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Sequencers: Modules or External?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Sequencers: Modules or External?
Numanoid92
Premise, I'm a Newbie to the modular world.

I became a great Simian Mobile Disco fan because of their album Whorl.. Many of you already know that they used JUST modulars for that record. Watching their setup i saw that there were NO sequencers modules and they just used the Cirklon (which i know is like the Holy Grail of hardware sequencers).

So, when it came time to start building my Eurorack setup i started to having this thoughts. Do i/we really need sequencers modules?

We have many external sequencers possibilities: Cirklon, Social Entropy Engine, AS Oberkorn, that giant Koma Sequencer, AS Megacity, Korg Sq1 and the Beatstep pro.

My question is, can i live without modular sequencers and do interesting and o[/img]riginal sequence with one of this multitrack hardware sequencers?
ersatzplanet
I feel if you are going to make tonal music, you just can't beat a MIDI based sequencer. A MIDI sequencer that can live on a tablet or phone or a stand alone desktop unit can typically run rings around row/column, step sequencers or many of the ones that can be mounted in a cabinet.

For me I just use MIDI>CV converters and standard MIDI sequencers. I have MMT-8's (three of them) and Tenori-On for hardware sequencers, and many different software ones that run fine on tablets and phones. It is just so much easier to just play the line in and tweak as needed than to spend, what seems like forever, to program anything other than the standard ostinato lines that row/column sequencers make. Sometimes I open the time to play a bass line into Ableton and convert it to MIDI and record that with another sequencer. You can even hum lines into that system to make MIDI lines with.

In cabinet sequencers have a certain convenience factor for sure. One module (or a few) and a working system. There are some very complex units out there to like the ER-101 but nothing comes as easy for me as just playing the line and tweaking. Maybe if I streamline the "hum into Ableton" system a little more, that one will take over for my lack of chops.
unexpectedbowtie
You can live without modular sequencers, and there are loads of great options - especially if you use a MIDI to CV module like Shuttle Control, which opens things up a lot. I use a Squarp Pyramid and Monome 256 as my main sequencers... as well as an SQ1.

That said, i like esoteric ways of sequencing, and find it less... inspiring to use the SQ1 or other straightforward sequencer as a breakout from the modular system. In other words, I just don't default to using it in my workflow, as it doesn't feel natural in the same way. So... I have a bunch of modular sequencers as well, as they offer different and interesting approaches. I think a balance is good.
GuyaGuy
Yeah if you want very linear music then external sequencers or a DAW works well. But modules can offer flexibility that external sequencers don't. Depending on the module that can be clock control via CV, fwd/reverse control via CV, touch freeze, arpeggiating, real time tweaks, etc.
mutierend
Numanoid92 wrote:

My question is, can i live without modular sequencers and do interesting and original sequence with one of this multitrack hardware sequencers?


Of course you can. But like with everything in life, there are considerations.

A step-sequencer will always work like a step-sequencer, whether it's a 40hp module or a Beat Step Pro. You choose the pitch for your step, turn it on, and off you go.

Eurorack isn't big on performance sequencers in module form, so things like the Squarp Pyramid work great for that.

I have a lot of sequencers: Koma Komplex, Doepfer A-155/A-154, Turing Machine, and more. My music is a mix of stepped sequences, randomization, and modulated sequences of quantized notes.

What you will want/need will depend entirely on your goals, but in the very least, a Beat Step Pro will likely get you pretty far.
Numanoid92
THank you very much guys.

Since this is JUST the beginning of my modular journey, i think i'll go with the Beatstep pro and then, with time.. built from there.. Right now i don't feel like i want to give up case space to sequencers.. there are too many cool oscillators, filters and so on grin
mutierend
I think you're making the right choice. The BSP can do a lot. You also have a DSI Pro 2. Don't neglect its badass sequencer too!
loydb
BSP is a good start. The only module sequencers I have are those that have sequencers as a secondary function (Yarns, O+C, etc.). Just from a pure HP perspective, I prefer outboard (I use a Carbon and a BSP).
phase ghost
Beatstep Pro is an excellent choice. Not to knock sequencers like the A-155/154 combo, but that is SO much fucking real estate to dedicate to that setup. It's almost a full row, and cases are not cheap.

So, I say use as much outboard sequencing as you can, and buy yourself sequencing utility modules like: clock dividers, clock multipliers, switches (sequential too), and logic modules. Doepfer makes all of those (many for under $100).

If happen to be on a Mac, and using your computer for music, check out Numerology. It's my go to sequencer for everything, including non-modular stuff.
terrymccann
I get by with the SQ-1, mostly using it as a MIDI to CV converter :p

One day I'll buy a René!
Robscorch
terrymccann wrote:
I get by with the SQ-1, mostly using it as a MIDI to CV converter :p

One day I'll buy a René!


