which stand-alone sequencer?

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dot matrix madness
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which stand-alone sequencer?

Post by dot matrix madness » Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:51 am

I would like to see your suggestions what (hardware) sequencer to get (new or used).
Requirements:
+ Must run stand-alone without computer (I've seen too many operating systems come and go over the years
that made my software obsolete), but for editing settings is okay
+ At least 16 tracks per sequence
+ some CV/Gate outputs for triggering my own drum modules would be nice but not a must, since I've got a
Midi to 12 triggers interface
+ graphical display
Optional: build-in sounds, sampling, trigger pads

Current gear: Arturia Beatstep Pro, generic Midi keyboard, Roland XV-3080, Waldorf Pulse, DIY Eurorack modules
What came to my mind: Akai MPC One, 1000, 2000-XL; Sequentix Cirklon (I'm prepared to wait)

Thanks in advance!
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Re: which stand-alone sequencer?

Post by Voltcontrol » Mon Sep 21, 2020 9:25 am

MPC One looks pretty compelling for your need!
Cirklon is still king if I must believe owners' statements, get on that list if you want to try one in due time.

Some other options:

Social Entropy Engine (optional CV expansion board, but.... It's not for sale new atm)

Squarp Pyramid

Midibox https://www.midiphy.com/en/mbseq-v4-/ (DIY but they have a list of recommended builders)
P.s. it can be built with cv/gate, added because it's perhaps not apparent immediately:

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dot matrix madness
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Re: which stand-alone sequencer?

Post by dot matrix madness » Mon Sep 21, 2020 10:08 am

Voltcontrol wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 9:25 am
MPC One looks pretty compelling for your need!
Cirklon is still king if I must believe owners' statements, get on that list if you want to try one in due time.

Some other options:

Social Entropy Engine (optional CV expansion board, but.... It's not for sale new atm)

Squarp Pyramid

Midibox https://www.midiphy.com/en/mbseq-v4-/ (DIY but they have a list of recommended builders)
P.s. it can be built with cv/gate, added because it's perhaps not apparent immediately:
Interesting suggestions, thank!
I'm already on the waiting list for the Cirklon, but I don't expect that to happen until late 2021.
I would give the Midibox a go myself if it would come as a complete kit, but the Squarp Pyramid
and the MPC One are hardly more expensive.
Likewise used MPC 2000-XLs are around the same price tag.
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Re: which stand-alone sequencer?

Post by heckadecimal69 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:51 am

Engine is only 8 tracks but it's a pleasure to use, if you can find one. There will be a successor at some point.

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Re: which stand-alone sequencer?

Post by rosten » Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:58 am

I love my pyramid. I think its super under-rated. I find it really great at both long melodic streches /editing long sequences as well as polymetric and polyehythmic sequences, plus euclidian stuff, Midi fx, chord generation. Some people really hate the pads but I don't mind em. It has a display but, it's honestly not the best feature and I prefer not relying on a screen to sequence. If you really want to use a display to sequence, it does seem like a computer can't be beat.
I think it all really depends on what you want to be doing with the sequencer.
Can you say more about your set-up/style/goals?
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Re: which stand-alone sequencer?

Post by revtor » Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:08 pm

MidiBox is complete as a kit if you order the complete kit from Germany and then the BOM from Mouser. So it’s complete if you place those two orders. Not “cheap” but highest quality hardware parts, and packed full of fun sequencing power.
https://www.midiphy.com/en/shop-details ... ntial-kit-
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Re: which stand-alone sequencer?

Post by Voltcontrol » Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:48 pm

Oh, and don't forget about Akai Force.
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Re: which stand-alone sequencer?

Post by Nelson Baboon » Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:41 pm

I've used lots of sequencers in my day, and generally if people ask me behind the scenes a very general question like this, I try to ascertain what they are really looking for. How do they like to sequence.

What has always attracted me (why I've spent too much $ trying out this sequencer and that over the years) is pretty much step sequencing, and then 'sequencing the sequencer'. But other people like the mpc paradigm (which I cannot get on with at all), and more keystroke, live recording hybrid sequencers like the pyramid. The pyramid is useful. I can record in 'loop mode' for an indeterminate length, and then apply midi fx to it, or various variations thereof. But it isn't why I like hardware sequencing really - just a useful tool.

