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