You simply can't go wrong with one of these if you own a modular it's a great tool for the money period.
terrymccann
Robscorch wrote:
terrymccann wrote:
I get by with the SQ-1, mostly using it as a MIDI to CV converter :p

One day I'll buy a René!


You simply can't go wrong with one of these if you own a modular it's a great tool for the money period.


You talking SQ-1 or René?
Robscorch
SQ-1, but the Rene is nice. I honestly have a hard time triggering it hence I sold mine. Same with pressure points though I had better luck with those. I adjusted it and yada yada and it just comes down to it wasn't working with me.

The SQ-1 is a great sequencer for everything though it's been quite used.
ggml
you will know its more fun to use an analog sequencer when you use more than one at a time
mutierend
phase ghost wrote:
Not to knock sequencers like the A-155/154 combo, but that is SO much fucking real estate to dedicate to that setup. It's almost a full row, and cases are not cheap.


Indeed, I probably spent $1200 to make the A-155/A-154 combo work for me, including supporting modules. The A-155 setup is in a 6U rack that is outboard from my 9U. It has the sequencer, the ratcheter, quantizer, clock modulator, and more. With that and my Koma, I'm in for more than $3000 on sequencing, not counting the plethora of other sequencers I have laying about.

BUT, sequencing is the way I make music, so it suits me. Everything I do is sequenced. My setup is certainly not a model for someone that would be happy with a SQ-1 or a BSP.

You are right: it is a lot of real estate. I sometimes think about all the other awesome modules I could put in that 84hp row. And I had to buy a ton of 48" cables.
mutierend
ggml wrote:
you will know its more fun to use an analog sequencer when you use more than one at a time


The Koma Komplex has four 16-step sequencers. It is so incredibly fun to use.
R.U.Nuts
Modular sequencers are fun because you can do tons of things you often can't with most standalone sequencers or software. Clock them with another sequencer or by drumming on a contact mike, run them at audio rates, or use something like a Makenoise René which is absolutely unique and allows a lot of interaction with other modules and the performer.
IMHO if you want something that can surprise you and/or want a sequencing solution that is hands on and fun to jam on, modular sequencers are the way to go.
filce
I only have a small modular, but lots of semi modular table top synths (like the Moog Mother). Mostly I sequence using MIDI, to this end my main sequencer is an Octatrack (and main clock source). I also use a Novation Circuit. However, my main starting point for everything is an OP-1 - I just love all the little sequencers and its quirkiness. It now has a terrific arpeggiator since an update last year.
Joe.
I dont mind what they are, external or in the rack, as long as they have all of the appropriate connections to make them modular.

I like using XAOC Sequencers atm, Tirana and Moskwa, becuase they have direction inputs, aswell as reset inputs. The reset input is probably the most important feature i think, becuase it allows me to control the length of a sequence, and that can mean odd Timing signatures.

While i enjoyed the cheap price of the SQ-1, it's lack of modular controls meant it wasn't for me, and i sold it. Perhaps the next version will include more inputs.
shred
both have their advantages and disadvantages, naturally. Right now i'm using an ipad running either Patterning or Lemur. tons of fun and lots of different options as far as templates and such, plus making changes on the fly is very quick and rewarding.

But I do miss my Rene, which I hated to let go. having CV options for both ingoing and outgoing sources just opens up a world of exploration.

So, both. d'oh!
stoke175
everytime ive used midi ive felt like i cheated on my wife
mutierend
Using MIDI to sequence eurorack seems like such a waste to me. You miss out on so many interesting and powerful capabilities.
rhythmdial
Zaquencer plus a (few) MIDI-CV/gate module(s) can be a lot of fun too!

I do like the keep my sequencing in a MIDI world and leave modulation for the modular to do on its own with patching between modules and some LFO's running along in the mix.
ersatzplanet
ggml wrote:
you will know its more fun to use an analog sequencer when you use more than one at a time


Another fun thing is using a MIDI sequencer with a MIDI>CV converter firing a gate stream driving a analog sequencer next to it. LOTS of fun things there. Fast rhythm programming and transposing from the MIDI side into a pattern on the analog sequencer (with different note counts=extra fun) and the other way around too. You can easily make sequences that take a long tome to repeat.
Robscorch
mutierend wrote:
Using MIDI to sequence eurorack seems like such a waste to me. You miss out on so many interesting and powerful capabilities.


This certainly is not true at all. Many many of us use MIDI with our modulars daily. Look up Expert Sleepers.
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