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Trying to pick a Hardware Sequencer is sort of maddening Drum Machines & Samplers
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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Trying to pick a Hardware Sequencer is sort of maddening

Nothing is ideal/perfect. Compromise is required.

And none of them compare well against each other, either, which is another way of saying- they're all fairly unique and don't line up well for a direct comparison against the others, and they're all equally imperfect/flawed - only differently.

In the ~$1000 range there's the MPC Live, Polyend SEQ, Deluge, Toraiz, Octatrack, and...?

In the old/retro range there's the MPC 1000, TR-626, MMT-8, RM1x, and...?

Then there are big beasts like the MPC X.

And little boxes like the Craz8, the OP-Z, the NDLR, and...?

Then there are old school style CV hardware like the Oberkorn, or the little SQ-1, and...?

Then there are a dozen eurorack Sequencers to choose from, in every shape and size.

There are no obvious choices, either. They're all interesting and useful devices, too. Yet simultaneously - almost none of them are so awesome or comprehensive that they preclude the need for the other ones. Every one of them leaves you wanting for more or waiting on an update.

And I sort of want them all, but cannot have them all. And therein lies the dilemma. #firstworld
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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drxcm's Avatar
 

Cirklon!
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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And then of course there's the Cirklon, and the Pyramid, and the slick-looking DIY alternative to the Cirklon.

There are a lot of Hardware Sequencers to choose from, and I'm not sure any one of them clearly reigns supreme.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
I hear you. In my search for a straightforward sequencer that would help me composing, in the end I went for the Roland MV-8800. It's absurdly huge though. Yamaha QY-700 is a close second.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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Acid Mitch's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bignatius View Post

There are a lot of Hardware Sequencers to choose from, and I'm not sure any one of them clearly reigns supreme.
It's like with synths. Often you need more than one.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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chaocrator's Avatar
1) it's very strange that Squarp Pyramid is not mentioned.

2) in the old/retro range, there is also Command Staiton (or Proteus 2500, which is the same, but in rackmount case). with 32 MIDI channels and 2 physical MIDI Outs

oh, and lovely Roland MC-80
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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Acid Mitch's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chaocrator View Post
1) it's very strange that Squarp Pyramid is not mentioned.
It was in post 3.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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Acid Mitch's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bignatius View Post

There are no obvious choices, either. ]
Choices become more obvious when you know what you want to do with them.
There's a world of difference between things like Cirklon and mc50. Workflow and features are completely different.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drxcm View Post
Cirklon!
2years 1 month later........ Still waiting on mine...
I give up.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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goodweather's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Analog8 View Post
2years 1 month later........ Still waiting on mine...
I give up.
Will be 2 years for me in June as well. Not so funny indeed...
However while waiting I didn't see anything coming at that level and the same interface (old fashion but efficient).
1 push button - 1 rotary encoder for each step and all 16 steps clearly visible at once.
All of that on 1 line.

So, using the 8 part sequencer with direct access to 8 steps on my RT Accelerator for the moment
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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Don't forget the Yamaha RS7000 - I have two of those babies. I think a combination of the RS7000, Akai Force and Toraiz Squid would be pretty awesome.

If I were to choose only one hardware sequencer, I think it would be Akai Force (going only from what I've seen on YouTube, I haven't actually tried it myself).
Old 1 week ago
  #12
Gear Nut
RS7K FTW
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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Nice187's Avatar
To me at the moment the best solution available is to have as the center of your music production the Push 2 and the Ableton live, and in conjunction with some hardware gear connected into your Ableton and that is. If you want to build a complete Dawless setup, I don’t know I mean whatever good luck…I know it is feasible but you will be very limited…
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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time_zone's Avatar
 

Pyramid sequencer imo is truly a wonderful machine.
I can't recommend it highly enough.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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Im awaiting further information on XIRID which has been announced at SuperBooth.

