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  #1  
Old 05-22-2015, 12:27 PM
m5tevens's Avatar
m5tevens m5tevens is offline
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Default This hardware sequencer may be of interest here ...

http://www.squarp.net

Looks like a contemporary stab at a Genocqs / Latronic Notron sort of thing (I can never remember the name of the Notron, found it by doing a search for "hardware sequencer toilet seat," first hit.)
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  #2  
Old 06-24-2015, 04:16 AM
modusoperandi modusoperandi is offline
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here's another interesting one.
practically no menu diving either.

social entropy's engine:
http://www.socialentropy.com/quicksilver/
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  #3  
Old 08-01-2016, 04:50 PM
autopoiesis autopoiesis is offline
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As an owner of one, I can say that the Pyramid is a fine sequencer that has many unique features like:

- CV to MIDI conversion
- Euclidean rhythms
- intuitive chord sequencing
- "MIDI delay" a la the Yamahas
- gate probability
- a very nice piano roll view
- MIDI CC automation drawing on an X/Y touchpad
- polyphonic overdub recording
- .mid file import and export
- flexible DIN MIDI/USB MIDI/CV routing options
- MIDI note to MIDI CC conversion (i.e., keytracking CCs)

But also some very frustrating limitations like:

- you basically only have 64 "tracks" (granted, each one can be up to 384 bars long) -- each with zero "patterns" or variations -- that you can sequence per project, and you have to manually switch between projects which disrupts playback. This zero-pattern limitation is expected to change in OS 0.89, and as of this time we're on OS 0.86.
- on power on, it always loads into an INIT project and the sequencer starts playing automatically
- some important functions, especially those involved in the x0x-style step sequencing mode, are only accessible by using 3-finger button/encoder combinations that are ergonomically horrible and strain your hands

I'm frankly having a hard time incorporating it into my setup because it brings some really unique things to the table while having some deal-breaking limitations (i.e., the 64 tracks thing) that prevent me from making it my central sequencer, especially for live performance. I thought it would at least play a valuable role in a studio setting, until I discovered the N4 + Launchpad combination which has blown everything else out of the water. I'm leaning on it mostly for CV to MIDI conversion at this point.

I'd love to be able to dump the consolidated MIDI data from my N4 sessions into a hardware sequencer that I can play live with, but I'd rather chop that up into hundreds of 4-36 bar clips that I can "improvise" with rather than divide that amongst only 64 clips (e.g., 8 songs each using 4 MIDI channels means you have only 2 "clips" per channel per song). I may have to look into something like an MPC for this kind of thing.
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  #4  
Old 08-03-2016, 07:35 PM
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m5tevens m5tevens is offline
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I picked one of these up in the last run they did. Mixed bag for me, too, for different reasons. I'm using this as part of a studio setup as an input to Ableton, the 'tracks' thing and the 'seq' problems aren't big issues for me. The main complaint I have is that the effects automation can only work with the effects in the same track as the automation, and subsequently, has to be the same length as the track, which rules out doing much with velocity other than randomizing it. It *really* needs LFO's. The way the Euclidean mode "takes over" the track when it's active makes it impossible to tweak automation and controllers while the track is actually playing.

But I really like sequencing with a hardware device, and since it's not a plugin, Ableton deals with multi-channel midi from it. The focus they've put on different time-division options is pretty great.

How did you find out about the anticipated change in OS 0.89? I'd be a lot more disappointed with this thing if it wasn't so clearly a work-in-progress.
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  #5  
Old 08-04-2016, 12:18 PM
jim jim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by autopoiesis View Post
I'm frankly having a hard time incorporating it into my setup because it brings some really unique things to the table while having some deal-breaking limitations (i.e., the 64 tracks thing) that prevent me from making it my central sequencer, especially for live performance. I thought it would at least play a valuable role in a studio setting, until I discovered the N4 + Launchpad combination which has blown everything else out of the water. I'm leaning on it mostly for CV to MIDI conversion at this point.

I'd love to be able to dump the consolidated MIDI data from my N4 sessions into a hardware sequencer that I can play live with, but I'd rather chop that up into hundreds of 4-36 bar clips that I can "improvise" with rather than divide that amongst only 64 clips (e.g., 8 songs each using 4 MIDI channels means you have only 2 "clips" per channel per song). I may have to look into something like an MPC for this kind of thing.
So if I'm parsing this correctly, you're after:
- 4 parts (combination of MIDI & CV)
- Multiple banks of presets -- essentially unlimited
- Ability to load/play/edit Numerology sequences.

Jim
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  #6  
Old 08-04-2016, 02:04 PM
autopoiesis autopoiesis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m5tevens View Post
I picked one of these up in the last run they did. Mixed bag for me, too, for different reasons. I'm using this as part of a studio setup as an input to Ableton, the 'tracks' thing and the 'seq' problems aren't big issues for me. The main complaint I have is that the effects automation can only work with the effects in the same track as the automation, and subsequently, has to be the same length as the track, which rules out doing much with velocity other than randomizing it. It *really* needs LFO's. The way the Euclidean mode "takes over" the track when it's active makes it impossible to tweak automation and controllers while the track is actually playing.

