There has been a Eurorack module I’ve been watching develop on the Muffwiggler forums (link) that I have been watching. It’s called Stepper Acid from Transistor Sound Labs and it has just recently become available. It’s a sequencer somewhat influenced by the Roland TB-303. However the Stepper Acid has quite a lot more to offer. Watch the video above to see all it’s features. I love that it has a built in quantizer to pitch the sequenced lines. It looks amazingly intuitive with almost no menu diving and it’s beautifully designed!
“Stepper Acid is a 16-step Eurorack sequencer module designed with live performance in mind. Designed by and for musicians, Stepper Acid was born out of our need for a modern step-sequencer. Dual microcontroller design ensures tight timing: one runs the sequencer, the other the front panel interface.” – transistorsoundslabs.com
I use Audio Damage plug-ins all the time. I have to admit I was excited to see them get into Eurorack Modular however I didn’t grab any of their first efforts. On Chris Randall’s blog Analog Industries he posted info on their new module called Sequencer 1. I will be grabbing this one day one. Besides it’s myriad of features for the sequences themselves it has a mini keyboard quantizer (yes!) and a LCD screen with patch storage. This is fantastic. Expected to be released soon at about $600.
36HP, 20mm depth. 4 banks of 16 patterns, each pattern can be from 1 to 64 steps long. The entire state (all banks and patterns) can be saved to SD card as a preset, so the memory is essentially unlimited. Clock input can be per step (like any other sequencer’s clock), or 24ppq or 48ppq for DIN sync (via a simple 5-pin DIN -> 3.5mm adaptor). Clock output can be a staggering number of choices, which is handy if the unit is acting as the master clock. The Run input can be operated a couple different ways, as can the output. In short, it can interface to pretty much anything clockish, and can in turn drive pretty much anything in a clocklike fashion. Each step gets a 1v/Oct output, three CV outputs (that can each be either 0-10v, -5 to +5v, or 0 to +5v), a main gate output, and an auxiliary gate output. Gate length is programmable per step. The playback modes are forward, reverse, pingpong, pingpong with double end triggers, skip forward, walk, and random. This is programmable per pattern. There are several ratcheting features; you can program a ratchet of various lengths per step, or you’ll note the 6 buttons labeled “REP.” These will repeat, in order, the last 8, 4, 2, or 1 steps as a loop, or cause the step you hit them on to repeat in half or quarter time. (In the same manner that the MIDI triggers in Replicant work, basically, if you own that plugin.) As I hinted before, SD card for storage and OS updates.” – Chris Randall (Audio Damage)
It’s amazing how many interesting granular sequencing sampler Apps there are for iOS. You can add Earhoof to that list. I picked up an iConnect MIDI2 just for Apps like this one. $4.99 available now.
“Earhoof is a musical instrument which combines a powerful sound generating engine with an innovative rhythmic playback mechanism. Simply by holding the surface, complex rhythms trigger and seamlessly transition, while the sounds the internal sequencer generates continuously vary as you glide your fingers across your device. Even though Earhoof is easy to play, its flexibility makes it easy to create your own techniques.” – psicada.com
I was really happy to be able to get one of the first Intellijel Metropolis sequencers. I set up last night and got it working in my own way. In the video you can see I have it synced to Ableton Live and my Roland TR-707. The sound source is a Wiard Oscillator running through a Analogue Solutions aka Medic Modules Defibrillator which is a filter but also adds some wicked heft to any source. By changing the Pulse Count on the Metropolis you can get some amazing creative patterns. Changing the Gate Mode then emphasizes notes even further by holding the Pulse Count either in a solid unbreaking sound or repeating pulse. You can see me mess with those parameters in the video. Finally I control the entire sequence’s pitch using a Flame Tame Machine Quantizer’s CV out. There are many other features this thing has I didn’t touch here including clock division, internal quantization, shuffle, stage skipping, presets and more. The Metropolis a really nice. It’s a true Moroder/EBM machine.
“We worked out an agreement with Ryk earlier this year to create an the only official Eurorack adaptation of his brilliant sequencer design. It has taken many months to procure all the special parts and the design has already gone through several hardware revisions.” – intellijel.com
I’ve been diving deeper and deeper into my modular learning how to use the modules with each other. Daren from Control helped me with the patch above. With this patch I have an 8 step sequencer with two rows running. The first row is controlling the pitch of an oscillator and the second a filter cut off and resonance. You will need to use some multiples or Tiptop stackables to make this work. Holding a touch key on the Pressure Points holds the sequences on that step. Adjusting the ADSR’s release really effects the sound. Try adding a sine wave LFO into the ADSR’s Sustain CV control (if your ADSR has one) for some random spikes in the filter opening. Instead of clocking the Pressure Points with a straight clock use something like a uStep and send a few steps a break and then a few more steps for interesting patterns. Lastly try a VCA on the third Pressure Points row for volume control of each step. Enjoy!
