Here is a collection of thoughts and responses based on some of the comments I have seen in various places:
1. Despite its age, Metropolis has remained a strong seller for us and the feedback from most users is that they love the hands-on nature of primarily using sliders and switches to program a sequence. We decided to keep this as part of Metropolix design so it kept a lot of the feel of the Metropolis. We had considered a wide variety of alternative user interfaces to this but ultimately it would have resulted in a totally different sequencer that would be too far removed from the original concept. We have already demonstrated completely different approaches to UI and Sequencer design that can be realized with things like our Tete+Tetrapad.
2. We feel it is a mistake to try and make a sequencer for a modular system that either attempts to replicate a DAW or tries to do too many things without sensible controls. It almost always results in a compromised experience. You either get a bunch of simple sequences or you have a lot of menu diving and not much hands-on control. Also, most Eurorack systems only have a few voices, and those that are larger and have more usually have several different sequencers anyhow.
3. We wanted the Metropolix to really excel at making your core, main riff/melody of your track; the type that would spark an idea for an entire song; and we wanted it to be really easy to generate and then alter. So instead of having many parallel tracks, we instead have many parallel sources of modulation, both internally and externally. This to us makes a lot of sense in a modular system since It is designed to play really well with other modules. Otherwise why not just have a midi interface and do your sequence on a DAW?
4. As noted above: Metropolix can be used exactly the same way as Metropolis if you like. Just assign GATE TIME to CTRL 1 and SLIDE TIME to CTRL 2 and ignore Trk2, Mod Lanes, all the menus and all the extra per stage functions - but where is the fun in that?
. It has been slightly amusing to see people balk at a Metropolix having a screen and menus since Metropolis has the same. Instead of a slightly cryptic segmented display, there is now a very carefully designed OLED UI with plain English text and useful graphics. Almost every function you could want is a single click and encoder turn away. There are 31 carefully organized and color-coded buttons on the Metropolix exactly for this reason. Any of the "deeper" menu stuff is primarily reserved to set up your system one and then being left alone. Also, more advanced functionality may be contained in a menu; this is all for the benefit of you having an almost endless amount to explore and to really customize the sequencer to your needs. This keeps in line with intellijel's design approach across many of our products in the sense that all primary/core functions are easily accessed while the deeper components lie waiting for when you are ready to explore further.
5. The Metropolix has a wealth of functionality available to allow for elaborate, generative music to be created. This side of Metropolix will certainly be demoed in much more detail soo. For those people who like this type of composition, they will find some very interesting and novel features in the Metropolix to play with.
6. The Metropolix has a lot of special features in place for live performances; whether that is in terms of being able to dynamically manipulate the sequence (via the CTRL knobs or external CV's that have a long list of modulation destinations) or by virtue of the preset storage and recall system that has a lot of options for what is actually stored and recalled and how that interfaces with your live UI.
7. Yes it is possible to chain Trk 1 and 2 together but it is done in an interesting way: There is a modulation destination called "Trk Out Swap" and it can be applied to Trk1,2, or 1+2. If I set the target as Trk1, then toggling this control would mean that I am switching whether Trk1 Pitch and Gate are using the Trk 1 sequence values or Trk 2 sequence values. If I have a normal, 8 stage sequence and use a MOD lane set to toggle this every 8 stages, then I effectively get a sequence that is 16 stages long since it would alternate between Trk 1 and Trk2 sequences in series.
This opens things up for some interesting experimentation if I have assigned this control to CTRL1/2 then I can be jamming out on the fly with instant swapping of tracks. I can also set the target to Trk 1+2 and then I am literally swapping both tracks with their respective outputs. Kind of like double or mutual hocketing.
8. Some people are hung up on the idea of it only being 8 stages long. First of all, it is 8 stages of 8 pulses (64 in total), but since you can essentially modulate everything that happens at each stage with internal or external modulation, those 8 stages transform into infinite stages. Just enabling a single accumulator on a stage automatically allows for the pitches to be constantly changing beyond an 8 stage cycle. One of my favorite thing to do is have a 4 stage sequence cycling and then use a divided mod lane (e.g. divide by 8 so it changes every half bar) with a sequence length of 4 ( 4 x 8 = 2 BARS) and set to modulate the Pitch Post or Pitch Pre of Trk 1+2. Like a chord progression. This usually results in Boards of Canada type vibes.
That's what I am doing in the demo at this time point here:
I am also getting extra variation by inverting what stages are skipped. The Metropolix will hopefully get you thinking differently about what makes a sequence and then it will result in some fresh tunes.
9. Playback modes: Metropolis and Metropolix both have four modes via the switch: Rest, Single, Multi and Hold.
In Multi mode you get different rhythms by changing the tracks Pulse Div value. On Metropolix you can derive a lot more behaviors due to how ratcheting and pulse stretching interact with these modes (see the manual). Pulse Stretching is a new feature on the Metropolix and results in a quite different but in my opinion better functionality. It can be turned on/off in a tracks setting menu.
Basically on Metropolis if I had Pulse Count = 3 and Gate Mode = Single and Gate = 50% then I would get gate that is half a pulse long, followed by 2.5 pulses rest. With pulse stretching on, the gate length is proportional to the total pulse count for that stage. So with the same settings, the gate length of 50% would result in the gate being high for 1.5 pulses and low for 1.5 pulses. Futher to this there is a per stage gate setting you can use to override the tracks gate value and you can set rest, hold or 1-99% gate value.
There are also three different types of ratcheting behavior you can choose from: Multiple, Single or Gated and these three types change the way they interacts with Multi mode and with Gate Stretching being on/off.
You can also modify the Pulse Count per stage using a mod lane so that you deviate from the global track value.
10. My experiencing in working on Metropolix is that almost every single time I set out to simply test a new feature, it almost always resulted in "accidentally" making a cool riff I would not normally think of making and then got sidetracked jamming out with it. This to me signified something of great importance in a music tool: if it is consistently sparking ideas and creating joy then it becomes absolutely essential to the creative process.
We have lots more demos to follow and we'll try to host a live video chat session soon! I am happy to answer any other questions here too.