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Are sequencers the key for electronic music?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #31
Gear Nut
 

Mostly played in live to a sequencer and then using tricks to experiment with my track afterwards. ie transposing, time shifting, stretching, reversing and so on.

That's the power of a sequencer for me and the interaction it has with electronic music !
Old 4 weeks ago
  #32
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I like Reason with its Matrix and Redrum sequencers. There’s a lot of other fancy Rack Extensions now but I love the simplicity of those original Reason devices. I don’t think I need much else.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #33
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guyaguy's Avatar
 

Note sequencers are just a necessary evil for me but I love sequencers as modulation sources, whether onboard like on the Rev2 or Elektron gear or separate Eurorack units.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #34
Ksp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coffee View Post
I frequently read about comparisons of various synths in nitpicking fashion, however there's lot less talk about sequencers. For me sequencers are the most important thing for getting a certain sound, much more important than absolutely correct square wave shape.


What is your way of using sequencers?
There is no one key , its a long list of things that contribute to its creation both technically and mentally and also emotionally.

Regards sequencers they each have strengths and encourage different kinetic energy in music i found , i found ableton instantly gave my tracks more flow and phrasing variation but equally others offered other qualities , Hardware sequencers are one aspect of it and its why i work with multiple sequencers each for their natural qualities and the results they effortlessly achieve that the others could do but do not naturally easily do through design.

A piano roll offers things hardware does not , its just knowing how to utilise these tools .
Old 4 weeks ago
  #35
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Muser's Avatar
many are all really doing the same thing as each other. trying various ways of organizing and interfacing with midi events. Midi is probably more of a keyboard based metaphor, but that's probably a good thing because a piano is really a tuned percussion instrument. so in more important senses than not, the sequencers are more important than the instrument they trigger. because they have a pretty large spectrum to cover. from handling the simplest methods to handling the most musically sophisticated operations.

if a piano roll provides no inspiration, I think a lot probably has to do with there being multiple octaves of notes with nothing in. for a drum machine metaphor you'd need something like only 8 or 16 available options. if you play a piano keyboard you have a good idea that on different notes you're probably going to get a piano sound. but where's the snare !! everyone is asking. is it GM !!. what's the snare note in GM !! = same problem. also lets hope you don't have a piano plugin loaded when you find out what note the snares on.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #36
Gear Maniac
 

The perfect side of sequencers are not the notes it can output, it's this metronomic timing. I still remember the first time I heared a sequencer in a music store : it was the sixteen steps big ARP one
Old 4 weeks ago
  #37
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Not really no. IMHO the key in electronic music is the fact that no sound will be heard without introducing sufficient voltage to the components. Without electricity, there is no electronic music. This is not the case with most other traditional music guilds, which feature mostly ACOUSTIC instruments and will be rocking on happily in the post-apocalyptic, electricityless world that awaits us all.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #38
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sclr View Post
imo, to answer your thread title, yes. the reason i say that is as much as the studio became the evolution of music as an extending of how far recording music can go, the sequencer can do the same for playing music. its just a next evolution of music or sound playing one note, chord, tone, sound, etc after another. and now even knob movements or cc changes etc. you can sequence passages or movements that could never be done by hand or in realtime. i'd like to think even making something minimal thats what i'm doing and why.
That's my thoughts exactly. Sequencers are not just stupid sound recorders. They can morph and twist the note and cc data in countless ways. Modular stuff can do even more but you can easily go overboard with all the options and not everything is musical.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #39
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Aux Out's Avatar
 

I use hardware sequencers in different forms because PCs and Macs don't run tight. They have to handle so many tasks at the same time, the microtiming is total crap. And in electronic music timing is everything.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #40
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Yoozer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aux Out View Post
I use hardware sequencers in different forms because PCs and Macs don't run tight. They have to handle so many tasks at the same time, the microtiming is total crap. And in electronic music timing is everything.
As long as the job gets finished at the end of the day, it is wholly irrelevant whether that job takes 23 hours and 59 minutes or 1 hour. This is audio; as long as it's delivered when the buffer needs it, that's all that's needed.

That said, if you're not using an USAMO or https://www.expert-sleepers.co.uk/esx8md.html yet, you haven't kept up
Old 4 weeks ago
  #41
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Acid Mitch's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aux Out View Post
I use hardware sequencers in different forms because PCs and Macs don't run tight. They have to handle so many tasks at the same time, the microtiming is total crap. And in electronic music timing is everything.
Sounds like you've never tried any modern solutions.
Expert Sleepers stuff is sample accurate with both mac and pc.
On mac with Edirol or iconnect hardware you can get timing as good or better than hardware sequencers.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #42
Ksp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aux Out View Post
I use hardware sequencers in different forms because PCs and Macs don't run tight. They have to handle so many tasks at the same time, the microtiming is total crap. And in electronic music timing is everything.

my pc runs midi as tight as an atari in tests but due to the setup i have which is tested for that by multiple people , it depends on your setup , i have no problem with micro timing , i should point out i made electronic music 30 years and owned everything for Mpc's to Asq 10 to Cirklon , Ocoipus , Notron....cv sequencers , i know their strengths and their timing and
what your saying but i also know you can get very tight timing from certain solutions in daw

Electronic music includes genres like ambient which do not rely on microtiming so much so again thats a generalisation based on your own bias

You make a lot of sweeping statements which are not true in every circumstance.