“Pressure Points is a controller module, an analog sequencer that is played by hand. Touching the gold plated copper wires (aka Touch Plates), you become part of the circuit, generating a gate signal (Gate OUT), a control signal proportional to the amount of pressure applied (Press OUT) and the 3 Tuned Voltages for the activated Stage.” – Make Noise
Recently I mentioned the Orwell Digital OR-1M analog style software sequencer (link). To create certain types of EBM or Giorgio Moroder stuff it really helps to have an analog sequencer. Being software I was surprised how well the OR-1M gets me “that sound”. I was on the Muffwiggler reading about the upcoming Intellijel Metropolis hardware sequencer. It’s based on the M-185 sequencer by “RYK” so I went searching for some demos. This lead me to a software version by Defective Records (also called the M-185). Having Daniel Miller’s photo on the page kept me reading and the M-185 is in partnership with RYK. To my delight Defective Records also has a software Klee and CycliC software sequencer. I can’t wait to try these out and the prices are good.
“Includes virtually all major functions from the hardware M185, and adds many new ones specific to the software version.” – defectiverecords.com
I keep Reason Rewired into Ableton. Any reader of this blog knows I’m well into analog sequencers so the new AS-16 Analog Sequencer for Reason has me happy. It’s a lot cheaper than a Doepfer Dark time at $29 USD.
“AS-16 is a fully featured CV based analog sequencer. It implements the following features: 16 CV channels with separate CV outputs. Skip, Jump and Pad features for each channel Unipolar, Bipolar and Note output modes. Common musical scales, with selectable root note via UI or MIDI Octave and range controls when in Note mode Normal, One Shot and Random modes. Selectable slide Pattern reverse and bounce modes. Synchronise with sequencer, external clock or free run. Swing control. Audio envelope and chopping facility. CV add and multiply and Chaining of devices for unlimited channels.” – dldtechnology.com
My friend Tom Carpenter who creates the amazing Analogue Solutions synthesizers and Medic Modules has a new Eurorack sequencer that’s just about hitting stores. It’s smartly called the EKG because well the cool red LEDs go across the unit metaphorically. Tom always has some nice tricks or maybe I should say unique features that add extra musicality to his devices. The EKG’s wonderfullness comes from the knobs under each pitch slider. They each have a “Function control” which can be used for various functions. I like this module as it hides it’s complexity in a fun interface. Tom knows analog sequencers as his Oberkorn is widely regarded as one of the best.
“Each step also has a unique Function control. Each step can be turned off, skipped, repeated or set as a reset point. Modes; Off (rest), x1, x2, x3, x4, Skip, Reverse, Rest” – medicmodules.com
The Trigger Riot is one of three new sequencers from Gur at Tiptop Audio. If you read this blog you know I am really enjoying the TTA drum modules. Very simply you hook some modules to the Riot and as you change knob positions you get different patterns of all sorts. I’ll be getting this one for sure.
“From a conceptual view, the Trigger Riot generates 16 clock streams consisting of multiple time manipulation functions (division, offsets, etc) that interact to create the trigger output, and direct access to each parameter via individual knobs allows for quick manipulation. The 8 outputs are the sum of those manipulated streams per row. The outputs of the module are arranged as either a 4×4 matrix, where each of the 16 knobs affects both row and column, or as a set of independent outputs for each row or column. This allows forming 8 complex musical interactions in a ‘Matrix’ mode or 8 independent streams in ‘Independent’ mode and is switchable from one to the other on press of a button for some unexpected results. Since each of the 16 knobs represents a real time tweakable trigger generator/modifier the Trigger Riot is extremely playable and can result very complex patterns with only few knob turns; patterns that would otherwise take much longer and in some instances be almost impossible to produce using grid based step sequencing. Patterns can have unique time signatures that can repeat or be randomized through probability, time shifted and phased, divided, multiplied and counted, it’s unbelievable how complex this module can get with minimal input.” – Gur (Tiptop Audio)
I’ve yet to see a full fledged sequencer for iOS that I really want to use. Today the grandfather of sequencers Steinberg bring us Cubasis. Good or not it uses what we musicians know as the traditional sequencer metaphor. I’m really looking forward to try this out but at $49 it’s more than an impulse buy. If it runs smoothly and it’s fun to record and create full songs with this will be very welcome!
“Cubasis is Steinberg’s streamlined, multitouch sequencer for the iPad. Specially designed for quick and easy operation, Cubasis makes recording, editing and mixing a breeze. You can also open your Cubasis projects in Cubase under Windows and OS X! Cubasis places touch-intuitive production tools in your hands, opening up a new world of possibilities for your creativity.” – steinberg.net