Worst.. hardware sequencer.. EVER

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StepLogik
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Worst.. hardware sequencer.. EVER

Post by StepLogik » Fri Oct 03, 2008 6:41 pm

Seeing salwa mention the Casio SZ-1 in the other thread made me think of some terrible hardware sequencers I've used in my day.

The worst was a Yamaha EMQ-1, two tracks, no patterns or editing, minidisks. It was literally just a midi recorder. Great for backups but useless for actual composition.

Next up was the Korg SQ-8, also basically just an 8-track recorder. Awful interface, but a nice compact design.

After those two I finally got an MMT-8 and all was good :)

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Re: Worst.. hardware sequencer.. EVER

Post by 23 » Fri Oct 03, 2008 6:57 pm

Worst hardware sequencer ever????
are you kidding me, that's an easy and it points to a damn lil silver box.

the TB-303 or the MC-202.
Now granted I've never used the MC-202, but I hear on good report that it's equally as horrid.

What makes them so horrid?
Well lets take the 303 and assume the thing isn't suffering from double button clicks.
So all we want is a simple 4/4 time 1 measure (16 step) sequence.
Step I. Sequentially input notes. If you mess up anywhere within the sequential input of the 16 notes, exit note input mode, re-enter it, and start over from the beginning.

Step II. Sequentially input what steps are to hit, tie, or act as rest. If you mess up anywhere during this process, exit the mode, re-enter it, and start over from the beginning.

Step III. Establishing Accents, Slides, and pitching notes up or down an octave.
Enter (again) note mode and sequentially enter which steps are to slide, be accented, or pitched up/down an octave. If you mess up anywhere during the course of this process, exit note input mode, re-enter it, and start the process over from the beginning.

Step IV. Congratulations, there is no step IV, you finally have a one measure/16 step sequence programmed.

Now, bring things into the more common, which means every now and then you'll mean to hit a button just once to indicate a note, but instead it will trigger twice (recall what I said must be done in the event of mess ups), and you got a really really fun process on your hands.

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Re: Worst.. hardware sequencer.. EVER

Post by nathanscribe » Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:18 pm

The TB303 was probably not the best thing for sequencing long, complex pieces, true... and the MC202 is not the most accessible machine, but it's not that hard to get your head around either. One big problem with music gear is that lots of very stupid people seem to acquire it, and because it doesn't do immediately (or not) what they want it to (whether it's capable of it or not, or whether they really know what they're doing anyway), they shout loudly about it being a pile of c**p, and now we have the internet, this shouting is more obvious than before, when at least the music tech press could pick the worst offenders off to laugh at in the letters pages.

My damn PC with some nasty version of Cubase was the worst bit of c**p for sequencing. Much more irritating than any hardware I've used.

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Re: Worst.. hardware sequencer.. EVER

Post by Computer Controlled » Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:24 pm

See, now i think the opposite with the 303. I think it's rather easy to program. Sure, you have to do it in 3 parts, but it's not complicated in the least. Clumsy, but not complicated. The 202 IS a PITA though! But yields much better results as far as patterns are concerned. The old MC series sequencers are a complicated bunch as well.

How about easiest? SH-101/JX-3P!
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Re: Worst.. hardware sequencer.. EVER

Post by th0mas » Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:35 pm

sticking with the 303's.. MC-303. If you entered via realtime you couldn't grid edit, you had to scroll event by event and change the 'midi tick' timing.

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Re: Worst.. hardware sequencer.. EVER

Post by synthshaw » Fri Oct 03, 2008 9:41 pm

Cheetah MQ8, i had a nightmare with this thing back in '91ish. I'd get a couple of songs finished on it and suddenly it would make this bleeping sound and reset losing everything. Plus there was no disk drive to backup to. I must have lost a good few tracks to that beast, mind you i remember it being great for throwing ideas together but too buggy for any serious use.

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Re: Worst.. hardware sequencer.. EVER

Post by 23 » Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:34 pm

Computer Controlled wrote:See, now i think the opposite with the 303. I think it's rather easy to program. Sure, you have to do it in 3 parts, but it's not complicated in the least. Clumsy, but not complicated. The 202 IS a PITA though! But yields much better results as far as patterns are concerned. The old MC series sequencers are a complicated bunch as well.

How about easiest? SH-101/JX-3P!
The 303 was like the total opposite of efficiency, which is why I find it's sequencer horrible (but at the same time it's part of what makes it who/what it is). It's not that it was hard, it was just plain out terribly inefficient.
It's not that it's hard, but there's absolutely no reason why one should go through 16 steps 3 times in order to complete one 16 step sequence. When you put it more blatantly 48 steps = 16....
I mean 48 = 16 just doesn't make any sense.
The whole start over from the beginning bit makes it even worst.

