loops because they have a different flexibility compared to synths. Plus I tend to simplify things to something I can wrap my head around so my creative process isn’t bound by learning every possible thing I can do with my tools. LOL


#3

Thanks for the run through, I really appreciate it. Good to know you can at least change patterns with the pyramid, thats all Id definitely need and I wasnt sure reading the manual. Just dont want to have to sequence everything into an identical song on both devices, but instead switch octatrack patterns on the pyramid. Sounds like your setup is about how id like to use it ideally.

Definitely not grabbing the digitakt if it doesnt get overbridge first, its hard to give up the stereo samples of the octa but the price and size of the digi are very tempting. That said the octatrack looks incredible!

The run down really helps, thanks man!


#4

I’ve got the octa and pyramid. For my money I find the inability to trigger samples via midi a frustration.
There’s also a big learning curve with the Octatrack… Time which could arguably be better spent making music !
I would seriously look at the mpc1000
These Elektron boxes are quite an insular ecosystem… I suspect there may be better solutions.


#5

I think its hard to sequence samples from other devices unless its a simple play this sample with no pitch and time shifting. Things like the octatrack and mpc have lots of stuff your going to loose access to via midi.


#6

Good point.
Although having come from the s950 which I slaved over for years… I think there’s some middle ground.
Triggering a sampler via midi is a lot of fun… The Octatrack not having that single function is one of its biggest flaws for me.

Edit : see below.
My error triggering slices not samples


#7

yeah my original set up was a rm1x and a mpc 2000 many moons ago.


#8

No worries. Apologies if it was overload but “Ask a geek a question…” and all. heh

These are all things I would want to know if I was going in the same direction.

Think of it as two parts:

  • Sequence the audio Stuff on the OT
  • Sequence the MIDI Synths/fx Pyramid
  • Run concurrent sequencers (basically)
  • Sync them together with MIDI Clock and PgmChg msgs to the OT from the Pyramid (with the caveat about PLEN and/or rectifying with a MIDI Translation)

#9

Whut? You can trigger samples via midi on the OT.
At least you can on the OT MK1
Used to do it all the time - trigger slices via MIDI pad controller

Edit to add: OT MK1 Manual, Appendix C “MIDI Control Reference”.


#10

yeah with the aforementioned 50ms delay though…
The best bit about remote triggering samplers is their machine gun timing (i’m looking at you “renegade snares”)… this falls to pieces with OT triggered via midi (not to mention having to send 2 x cc msgs and note msg simultaneously to even achieve that !

Edit… Sorry that is triggering "slices " not samples.
In actual fact triggering samples (restricted to 8 no.) works fine
Thanks for picking me up in that creepypants.
Got bogged down in my own history with the OT. A lot of people rate it as the best piece of music tech ever it should be said…


#11

MPC1000 is a great call, thanks for the recommendation. As long as this works it seems to have all the things I really need: http://www7a.biglobe.ne.jp/~mpc1000/os2xl/mixer.htm

Might end up going to the dark side and just using ableton, but that’s a whole other thread. At least the mpc1000 wouldnt break the bank. Octatrack seems sweet, but if Im dropping that much money and learning a new in depth interface anyways then the midi capabilities aren’t really wowing me in comparison to ableton


#12

When we say the learning curve for the OT is steep, it’s nothing compared to the Pyramid.
Basic tasks on the Pyramid are super simple to accomplish with a modicum of experience with hardware sequencers or at least older drum machines, etc. No manual reading necessary. All the kool stuff requires glancing at the manual.

The OT requires lots of hair pulling, resorting to escaping with chemicals, rehab, more hair pulling, a few more stints with chemicals & rehab, lots of manual reading, angry tearing of said manual, reprinting of manual, tearing, crying, begging for assistance from support forums with only responses like RTFM, more anger & rehab, and then realising it was just a simple menu item that you adjust to get it to do what you thought it should have been doing in the first place which you would have known had the manual been written by someone who had a bit more experience writing technical manuals for artists.

But for those of us who use Elektron, it’s like a cult: it’s freakin brilliant in its insanity and your life would never be the same…mostly for paying those rehab bills. :slight_smile:


#13

Lol. Great post
It’s telling that the Octatrack has a complete highly praised manual produced voluntarily by its user base to counteract the official manual.
And don’t get me started on the Elektron official YouTube videos


#14

I forget, because I’m lost in my own relationship with the OT, but if you’ve offloaded a bunch of sequencing duties to the Pyramid and only need to trigger slices on one OT Audio track, there’s no reason not to flip it to Slice mode and jsut trigger from the trig buttons…?

If I remember correctly there’s no delay on that…just triggering via MIDI because the whole [Send a MIDI msg to define the slice]+[Send a msg to trigger the slice].

