Hardware Polyphonic Sequencers..

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hippo1
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Hardware Polyphonic Sequencers..

Post by hippo1 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:36 am

I know, this is a tired subject; so many threads about sequencers, and people's favorites. Still, though, I'm having trouble sifting thru the data: Excluding modular-style mono sequencers, I'm looking for a nowadays-version of polyphonic MIDI/etc sequencers. Totally out-of-the-box, no computers period. Believe it or not, I still use a Yqmqhq QX21 (for quick 'remember this' jams, and simple ostinatos)... and the MMT8 (getting sticky/glitchy, over time). They're both solid, tank-like in their build/longevity; but I don't think either of these things were built to last generations. Like a lot of the 'classic' synths, this stuff is older than a lot of the clientele...!

The only real contender (aside from MPCs) seems to be the Squid; and reading its threads, has a bunch of little complaints that seem to add up quick. 16 tracks is absolutely fine; 8-voice polyphony is okay (a little surprising, today); and a lot of window dressing (multi-directions seems cool for mono lines/perc tracks, not so much for coherent songs, etc., etc.).

Is there no 'new' MMT8-style hardware sequencer (fairly simple, polyphonic, multi-track) available?

[Don't think that the irony regarding the fact that I hate using computers, yet belong to this forum, escapes me...!]

hippo1
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Post by hippo1 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:46 am

...I should have added the Squarp Pyramid along with the Squid; took me a long time to find out about polyphony (unlimited(?) per track).

Seems it's a 2-horse race.

I did exclude the SE Engine; it's price and difficulty in obtaining kinda puts it out of my reach. (Trying to NOT spend $700+ on a sequencing unit...)

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Voltcontrol
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Post by Voltcontrol » Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:22 am

Bookmarked. Also interested in options on this Q.

heckadecimal69
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Post by heckadecimal69 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:27 am

Engine has 4 notes per track, and 2 types of synth sequencing tracks (one allows for independent 'lanes' per note, so they have different not-on/note-off points, the other is chord entry with the same note length for all notes).

Cirklon, of course.

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Post by Koekepan » Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:13 pm

A little limited, but the Novation Circuit does do some polyphony and will talk MIDI.

The KORG Electribes will do polyphony, and MIDI.

If the Engine is too expensive, then the Cirklon is WAY too expensive.

The Deluge is a lot more than just a sequencer, but will push a lot of MIDI out just fine, from what I understand. Higher price, but a massive package for that price.

If you want true linear sequencing, the cheapest of which I'm aware is the KORG Kross 61.

Edited to add: Oh! I'm an idiot! Of course, you can get MIDI out of a MicroArranger. Check out similar small keyboards for options, including what Casio has on offer.

Then there's always the Zoom ARQ family. Much respect to them.

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revtor
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Post by revtor » Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:33 pm

RM1X you’ll be right at home with the Yamaha workflow.
Cheap super capable.
All MPC’s will do what you want midi-wise. Old ones and modern ones.

RM1X is Not “modern”. But.... really if nothing “modern” fits the bill, then who cares?

Obvious ones but pricey:
MidiBox Seq
Cirklon

iPad/tablet + midi interface perhaps far enough from “computer” for your sanity?

Glwsearch

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Post by DiscoDevil » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:49 pm

SQUID doesn't record any midi performance data from its input, only note on/off and velocity. It's a good pattern generator but a terrible machine to try to write "songs" on if you use more than a couple midi channels at a time.

I'll 3rd the Engine if you can track one down. Very unique and powerful sequencer.

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Post by jam457 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:50 pm

I have heard a lot about the new novation sl MKIII keyboards they have a standalone sequencer that is supposed to be really great, although only 8 tracks so maybe something like a squarp pyramid is better for a large setup..

I am interested as they look the closest to my ensoniq esq 1 sequencer that is essentially my all time favourite sequencer hands down and I havent found anything that replicates the workflow as well...yet that is...I just love the overly simplistic nature just wish it was a bit faster/real time feeling
Dark Beep

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Koryo
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Post by Koryo » Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:29 pm

Synthstrom - Deluge unlimited, note, track and song arranging.

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Post by XXXEsq » Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:44 pm

Another vote for the Engine. I LOVE mine. Not cheep and hard to find, but as a no-computer-needed performance sequencer, it's an amazing piece of equipment (especially with the CV board if you are using modular/CV gear)!!

The Cirklon is probably the best unit out there, but they are stupid expensive, there is an 18 month waiting list, and the used market is generally priced above new retail.
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latigid on
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Re: Hardware Polyphonic Sequencers..

Post by latigid on » Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:48 pm

hippo1 wrote:Is there no 'new' MMT8-style hardware sequencer (fairly simple, polyphonic, multi-track) available?
LoopA should fit the bill:

[video][/video]


It's DIY but fairly simple to put together.

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fac
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Post by fac » Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:04 pm

Emu Command Stations (XL7, MP7 and PX7) can still be found for $300-$400. They have a pretty good 16-track sequencer with realtime recording, unlimited polyphony, two MIDI outs, a nice set of velocity-sensitive pads (great for drum tracks and simple melodies), and some nice controllers (e.g., 16 knobs which can be used for tweaking volume and panning for each track, ribbon strip for pitch bend or modulation, etc). Song mode allows to chain patterns, or to linearly overdub tracks. They're quite robust as well, although a bit old now.

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Re: Hardware Polyphonic Sequencers..

