Squarp Pyramid - New sequencer etc.

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Paranormal Patroler
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Post by Paranormal Patroler » Fri Feb 06, 2015 8:59 am

Yeah, I was just about to post that it does.
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shaft9000
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Post by shaft9000 » Sat Feb 07, 2015 11:32 am

sort of a murky concept. 'meta' controllers often are either super-simple so one task is reliably accomplished, or too spread-thin to be very effective at much of anything, and with all the OS update annoyances to boot.

like with this, it seems to me that a polyrythmic analog controller should have at least 3 gate/trigger outputs :despair:
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Post by Paranormal Patroler » Sat Feb 07, 2015 11:53 am

Continuing with my post above and from a honestly interrogative stand-point; I fully realize this is a modular forum so all of our requests are oriented towards our cases, but don't you think that asking for more CV outputs is a bit too much? (this is a general question, not one addressed to shaft9000 in particular)

The way I see it, these guys implemented the CV control as an extra, in order to have the device sit as best as possible in the heart of a system (one that would contain CV controllable devices as well as your typical synth). Granted, it does say polyrhythmic functionality, but why should it have more Gate outputs? Just plug the device on your MIDI-to-CV and you're good to go.*

If integration with the modular is at stake, why stop at Gate outputs only? Shouldn't it also sport 16 CV outputs (if not more)? I mean, it has 16 tracks (polyphonic ones at that).

In all seriousness, I'm not being antagonistic in the slightest. I'm trying to figure out if these requests have merit or if they are idle "meh, not for me". Someone compared the Pyramid to the upcoming Beatstep just based on the Gate availability, as if all the rest was equal. I am baffled.


* it's worth mentioning that these days we are spoiled for choice in ways to integrate devices to the modular system
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Post by booksy » Sat Feb 07, 2015 12:56 pm

First off, the closing shot of the bearded guy's face was funny...

Anyway, interesting product, hope some make it to the US eventually. I'm happy there are new hardware sequencer options coming out, still not sure which is the "one."

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Post by revtor » Sat Feb 07, 2015 1:06 pm

it would be nice for one of these new sequencers to step it up with an HDMI or VGA output so a real monitor could be hooked up to see the setup. Roland did it with the MV8000 a decade ago. A Raspberry pi could do it. All these new HW sequencers are cool, but they're all basically the same thing. Tons of tracks, tons of features, tons of knobs and LED's, and a 4 line LCD.

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Regarding the bearded dude and his crappy sequence.. Should I be scared or in awe? Or laugh at the cliche?

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Post by DonaldCrunk » Sat Feb 07, 2015 1:24 pm

i've been thinking hard about this sequencer and trying to divorice it from my own use-case scenario since yesterday. please bear with this lengthy post and my pseudo scientific method.

obviously, people here are less excited because the CV I/O doesn't fit their own use case - but i got to thinking about the people who's use case it _does_ fit, and what is already on the market for those folks.


who buys a hardware sequencer in 2015?

A. people who don't like computers, and want to compose using a hardware device

B. people who want to play live, need a brain to hold the music they've composed in the studio and need to send those notes out to their devices (and also don't like computers)

C. people who desire simplicity and a streamlined setup, with fewer boxes to connect widget 1 to dingle 2


the single unifying factor is that in most cases, this device will be used in lieu of a computer. not really big news there - but that lets us move on to postulate about the gear, workflow and desires of computerless electronic musicians in 2015.


why no computer? well, some of us use computers for a living and don't want to fuck with it when we sit down for a jam. Others distrust computers in a live situation because of previous bad experiences. Still others have come up in an electronic music scene of the early 2000s, where laptops were the only device on stage and wish to be disassociated with that stuff.

okay, so those are a few reasons why people don't want to use computers to compose or play live. All viable reasons. now, what is the equipment set that these folks are likely to gravitate towards? that's a much more difficult and individual question, but i'll make my case:


analog synthesizers. specifically, modular synthesizers. people that gravitate towards modular synthesizers do so for many reasons, but one of the many is to get away from that damn computer and enjoy a more tactile and exploratory method of music making. i don't want to compare this product with the Beastep directly, but one thing that the original Beatstep proved is that there a _lot_ of us - and we have $$$ to spend (but not TOO much $$$).


enter the Squarp. many excellent features as a MIDI sequencer - but i can't put my finger on any one feature that wasn't available with legacy MIDI sequencing hardware (save the built in CV/Gate).. Polyrhythms are great and important, but all it takes is individual track lengths. MIDI effects are cool, but some MPC's had those too and can be purchased for about the same price (with MORE MIDI I/O, sampling capability etc etc). fuck, you can get an MMT8 for the price of a back of peanuts and get your MIDI sequencing on in many of the same ways.


