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MIDI Sequencers - Octatrack alternative? Drum Machines & Samplers
Old 16th January 2016
  #1
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Herr Rausch's Avatar
 

MIDI Sequencers - Octatrack alternative?

Hi,

I recently picked up an old Syncussion DRM 1 on eBay and as it has 8 different drum voices, it occupies all the 8 MIDI channels of my beloved Octatrack.
Now I thought about getting a second Octa, but I guess I might end up cheaper just getting a "normal" MIDI sequencer. Diggin through the net I didnt find too much that appealed to me directly, but theres always something you miss.
I had a look at this new Pyramid Thing, but with 700€ I'd rather get that 2nd Octatrack, which I already know my way around.

So Im asking you guys: what are other great Hardware MIDI sequencers?

Thanks in Advance

Cheers, Herr Rausch
Old 16th January 2016
  #2
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convex's Avatar
 

Lately I've been considering looking into a Yamaha QY-700. Squarepusher arranged the entirety of Go Pastic on one, no actual computer involved, so it seems like pretty serious business.


I could also use some advice from those more knowledgeable though. I mostly sequence on a Monomachine, and theres something that really drives me nuts about it. - If im using it to run something polyphonic, any new note triggered will kill the sustain on any previous notes, so I cant do things like staggering the notes of a chord and also sustain them. I would have to retrigger the earlier notes over again with the new notes, which often sounds terrible.

I suspect there are plenty of hardware sequencers available that could handle this, but I'm not sure which ones specifically to look at. Suggestions?
Old 16th January 2016
  #3
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mc50 -- 8 tracks, pretty deep. it's the basis of just about every roland sequencer, groovebox (e.g., mc505, mc909) and mv8xxx.

mmt-8 -- 8 tracks, with each track controlling 16 channels. flexible but buttons tend to get hard to press on older units.

qy300 -- junior version of the qy700. assemble preset midi phrases into your own creation. you can also create presets.

rm1x -- a groove version of the qy700. no preset chords as on the qy300/700 but lots of options to mess with your midi track in real time. there's a bug in earlier units that can be fixed with a hard-to-find chip or with a simple button+knob combo.

rs7000 -- preferred over the rm1x. more ways to mess with your midi, improved sequencer flow. but it's huge.

qy70 qy100 -- 8-track version of the qy700, but can be fiddly to use until you get i. the flow. no way to mute multiple tracks simultaneously, though. qy70 saves only 20 songs at a time. 100 comes with a smartcard reader for saving more tracks. also has a mono input with reverb for microphones, though you can use synths too, i imagine.

circuit -- awesome workflow, but essentially only 2 channels, and they are fixed: one is always channel 1, and the other is always channel 2.

the new electribes -- great for entering patterns but editing requires a little menu diving.

iPad apps -- i like genome and oscilab. i use iConnectMIDI to connect the iPad to my hardware.

emu command station -- the last firmware update provided some great real-time sequence manipulating. the synth section is insanely deep and sounds great as long as you have a compressor on the outputs.

zaquencer -- software that turns your behringer br2000 into a great 4-track, 4-note-polyphony sequencer.

an/dx200 -- great sequencer to perform with, as long as you're doing 4 monophonic tracks.

i've used all of these and many more. octatrack is my favorite folllowed by circuit (if you have a sampler to get around the 2-track limitation) then the rs7000, zaquencer and an/dx200.

Last edited by robotunes; 16th January 2016 at 07:27 PM..
Old 16th January 2016
  #4
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Herr Rausch's Avatar
 

thanks man! its always nice to get a detailed answer from someone whos tried out all the gear

with circuit you mean novation circuit? or is there another circuit?
Old 16th January 2016
  #5
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convex's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by robotunes View Post
rm1x -- a groove version of the qy700. no preset chords as on the qy300/700 but lots of options to mess with your midi track in real time. there's a bug in earlier units that can be fixed with a hard-to-find chip or with a simple button+knob combo.
Hey, can you elaborate on that fix at all? I have a friend who's complained about his emitting a clicking noise for years... anything to do with that? And if so what is this button+knob combo you speak of?
Old 16th January 2016
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herr Rausch View Post
thanks man! its always nice to get a detailed answer from someone whos tried out all the gear