I don't get a clear idea from reading why all of these various types are being lumped in together, and why people feel inspired to get involved in yet essentially another poorly defined 'what is the best sequencer' thread.

without further clarification, the cirklon sounds like total overkill to me. Are you familiar with the aux events? Do you need all of those outputs, etc? What constitutes a 'graphical display'?

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Re: which stand-alone sequencer?

Post by kragg » Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:43 pm

rosten wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:58 am
I love my pyramid. I think its super under-rated. I find it really great at both long melodic streches /editing long sequences as well as polymetric and polyehythmic sequences, plus euclidian stuff, Midi fx, chord generation. Some people really hate the pads but I don't mind em. It has a display but, it's honestly not the best feature and I prefer not relying on a screen to sequence. If you really want to use a display to sequence, it does seem like a computer can't be beat.
I think it all really depends on what you want to be doing with the sequencer.
Can you say more about your set-up/style/goals?
Squarp Pyramid +1
https://squarp.net/pyramid

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Nelson Baboon
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Re: which stand-alone sequencer?

Post by Nelson Baboon » Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:50 pm

another nice feature that is built into the pyramid is cv to midi (midi to cv is far, far more common). This can lead to some interesting results, and potentially overtax the synth if you're not careful!

Edit - maybe the overall point that i'm trying to articulate, from this angle, is that I don't really like the ui of the pyramid, or the overall feel and concept. However, I made the mistake of selling mine a couple of years ago, and then realizing that I really miss some of the features. I would hate to rely on it for complex step sequencing....i will have my schrittmacher, and my forthcoming midiphy seq 4+ coming. But while I appreciate the pyramid, i would be really unhappy if I had to work that way all of the time, because I find (as one example) the schrittmacher to be 1,000,000x more fun. What you enjoy really makes a huge difference. I'd start with that - and then winnow the list down according to the features that you feel you need.

the engine is nice - if you can find one at a deal, it's worth looking into. I found the method of entering steps a bit clunky, but that seems to be the modern way of doing things. I prefer a screen where i can see all of the steps, and then have a knob per step. The schrittmacher is so perfect for this - a huge display, and so easy to set the row parameters, and the event parameters, etc. but then, no polyphony, which drives me a bit crazy, and no recording.

in any case - I'd start with thoughts about what attracts you to step sequencing, and how you like to do it. If you don't really know, I'd try to ascertain some of the core differences in work flow between the different sequencers mentioned.

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Re: which stand-alone sequencer?

Post by dot matrix madness » Tue Sep 22, 2020 2:41 am

Thanks for all recommendations so far! I see there are several options (which is nice), but in the end it's a matter
of "gut feeling" what you choose. For the Midibox this is "not another soldering project on the to do list".
The musical genre I'm pursuing at the moment is in between dance and ambient electronics, but no need for
live performance. Anyway I want the computer for recording and some effects, only and thus want to control
most stuff with the sequencer. Therefore a display such as in the MPC One comes handy, although I'm rather
a "press button" than "touch screen" person. I have to check out the MPC Force for comparison, though.
Cheers!
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Re: which stand-alone sequencer?

Post by oscilloscope » Tue Sep 22, 2020 6:32 am

I love my Pyramid. Period.

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Re: which stand-alone sequencer?

Post by JankySwitch » Tue Sep 22, 2020 9:29 am

For me it was RM1X to Squarp Pyramid (and waiting on a Cirklon...)

The RM1X is capable enough, but the stop/start nature got tiring. (I need to export my old tracks, so I can sell it and free up some space in here).
The Squarp Pyramid is great and you can buy them new from a shop. I use it with a MIO4 and a BSP so there are more USB midi connections and the BSP is mostly used as a MIDI->CV converter.

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Re: which stand-alone sequencer?

Post by kragg » Tue Sep 22, 2020 11:48 am

JankySwitch wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 9:29 am
For me it was RM1X to Squarp Pyramid
Same here.

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Re: which stand-alone sequencer?

Post by miles_macquarrie » Tue Sep 22, 2020 12:02 pm

I also love sequencers and Have spent too much money on all of them. In eurorack and standalone.
Everything from Beatstep pro, Pyramid, MPC LIVE, MPC X, Metropolis, Zeta Ohm FLXS 1, Arturia Keystep, Make Noise 0-Cntrl, etc

I didn't like Pyramid and I did really like the MPC's. I don't have an MPC anymore.