Cheers
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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pr0gr4m's Avatar
Don't forget this newcomer.
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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Trying to read this incomplete list of Hardware Sequencers is sort of maddening
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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If you can handle putting it in a case, the vector five12 is a brilliant sequencer and not unobtanium like the cirklon.

Depending on the size of your setup, and what you want to achieve, it can be good to have 2 or 3 out of:

Analog - eg oberkorn, sq, generator
x0x - e.g. social entropy engine, elektron
Tracker - DAW or modular
Piano roll - DAW
Complex with subsequencing - e.g five12, cirklon, pyramid
Pattern/performance - e.g. crazy8, kilpatrick carbon, squid, circuit
Glowing orb - zoom arq

All shine for very different reasons
Old 1 week ago
  #19
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kaykaynotk's Avatar
 

Same indecisive state over here. It should be easier but again still tricky when you pare it down to sequencers that do 192 ppqn or over.

One thing I've been thinking to look into is keyboard workstations. You're gonna take a hit in immediacy but people used to use them back in the day for electronic gigs. Korg have a few cheaper options, I'm not sure what Roland have got going on atm. Yamaha seems to have got theirselves out of it with the MODX although there is some capability there.

I often think about what little gear passes through my paws compared to some people on here. One way of doing it would be to just accept small losses and keep on buying and flipping each time. If you can rent things, even better.
Old 1 week ago
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nice187 View Post
My current best hardware sequencer is the Novation Circuit…but you can run external hardware synths through its sequencer if you want…

There is no way to find a complete hardware sequencer in the synth market today. If you want something complete you’re obligated to get a hardware rompler workstation, and I did that for many years, messing around with these boring and cumbersome interfaces and with the endless menu diving….

The Akai Force it looks promising though, actually I think this is the first pad and step sequencer based, full featured workstation with touch screen.

And the new sequencer from Toraiz the Squid it looks good, but it has the obvious and annoying limitations which the majority of modern sequencers have. Limitations in the number of steps per pattern, no song mode etc….

To me at the moment the best solution available is to have as the center of your music production the Push 2 and the Ableton live, and in conjunction with some hardware gear connected into your Ableton and that is. If you want to build a complete Dawless setup, I don’t know I mean whatever good luck…I know it is feasible but you will be very limited…
I have Live and a Push already, and a BSPro.

I am exploring DAW/PC-less options.
Old 1 week ago
  #21
Gear Guru
 
Muser's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leading Motive View Post
I hear you. In my search for a straightforward sequencer that would help me composing, in the end I went for the Roland MV-8800. It's absurdly huge though. Yamaha QY-700 is a close second.
the main four issues I tend to butt up against when it comes to sequencers are usually

1: where a musical phrase begins, which should ideally be non specific. and potentially non length specific
2: having depth of the quantize operations along with groove template operations which are independent and work in realtime
3: the fact that often looping any played phrase which includes anticipation, will result in a midi note split.
4: the intelligibility of the means by which these are carried out

the limitations of the QY’s are that they rely on a JOB being carried out and often the sequencer needs to be paused when doing so.
but they do have phrases which can chord follow key progressions and the 700 has user grooves.

the MV’s are pretty good overall in the midi sequencing department. the fact you can trigger sequence patterns
from a pattern track is also nice, though the pattern tracks you trigger are usually limited to starting at the beginnings
of the bars of those patterns.

so you have a problem if you want to start on an anticipation note which is before the bar
you also really need a little screen estate to handle the interface efficiently so it’s own screen is a little small for that.
there are also no user grooves, though the quantize is pretty good overall for hardware

the MV engine is tantalizingly close to being a really good midi recorder / sequencer imo.
with a larger touch based screen I think it would make for a really good DAW midi based equivalent

the design and engineering solutions for a performance sequencer as opposed to a midi recorder / composition tool, are probably quite different. I assume those are a factor in how the designer ends up going about choosing how to proceed with the concept. you would think by now, there would be a fair amount of pent up demand for a hardware midi recorder / sequencer which has a similar DAW based type interface that many people are already familiar with. the MV architecture pretty much has most of that already.

there are a lot of arguments for why a lot of musician performers would prefer that kind of sequencer and Roland have a lot of experience in producing those kinds of interfaces for midi recording. and given it would aid a lot of their other gear, such as midi drum kits, I’m not sure why they haven’t produced into the market any real kind of staple platform, thus far.