Like anything else, for any ‘thing’ you want to do there’s 5 ways to accomplish it, I guess.

You got the trick with sending the Sequencer Stop & Sequencer Start on either side of the PgmChg msg to have the Pyramid trigger the OT Patterns without having to worry about that nasty PLEN stuff, eh?


#15

No, that’s the bit that’s flawed unfortunately.


#16

I’m getting lost in the thread & response.
The bit that’s flawed on the PLEN/SequencerStop/Start?

Yes: flawed.
But this is at least easily manageable, moreso than triggering slices via MIDI.

For some reason I gave up on Bank Select for more than the 16 patterns in one bank, but I can update my brain and download the info to you, but if you generally stay in one Bank of OT Patterns it’s just a MIDI Translation matter. I’m using a BomeBox (which is overkill) but I imagine there are a number of devices on the market to do this, one of which for me will be a MIDI Solutions Event Processor…because I want to use the BomeBox to translate the XFade to various MIDI CC’s (and still fantasizing I’m going to construct some massive MIDI CC Scene script).

But basically you have Cn as the PgmChg MIDI msg. My AutoChannel is 9, so C8 is the Pgm Chg msg plus the value ‘xx’ where xx=pattern I want to use.

I just tell my translator to listen for C8 xx and replace it with FC C8 xx FA
Easy peasy - OT Patterns start on the “1” when triggered via the Pyramid

I got excited to share because this ONE thing is a major part of the way that I interface with both units. Without this little bit I’d be a wreck…well, more of a wreck, that is. :wink:

There’s more of it with MSB/LSB for selecting Banks, but I ran into an issue with it and it’s just easier to stay in one bank. I have yet to use 16 OT Patterns for one song, let alone all the banks, and if/when I get into a live situation I’ll deal with further stuff then.


#17

I heard a rumour that Behringer is planning on announcing a cheap sample sequencer. That’s pretty vague, but maybe Google knows more about it.


#18

Just go a pyramid and trying to set it up to do this, but can only figure out how to play sync the two, any details on how I can set both up to how you are describing in these post? Basically right now I just want to trigger samples/one-shots.

If I cant do that is I it better to program patterns in the OT then trigger patterns with the pyramid? Any help would be great, totally new to hardware and midi :frowning:

BTW im using a OT Mk2 if that makes any difference?


#19

You have an OT MKII and want to trigger one shot samples from the Pyramid?

If you only want to trigger 8 samples, that’s covered in the Appendix of the OT Manual. Umm…not sure where it is in the MKII manual (which I think they only offer in PDF). I have a MKI and they still shipped those with printed manuals.

Sorry, I’ve forgotten where.

If you want to trigger slices, that’s MUCH trickier and remember: You need to code in a 30-60ms delay between the commands of ‘selecting which slice’ and ‘play that slice’ which kind of nerfs things like finger drumming. Pretty sure I documented every step in a post on Electronauts. I’m not awake enough to find my notes. :slight_smile:

Actually, I found a post I’d made on the Bome forums. See, the commands require a bit more than just MIDI - requires coding in a delay, which I guess could be done inside the Pyramid for an elegant solution, but I want to spend more time making music than building/coding/etc so I use a BomeBox to translate MIDI msgs.

Post on triggering slices with MIDI and a BomeBox (or even just MTPro):
https://www.bome.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=12243#p24692

Certain things might be different on the MKII, but I couldn’t tell you what’s different.

I’m not sure the task is starter level, tho. Depends on how much you enjoy being frustrated. :slight_smile:

That being said, the OT is an awesome device to sequence modulations (PLOCKS, etc) on sequences of audio slices or loops. I’m currently running my OT parallel with my Pyramid. The Pyramid selects the OT Pattern with a little bit of extra code to avoid the dreaded PLEN stuff. I believe that it’s possible to also change Scenes and activate the Crossfader via MIDI, which is on my ToDo list.

However I’ve been off on getting a separate device for one shot samples working. I’m using a Tsunami WAV Trigger board (Sparkfun). Requires a little soldering, and troubleshooting for my application, but it’s running like a charm (as of last night). If you desperately need to merely trigger one shot samples with no fx processing, you might want to consider that option since it’s $75US.


#20

Thanks for the response “CreepyPants”

I have an OT mk2, I went through and read the manual again for both pyramid and OT, but can’t seem to get this to work the way I’d like.

Basically, all I wanted to do with the OT and Pyramid is use the pyramids chord and Euclid fills etc, to help me generate patterns quickly. Then I was going to refine the pattern on the OT. I’ve attached a picture of my set up. that may help illustrate better. Or I may put my bass synth on the other midi out, but either way, this is what I’m working with.