Post by chaosick » Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:48 pm

hippo1 wrote:I know, this is a tired subject; so many threads about sequencers, and people's favorites. Still, though, I'm having trouble sifting thru the data: Excluding modular-style mono sequencers, I'm looking for a nowadays-version of polyphonic MIDI/etc sequencers. Totally out-of-the-box, no computers period. Believe it or not, I still use a Yqmqhq QX21 (for quick 'remember this' jams, and simple ostinatos)... and the MMT8 (getting sticky/glitchy, over time). They're both solid, tank-like in their build/longevity; but I don't think either of these things were built to last generations. Like a lot of the 'classic' synths, this stuff is older than a lot of the clientele...!

The only real contender (aside from MPCs) seems to be the Squid; and reading its threads, has a bunch of little complaints that seem to add up quick. 16 tracks is absolutely fine; 8-voice polyphony is okay (a little surprising, today); and a lot of window dressing (multi-directions seems cool for mono lines/perc tracks, not so much for coherent songs, etc., etc.).

Is there no 'new' MMT8-style hardware sequencer (fairly simple, polyphonic, multi-track) available?

[Don't think that the irony regarding the fact that I hate using computers, yet belong to this forum, escapes me...!]
Five12 Vector. It's the best. Got off the Cirklon waiting list after getting it.

tim gueguen
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Post by tim gueguen » Wed Nov 13, 2019 12:23 am

Korg Microstation?

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Post by Koekepan » Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:39 am

tim gueguen wrote:Korg Microstation?
The Microstation will do pretty much what the Kross does.

I'd have picked up a Microstation if I could have, instead of the Kross, but for some weird reason it was absolutely unavailable. I tried to buy one, and someone billed me for a Kross instead. Never, ever, ever dealing with that merchant ever again.

If you can get a Microstation, it will do what the Kross can do, and do it pretty well. The MicroArranger might still be available, and depending on your needs, do a good job.

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Post by hippo1 » Thu Nov 14, 2019 9:37 am

Thanks to all who chipped in! I'm afraid that I'm gonna soon be Squarping away, and though I feel a little bad about lining up for the Best New Thing, it's not as menu-divey as I originally found. There were more options I didn't remember (Five12 Vector? Cool...), and a few from the 'Oldies-but-Goodies' catalog... but then, that's precisely what I was trying to alleviate (caring for my elders... instruments, not people).

I especially found the workstation references eyebrow-lifting; I simply didn't consider them at all. Of course, most of 'em have very capable sequencing - and the ability to reassign channels per track; it's my own personal vendetta against the whole 'workstation' category that blinded me. [Seems so outdated in this world of laptop superiority: Having every major manufacturer giving their 'own' stamp on an all-in-one keyboard.]

So I'll be saving my loose change now for a Pyramid, while keeping my MMT-8 as the backup. [What do you do with all the otherwise useless knowledge of specific menu-diving? It's like a second language, after a fashion!]

Happy continued wiggling.

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Post by sydilaxe » Thu Nov 14, 2019 9:42 am

I think you made a wise choice. The Squarp is directly inspired by the MMT8 and you can do so much without stopping the sequencer. I really like the ability to change track lengths on the fly. The midi effects give some avenue for experimentation. IMO, the most overlooked feature on the Pyramid are the 4 CV inputs. You can convert any CV to Midi CCs or other signals. I don't know of any other sequencer that has this functionality and really makes this a great hub for a hybrid set-up.

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Post by tehyar » Thu Nov 14, 2019 10:19 am

Check out the loopop video on youtube, he really gets into the Pyramid well.


Koekepan
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Post by Koekepan » Thu Nov 14, 2019 2:06 pm

hippo1 wrote:I especially found the workstation references eyebrow-lifting; I simply didn't consider them at all. Of course, most of 'em have very capable sequencing - and the ability to reassign channels per track; it's my own personal vendetta against the whole 'workstation' category that blinded me. [Seems so outdated in this world of laptop superiority: Having every major manufacturer giving their 'own' stamp on an all-in-one keyboard.]
I do understand what you mean, but let me point out: if you grab a workstationy thing like even the Casio XW-P1 (more of a performance tool than a workstation, honestly) you get:

A flexible step sequencing setup, including variable pattern lengths per channel, transposition and live parameter alteration.

Another synthesis source.

MIDI control over whatever you connected.

A keyboard for entering notes and chords conveniently.

If you go for something with more of a classical, linear approach like the Kross, then you give up some of the performance features, but you could quite literally sequence a whole album from it.

Free your mind, the rest will follow ...

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3hands
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Post by 3hands » Sat Nov 16, 2019 6:18 am

My go to sequencer for polyphony in the studio believe it or not is still an old school Roland MSQ700.

Flawless midi, does DIN sync, DCB (for all you Roland Juno 60 fans), and paired with my BSP, makes a solid foundation for computer less recording. I also like the added benefit of not choking my analogue synths with information it can’t use and only sending note on, note off data. Couple that with a dead easy interface, so getting around it is simple. I run that into a midi patch bay, so I can spit midi into my midi/cv interfaces, as well as old polys with midi, and I’m rocking. BSP I use mainly for the modular, and monosynths (as well as triggering ARPs and simple on-board sequencers) love those gate outs!!!
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Post by Modrik » Sat Nov 16, 2019 1:31 pm

Roland MC50 and MC80. Or Ensoniq ASR-X (Pro).

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