Been using this a few sessions now and I am really loving it. The hardware feels amazing, solid, heavy, responsive, fast, tight. Full pro piece of kit, the Midiphy offering. I’ve mainly been getting to grips with the basics of creating tracks for notes and drums. So far, everything has been very shallow, menu-wise which is great. Essentially everything is one or two button presses away. A great UI evolution from the Wilba panel to the Midiphy 4+
(I keep on editing the following wall of text..)
So Cirklon vs Midibox.. (I had a P3 and an early Cirklon) trying to compare just based on features /specs...
Cirklon can run more tracks (64), Midibox -16. Both have a max of 16 bars or 256 steps in length for general use, but Cirklon has a unique pattern type that can be as long as memory can hold notes. Midibox works at 384 ppqn, Cirklon 192 ppqn. Cirklon has “bar edit” mode which lets you set repeats, resets etc per bar, a sort of mini song mode within a specific track. Midibox can listen for incoming midi notes to play sections of a track- lots of fun. MbSeq also has a track layer parameter “Nth” which commands a tracks behavior every certain number of bars, and also Per track you can specify repeats, move forward, back etc based on # of steps. Kinda sorta similar to Cirklons accumulators. Cirk has something called “CK” tracks which can be any length up to memory limit, up to 16 note polyphonic. Full event list for micro editing. Midibox has no tracks like these, but tracks can up up to 16 notes per step (depending on track length) , so chords/polyphony can be recorded or programmed. CKLN has a real drum grid visual editor (like tr 707) which is nice for those who want that. Cirklon is designed with a bunch of ways that tracks can modify each other, (aux events, the accumulators) and this can get complex fast. Midibox has four internal “buss tracks” that allow internal routing so tracks can affect each others transposition, arpeggiator, or chord settings. Midibox can be almost completely controlled via cc’s and NRPN, (send em through the buss tracks) so just like Cirklon things can get pretty convoluted and derivative with determined programming. MidiBox also has a highly evolved arpeggiator, built in chord creation/modification workflow and MIDI effects, all of which Cirklon does not have. With MidiBox you do not need to set up instrument definitions, so it is quicker to get jamming right off the bat, but you can label tracks, patterns, drum channels, etc. if you want or need. The screen on Cirklon can provide some nice information at times, like the drum grid, but also leads towards more menu depth and digging. I never had any stability issues with cirklon or P3 and I’ve had none with this MidiBox yet either. I cannot really comment on live recording jamming with the MidiBox yet since I have not done that. Same goes for track morphing, the MIDI effects, arpeggiator use, chords (over 100 predefined chords in the box), or force to scale (over 120 scales on board) can’t comment since I haven’t gone there yet.
Midibox has an onboard midi router with 8 paths separate from the sequencer.
Both amazing machines, both have their strengths over each other. Both designed to empower the users to explore and program their way to amazing sequences that would not happen by sitting down at your keyboard or simply assigning notes step by step. Both take a bit time to get comfortable with, but to get going initially they’re quick.
I really feel that the MidiBox is more immediate and gives users tons of amazing avenues to explore beyond most step sequencers, even Cirklon. Midibox is less than half the price.. BUT Hard to find used or prepare to solder for a week straight. Cirklons come up used pretty regularly -beware the scalpers.
Of course there are giant obstacles with both. Midi box is essentially DIY only, and Cirklon has a year long waiting list.
For me, I soon will jump into the arpeggiator /chords side of things, This is where the loop back tracks really come into play for sequences that Morph in very controlled, rigid ways or random endless permutation style changes. Hoping the UI stays clear and shallow as I jump into the deeper water...
Playing with that will be next week, and then I will start to get things going using patterns (groups of 4 tracks -similar to scenes in Cirklon speak) in song mode.
Fellow North Jersey Synthaholic