Poll: Hardware Sequencer Options

Anything modular synth related that is not format specific.

Moderators: Joe., lisa, luketeaford, Kent

Post Reply

Which of these hardware step sequencer abilities is most useful to you? Each option is 'playable'

Per step Accent on/off? (Global accent amount by panel knob)
5
25%
Per step Transpose on/off? (Global transpose amount by panel knob)
1
5%
Per step Glide on/off? (Global glide rate by panel knob)
3
15%
Per step Mute? (Global panel switch allows mute of CV, Gate/Trig or both.)
5
25%
Per step Gate or Trig output?
4
20%
Per step Gate blend? No retrigger of EGs with SEQ stage change. Legato/Staccato choice per step.
0
No votes
Other? Describe in thread comment
2
10%
 
Total votes: 20

KSS
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 2037
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 7:28 am

Poll: Hardware Sequencer Options

Post by KSS » Sat May 23, 2020 4:00 am

Created a poll to help me choose between a few options with the panel space I have remaining on a step sequencer build.

oldgearguy
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 485
Joined: Thu May 26, 2016 6:42 am

Re: Poll: Hardware Sequencer Options

Post by oldgearguy » Sat May 23, 2020 5:35 am

all the above are useful, but most can be covered in some other way if necessary (since this is in the modular synthesis thread).
The one feature I'd love to see is per-step probability of being triggered.

I really don't like random, but I do like the ability to sometimes trigger extra notes or drum hits while a sequence is running. It adds variety without being so random that the listener loses the flow. The only hw device I've used with it has been the Spectralis. Joerg was smart in that he didn't have the option of 0% to 100%, he just chose a few useful amounts like 25%, 37, 50, 63, etc. The OS and UI was such a headache to use, but I kept it around much longer than I wanted to because of the ease of creating interesting percussion and synth lines.

User avatar
synkrotron
Ultra Wiggler
Posts: 800
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2016 12:48 pm
Location: Warrington UK
Contact:

Re: Poll: Hardware Sequencer Options

Post by synkrotron » Sat May 23, 2020 7:23 am

You can only select two options in that poll, so if one of those options is "other" that leaves just one of the other options.

Have you got manual or CV control over gate length?

Also, some modules are now using gate voltage to emulate velocity control. More of a "compositional" thing than "playable," I suppose.

KSS
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 2037
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 7:28 am

Re: Poll: Hardware Sequencer Options

Post by KSS » Sat May 23, 2020 12:03 pm

synkrotron wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 7:23 am
You can only select two options in that poll, so if one of those options is "other" that leaves just one of the other options.
Yes. That's on purpose. I'm not looking for confirmation on all the good options. Trying to make a choice between these. And if someone does have something they feel is more useful than the list, it will likely be important enough to be worth using as one of their two choices.
Have you got manual or CV control over gate length?
Yes. Both.
But not -at present- the ability to merge two long gates across a step boundary for legato.
Also, some modules are now using gate voltage to emulate velocity control. More of a "compositional" thing than "playable," I suppose.
That's how the proposed accent option works. the Accent panel knob sets a voltage level which is added to a steps CV output if that steps Accent pushbutton switch is activated. It would be nice if there were room for a CV input so the accent level could be cV variable. But I'd have to give up something else important like range switch on the knob bank. This is an old-school non-software, non-firmware step sequencer.

What to leave in, what to leave out.
Last edited by KSS on Sat May 23, 2020 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

beepnsleep
Common Wiggler
Posts: 84
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2019 2:19 pm

Re: Poll: Hardware Sequencer Options

Post by beepnsleep » Sat May 23, 2020 1:05 pm

I also put other. the probability per step is great for rhythmic variation as described by oldgearguy in more detail

User avatar
synkrotron
Ultra Wiggler
Posts: 800
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2016 12:48 pm
Location: Warrington UK
Contact:

Re: Poll: Hardware Sequencer Options

Post by synkrotron » Sat May 23, 2020 1:46 pm

KSS wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 12:03 pm
Yes. That's on purpose.
Okay :) :tu:

User avatar
ear ear
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 1200
Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:10 am

Re: Poll: Hardware Sequencer Options

Post by ear ear » Sat May 23, 2020 2:26 pm

Per step gate or trig. Gate if you like extending your sequencer work with logic.
He throws the ink first and works out what it is later. "I've got to turn that into parrots." - Ralph Steadman

User avatar
steffengrondahl
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 345
Joined: Sat May 12, 2012 6:25 am
Location: Denmark

Re: Poll: Hardware Sequencer Options

Post by steffengrondahl » Sat May 23, 2020 3:10 pm

Some randoms thoughts (belongs to last option):
* Quantized CV output
* Per step reset
* Per step skip
* Per step stop
* Random sequence (i.e. random order of steps)

Can the per-step probability be implemented with feeding gate out to a sample & hold and then a comparator? If the sample & hold value is above threshold it will fire a gate. With gate out per step and perhaps a gate or´ing module (like the old Moog sequential interface) you can choose the steps you want random for. Sample and hold takes noise as input for randomsness.