There is no one key
Old 4 weeks ago
  #43
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Aux Out's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ksp View Post
my pc runs midi as tight as an atari in tests but due to the setup i have which is tested for that by multiple people , it depends on your setup

Electronic music includes genres like ambient which do not rely on microtiming so much so again thats a generalisation based on your own bias

You make a lot of sweeping statements which are not true in every circumstance.

There is no one key
And how did you do this? I have never heard a pc or mac that beats a dedicated sequencer in timing. The pure concept of modern day PCs with all the threads at the same time is a bit of a problem you can't really change. Without this stuff your PC wouldn't work. So, how did you do this?

And that ambient dont needs a tight timing is a incredible observation. Thanks for pointing this out. By the way, ambient is not exclusive to electronic music.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #44
Gear Nut
 
Aux Out's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acid Mitch View Post
Sounds like you've never tried any modern solutions.
Expert Sleepers stuff is sample accurate with both mac and pc.
On mac with Edirol or iconnect hardware you can get timing as good or better than hardware sequencers.
I never tried this. Thanks for the tip. But how does this hardware remove the problems that every DAW has? The timinig problems come from the concept of modern day PCs. A PC can only handle some tasks at the same time and has to jump between all tasks. And there are hundrets of them. A hardware sequencer is only so tight, becaus it does only one thing and doesn't has to handle other stuff. But if this works im all in.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #45
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aux Out View Post
I use hardware sequencers in different forms because PCs and Macs don't run tight. They have to handle so many tasks at the same time, the microtiming is total crap. And in electronic music timing is everything.

Timing isn't everything, have you listen to Jarre, Vangelis, Carlos , Tomita etc ?

Depends on what electronic music you're creating, Dance orientated then yes timing is essential, ambient / electronic classical etc then timing need not be tight at all.

I rarely use tight quantization, it would ruin my music, I like human elements in my creations !

I use a sequencer for recording as I play in live and then some experimentation afterwards.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #46
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Acid Mitch's Avatar
 

First off, the hardware sequencer also handles other tasks, just not as many. It still has to keep time, poll inputs , etc and stuff like mpc’s and Roland Grooveboxes also have to handle audio playback and generation.

Expert Sleepers stuff connects to an audio interface and locks your midi events to the audio timeline. It supplies sample accurate output.
With other solutions it’s the combination of hardware and drivers. They aren’t sample accurate but with the right combination can be as good as hardware sequencers or the Atari st.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #47
Gear Nut
 
Aux Out's Avatar
 

I find it interesting that people have the opinion a tight timing removes the human element.
The tightes timing i have ever heard was a world class symphonic orchestra.

A tight timing is in mine opinion a perfect running sequence. But the notes of this sequence dosn't have to sit on a regular grid.
If you don't like this and prefere a looser playback of the notes, than that is total ok. That depends on a personal taste.
I was refering to a sequencer that dosnt palys the notes back like you want it to play it, because of timing issues in the sequencer.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #48
Gear Guru
 
Muser's Avatar
I recently noticed in Reaper, that you can put in your own ppqn resolution in the quantize window and it actually seems to take. I need some more use time with it to have a better feel about the effects. the drop down window options are typical 1/4 1/8 1/16 1/32 1/64 1/128 values, but you can just retype your own value. the older sequencers were often in the 1/24 1/48 1/96 etc. so if you take a played part and quantize it to 1/32 or 1/64 you know that some notes will shift to that base and it will be different depending on what shifts to what. so it follows that including a 1/24 and or 1/48, will also produce different a result. I’d say they have the earlier hardware sequencer vibe. and in reality, it would be logical that it does. and assuming that were true, that's one simple reason why the sequencer matters.

Last edited by Muser; 4 weeks ago at 06:13 PM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #49
Gear Nut
 
Aux Out's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acid Mitch View Post
First off, the hardware sequencer also handles other tasks, just not as many. It still has to keep time, poll inputs , etc and stuff like mpc’s and Roland Grooveboxes also have to handle audio playback and generation.

Expert Sleepers stuff connects to an audio interface and locks your midi events to the audio timeline. It supplies sample accurate output.
With other solutions it’s the combination of hardware and drivers. They aren’t sample accurate but with the right combination can be as good as hardware sequencers or the Atari st.
This depends on the sequencer. There is not one hardware concept that fits all hardware sequencers. They are all build differently. To let one CPU handel all in a hardwarebox is a very new concept.

Not all hardware sequencers are tight. Im revering to the good ones. There are a lot of legendary crappy ones out there - i look at you ASR-10.

I have to test the Expert Sleepers stuff. I dont think it will beat the best of the best. But if its better than a regular workstation setup, it will be a big step up.

Have you tested your setup against a SP-1200? For me this is the one to beat
Old 4 weeks ago
  #50
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Rob Ocelot's Avatar
I have a number of hardware sequencers, some built into equipment and some standalone. I tend to mix it up for variety but generally keep the same sequencers and/or sequencing styles for similar tracks or similar themes.

