Got an original Octatrack? That MKII envy is about to get a cure, with updated firmware that brings feature parity to the MKI.

The original Octatrack is still a classic in the studio and ubiquitous in live sets. So while you might have complained that Elektron’s MKII didn’t actually introduce enough new features, owners of the original model now get some very good news. Elektron today says that an update is imminent that will bring MKII features to the MKI.

Actually, Elektron doesn’t appear to have published a complete changelog for their OS, but trigger conditions are an important feature. [Correction: I earlier implied more engine changes; that was incorrect. I apologize for the error.]

And yes, I wrote earlier that I hoped this is what would happen. (That was a easy call given Elektron said the two units were already project-compatible.)

The MKII does represent a mechanical and hardware upgrade – one that sweetens the deal for would-be new buyers (and might make them buy new rather than pick up an original model from the last seven years on the used market).

Unique to the MKII hardware are some minor but significant physical improvements. The display is nicer (OLED). You get back-lit buttons and high-res encoders, as on the Digitakt. There’s an updated contactless crossfader and higher-endurance buttons. And you get more dedicated controls, plus balanced inputs.

But other than that, I’d say having firmware updates in sync probably means most existing owners will hang onto your MKI rather than upgrade – maybe spending the money you saved on a fresh, new Digitakt, for example. Elektron and users win, regardless.

We’ll take a deeper look at these machines soon.

For more background:
Elektron unveils Octatrack MKII and a new would-be laptop killer is born

And comparing the smaller sibling:
Check out this detailed workflow comparison of Digitakt, Octatrack

Since Elektron themselves haven’t posted much about the differences, and this isn’t in the manual, your best resource is actually Modulate This, who post a detailed comparison from the perspective of an experience MKI owner:

Elektron Octatrack MII vs Octatrack MKI – A Deeper Look Beyond the Bullet Points

  • Karl Dandleton

    Where are you getting that there are more effects and LFO’s? Literally the only change in the update seems to be the trig conditions.

    • Yes, I believe you’re correct … I’ve asked them for clarification.

  • Adam Jay

    MKII hardware also adds balanced inputs.

  • Jean-François Clermont

    WHAAAAAT ? Man, I love when companies like these take care of their customers. Not just the new ones. Great news !!!

  • Mactley

    Fader is identical. The only new feature being added is conditional trigs (as far as we know).

    • Jean-François Clermont

      Which is very interesting.

      • Mactley

        Sure. Just pointing out the facts. The article states the fader has been upgraded, which is untrue.

        • Jean-François Clermont

          Oh, I didn’t know that.

        • No, the crossfader was supposedly getting some (minor?) upgrade in the MKII mechanical update.

          • Mactley

            I was wrong, PDF Manual says “upgraded silky smooth crossfader,” on page 3. Apologies!

          • ha, no need for apologies given I *still* can’t find any verification of what the new OS features are… will write/call them Monday, I rushed this out Friday and … must have hit my head when writing it.

          • Mactley

            Typical Elektron, nobody knows a thing until it happens. That said, the fact that they’re bringing trig conditions to my old OT puts them in my good books pretty much forever!