Sequencer Talk

A forum for discussing the pros & cons of buying a particular synth and for advice on buying synthesizers.
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rharris07
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Sequencer Talk

Post by rharris07 » Sat Mar 06, 2010 3:51 pm

So I've been thinking about getting a sequencer for a little while now, but theres always something else that comes up and gets in the way. Well I think its time I actually need one...I'm tired of running from one end of my office to the other trying to program and play something different on three or four synths at a time. I need something else helping me run them.

But with SO many sequencers out there...what do I look for? What features are more important than others? i don't want to buy the most expensive, but definitely don't want the cheapest either...I've been eyeballing the FR Orb, but probably because of how cool it looks and the price tag seems pretty nice too.

With all that said - I figured I should ask - what is YOUR favorite sequencer, and why? What keeps you going back to it?

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Re: Sequencer Talk

Post by schmidtc » Sat Mar 06, 2010 5:14 pm

For digital, I like the elektron monomachine. You can sequence up to 12 channels simultaneously on a song. It has it's limitations, for example all sequences are the same length, chord notes must all be the same length, and it always auto-snaps to the grid. But there is real time control, and parameter locks of cc's and program change in a really nice interface. It's worth the extra dough for the keyboard model IMO.

For analog, the arp sequencer is still one of the nicest around. 3 assignable gates, skip, reset. It interfaces nicely to triggers from drum machines, to control the start, stop, reset, step. You can modulate the clock speed on certain select steps on the fly. There's native PWM and it does quite well at clocking into audio rates for weird fm type stuff.

I'm eager to try out the Cirklon when it's released. Still, I really wish someone would make a sequencer that allows me to turn midi/din clock on and off in time on slaved machines. I'm sick of stopping the whole track to change modes on some TR machines, and the current ways around this aren't up to snuff.

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Re: Sequencer Talk

Post by trevordutton » Sun Mar 07, 2010 6:30 am

I'd love to see how the specs of the Sequentix Cirklon compare to the Genoqs Nemo . . . anyone have some inside info?

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Re: Sequencer Talk

Post by Em Pe Ge » Sun Mar 07, 2010 3:27 pm

i used the MPC1000 as my main sequencer, (if i'm not using ableton). i absolutely love this thing. dual midi outs, so you can control up to 32 synths or drum machines. it's quite the sampler as well, with very quick and easy editing capabilities...

it's not perfect out of the box, if you're using the sampler heavily you'll need to get a ram upgrade.. ($20 off ebay).

if ram and midi out's are an issue, you can always step it up to the 2500 or 5000 series.

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Re: Sequencer Talk

Post by balma » Mon Mar 08, 2010 5:27 pm

Em Pe Ge wrote: so you can control up to 32 synths or drum machines.

mmmmmmmm, you meant 32 tracks? I don't get how you can control 32 synths with two MIDI outs? :shock:

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Re: Sequencer Talk

Post by pflosi » Mon Mar 08, 2010 5:32 pm

different channels and daisy chaining with the midi thru...

you'll get quite some latency on the last device though...

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Re: Sequencer Talk

Post by cram1960 » Mon Mar 08, 2010 5:57 pm

trevordutton wrote:I'd love to see how the specs of the Sequentix Cirklon compare to the Genoqs Nemo . . . anyone have some inside info?
Didja try the Sequentix website? http://www.sequentix.com/cirklon.htm They give the main specs. If it's more detail you want, try e-mailing them. They responded to my e-mail back in August about production.
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Re: Sequencer Talk

Post by Z » Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:59 pm

balma wrote:
Em Pe Ge wrote: so you can control up to 32 synths or drum machines.

mmmmmmmm, you meant 32 tracks? I don't get how you can control 32 synths with two MIDI outs? :shock:
If you're like me an use a lot of mono-timbral instruments or use only one sound at a time from a multi-timbral instrument or consider each "part" on a multi-timbral instrument its own synth.

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Re: Sequencer Talk

Post by rharris07 » Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:11 pm

well i decided to go ahead and buy an orb from a member on here, so that'll be my first experience with a stand alone sequencer!

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Re: Sequencer Talk

Post by stikygum » Sat Mar 13, 2010 7:29 am

I like the Orb concept, though you'd have to scroll through each note to reach the one you want. Everything seems good on it except I think it is limited in sequencing and that note thing is a killer for me (I hate scrolling just to get a certain note - it needs a dedicated knob).