*Zaquencer/BCR 2000 (MIDI)
*Doepfer Dark Time (MIDI, CV)
*Korg SQ-1 (MIDI, CV)
*Moog DFAM (CV)

-The knobby pattern based sequencers are useful for off the cuff happy accidents or quick and dirty polyrhythms by artifically truncating the sequence length (thus throwing the notes and accenting out of frame). As most of these are hybrid (output both MIDI and CV) they are useful as glue to go from something outputting either only MIDI clock or analog clock to the other. I sometimes use the Zaq with a 4 channel MIDI-CV converter (CV OCD. Fantastic and inexpensive, go get one if you dont have one). More often than not I'm using the SQ-1 with something else to sequence just CV to filter cutoffs (what analog synths don't have CV to cutoff?) like a custom LFO of sorts. The DFAM is a special case where it's a simple knobby sequencer as part of a synth and I find I spend a lot of time using something else like the SQ-1 to enhance or override the DFAM sequencer so it's freed up to do something else in the synth besides pitch and velocity.

*EHX Clockworks

-Not strictly a sequencer but worth a mention because I use it quite often. A brilliant little pedal that takes analog clock signals and hacks them up into divisions so you can get some funky polymeters (think 3/4 layered on 4/4). There's lots of Eurorack stuff that does clock and frequency divisions and my Kilpatrick Phenol has them too but the Clockworks is so simple and immediate with 4 channels and 4 sliders and as far as I know it's the only standalone option. Now try and feed it some non-regular rhythms (say from the combi output of a Roland CR-78) and watch the magic happen!

There's lots of synths with built-in non-knobby sequencers. I probably have some that I don't even realize have sequencers in them (Ensoniq SQ-80) and some that I do but I don't think of sequencing anything else with them (The TR-505 springs to mind):

*Korg Mono/Poly w/Tubbutec upgrade
*Akai Timbre Wolf
*Roland MC-202
*Roland SH-01A
*Yamaha QY-70

-I like the enhanced Mono/Poly for a lot of reasons, chiefly the great sequencer and arpeggiator but also for the poly chord feature that lets you assign a chord that will play when one note is struck (it doesn't need to be related to the note in question). The regular Mono/Poly also can use one of it's LFO's to pitch bend just oscillator #1 allowing you to vary an arpeggiation or sequence on the fly. I use this a lot in my music.

-The Timbre Wolf may be many things, but it's also a cheap and cheerful simultaneous 4 channel sequencer that fits right into my studio where I need it.

-The MC-202 is a great little sequencing box with a 2-pass programmer (you program pitches, then go back and and do timing) that can lead to some interesting happy accidents, much like the TB-303's quirky sequencer. It's getting a Tubbutec upgrade in the near future too.

-Not much to say about the SH-01A other than it's my grab-and-go mini sequencer of choice that runs on batteries. Does what it needs to do and sounds good doing it while also sequencing other gear in a small package.

-The QY-70 is an interesting package. A MIDI sound bank with nifty effects and a MIDI sequencer all in a portable gaming console form factor that can run on batteries. I just got this so I'm still wrapping my head around it but it's shaping up to be my portable sequencing box of choice next to the SH-01A.

The Standalone sequencers:

*Yamaha QX-1
*Twisted Electrons Crazy-8
*Conductive Labs NDLR

-The QX-1 is a big, ugly wedge that relies on a 5 1/4" floppy drive that it constantly accesses (and thus slowly kills) and has a physical keyboard that looks like it was made for grey aliens with three fingers. Yet, it's got 8 simultaneous MIDI buses (meant to drive the 8 TF-1/DX-7 cards in the TX-816 rack and companion DMP-7 MIDI mixer). Utterly amazing in it's specs and equally horrifying to program and operate, it's one of those "I'll get around to it" learning experiences I keep putting off that will eventually enhance my life (maybe). It sticks around because I got it for free and I can't bear to get rid of it.

-The Crazy 8 is a fantastic little 8 channel sequencer that does both MIDI and CV. It's my main non-knobby sequencer for the most part. It's UI can sometimes be a little frustrating but that's the compromise for so much functionality in such a small package.

-The NDLR is more of an advanced arpeggiator than a straight up sequencer. It's creating variations for you based on the chords you enter. I wouldn't use it as my primary sequencer but it's a very effective way to add some colour and variation. I'm still getting a feel for its potential as a live performance tool.

*Roland CSQ-600

-Somewhat unique as a sequencer. It's basically four SH-101 seuquencers in a box with no synth attached. You have to either 'play' CV to it live or step program CV's into it, so you need either a CV keyboard or another sequencer to program it first. The sequences are serial, meaning you can only have one running at any one time but you can chain them. I don't use this often but it's interesting as it's one of the only things that directly interfaces with the weird 12ppqn DIN sync clock of the CR-78 (most DIN clocks are either 24 or 48ppqn).

Last edited by Rob Ocelot; 4 weeks ago at 07:42 PM..
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