with circuit you mean novation circuit? or is there another circuit?
sorry, novation circuit.
Old 16th January 2016
  #7
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ioanni's Avatar
As you are used to Elektron workflow and you are looking to expand you drum sounds palette, I would sagest either the Octatrak or the MachineDrum.
The MachineDrum can bring digital and crunchy sounds to compliment the analog ones from the DRM1. Either that or the samples of the Octatrak is a win win combination.
I new sequencer workflow, it will set you back until you master it.
Old 16th January 2016
  #8
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robotunes's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by convex View Post
Hey, can you elaborate on that fix at all? I have a friend who's complained about his emitting a clicking noise for years... anything to do with that? And if so what is this button+knob combo you speak of?
sorry, the fix has nothing to do with clicking noises or faulty buttons. the early rm1x models would force connected gear to change programs at the beginning of a sequence. before you record a sequence, enter VOICE mode then hold down shift + track + all and turn knob 1 to the right one click. you've just selected new voices for each of the 16 tracks, and now your changes override the preset changes.
Old 17th January 2016
  #9
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Herr Rausch's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by minus-sounds.com View Post
I new sequencer workflow, it will set you back until you master it.
yeah exactly. I originally got an MPC 2500 to expand my possibilities, but its a pain in the ass to learn such a complex thing again. Thats why I still think the second Octatrack might be my best bet
Old 17th January 2016
  #10
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How are you planning to use the 2nd sequencer? setting trigs like on an octatrack or emx or 909? what are your needs and wants?

there's also the option of sampling the syncussion to the OT to free up those OT midi channels again...
Old 17th January 2016
  #11
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AdamJay's Avatar
 

Zaquencer is great. You get two CC#s per track to do OT/MM/MD style "parameter locks" for sequencing MIDI gear. Plus pitch, velocity, length.
Lots of neat ratcheting, pingpong, step skip, chord, random, and other tricks up its sleeve too.

4 tracks may seem limiting but they can be mono, poly, or drum tracks each. And the drum tracks send up to 16 diff notes per step.

Hard to beat for the price. And 32 steps ain't so bad as you can still do polyrhythms.
Old 17th January 2016
  #12
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Herr Rausch's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by robotunes View Post
How are you planning to use the 2nd sequencer? setting trigs like on an octatrack or emx or 909? what are your needs and wants?

there's also the option of sampling the syncussion to the OT to free up those OT midi channels again...
just wanna sequence other gear, so send note information, or velocity or whatever might be possible.
sampling the syncussion into the OT is not really an option. I wanna set up a system thats always the same, so when creativity sparks me I can just get going an record straight away. when I resampled everything into the OT I would constantly have to change the function of different tracks or MIDI channels.

But I think I found another solution. Dunno why I didnt think about that earlier, but I can just sequence several Syncussion Drums via one MIDI channel with the Octatrack. That way I can spare 2 or 3 channels, take the money and buy a used prophet 08 expander on ebay instead

that zaquencer thing seems cool tho.. gonna keep that in mind
Old 18th January 2016
  #13
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owenD202's Avatar
yeah yeah you can use the Syncussion for 8 midi notes not 8 midi channels right?
So if the octatrack can sequence a "drum track" on one midi channel then its easy peasy.

Zaquencer though, its a beast! I got a bcr2000 this weekend for cheap and will Zaquencer it soon, Ive been looking thru the manual and the sequencing functions are amazing! 4 tracks, each one could have 16 drum parts! 2 midi out ports, its a hugely capable creation, polyrhythmic in notes but also polyrhythmic in modulators like filter control or note pitch or length, I think it will fit my needs very well. you may really like one of these too.
Old 18th January 2016
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herr Rausch View Post
I can just sequence several Syncussion Drums via one MIDI channel with the Octatrack.
good. the way you described it, i assumed the syncussion was one drum per channel. it's great when you find a solution!

