MIDI Sequencer for Hardware Only Set up

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powerhibiki
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MIDI Sequencer for Hardware Only Set up

Post by powerhibiki » Fri Jan 15, 2016 11:00 am

Hello all,

I've been playing with my Bass Station II in ableton for a year+ now. Just bought a TR-8, love it. Sick of the workflow of DAWs. I want to build a hardware-only set up for sequencing and recording. The BS2 has a limited sequencer (only 32 steps), and the TR-8 lacks a song mode.

I will try and be as specific as I can in what I am looking to buy:

- MIDI sequencer for hardware only set up
- Capability to step sequence the BS2, TR8, and future synths/drum machines I may purchase, such as the Dark Energy II, Meepblip Anode, etc
- Step Sequence/edit full songs. Not 8 step, 16 step, 32 step loops. Full songs, with many sections and changes.
- Press play, and have virtually nothing to do as the song plays through completion. (all parts from the various instruments would come in, stop, without me having to activate them. In a sense, the sequencing capabilities of a computer/DAW, without using a computer/DAW)


From my research, I've found:

- Social Entropy Engine
- Arturia Beatstep Pro (does it have a song mode? the newest firmware update says you can create songs, but it's vague)
- Akai MPC500/1000/etc (the new MPCs maybe?)
- Yamaha QY series
- Various grooveboxes (Roland MC-505, Yamaha RS7000, etc)
- Squarp Pyramid

I have never used any of these, or anything like them, so I am just not sure which of these things has/is/can do what I am looking for. I am looking to spend under $1000 for the sequencer. And I just want to make it clear, that recording would be done via a Mackie mixer/Tascam CDRW, or, Tascam 8track cassette recorder.

Any and all help/advice/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: MIDI Sequencer for Hardware Only Set up

Post by Ashe37 » Fri Jan 15, 2016 11:11 am

various workstations...

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madtheory
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Re: MIDI Sequencer for Hardware Only Set up

Post by madtheory » Fri Jan 15, 2016 10:57 pm

Squarp looks pretty cool!

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Re: MIDI Sequencer for Hardware Only Set up

Post by garranimal » Sat Jan 16, 2016 5:38 pm

Go for the Engine, it will do all you want. Workflow is instantaneous, can do polyphonic sequencing. I've seen it demo'd in person, built like a tank. I sold my MPC 1000 since the menu-diving was atrocious.

The Beastep Pro can only handle two MONO synth parts, plus drum machine. Songs are called Projects, can chain together up to 16 patterns for each of the three sequencers.

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Re: MIDI Sequencer for Hardware Only Set up

Post by pricklyrobot » Sat Jan 16, 2016 7:28 pm

Check out the E-mu Command Stations as well.
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Re: MIDI Sequencer for Hardware Only Set up

Post by jereopaq » Sat Jan 16, 2016 9:09 pm

I am DAW-less and own a Roland MC80, Yammy QY700, and an Atari ST. Currently, the QY700 and Atari are boxed up but ready in case I want a change of pace.

Pros and cons:

I truly cant recommend the atari....it has serious novelty and cool factor but troubleshooting TOS is downright painful. It also takes up space. But it is frikin cool looking....

OK, so the QY700 is sick. You've got 32 midi channels and the programming is intimidating but ultimately quite straightforward and wonderful. The step sequencer is piano-roll based on the huge LCD screen. This is pretty amazing. Also the soft keys that look like a synth keyboard are very very usable for programming drums and such. Way more usable than you would imagine. This sequencer is prolly yr best bet. You can simply use the TR8 and whatever else as sound sources and assign midi notes that can be programmed step-wise or xox style using the QY700 soft keys. Also the QY700 has a "groove" section where you can add swing and groove to anything in realtime by "mixing" the groove setting using a mixer style display on the LCD. This is a truly unique part of this sequencer. However, at the end of the day, the results i get from the groove mixer aren't really my taste.

The only reason why I am using the MC80 is for the arpeggiator. The arp on the MC80 is more extravagant than the roland XP arps. I mean, this arp is unbelievable and super creative. However, you are limited to only 16 midi channels on the MC80. MC80 is more simple to use than the QY.

I love all hardware setups! Glad to hear you're going this route! This kind of setup also goes well with a digital multitrack. I'm using a Tascam DP24 at the moment front-ended with high-end pres. The Roland VS recorders are also still pretty amazing and cheap.

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Re: MIDI Sequencer for Hardware Only Set up

Post by phesago » Sun Jan 17, 2016 1:39 am

i like the engine. I also use a elektron machinedrum b/c it sequences p-locks midi events and does drums. BUt the engine looks cool as f**k (kind of want to try it but i dont want to buy something im just going to get rid of).

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Re: MIDI Sequencer for Hardware Only Set up

Post by powerhibiki » Sun Jan 17, 2016 2:20 am

Thanks for all the responses. I think it is between the QY700 and the Engine.

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