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format aside, best sequencer ever? cirklon, fenix 3, 250e, ?
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Author format aside, best sequencer ever? cirklon, fenix 3, 250e, ?
smitty.west
hypothetical question, but assuming everything was the same standard format, which sequencer would get your personal vote as the best ever? the ones in the title are just some of the ones i've read consistently great things about on here, which is why i listed them, but i know there's legions of other great sequencers out there as well. which is your favourite and why?
oldgearguy
Koma Komplex sequencer

Very hands on, lots of useful config options, lots of useful patching, generates MIDI and cv/gate, fun to use, never feels like you are programming a computer.
CoreInside
fenix 3 is great for 1 bar loops then manging that 1 bar into variations on the fly
this is a track made with fenix 12and3, used the 1 for drums, the 2 for bass and other stuff
https://britishacid.bandcamp.com/track/5000-of-weed

my favourite sequencer is the sh 101 though, i wish it could sequence other cv signals, not only pitch but filter freq, lfo freq, etc from the keyboard. i guess the jx3p has just as good a sequencer as the sh101 and it's polyphonic too.

the korg monologue has a dope sequencer, can do 4 sequences, not only pitch but any control voltage. shame it cant trigger from 808. if only more synths had the monologue style sequencer!
Koekepan
Depends on what you want to do. Different sequencers for different purposes.

For straight-up performance, and quick creation in front of an audience, I went with the Social Entropy Engine after a lot of careful comparison shopping, and don't regret my choice for an instant. Yes, it's very XOX-ish, but that's part of its charm.

For complex composition, I've really come to like my Krome. Its internal sequencer is great for long, linear passages, overdubbing, and multiple attempts but then you can also do step entry, direct data entry and it will let you automate anything in the world of MIDI.
TheMentat
It’s pretty hard for me to compare with the myriad of sequencers that I haven’t even tried, but I’m very happy with the Squarp Pyramid. The live recording mode + effects stack is what initially drew me to it, but it offers a lot of other creative workflows that I am only exploring now. The company seems pretty responsive to the user base regarding feature additions as well. It’s not exactly cheap tho...

For the money, it’s really tough to beat the Beatstep Pro.
donato
Polyend Seq for me.
pulse_divider
I'd really like to try the Koma Komplex and the GRP R24, but from step sequencers that I've owned:

Anyware Inseqt--nearly perfect dual sequencer, very flexible and has just about all the companion functions (LFOs, quantizer, mults, S/H, divider, gate delay, slew, logic, etc) one would need under one hood. If it had a sequential switch it would be perfect. Huge.

Arp 1601 sequencer or clone--the most organic, funky, hands-on jammy sequencer I've ever used. It is conveniently cloned in the lower half of the Inseqt.

Korg SQ-1-- certainly has its limitations but is so playble and fun that I will never be without one
Carrousel
I’ve only really tried a handful (both beatsteps, plenty of eurorack sequencers, software sequencers, few groove boxes, MPC) but having bought a Cirklon I’ve definitely found my ‘forever sequencer’.

It’s unbelievably capable, reliable and quick to use. Honestly ticks every box for me, including a few I didn’t even know I needed ticking.

If you want to sequence a bunch of midi and cv gear, plus even VSTs if you wish....the Cirklon is the absolute ticket. It also acts as an incredible midi interface allowing you to route your master keyboard to any instrument in your studio in a jiffy and record some quick playing into a sequence.

It even allows you to calibrate separate channels of CV over 1V/Oct meaning you can get badly tracking oscs to track perfectly across the full keyboard in response to regular midi notes.

In summary, A++, buy.
dubonaire
Raven_Martin wrote:
I’ve only really tried a handful (both beatsteps, plenty of eurorack sequencers, software sequencers, few groove boxes, MPC) but having bought a Cirklon I’ve definitely found my ‘forever sequencer’.

It’s unbelievably capable, reliable and quick to use. Honestly ticks every box for me, including a few I didn’t even know I needed ticking.

If you want to sequence a bunch of midi and cv gear, plus even VSTs if you wish....the Cirklon is the absolute ticket. It also acts as an incredible midi interface allowing you to route your master keyboard to any instrument in your studio in a jiffy and record some quick playing into a sequence.

It even allows you to calibrate separate channels of CV over 1V/Oct meaning you can get badly tracking oscs to track perfectly across the full keyboard in response to regular midi notes.

In summary, A++, buy.


I agree, perhaps the test of that is I just don't even think about looking around for anything to replace it.
Carrousel
^ absolutely. It’s essentially irreplaceable for me.

In fact I now spend a considerable amount of time looking at sound modules / rack synths to purchase. Boxes I wouldn’t ever have previously considered because of the oft time nightmare of integrating them with the rest of my studio and managing to get a reliable midi signal into them. Now though: just hook it up to a Cirklon and you’re away. All instruments are now on a level pegging. Every sound making device with a midi or voltage in is equally accessible and jammable. You can’t put a price on that.