Quote:
Originally Posted by owenD202 View Post
I got a bcr2000 this weekend for cheap and will Zaquencer it soon, Ive been looking thru the manual and the sequencing functions are amazing!
if you haven't, download the demo and try your bcr. some have a fault that will keep the zaquencer from working 100%. better to find out before paying for the full software, since there are no refunds.

yeah, it's one of my favorite sequencers, and it's not expensive. while zaquencing, keep your DAW or other recording gear going. every so often, the polyrhythmic mod sequencing throws up some killer combinations that can take a while to cycle around to again, so recording the audio captures those magic moments that can be cut up and used as loops.
Old 18th January 2016
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robotunes View Post
if you haven't, download the demo and try your bcr. some have a fault that will keep the zaquencer from working 100%. better to find out before paying for the full software, since there are no refunds.

yeah, it's one of my favorite sequencers, and it's not expensive. while zaquencing, keep your DAW or other recording gear going. every so often, the polyrhythmic mod sequencing throws up some killer combinations that can take a while to cycle around to again, so recording the audio captures those magic moments that can be cut up and used as loops.
ok wow that's suggestion is a big help thank you, tight budget here!
while I have no DAW, I am setting up an aw16g to multitrack jam sessions and sounds exactly like what I am hoping to capture more often, magical polyrhythmic and modular moments very hard to run into again.
Old 18th January 2016
  #16
I had rm1x for a while. As a midi sequencer it's terrific. And you get 8 assignable knobs for CC's or midi effects. Three play modes - pattern, pattern chain and song.. And you're not limited with notes and CC's, there are tons of midi messages including pitch bend, poly aftertouch, SysEx and even raw midi data. Nothing will stop you from nerding your head away
Old 19th January 2016
  #17
Korg Electribe.

You can assign all the drum parts, and as a bonus you have samples (ESX) or VA synth parts (EMX).
Killer sequencer, motion recording, song mode, resampling, and so on...
Old 19th January 2016
  #18
Good info here. May I ask kind of a sub-question:

which sequencer offers 'beat shuffle'… you know, the same notes and tempo, but realtime shifting of groove/ gate length/ swing…


I have Kawai Q-80, but I don't recall sometning like that in realtime.
Old 19th January 2016
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by analog greg View Post
Good info here. May I ask kind of a sub-question:

which sequencer offers 'beat shuffle'… you know, the same notes and tempo, but realtime shifting of groove/ gate length/ swing…


I have Kawai Q-80, but I don't recall sometning like that in realtime.
reminds me of the Emu Command Stations and planet racks with beats BTS mode arpeggiator of sorts, cant remember if they do that sort of thing entirely or not, been too long since I worked with one.

on my SU700 that is possible with a looped rhythm sample (they are automatically chopped into maybe 16th note sections sort of, internally by the SU) but not to the sequenced patterns.

that sounds so very Cirklon'ish
Old 19th January 2016
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by owenD202 View Post
reminds me of the Emu Command Stations and planet racks with beats BTS mode arpeggiator of sorts, cant remember if they do that sort of thing entirely or not, been too long since I worked with one.

on my SU700 that is possible with a looped rhythm sample (they are automatically chopped into maybe 16th note sections sort of, internally by the SU) but not to the sequenced patterns.

that sounds so very Cirklon'ish

wow, I'd expect machine like SU700 to do that with sequenced rather that sampled rhythms, but that's impressive..

Thanks for suggestions.
Can Emu Planet operate such a things from its panel, or computer is needed?
Old 19th January 2016
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by analog greg View Post
wow, I'd expect machine like SU700 to do that with sequenced rather that sampled rhythms, but that's impressive..
The Su700 has a very rudimentary midi sequencer, but a rather deep sample manipulation engine.
Old 19th January 2016
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by analog greg View Post
Good info here. May I ask kind of a sub-question:

which sequencer offers 'beat shuffle'… you know, the same notes and tempo, but realtime shifting of groove/ gate length/ swing…


I have Kawai Q-80, but I don't recall sometning like that in realtime.
The ERM multiclock can shuffle the clock on each channel, so you could sync any sequencer to it and shuffle it (but that'd shuffle everything on the sequencer) doesn't change the gate tho.
Old 19th January 2016
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluegreengold View Post
The Su700 has a very rudimentary midi sequencer, but a rather deep sample manipulation engine.
right on
it will add groove to sequenced info as well as the looping audio (it slices in anticipation of adding groove at any time), in 3 ways - timing (shuffle), velocity (loudness) and gate time (release). this can be done on the fly and using scene markers can be switched on the fly from a collection of pre made settings. not as extreme as I'd like it to be for some work but it is an interesting way of adding different flavor on command.
Old 19th January 2016
  #24
Thanks guys,
ok, I get it: SU700 is quite advanced groove-sampler, in a league of ASR-X. It has basic looper and sequencer too...
This overview induced some GAS for SU700 of course, but I already have some headache with old floppy-based samplers, so I'd buy it only on veeery cheap offer...