Last edited by Muser; 1 week ago at 01:08 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #22
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SetuT's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lost_the_peace View Post
If you can handle putting it in a case, the vector five12 is a brilliant sequencer
Does anyone have any experience with this, there’s not a lot of information online, I read through the thread on five12 and the one on muffs. A hardware version of numerology sounds very interesting.
Old 1 week ago
  #23
Gear Maniac
 
kaykaynotk's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muser View Post
the main four issues I tend to butt up against when it comes to sequencers are usually

1: where a musical phrase begins, which should ideally be non specific. and potentially non length specific
2: having depth of the quantize operations along with groove template operations which are independent and work in realtime
3: the fact that often looping any played phrase with includes anticipation, will result in a midi note split.
4: the intelligibility of the means by which these are carried out
Really well put. The first three are the biggest difficulties I've come across sequencing & looping MIDI full stop.

Ableton has been the first thing I've used that addressed these things. For a long time everyone was talking about Ableton in a box but it seemed to me people wanted everything that Ableton did, in a box. Just the approaches to MIDI clip looping vis a vis start/loop points and launch quantization would be a nice start for me. The groove templates I find a bit clunky but I can kinda get there in the end.

There comes a point when I just think that computers are the most powerful and flexible thing so why fight it but then again, I don't see why we can't use a mouse with hardware other than computers if that peripheral is so effective. I saw a video where someone hacked their MPC Live so they could use a mouse with it and it looked ace. I'm not averse to using small screens and mice, I am averse to tools that also double as general use computers and extra fluff the likes of which seems to have started creeping into the MPC Live. It wouldn't surprise me if that thing went south with feature bloat.
Old 1 week ago
  #24
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My Cirklon order comes up in about 6 months but I’ll be surprised if my tightass lets me push the button on that in the end.

As an interim solution the Arturia Beatstep Pro and Electribe 2 combo are working a treat.
Old 1 week ago
  #25
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Acid Mitch's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mushy Mushy View Post
I’ll be surprised if my tightass lets me push the button on that in the end.
.
Sounds like you need some gearlube.
Old 1 week ago
  #26
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Moonwhistle's Avatar
HW sequencers always seem to compromise in some way.

I really like the Keystep because it can sequence/sync with almost everything and it's dead simple. Once things get complex it's just easier to use a computer for me.
The whole DAWless thing just seems like trying to do things in a hard and expensive way. Even a Cirklon has it's drawbacks...

I'm not sure if an iPad fits into your DAWless paradigm but there is literally every kind of sequencer you'd want in that world. It's hands on, doesn't feel like a computer and has some unique things that no hardware sequencer could touch.
Old 1 week ago
  #27
Gear Guru
 
Muser's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaykaynotk View Post
The first three are the biggest difficulties I've come across sequencing & looping MIDI full stop.

Ableton has been the first thing I've used that addressed these things. For a long time everyone was talking about Ableton in a box but it seemed to me people wanted everything that Ableton did, in a box. Just the approaches to MIDI clip looping vis a vis start/loop points and launch quantization would be a nice start for me. The groove templates I find a bit clunky but I can kinda get there in the end.

