Looking for Sequencer Suitable for Live Performance

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paul.boos
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Looking for Sequencer Suitable for Live Performance

Post by paul.boos » Fri Feb 12, 2016 3:42 am

Greetings,

I am getting my rig back together and am looking for a hardware sequencer suitable for live play. The last sequencer I used was an Alesis MMT-8 which I no longer have. I'd love to hear what people think.

I'd like to have the following capabilities (I presume these are all reasonable):
  • 2 or more MIDI outs (though one MIDI IN is fine)
  • ability to route a track to either or both midi outs
  • ability to reroute one MIDI channel to another MIDI channel
  • ability to record both in real-time and step modes
  • ability to record polyphonic tracks (not just monophonic)
  • ability to adjust, send, and record MIDI control messages
  • tweak at least some parameters live like the filter
  • need to build and hold about 64 songs
  • would love it to also be able to serve as a sample record/playback device
My style of music is mostly 80s synth pop/electonic.

Some of the other gear in my rig:

Akai AX80
Futuresonus Parva (on the way)
Kawai K1R
Korg DW-8000
Simmons SPM8:2
Akai S612
Sequential Circuits Tom
Sequential Circuits Multitrak
Roland JD-800

Thanks in advance for any advice...

Paul

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Zamise
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Re: Looking for Sequencer Suitable for Live Performance

Post by Zamise » Fri Feb 12, 2016 4:16 am

Yamaha RS7000 should meet all those requirements. However, there may be some unexpected limitations to some things like live/realtime midi rec and playback, 20 songs but 64 patterns that you can still put whole songs on (I personally prefer to load just one style or song at time to work with most of time, mix between second RSs if need continuous set), still It is a beast at live performances. If you look in to getting one and need more convincing you are welcome to message me. It is the one piece of gear that I have sort of become a bit of a renowned expert on and happy to answer questions.

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Re: Looking for Sequencer Suitable for Live Performance

Post by meatballfulton » Fri Feb 12, 2016 1:02 pm

Besides the RS7000, look into the more recent Akai MPC models...1000, 2500, 4000, 5000.

All of these are discontinued, of course. There is nothing like this available in pure hardware any more except the infamous Beat Thang. The latest MPCs are hybrids, a hardware controller plus a software engine.
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Re: Looking for Sequencer Suitable for Live Performance

Post by paul.boos » Fri Feb 12, 2016 1:22 pm

First thanks to both of you for responding...

The RS7000 looks like it would fit the bill; the Beat Thang also looks great, biggest drawback I see is that with only one MIDI out, I may wind up with too much MIDI latency. I have quite a bit of (older) gear, so I'd have to start chaining a lot; I was trying to reduce chaining as much as possible and a second MIDI out (presume it is routable Zam?).

The reason I want the MIDI outs routable is actually have more than 16 pieces of gear, though it will be HIGHLY unlikely that all 16 would get used at once. My thinking is if I can route tracks I can effectively duplicate MIDI channels (i.e. track 1 is MIDI channel 1 to the Multitrak on MIDI out 1, track 2 is MIDI Channel 1 to the SPM8:2 on MIDI out 2). I only stated a sample of my gear, most of it is quite old (early-mid 80s) gear with limited polyphony. I think the JD-800 has the most. I also have a second (newer) Roland drum machine I haven't been using simply because of the lack of MIDI channels (I love my Tom too much to not use it...).

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Re: Looking for Sequencer Suitable for Live Performance

Post by Zamise » Fri Feb 12, 2016 3:38 pm

Yes the RS has a very friendly Midi A and B out and internal tone track to channel router. It saves its settings to song and pattern so you can have dif settups per song, but defults to the 1 to 1 2 to 2 etc. for new, no global default settings, so you have to make a template or manuallyr reset them to where you like every new song/pat. Has not been a prob for me, usually make songs on RS alone then add a piece of gear or two and route channels, never hooked up more than a few other gear so unsure how well it will handle 16. Sorry on phone if bad typing.

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Re: Looking for Sequencer Suitable for Live Performance

Post by Jabberwalky » Sun Feb 14, 2016 8:19 pm

Zams, what are the live record midi issues that it has?