I'm not sure I understand "Per step Mute? (Global panel switch allows mute of CV, Gate/Trig or both.)" What do you mean by muting CV? 0V? Muting gate or trigger makes perfect sense.

Regarding "Per step Gate or Trig output?" should the gate be gate length from clock (internal or external) or stage gate, i.e. on for the whole duration of the stage (like the Moog 960)? Both have their uses.

KSS
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 2037
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 7:28 am

Re: Poll: Hardware Sequencer Options

Post by KSS » Sun May 24, 2020 2:53 am

Thank you for your reply steffengrondahl.
steffengrondahl wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 3:10 pm
* Quantized CV output
Choosing to handle this with external quantizers.
* Per step reset
* Per step skip
* Per step stop
Yes, all of these present and accounted for.
* Random sequence (i.e. random order of steps)
Still working on how best to implement this. Can already be achieved with use of one external module.
Looking at the probability per step option oldgearguy brought up and others have agreed has merit.
Can the per-step probability be implemented with feeding gate out to a sample & hold and then a comparator? If the sample & hold value is above threshold it will fire a gate. With gate out per step and perhaps a gate or´ing module (like the old Moog sequential interface) you can choose the steps you want random for. Sample and hold takes noise as input for randomsness.
That's more like a probability to mute the gate per step than stage selection probability.
yes, I don't see how you can get per step probability without sacrificing one bank of pots to setting probability level. Then using those settings against a comparator. One input fed with noise -or any signal really- and the other with the stage knob to set a proability voltage level. But this only weighs the probability that a step will or wont fire within the existing sequence, rather than what I think the repiies are after, which is a more targeted 'random' selection of which steps are chosen at all. That would need to happen at the core stage selection, rather than after it at the gate out.

To get oldgearguy's extra drum hits, all possible drum hits would be accounted for, and the regular hits would be given a high probability level. Then the less often 'random' hits would come in, each at their probability level. But always in the same places of the sequence. This of course can be changed on the fly, whatever is regular and extra is only a function of the probability bank of knob's settings.

I need to more fully understand what is expected of this probability per step option. It's easier -without a uP- to generate a variably limited response of steps, than to selectively choose 1 or more steps individually according to knob settings

For example, one could use a CV stage selection, and by massaging the input, get a variably selected range of steps. Feed it with a slow random 'noise' level and with adjustment of the color, bias and range of the noise, some stages can be made more likely than others. Any CV stage selected sequencer can do this.

On a core level, one could feed four PWMs into a 4 to 16 mux and each rate and width would set the probability for that bit level's stages. MSB chooses upper or lower 8, LSB chooses 1 of 2. This would have the effect of setting probability on a per step basis, but is not direct for each step.
It could be interesting and somewhat intuitive with use, but not in the way that having a knob per step for how likely is this step to activate.

Ken Stone's CGS51 Weighted Random Switch chooses between 4 positions and uses something like this.
I'm not sure I understand "Per step Mute? (Global panel switch allows mute of CV, Gate/Trig or both.)" What do you mean by muting CV? 0V? Muting gate or trigger makes perfect sense.
Yes, 0V. There's a pushbutton switch for each column of pots. Like the 960 or a serge programmer. But rather than selecting the stage, this switch selects an optional result when its stage is active. Deciding the best use of these switches is the main point of the thread.

Currently there is a global toggle to select either a mute or accent result. When mute is selected, there is an additional global toggle which chooses which of three things happens next. Ether inhibit the CV output for that step, or the gate/trig, or both. Both is the normal fully muted output we expect. No step voltage, no gate/trigger. Turn off the CV and you have a trigger or gate only. Turn off the gate/trig and you get legato because the step CV is output.
Regarding "Per step Gate or Trig output?" should the gate be gate length from clock (internal or external) or stage gate, i.e. on for the whole duration of the stage (like the Moog 960)? Both have their uses.
Both are available. Gate always goes to 0V -for at least a brief time- between steps.

In the first design, the per step option switches -which are lighted to show sequencer position- were expected to choose only between a gate OR a trigger for that step. Then I realized they could be used for per step accent. Or mute. Or per step glide on/off. Wasn't long before a global toggle between accent and mute was added.
In deciding what does "Mute" mean for a sequencer, the global toggle for mute was added and came to include turning off the step voltage, the gate/trig, or both.
But now losing the original ability to choose between output of a gate OR trig per step. A PCB HDR allows this selection still to be made as part of installation configuration, and sets up an ability for DIY or add-on panel with more switches.