these products have always been available to us, and all it would take is a MIDI to CV convertor to run our CV stuff off of them - yet they're not often seen as the central 'brain' of an analog rig.



to close, i would say the best way to get a standalone hardware sequencer to fit "as best as possible in the heart of a system" is to put the EMPHASIS on CV/Gate, rather than adding it as an afterthought. There are simply more of us in the market for a standalone compositional tool that use CV/Gate than there are MIDI users in 2015. i'm not saying do away with MIDI in a product like this - far from it! and yes, of course you can use a MIDI to CV device - but for whatever reason, most of us are more apt to purchase a device that supports MIDI to CV natively than pick up the necessary module or yet another desktop box.


i'm totally open to criticism and deconstruction of this post, and i hope someone does. I tried to write it with an open and all inclusive viewpoint but it's difficult to not be biased by my own preferences and my own experiences at dozens of synth meets etc. i have no problem with this product, but i think it could definitely be _more_ successful if the emphasis were changed.



TLDR : folks that hate using computers for composition are often Wigglers, and we like CV/Gate

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Post by revtor » Sat Feb 07, 2015 2:35 pm

Good breakdown there Don. Agreed. Ive got 2 MIDI only synths and 1 CV only synth. 3 that can do either. Not a real gear whore I guess. But I'd much rather run synths with CV vs MIDI if I could. So more CV is better for sure. In the synth market CV is really coming back to being a standard as it was decades ago!

well..

Perhaps the designers don't have much knowledge of whats out there already with regards to sequencers OR synths. Seems like something you'd research a bit, no?

Or perhaps they really need to write a detailed spec sheet and let us know whats great about it. Maybe we're missing something.?

My limited knowledge of electronics and Coding leads me to believe that if you've figured out how to add one channel of CV/Gate to a machine then you're over the hurdle. Adding a few more is just a few jacks and IC's. The code is already written and can be expanded. May need a few more pins on the Micro, but these days that should be no problem. ?


I wish 'em well, but man what a time to jump into the HW sequencer market!

~Steve

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Post by rockreid » Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:59 am

Xmit wrote:it looks great.

where's the SLIDE though ? :deadbanana:
generally when you overlap one sequenced midi note over the next a monophonic synth will interpret that as a slide. Whether it behaves the way you want depends on the synth settings you are using either Portamento, Slide, Glide, etc. Each synth is different.

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Post by Bath House » Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:31 am

DonaldCrunk nailed it. There are a million great MIDI sequencers out there that can do SO much and be had for so cheap. What there are not are sequencers of any complexity that put out a bunch of CV and gate natively. You've got the Cirklon - even then, CV and gate are on an ugly, clunky add-on box with a big dumb ribbon cable that costs extra - and not much else.

My two main sequencers are an MC-4 - still unbeatable by any modern option on multiple levels - and then a Roland MC-80, probably the best hardware MIDI sequencer ever made. The idea of buying any new MIDI-based sequencer is absurd to me in a world where you can get an MC-80 or an MC-50; why bother?

What I would love to buy is a modern sequencer with a great realtime interface that spits many CV's and gates at the same time. Something like an Elektron Analog Four with 2x CV and Gate per channel. Something not built around MIDI internally, but just generating the voltages directly.
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Post by MATSmile » Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:22 pm

Bath House wrote:....Roland MC-80, probably the best hardware MIDI sequencer ever made....
ZYKLUS

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kragg
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Post by kragg » Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:16 pm

Pyramid is getting alive and kicking :banana:

[video][/video]

[video][/video]

[video][/video]
Last edited by kragg on Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Paranormal Patroler » Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:17 pm

Remove the S from https.
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Post by PeterHanes » Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:32 pm

DonaldCrunk wrote:
...

enter the Squarp. many excellent features as a MIDI sequencer - but i can't put my finger on any one feature that wasn't available with legacy MIDI sequencing hardware (save the built in CV/Gate).. Polyrhythms are great and important, but all it takes is individual track lengths. MIDI effects are cool, but some MPC's had those too and can be purchased for about the same price (with MORE MIDI I/O, sampling capability etc etc).

...
Very nice post and analysis. One of the interesting features of the Pyramid appears to be that it not only has polymetric sequences (tracks with different lengths) but also true polyrythmic sequences (different divisions of tracks that have the same lengths).

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Post by duluthdack » Tue Apr 14, 2015 2:35 am

booksy wrote:First off, the closing shot of the bearded guy's face was funny...

Anyway, interesting product, hope some make it to the US eventually. I'm happy there are new hardware sequencer options coming out, still not sure which is the "one."