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Re: Looking for Sequencer Suitable for Live Performance

Post by Zamise » Mon Feb 15, 2016 3:07 am

Before I mention midi live recording issues, I'll mention that sample and re-sampling that it does have to be stopped first to do which can be a big issue for some folks. That can be a deal breaker issue and why I thought I'd mention it right off the bat. You can however do some delay input sample looping without stopping, not really the same thing and is more a simple digital effect but can be fun to mess with on the RS.

It's problem with realtime midi recording while continuing to play is a bit strange because it stems from the fact the RS's phrases in pattern mode do not always have to be the same length. Phrases of dif length can be a huge huge bonus compared to and over other loop/pattern based, groove style oriented sequencers, not many can do that, so don't think that is anywhere near a bad thing to have on a bitchen, full out 16 track desktop-sized sequencer, not to mention it has it's own 'decent' internal sound... Also, It may be different and work fine in song mode bouncing tracks, I'm not sure, but I'd think the idea would be to loop your sequence after recording it so pattern mode will be the focus here.

With firmware update 1.2x you are able to bounce around tracks that have the same phrase length while staying in record play mode. If you want to bounce to track that has a phrase of different length you have to get out of record mode while still playing then select the track and go back in to record mode. It is doable while staying in a live play performance but it is also easy to accidentally hit stop or mess something up in that process. I usually try to keep all my phrases at 4 measures which is default and can help eliminate a lot of confusion down the line if you decide to use pattern chain and convert the chain in to song for things like recording song wide sweeps. The other thing is while in step record mode you always hear the note when played at the time that you enter it on the step which could or couldn't be a problem with external synths, I'm not too sure, but you can avoid this by going in to grid/x0x rec mode which doesn't play the notes when entered but that mode is better for drums and one hits rather than if you want to play/rec synth chords. Also in step record there is a rec overdub and a rec overwrite which might be pretty cool for different reasons if one way or the other is your plan. Another thing if you choose to use, is that note quantize upon recording notes live is not realtime but I do think that the notes will be aligned on the second pass, but don't quote me on that, however I do think that is what happens on it but not 100% sure as I haven't used note rec quantize very often on the RS.

So, you do at least have some options and is fairly flexible for attacking different types of live/realtime performances on the RS. I'm not sure which is or will be the best or if one is better over the other, usually I pre-sequence or program all my stuff (I love the RS's step sequencer mode which for me is quicker and more effecient than using any of the DAWs) and then I punch the tracks in and out with mutes usually and tweak voices wile performing live. I haven't done much live sequencing and playback on it actually, it is more like I'm doing live mixing than sequencing during performances with it. An awesome companion to have with the RS for live mixes is a Peavy PC-1600 so you can fade multiple tracks or all at the same time instead of punching mutes and or dropping phrases in out by changing sections. Another RS is also a great companion ;) Lately, I've been having the most fun with using an AN-200 and DX-200 at the same time with the RS7000 however they have their own sequencers so I just have to sync their clocks. I could go on and on... I'll stop now.
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Re: Looking for Sequencer Suitable for Live Performance

Post by minime123 » Mon Feb 15, 2016 5:05 pm

laptop with ableton live?
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Re: Looking for Sequencer Suitable for Live Performance

Post by computron » Thu Feb 18, 2016 2:41 pm

For a live preformance I would choose the mpc 1000 hands down and if you need more outs you could get a midi thru box. I have done shows with the 1000 but have updated to the 5000. I also have the rs7000 and the rm1x. They are great sequencers in there own right. They have a large learning curve in how they work. Much more complicated then the mpcs. For changing seqs at home from various synths they work great. Though I personally wouldnt want to take a ax80 out of the house. I have my mpcs for live work because I have too many fragile oldies I cant risk it with. I just sample they sequences from then I want to use with the mpc. Of couse ill bring a few keys but never a full amount. I think a mpc1000 is your best bet.
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Re: Looking for Sequencer Suitable for Live Performance

Post by paul.boos » Mon Feb 22, 2016 3:32 am

Thanks for the follow-up everyone... (and sorry it took awhile to respond, the wife went into hospital, so I was a bit preoccupied...)

Yeah, I'm not certain I'll take the AX80 or my Multitrak out on the road... Perhaps my DW-6000...

I'll be getting a new Parva anytime. And I do have a Midi controller board. Just going to have to see what I put together (the new VolcaFM looks nice), but back to sequencers...

I'm not a fan of taking a Laptop out, maybe my iPad, but a hardware sequencer is really more my speed having used an Alesis MMT-8 in the past.

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