I do have a pre order in for the new Maschine+ and it is worth a look as well. Especially if you want a nice display (displays) with no touch screen. It will ship with 150 midi templates for controlling external hardware synths which is pretty cool.
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Re: which stand-alone sequencer?

Post by Voltcontrol » Tue Sep 22, 2020 12:39 pm

miles_macquarrie wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 12:02 pm
I also love sequencers and Have spent too much money on all of them. In eurorack and standalone.
Everything from Beatstep pro, Pyramid, MPC LIVE, MPC X, Metropolis, Zeta Ohm FLXS 1, Arturia Keystep, Make Noise 0-Cntrl, etc

I didn't like Pyramid and I did really like the MPC's. I don't have an MPC anymore.

I do have a pre order in for the new Maschine+ and it is worth a look as well. Especially if you want a nice display (displays) with no touch screen. It will ship with 150 midi templates for controlling external hardware synths which is pretty cool.
Hey Miles, what is it that made you gel with- or dislike the mentioned machines?
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Re: which stand-alone sequencer?

Post by lumin » Tue Sep 22, 2020 5:15 pm

I know you mentioned needing a graphical display, but I highly recommend the synthstrom deluge. It can do what you need and then some. Can go more in depth on my user experience if you'd like.

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Re: which stand-alone sequencer?

Post by miles_macquarrie » Tue Sep 22, 2020 9:45 pm

Voltcontrol wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 12:39 pm
miles_macquarrie wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 12:02 pm
I also love sequencers and Have spent too much money on all of them. In eurorack and standalone.
Everything from Beatstep pro, Pyramid, MPC LIVE, MPC X, Metropolis, Zeta Ohm FLXS 1, Arturia Keystep, Make Noise 0-Cntrl, etc

I didn't like Pyramid and I did really like the MPC's. I don't have an MPC anymore.

I do have a pre order in for the new Maschine+ and it is worth a look as well. Especially if you want a nice display (displays) with no touch screen. It will ship with 150 midi templates for controlling external hardware synths which is pretty cool.
Hey Miles, what is it that made you gel with- or dislike the mentioned machines?
So many different things to say here. I love the simplicity of the MPC's and how any midi in can (easily) send midi or cv out. I would often make a simple sequence on the keystep, transpose in real time and the send that midi performance into MPC X or Force. Save that and then send out as cv to the eurorack.

The pyramid just didn't work for me. I can't really explain but I never had any fun with it. Using it was always frustrating. Personal preference, of course.

I still think that the akai sequencers are the most intuitive to use and I will be keeping the Force waiting for this big update that's been promised. If that doesn't come to fruition I might even sell that and get the MPC one again.

To make things even more confusing, I also have a Fantom 6 on order.
The beauty of that sequencer is that you can do realtime, xox on not only drums, but melodic sounds as well as classic step input SH-101 style sequencing.
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Re: which stand-alone sequencer?

Post by JES » Tue Sep 22, 2020 10:23 pm

Love my Vector Sequencer. You’d need a case for it though.
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Re: which stand-alone sequencer?

Post by synthetek » Tue Sep 22, 2020 10:42 pm


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Re: which stand-alone sequencer?

Post by northerntao » Tue Sep 22, 2020 10:52 pm

I got a Pyramid while I was on the Cirklon waiting list a few years ago. It was a good sequencer, but I sold it once the Cirklon arrived.

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Re: which stand-alone sequencer?

Post by muleskinner » Wed Sep 23, 2020 1:42 am

Synthstrom Deluge rocks.
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Re: which stand-alone sequencer?

Post by dot matrix madness » Wed Sep 23, 2020 5:09 am

Luckily I don't need a sequencer than can handle those crazy time signatures Colon Nancarrow was using. ;)
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Re: which stand-alone sequencer?

Post by Red Electric Rainbow » Wed Sep 23, 2020 6:00 am

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Re: which stand-alone sequencer?

Post by smbenn » Wed Sep 23, 2020 10:21 am

Yup, another vote for the superb Deluge. Allows me to play DAWlessly with no limits.
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