I didn't want to run into a wall or be limited, wanted the ability to make something other than short loops, so I went with the Genoqs Nemo. Pretty awesome piece of gear. Has a lot of cool options and is an excellent tool. It's pretty much the best sequencer out there imho. I like the Korg Electribes too, but they are pretty limited.
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Re: Sequencer Talk

Post by nathanscribe » Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:32 am

If we're talking hardware, I used to have plenty of fun with an Alesis MMT-8. It was easy to use, quick to operate (except when the buttons went bad, but I fixed that) and I liked having the 8 punch-in/out buttons for each track. The downsides were only one MIDI out, the limitations of loop-based sequencing, and the keys being a bit squishy - and no disk drive, though you can dump MIDI to a computer. The display was small, but not too cryptic for its size. The whole unit's really light and portable, a bit plasticky but seemed pretty tough.

At the moment I'm using an old Yamaha QX-1. It uses 5 1/4" floppies, so I would only recommend one for die-hard oldies who never left the 80s... but it's easier to use than it looks and it has 8 MIDI outputs. I like to have as many ports as possible, any less than four would be a waste of time for me unless it's a sequencer dedicated to one device. No chaining where I can help it.

Sadly, I've never had a good standalone analogue sequencer. It'd be nice to have one. Building one is my only option at the moment, and I mucked up my last design so it's back to the board on that one...

I've picked up a few software sequencers but generally have only spent time with Cubase and recently Logic. Cubase was never much fun for me, but Logic makes more sense. Personal taste there I think. I remember using Cubase on an ST in the early 90s... in fact I recently found a small handful of ST Cubase disks at home... might be fun to pick one up and try it out again.

Other PC software includes Voyetra SPG (for DOS, though I believe there's a WIn95 patch for it) and QWS. Quick Windows Sequencer was recommended to me by a blind student of mine a couple of years ago, as it's entirely accessible via keyboard commands. It's MIDI only, no audio, but it's still being updated by the author and is downloadable for free.

I wouldn't mind trying a Doepfer MAQ, but have no room left.

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Re: Sequencer Talk

Post by droolmaster0 » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:31 am

stikygum wrote:I like the Orb concept, though you'd have to scroll through each note to reach the one you want. Everything seems good on it except I think it is limited in sequencing and that note thing is a killer for me (I hate scrolling just to get a certain note - it needs a dedicated knob).

I didn't want to run into a wall or be limited, wanted the ability to make something other than short loops, so I went with the Genoqs Nemo. Pretty awesome piece of gear. Has a lot of cool options and is an excellent tool. It's pretty much the best sequencer out there imho. I like the Korg Electribes too, but they are pretty limited.
So, the Nemo is better than the Octopus, then?
rharris07 wrote:So I've been thinking about getting a sequencer for a little while now, but theres always something else that comes up and gets in the way. Well I think its time I actually need one...I'm tired of running from one end of my office to the other trying to program and play something different on three or four synths at a time. I need something else helping me run them.

But with SO many sequencers out there...what do I look for? What features are more important than others? i don't want to buy the most expensive, but definitely don't want the cheapest either...I've been eyeballing the FR Orb, but probably because of how cool it looks and the price tag seems pretty nice too.

With all that said - I figured I should ask - what is YOUR favorite sequencer, and why? What keeps you going back to it?
The question about what features are more important isn't the right question. What features are YOU looking to have for the music you want to do? At some point, you have to define this, or else you're accepting the recommendations of someone else with different priorities.

Are you sequencing midi gear, or cv/gate gear? If you are sequencing midi gear, do you have some idea about the different types of features that are available? Just an example - do you like the idea of polyrhythms - which usually would manifest itself with the ability to have different tracks of a different length? Well, if so, then rule out the monomachine. Imo, with my priorities, the monomachine is extremely limited as a sequencer. And you're paying a lot extra for the synthesis capabilities.

Do you like evolving patterns? Usually that possibility is opened up with the ability to modulate one track with another. Again - you won't get that with the Elektron stuff.

How much do you want to spend? That of course makes a large difference.

Do you like menus, and complex programming to achieve complex results? Or do you want something easy and intuitive?

There isn't enough detail in your question to really make much in the way of a recommendation. And then, there are obvious questions like - do you require a hardware sequencer? If you're on a mac, Numerology is tremendously powerful. etc, etc.

I've used LOTS of the available sequencers, but I'd have to write 50 pages to address such a general question. You need to narrow it down. At which point, I love to pontificate....
rharris07 wrote:well i decided to go ahead and buy an orb from a member on here, so that'll be my first experience with a stand alone sequencer!
Well, forget my previous response then. Looks like you made your decision.

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