And so this thread and poll were born.

KSS
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 2037
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 7:28 am

Re: Poll: Hardware Sequencer Options

Post by KSS » Sun May 24, 2020 2:58 am

ear ear wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 2:26 pm
Per step gate or trig. Gate if you like extending your sequencer work with logic.
Yes, I've always liked having the ability to choose whether a given step CV was output with gate or trigger. Changing this up on the fly maks a sequencer more performable. Beats using the gate width option in that regard, because you don't have to 'ride' the width control.

KSS
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 2037
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 7:28 am

Re: Poll: Hardware Sequencer Options

Post by KSS » Sun May 24, 2020 3:01 am

oldgearguy wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 5:35 am
The only hw device I've used with it has been the Spectralis. Joerg was smart in that he didn't have the option of 0% to 100%, he just chose a few useful amounts like 25%, 37, 50, 63, etc.
I didn't find the manual online to better understand this. Do you have a link?

oldgearguy
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 485
Joined: Thu May 26, 2016 6:42 am

Re: Poll: Hardware Sequencer Options

Post by oldgearguy » Sun May 24, 2020 5:19 am

KSS wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 3:01 am
oldgearguy wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 5:35 am
The only hw device I've used with it has been the Spectralis. Joerg was smart in that he didn't have the option of 0% to 100%, he just chose a few useful amounts like 25%, 37, 50, 63, etc.
I didn't find the manual online to better understand this. Do you have a link?
Attached (maybe) is the manual. Page 71 discusses the parameter briefly. Poke around that area for possibly some screen shots. Flip through the rest of the manual (especially the oscillator section) to see why the machine can be a big headache with the small LCD screen.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

oldgearguy
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 485
Joined: Thu May 26, 2016 6:42 am

Re: Poll: Hardware Sequencer Options

Post by oldgearguy » Sun May 24, 2020 5:30 am

One other feature I love which is not exactly covered in the poll questions is the ability to alter gate times easily for groups of notes.

Slight (MIDI) diversion -- one of the most interesting approaches to hw sequencers has been the old Latronic Notron. They gave you the ability to easily manipulate a single step or groups of steps so you could add/change dynamics on the fly. One trick that I loved is that since the Notron was set up as 4 columns of 16 steps, I'd set all 4 to the same MIDI channel and then spread notes across the columns. The default pitch for each column was set up C-E-G-C up an octave. Where the fun came in was taking a column of notes and then adjusting the gate length for just those notes. So instead of an even note on/note off feel, it got a little more interesting rhythmically. You could also toggle the step color between red and green and some functions then only applied to red or green steps and not the others.

If you could implement a way to select groups of steps (maybe hold down a group button while selecting steps) and then have any action (gate length, pitch, velocity, etc) change the values for just the grouped steps, that would make editing and creating sequences faster and lead to (possibly) more interesting sequences for the listener.

Since we haven't seen the current design, I have no idea how this could be done or even whether your hw spec could support it, but just an idea.
Apologies for veering way way off the poll questions, but I do enjoy well thought out hw sequencers (MIDI or cv).

KSS
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 2037
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 7:28 am

Re: Poll: Hardware Sequencer Options

Post by KSS » Sun May 24, 2020 6:44 am

oldgearguy wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 5:19 am
Page 71 discusses the parameter briefly.
Thank you. Page 71 confirms that this is not a core step selection, but a trigger probability on already programed steps. That's much easier to do in hardware withut a digital processor like steffengrondahl pointed out..

KSS
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 2037
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 7:28 am

Re: Poll: Hardware Sequencer Options

Post by KSS » Sun May 24, 2020 7:07 am

oldgearguy wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 5:30 am
One other feature I love which is not exactly covered in the poll questions is the ability to alter gate times easily for groups of notes.
------------------------
I have no idea how this could be done or even whether your hw spec could support it, but just an idea.
Apologies for veering way way off the poll questions, but I do enjoy well thought out hw sequencers (MIDI or cv).
Yes, this is well beyond the current module. It *does* apply to another monome-ish module I have laid out. I call it the Tabla Rasa. With 16x8 pushbuttons, 8 jacks with related knobs, 16 input/output jacks and sim card storage, it's intended to be what the name says. A blank slate for any number of uses, like the monome or O_C. That's well in the future and would be more suited to modern software type sequencers. No display beyond the keypad matrix. On purpose.
------------------------
Giving the timing by groups of notes another thought, it *would* be possible using the existing features of the current Seq by having the option buttons use Accent mode to feed the clock PWM. That affects gate length. So yeah, it can already do that! Only two groups though.

Post Reply

Return to “Modular Synth General Discussion”