ERM multiclock seems quite expensive.

I spotted very hands-on sequencer with shuffle etc. functions - onboard MiniBrute SE.
CV out but no midi out.. and theoretically midi clock in (though Brute is reported unstable at syncing).

Again rudimentary mono/step sequencer, but does the trick. And it seems that mentioned features are not common among sequencers, somewhat surprisingly. So maybe Brute isn't that bad call.
Old 20th January 2016
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by analog greg View Post
Good info here. May I ask kind of a sub-question:

which sequencer offers 'beat shuffle'… you know, the same notes and tempo, but realtime shifting of groove/ gate length/ swing…


I have Kawai Q-80, but I don't recall sometning like that in realtime.
octatrack allows the most control over groove. each track can have its own feel. hell, each measure can have its own feel.

rm1x/rs7000 also lets you create your own groove (using "grid groove") but not as extensively. each track can have its own feel, but every measure in that track follows the same feel. so if you have a 4-bar bass line, each bar will have the same feel. on the OT, each measure can have a different feel.

regarding the su700, i heard it's slow compared to modern samplers but since i've never owned one, i don't know for sure. it seems the rs7000's loop remix feature picks up where the su700 left off. the rs7000's sampler also slices up your loop and lets you twist knobs to rearrange the slices into new loops (same with octatrack, but you can choose which slices will sound on which beat).

rs7000 also lets you do this with patterns you create: twist a couple of knobs and rearrange the pattern on the fly. you can come up with something even better than your original.

of course, all this stuff is a breeze in software. but if you like twirling knobs instead of moving a mouse, there you have it.
Old 20th January 2016
  #26
Octatrack seems like great gear, but definitely the most expensive of all sequencers mentioned here.

I would keep my eyes open for yamahas, I've seen rm1x locally for 200 euros, but never knew about its sequencer.


After considering sequencers on this thread, I remembered that Doepfer Dark Time, which I already have has some of that flexibility and even shuffle knob... but I dont use it extensively, because I can't see which note I'm triggering. Thats kind of downside with this otherwise great sequencer.
Old 20th January 2016
  #27
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Don't get another sequencer, the octatrack is one of the greatest on the market, you're just wasting it on the drums. What you need is a midi drum trigger system, so you can trigger all your drums from a single midi track on the octatrack. Or sample the drums, individually, and sequence them on a single track.
Old 20th January 2016
  #28
Btw nobody still suggested MPC. Kinda strange
Old 20th January 2016
  #29
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Herr Rausch's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mildheadwound View Post
Don't get another sequencer, the octatrack is one of the greatest on the market, you're just wasting it on the drums. What you need is a midi drum trigger system, so you can trigger all your drums from a single midi track on the octatrack. Or sample the drums, individually, and sequence them on a single track.
Im not sure if I get what you mean with "midi drum trigger system". Sure its possible to control all the 8 drums of the Syncussion via one MIDI channel of the OT. Its just less convenient, it involves more fiddling so to say. Plus its less oversseable. But I will at least seqence all the drums that have similar functions (the three tom channels, the cymbal and the hihat channel) on one MIDI channel. I dont have that much other gear, so that will do for the moment.
Old 20th January 2016
  #30
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It is quite easy to find an SU700 maxed out and that means SCSI too. The expansion board has an internal SCSI connector so you could replace the internal floppy drive with anything from scsi zip drive to Stratos cf drive.

That said I had the SU700 for a brief moment and replaced the floppy drive for starters. However I could never quite gel with the weird sequencer and other limitations it had. It is sort of a phrase sampler like a realtime Recycle or something. I much prefer my ESX for the things I do with a groove sampler. In my opinion SU700 is like a poor man's Octatrack, but I prefer to do things like chopping without any aids anyway so maybe it's just not my thing.
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