The MC-50 I didn't find half bad at all though (can't speak for the other MCs prior to it)

anywho, yeah the 101 was DAMN easy. Limited as all mad, but very simple.
It's kinda funny, looking back at how it's sequencer was well....considered a sequencer...and fast forwarding today, it's sequencer would pretty much fall in the appregiator (functionality) category of many a synth.
the stuff going into appregiators now adays absolutely astounds me; as they essientially aren't just what was once considered a full blown sequencer, but they're often more than 5 times more full blown than the the full on sequencers of the past (80s and back) were.
Crazinnnnnnnnes

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Re: Worst.. hardware sequencer.. EVER

Post by madtheory » Fri Oct 03, 2008 11:00 pm

StepLogik wrote:Seeing salwa mention the Casio SZ-1 in the other thread made me think of some terrible hardware sequencers I've used in my day.
Well I haven't used an SZ-1, but I have used the CZ-5000, which is the same but with 8 tracks; and the quirks of that make it quite useful IMO. I would consider getting a CZ5000 again, but the SZ-1's 4 tracks is just not enough.
StepLogik wrote:Next up was the Korg SQ-8, also basically just an 8-track recorder. Awful interface, but a nice compact design
Ya, looked nice but pretty c**p. You'd be better of with a 4 track portastudio.

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Re: Worst.. hardware sequencer.. EVER

Post by urbanscallywag » Sat Oct 04, 2008 12:37 am

The worst:

Kawai Q-80 sounded nice and powerful with lots of tracks and motifs and such, but it did the opposite of inspire. Sold and never missed it.

Runners up (runner ups?):

Roland MC-909 sequencing with the drum grid while the sequencer was running sometimes meant waiting for the next pass to hear the changes. Not fun for improvisation, or much at all.

Elektron Monomachine/Machinedrum just because it takes a while to get used to copying and pasting patterns if you want to edit them without the changes being saved. Destructive editing really should be something the user should be able to turn on and off.

x0xb0x because the key presses don't always seem to register on mine at least. Maybe the buttons are bad, or maybe the scanning isn't done well. Its interesting to know that the TB-303 suffers from double buttons presses.
Last edited by urbanscallywag on Sat Oct 04, 2008 12:43 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Worst.. hardware sequencer.. EVER

Post by modulator_esp » Sat Oct 04, 2008 12:39 am

synthshaw wrote:Cheetah MQ8, i had a nightmare with this thing back in '91ish. I'd get a couple of songs finished on it and suddenly it would make this bleeping sound and reset losing everything. Plus there was no disk drive to backup to. I must have lost a good few tracks to that beast, mind you i remember it being great for throwing ideas together but too buggy for any serious use.
+1

My overriding memory of the MQ8 is how easy it was to lose the memory and how difficult it was to back up anything with the tape interface :twisted:
mostly enjoying adventures in sound :)

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Re: Worst.. hardware sequencer.. EVER

Post by jupiter8 » Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:09 am

Programming the MC202 puts hair on your chest. Especially two tracks with different bar lengths. It should be possible but i don't think it ever were. At least i never got it to work right.

I can't even imagine programming an MC4 or MC8.

How Vince Clarke could do complete songs with a bunch of MC4s is beyond me.

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Re: Worst.. hardware sequencer.. EVER

Post by StepLogik » Sat Oct 04, 2008 3:35 am

Both of my old MMT-8's were prone to losing their memories. I would power 'em up and *poof* all data gone. After a couple of rounds backing up to cassette tape which SUCKED and took forever, I finally got an Alesis datadisk.


If Roland doesn't get its a*s in gear and release another update to the Fantom G sequencer, I'll be adding it to this list as well. No drum grid? WTF?

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Re: Worst.. hardware sequencer.. EVER

Post by diezdiazgiant » Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:47 am

right now for me the worst sequencer is my old copy of ableton 5...
i dont know if its the software or my midi keys drivers but when i go to record something, randomly during recording, after tweaking some idea for an hour or so... ableton stops recognizing any and all midi information going in or out of the computer.
the only solution is to restart the computer, because closing the program doesnt take it off the list of active programs... its still eating up resources. i dont know whats causing it but im so frustrated im nearly done with software til i can upgrade my computer
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Re: Worst.. hardware sequencer.. EVER

Post by cornutt » Sat Oct 04, 2008 5:00 am

It's funny, but I remember how clumsy building sequences seemed on the Drummulator, and it was probably pretty good compared to a lot of its contemporaries. But for ease of editing, give me software any day.
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Re: Worst.. hardware sequencer.. EVER

Post by Vxster » Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:19 pm

Yamaha QX21

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