Sequencing/Audio: Octatrack/Toraiz/Push2/Pyramid/???

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Sequencing/Audio: Octatrack/Toraiz/Push2/Pyramid/???

Post by thetaflux » Thu May 25, 2017 1:48 pm

Hey y'all.

I'm almost done planning my modular rack, and how to interface it with the rest of my gear. My last roadblock is how to handle sequencing and audio routing for FX and recording.

A bit about my setup:

Currently all I have is a roland TR-8, x0xb0x, and a A&H Xone:k2 midi controller. I primarily make techno. I would like to add a modular rack for additional synth lines, interesting drums, distortion, and some FX.

I need a sequencer that will be able to sequence my TR8 and my x0xb0x(midi), and also modular drums(triggers), modular synth basslines/leads(CV+Gate)
Here's a link to my modular rack. the fh-1/midi-trigger interfaces can be changed to accommodate whatever sequencer i choose.
I would also like the sequencer to either be able to process some audio from the modular, or pair with an expert sleepers ES-8 or some other similar module(are there any good alternatives?) to get the audio into ableton.

So to this end I'm looking into the various hardware midi sequencers and quite frankly it's a bit of a nightmare to try to compare them all. :deadbanana:

The sequencers I'm considering right now are

Ableton push 2 + Expert sleepers es-8 -
pros: very playable, would allow me to control all of my gear easily and can replicate the functionality of some utility eurorack modules to save money(LFOs, envelopes, etc), good control of software VSTs, beautiful screen, cheapest option(?)
cons: has to have a laptop to work. compatibility of software is not always guaranteed, cumbersome, etc

Octatrack + Expert sleepers FH-1+ expanders + cheap sound card

The octatrack is supposed to be a great sequencer for external instruemtns, but the manual is kinda hard to comprehend and I don't have any easy access to one to try it out so it's hard to get an accurate gauge on how well it works with modular. from what i can understand, the octatrack would let me sequence my modular, tr8 and x0xb0x, as well as process the audio from them in realtime. it could also sample parts from them and play them back, supposedly letting you do some cool stuff in live sets(which are my ultimate goal)
With a cheap sound card i could get the final stereo outs into ableton for recording and mastering.

pros: powerful, hands on, standalone
cons: hard to understand, tiny screen, kinda expensive


I don't know much about this one. There hasn't been much discussion about it at all but from what i can see it's similar to the Octatrack, but has a better screen. I would love for any owners of the toraiz to chime in and talk about the machine.

Squarp Pyramid+ FH-1+ expanders + cheap sound card:
this is probably the best pure sequencing option i'm interested in, but would give me the least amount of control over the sounds coming from my modular and my synths.
Pros: incredibly hands on, euclidean sequencing, 64 tracks!
cons: limited sound mangling possibilities, slightly more expensive

The cirklon is out of the question as i'm not made of money. this is already way more expensive than i thought it was going to be :help:

I'd also mention that I'm open to in-rack sequencers as well, but I didn't see any in my research that would let me control external drum machines and synthesizers well. None of the popular options give me enough gates(to be used with gate>midi modules) unless I chained together multiple copies of the same sequencer, which is inefficient in cost and HP.

But for the most part this is where I am in my planning. anyone have some input to help me decide? :hmm:

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Post by Outtatune » Fri May 26, 2017 8:31 pm

I'm a newb at this and so far only have two live modular performances to my name (though dozens of performances on keys) so take what I say with a grain, but here you go:

Decide if your goal is to play live (output mono or at most to a stereo pair) or to do recording (multitrack) and optimize your gear, workflow, and timbres around that. If you reach a point where you have enough space, time, and fundage... do both (a nice studio setup, plus a live rig).

FWIW my setup is optimized to play live. I run one Eurorack case through an Octatrack. If I want to record something I use a Zoom H5 on the Octatrack's stereo outputs.

The Octatrack drives the modular through Yarns, Erica's MIDI Trigg, and Pams. Four audio channels (typically one stereo pair and two mono signals) from the modular are mixed in the Octatrack, so I have three audio tracks left over I can use in the Octa and eight MIDI tracks. House gets the stereo output of the Octatrack. My rig is in my sig.

The Octatrack is deep. I'm two years in and still only scratching the surface. Many hate it. Some swear by it.

There are quite a few here at Muff's that use the Octatrack/Modular combo live and produce some really awesome stuff. I'm not (yet) one of them so have a search around.
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