Which is the one?!? Damn I can't get enough of the capabilities of Elektron gear... the MIDI sequencing is just enough for my tastes...

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Post by MB II » Fri May 22, 2015 3:47 pm

The more I look at this the more amazed and lustful over it I get, all the track creation looks perfect as do the sequences. There are posts saying this has all been done before, but one thing struck me watching the videos is that the all-important workflow on this has been very well thought-out, it just looks so easy.

Only one thing, there's 64 tracks, and that's it, so you can have any of those 64 tracks arranged into a 16 track sequence (which basically is a mute/unmute grid for the 16 tracks).
And then you can program the sequences to be played.

But 64 tracks doesn't make a set. Could someone please shed some light on how this could be used for a live set? Or point me in the right direction? because I'm definitely missing something which is annoying because it looks pretty much perfect in all other regards.

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Post by kragg » Fri May 22, 2015 4:39 pm

I guess Squarp will chime in again at some point, when Pyramid got further improved and closer to release.
But 64 tracks means 4 banks of 16 tracks that you can freely use : either 16 instruments which can have 4 sequences for each, or 8 instruments with 8 sequence for each - or anything in between.
Depending on the kind of music you are making, of course this doesn't make a set (this is why it comes with a SD card reader), but this should hopefully give you the ability to arrange a "song" conveniently...

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Post by MB II » Fri May 22, 2015 5:56 pm

Square haven't chimed in yet, have they? I had a look through the thread, must have missed it. On the pyramid a sequence is a collection of 16 tracks, it plays 1 sequence at a time, theres no correlation for an "instrument" on the pyramid, unless you mean a track, and you don't assign sequences to tracks, it's the other way round.

Yes there's an SD card, great, but I only saw some info about loading projects, which is the entire bank of 64 tracks. To me that says its out of action for load time, so that's no good as a main live box.
"In every mode, press 2ND + save/load to access the menu and save, save as, load or manage your projects."
My concern is that if you aim a sequencer at being both a live and studio tool, you should at least give it enough power to fulfill both those aims.

Midi LFOs would have been nice, didn't see them.

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Post by rozzbud » Sat May 23, 2015 3:56 am

iirc there is no "forced" way of using your 64 tracks. I'm not sure only 16 tracks are available at a time. But the more tracks you use the shorter will be a sequence and the fewer pattern chains will be allowed.

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Post by MB II » Sat May 23, 2015 8:19 am

So you can assign any number of tracks to a sequence? Doesn't have to be 16, interesting.
Still falls short though doesn't it?

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Post by kragg » Sat May 23, 2015 8:42 am

There are 4 banks of 16 tracks.

The way you could use it really depends on your needs and workflow (if you have many instruments connected, if you need many variations in your song, etc).

The dumb scenario would be : you can make a whole liveset using only one single project if you need to control 4 instruments, if you have 4 songs in your liveset, if each song requires 4 variations each... It seems a bit dumb, and rather few, but it makes 4x4x4 = 64 tracks.
Of course, if you are the hidden son of Venetian Snares and Hans Zimmer, you will need at least 24987 Pyramid to run a whole live set ;)
But if you have a drum machine and a basssynth with their own sequencer, and if you can stop once Pyramid to load a new project during your live, it means that you can have up to 8 variations in your "song", 6 instruments playing together, and play at least 2 songs gapless...

To my own needs, i would rather prefer to stop the playback and load a new project (maybe it will possible to do it gapless ?), and use some empty tracks as layers, to make changes to already playing layers.

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Post by Pete Rebeat » Tue May 26, 2015 5:32 am

Hi folks,

I'm from Squarp Instrument, sorry for not chimin in earlier!

So basically Kragg is perfectly right about the tracks. I think it might be good to say again that for now, sequences are acting like mute states. Therefore you can have from 1 to 64 used tracks in one sequence.

Feel free to ask some more questions, I'll be checking this post regularly from now on.

Cheers!

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Post by akrylik » Tue May 26, 2015 6:00 am

Based on how the UI is set up shouldn't the main encoder be on the left side of the display rather than the right side? All the videos show the user doing awkward things so as to not cover up the display with the hand turning the encoder.

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Post by Yeggman » Tue Aug 11, 2015 11:31 pm

Well, me and my various multitimbral MIDI-equipped synths still want one. :hyper:

Whenever they get to North America...

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Post by brackets » Wed Aug 12, 2015 4:40 pm

Amazing sequencer!! Got one, and it's the most intuitive sequencer for complex chord progressions and jazzy arpeggios!!

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Post by brackets » Sat Aug 15, 2015 4:05 pm

Sadly I have to say I got it for sold in the trade/sell section.

Money/bills problems!!!! :confused:

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