Anyone ever used the M1 sequencer?

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Anyone ever used the M1 sequencer?

Postby Mark76 » Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:16 am

Hey!

Has anyone on here ever used the M1 sequencer?

My workflow is to create the patterns and then loop them to make the full song. I realise the M1 sequencer is pretty basic but I kind of like the challenge to record something using old basic equipment, plus I REALLY want to avoid using any computers. I want to keep things simple and computers/DAW's inevitably cause stress.

Anyway, does anyone have a clue how to use the quantise feature on this synth? I've tried and tried to correct my timing but nothing seems to work.

Any ideas/tutorials that anyone knows of?
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Re: Anyone ever used the M1 sequencer?

Postby meatballfulton » Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:45 pm

If you don't have the manual, get it here.

Check page 98. Quantize is a Song function, not a Pattern function! It would seem that quantization after recording is only possible on the entire song, not on each pattern.

However, when recording patterns in real time there is a setting for resolution and from the manual wording this is a fixed quantization of your playing during recording. In other words, if you set resolution to quarter notes and play eighth notes or shorter instead you should hear quarter notes on playback (try it). The setting of 1/48 of a quarter note is just the limit of the sequencer's resolution (48 parts per quarter note, often abbreviated 48ppqn). That is the setting you would use if you wanted no quantization at all. Step recording of patterns is quantized by default, of course, by setting the note length of each step.

OK, there is one workaround for already recorded patterns. Welcome to the joys of early MIDI sequencers, you get to do Event Editing! See p.103. You can edit each and every note in the pattern, and this would allow you to manually quantize the pattern. I have in fact done this with some sequencers and it can be a dreary chore but that was what people did back in the day...or else they erased and rerecorded with a more appropriate resolution setting, so fewer edits would be needed later, maybe a few notes quantized improperly due to player error. Event editing is actually missing from some DAWs...Reason and Live don't have it. You literally have control of the individual MIDI messages, down to things like program changes, CCs, etc. With the M1's small display it's not pleasant, but it can be done.

My advice is to set the resolution for each pattern before recording. If you want 1/16 notes, then set resolution to /4 (quarter note divided by 4) for tight quantization or /8 (32nd notes) if you are willing to allow a little slop. Then edit any mistakes you hear on playback.

Good luck!

Here's a period video tutorial:

Watch on youtube.com


The "Creative Sequencing" discussion starts about 47 minutes in.
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Re: Anyone ever used the M1 sequencer?

Postby Mark76 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:20 am

Hey!

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond. I imagine most people will think I'm crazy for even trying to get my head around this but I think it will be great for basic loops etc running alongside the boutique sequencer and I just love trying to create something from such a basic sequencer!

If nothing else it will be useful just to get ideas down, switch on and record. None of this waiting around opening up applications and sorting prefernces etc etc, but anyway....

So what you are saying is set up the Resolution first before real time recording in pattern mode. I'll still have to have a proper play around with this. I did have a quick go and set the resolution to 1/2 just for an extreme test but on first attempt it didn't seem to work but I need to give it another go.

Thanks again for your help (loving the 80s video too!).

Out of interest, do you still own/use an M1 fairly regularly? I love mine, even though it is incredibly dated these days who can resist the "Organ 2" preset?!?!
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Re: Anyone ever used the M1 sequencer?

Postby meatballfulton » Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:45 pm

Never owned one. I've just used other sequencers from that era and have gotten really good at reading manuals :lol:
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Re: Anyone ever used the M1 sequencer?

Postby ninja6485 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:22 pm

I have one, and use it - it's fun, but get ready to adopt a linear work flow, not a loop based workflow.

You can create and save small patterns and layer them loop style, but there is a slight delay if you use the sequencer's loop function, so having an 8 bar loop that keeps replaying as you add and remove parts is probably not going to work. Lookup synthmania on YouTube - there's a great video on using the Roland W30's sequencer that will help you immensely!

Also, you can specify the track and the bar you want to quantize, so you don't have to quantize the whole song.

The other caveat is that the sequencer does not have a lot of notes, so you're looking at maybe one whole song, or a few individual parts. You probably won't get away with having multiple whole songs in the machine without reaching it's max memory, unless you're only using it for one part of the song.

One of the best parts about using the M1, or similar sequencers is training yourself to play extended parts on the keyboard. The synthmania video demonstrates recording a 32 bar performance each time, and then copying this 3 or 4 times as needed to create the song for each part. This is much easier than trying to arrange 4 bar, or even a single bar of midi notes into a whole song on the M1.

I think if you try this, you might like your songs a little more too. If you get bored playing say the same bass notes over and over for 32 bars, you might add a little change or fill here and there, making it more interesting for you AND anyone listening to your song. Plus you get to bond with your sounds and melodies more by actually playing them, while retaining a sequenced sound, provided the sequenced sound is important for the music you're making. At first it seems like the M1's sequencer is super limited, but a little adjustment in how you work with it, pretty soon you will be amazed at how little you need much else! Anyway, good luck, and feel free to post your results in the listening lounge!
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