But I really like sequencing with a hardware device, and since it's not a plugin, Ableton deals with multi-channel midi from it. The focus they've put on different time-division options is pretty great.

How did you find out about the anticipated change in OS 0.89? I'd be a lot more disappointed with this thing if it wasn't so clearly a work-in-progress.
The 64 tracks + 0 patterns thing is not a problem if you're okay with using an entire project to sequence one or two songs. And it might not be a problem for sequencing multiple songs, either, depending on the music you make and how you like to make it. For me, it entails that I can't load my Pyramid up with 8+ songs in a single project and retain a fluid performance over the patterns that comprise those songs (choosing to loop an 8 bar section n times, choosing to jump back to a 16 bar section that you already played).

I agree completely with you about the LFOs, the track lengths of automations (solvable if there were intertrack modulation), and the crippled Euclidean mode. And I also agree that its implementation of polyrhythms and polymetry is very nice and intuitive.

I found out about the plans for v0.89 on the Squarp forum, on the page of their suggest-a-feature section. They were so kind as to list the features on their roadmap for the next couple of minor versions.
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  #7  
Old 08-04-2016, 03:10 PM
autopoiesis autopoiesis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim View Post
So if I'm parsing this correctly, you're after:
- 4 parts (combination of MIDI & CV)
- Multiple banks of presets -- essentially unlimited
- Ability to load/play/edit Numerology sequences.

Jim
Ideally more than 4 parts (where a part is a discrete MIDI channel or CV output that can be the destination of a sequence). It seems that hardware sequencers get panned for having fewer than 16 parts these days (e.g., Octatrack).

But otherwise, yeah, that's about right. It seems a Sisyphean effort to try to design a hardware sequencer that's optimized for both (a) composition in "studio mode" where maximum flexibility/modularity and detail micromanagement is welcome, and (b) live performance where both extensive pattern memory and customizable macro-level controls for improvisation are very valuable. As far as I can tell, the Cirklon comes close, but at the cost of a pretty deep menu-driven interface (and an apparently self-limiting production cycle).

N4 paired with a grid controller is looking like the best answer to (a) that I've experienced thus far. I honestly wouldn't want to spend *more time* scrolling around with encoders on a box to edit racks and connect modules so I can build a complex sequence with a 2x6" LCD screen's amount of visual feedback -- the computer just wins here on efficiency.

But there are many reasons (reliability, clock tightness, aesthetics , integrated control surface, etc.) why producers would prefer to leave a computer and thus N4 out of a live performance based around patches they've created in the N4 environment.

My dream Five12 hardware sequencer would prioritize immediate control over:

- preset editing and arrangement (the playlist)
- muting (especially at the module level)
- all non-sequenced parameters of sequencer modules (e.g., scales, speed, direction)
- a limited # of CV Generation modules mapped to encoders and buttons on the box and routed to a limited # of ParamMods that can be edited on the device
- a limited # of CV Processing modules
- perhaps evolve with recovery (to the original sequence, which is even more important in a live setting IMHO) -- jue's patch works here but it would be very handy if this worked out-of-the-box

Icing would be MIDI to CV*, CV* to MIDI, and CV* to "Numerology CV." *CV here meaning DC electrical signals, not floating point data.

As a live-first device, I would give a lower priority (in terms of CPU and control layout) to full control over the creation and editing of MonoNote, DrumSeq, ChordSeq, etc. modules. I'm basically envisioning a preset-level tracker that has a generous modulation matrix and is fully compatible with all the objects of the Numerology environment.

UPDATE: Now that I think of it, what I described sounds like the perfect companion to a grid controller even for the studio setting. Launchpad on step sequencing duty; this encoder-rich box on the duties of CV generation, CV processing, CV routing, and arrangement editing. With both working together over USB, there would be virtually no need to touch a mouse or look at the computer screen. But now I'm getting way ahead of my already idiosyncratic fantasy

Last edited by autopoiesis; 08-04-2016 at 04:18 PM.
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  #8  
Old 08-11-2016, 01:05 PM
jim jim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by autopoiesis View Post
Ideally more than 4 parts (where a part is a discrete MIDI channel or CV output that can be the destination of a sequence). It seems that hardware sequencers get panned for having fewer than 16 parts these days (e.g., Octatrack).
I can see the draw of knowing that the option of 16 tracks is always available, and certainly for final mixing that quickly becomes the lower end of the number of tracks folks use, but I think with hardware it becomes a bear to manage more than just a few tracks at a time -- perhaps 3-4 'active' sequences, plus audio-looped backing tracks for a more 'produced' result.

[big snip]


Quote:
Originally Posted by autopoiesis View Post
UPDATE: Now that I think of it, what I described sounds like the perfect companion to a grid controller even for the studio setting. Launchpad on step sequencing duty; this encoder-rich box on the duties of CV generation, CV processing, CV routing, and arrangement editing. With both working together over USB, there would be virtually no need to touch a mouse or look at the computer screen. But now I'm getting way ahead of my already idiosyncratic fantasy
I've felt for a while that a Grid + something "faders n knobs n buttons" works very well for Numerology -- as you mention, the Grid for pattern editing, with other controls for things like LFOs, mix levels and so on. So, very much in agreement there....

Cheers,
Jim
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