There comes a point when I just think that computers are the most powerful and flexible thing so why fight it but then again, I don't see why we can't use a mouse with hardware other than computers if that peripheral is so effective. I saw a video where someone hacked their MPC Live so they could use a mouse with it and it looked ace. I'm not averse to using small screens and mice, I am averse to tools that also double as general use computers and extra fluff the likes of which seems to have started creeping into the MPC Live. It wouldn't surprise me if that thing went south with feature bloat.
I’m not really up to date on the way Ableton handles in depth midi operations of clips, like say slipping notes by ticks and changing note velocity values, independent note muting, selection inversions and criteria selection routines etc. launch criteria for clips might prove to be hard to handle in a clip based triggering matrix, in an intuitive way. for example, I can imagine a clip with anticipation would need to be preemptively launched for the anticipation to work at a high resolution position. of say, X# of ticks.

for my practices though, a more conventional DAW paradigm fits best. I use Reaper for that currently and probably will remain doing. it’s handling of midi quantize ranges could be a little better and also it should include groove templates as a quantize source within the quantize window imo. which it currently doesn’t do. because I can build custom toolbar buttons to trigger Actions / Key commands, and because it has so many available, it’s resulted in uncovering some useful basic procedures.
It doesn’t solve the midi looping note clipping / note splitting issue, but I can at least handle the issues simply and it gave me insight into what might be useful.

it kind of basically boiled down to this so far.

Loop Windowing:
an idea for a use case whereby a part or item, depending on the preferred nomenclature, includes an anticipation and a bar over tail out. theoretically such a phrase often also has some bar loop-able content. but the loop points may often act similar to a midi split.
so what I mean by windowing is, given it should be the first and last notes which may extend over a bar, then it may be possible
to have three choices about how any looped window functions.

you could either mute any of the first over extending note/s and clip the last note/s, or also mute the last note/s, or play the anticipation at the end and hold that note/s by not producing a note off at the end of the loop, for those particular notes. but rather as however long into the start of the loop, the held note would have extended. it may act like a kind of independent stuck note until a note off is produced. it could be part specific so to avoid any global issues.

Navigation operations:
a command which moves the edit cursor to the start or end of the selected event. followed by a second command which can then move the edit cursor back or forward by quarter bars. this allows using any note event, which may have a non specific tick location, as an anchor point to navigate the cursor to an equivalent bar position. but still be non grid specific. so you can precision copy or paste one single event. or more if needs be, but one event is the ideal minimum.



on the MPC:
some potential issues I notice being discussed to do with the MPC thus far (unless they addressed those already)
were to do with the resolution of event nudges being limited to 120 ppqn. which is four times less than its internal resolution.
also that combining outputted midi notes with internal notes has one being excluded as part of the other. so it’s either or.
not sure how any anticipation issues might rear their heads in regards to loops, but that’s not unusual across the board ime.
I’m also not sure of the extent of its quantize features, and I doubt it has user definable groove templates. many things also don’t though. its external midi timing seems to be of concern to some, I assume because its CPU based they might have to try to integrate a time-stamping routine to handle it.

I suppose feature bloat can always be a danger, if it overrides intelligibility while ignoring certain important bread and butter operational issues. I tend to prefer meat and potatoes as a starter. before the prawn cocktail arrives.

Last edited by Muser; 1 week ago at 04:18 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #28
Gear Nut
I bought an mpc 4000 as my latest attempt to get a good hardware sequencer. Edged out the MV8800 because MPC 4000s seem more numerous in the wild, but I would try the MV too - the MV certainly seems like the ideal combination of features.

An evolution of the MV would be amazing. I personally find the DAW to be great from a usability point of view, but it is hard and expensive to turn DAW on PC into a flawless brain/participant in a mixed hardware software setup.

A dedicated ARM or Intel based hardware appliance that just does midi editing and sequencing would serve me really well. It is weird that nothing like it exists but we get endless step sequencers that people will pay high amounts of money for
Old 1 week ago
  #29
Gear Head
 

Anybody with experience working with MIDIbox Sequencer v4?
Old 1 week ago
  #30
Gear Guru
 
Muser's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by gminorcoles View Post
A dedicated ARM or Intel based hardware appliance that just does midi editing and sequencing would serve me really well. It is weird that nothing like it exists but we get endless step sequencers that people will pay high amounts of money for
I'd tend to agree. it's not as if there won't be many more step sequencers or loop focused devices being created in the future. there's already a load of those to go at. that train already has momentum.
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