One aside is that kit with onboard sequencers (elektron etc) loses a lot of its appeal.
Nightly Closures
I love sequencers. Love ‘em. Started using them in the 90’s with computers and have picked up several hardware sequencers over the years. I hope this helps. In order of acquisition:

Tr-626: ($60) Yes, it’s a drum machine. I enjoyed its screen grid programming similar to Tr-707. I was curious as to what would happen if I plugged it into my Juno 106 and there you go. At that point I had only played the synth by hand and was instantly blown away and hooked. It’s pretty basic in its ability to sequence. It does have accent, though. And you could send a trigger out as well. I wouldn’t recommend it for sequencing, but when it’s all you got...

RM1X: ($100) WOW. It took me forever to learn the ins and outs of it. It still seems like the most complex piece of gear I’ve ever owned. The sounds are pretty god awful for the most part, but as a sequencer, oh my god. It’s midi only. It had so much going on. You could get amazingly intricate with your sequences. Song mode, pattern chain, effects, poly and mono capabilities. I had a couple synths at this time, so it was my first machine that controlled multiple other machines. Very detailed grid programming. The big game changer for me was being able to play my sequences into it. I had used an mmt before, but this was my first sequencer with that ability. It’s pretty big and wasn’t enjoyable to take around.

Mobius: ($400! It was all the money I had at that time and seemed crazy to buy it) I wanted something more direct. I also wanted CV. I also wanted Hz/O. This was all of that. I still use it to trouble shoot because of its immediacy and stability (consistency). Limited to one track, but that was perfect for me at that time. Programming was a bit tedious as you had to choose your notes per step in increments with up/down buttons. However, I loved it. The XoX style really spoke to me. I built a case for it and it was fairly portable. I don’t see myself ever selling it, but I outgrew it a bit; I wanted more steps or tracks or both.

Step 64: ($150) Ugh. I had very inconsistent results and it made me question my sanity. The interface irritated me beyond belief as the encoders were straight garbage. I’d like to think that my unit was faulty (it could be me). I’ve bought more MFB products and am very satisfied with them. The Step 64 remains the only piece of gear I’ve ever bought that I was disappointed with. Very small and light. Decent form factor. Midi and CV.

Midi-pal: ($150) I got 2 of these and used them primarily as arpegiators. They had simple basic sequencers that I’d use occasionally, but it really wasn’t it’s strength. Very handy in troubleshooting midi issues. Very small and light.

SQ-1: ($99) I absolutely didn’t need another sequencer at this point, but whatever... This little guy is endlessly fun. Very immediate with scales, midi, Cv, choice of (1) 16 step sequence or (2) 8 step sequences. Hz/O and V/O. Very portable and fun to use. It’s really versatile and simple.

BSP: ($250) It’s an amazing value for what it does. It was buggy as hell when first introduced but is quite stable now. I had to send it back for repairs as it’s usb got loose and eventually failed repeatedly at a gig. Yeah... I vowed to never use it live again. I do still use it occasionally at home. They’re fun to use and immediate (probably goes hand in hand). The knobs are a bit finicky. The pads are ok. Between the interface and midi control center program, it’s a pretty great sequencer. Midi, CV, V/O, Hz/O, plenty of triggers. I feel a bit let down in that they never implemented the 1.2 V/O as they originally advertised (unless that’s changed). Even with my gripes, I considered getting another one to have more tracks until...

Engine: ($700-800 and worth every penny) This is without a doubt the greatest sequencer I’ve ever used. I use it almost every day and could go on and on about it. XoX beast with the ability to play in quantized or unquantized sequences. Midi and CV. V/O, Hz/O, 1.2V/O. It’s perfectly designed. A joy to write and jam with. I’ve played many shows with it and it’s absolutely dependable. Interesting implementation of random. Great arpeggiator. Mono, poly and drum capabilities. You can even setup control tracks CV (LFO). I played a show last night with it as my control center. It’s “keyboard” is very usable and offers you the ability to not only transpose, but play while “resting” the sequence. This really adds some dynamic quality to what might otherwise seem like a monotonous/repetitive application of sound. Probably the only sequencer I’ll ever need. Until...

Stillson Hammer MK II: ($450) I only bought this a month ago and would feel silly giving any sort of in-depth analyses. It feels very very modular. I mean you can CV so many different parameters. I hate to describe it as such, but it feels REALLY organic. What does that mean? It’s seems very modular in its application. Of course in a wonderful way. It also lends itself to being more experimental. That may sound like bullshit, but get your hands on one and you’d immediately understand.

I’d feel absolutely satisfied using these last two sequencers for the rest of my life. Who am I kidding?
CF3
There is no "best ever" sequencer. They all take a slightly (or radically) different approaches. And they've all got their own drawbacks.

What features do YOU need?

Memory? CV? MIDI? Multiple tracks? Minimum tracks? Realtime? Step? Song Mode? etc.......

I mean there are soooo many different factors that go into this. And even before we talk about interface and ergonomics. Stability and reliability are HUGE factors too.

For me, it all about sequencers. The sound sources are secondary. Different sequencer yield totally different results. Sometimes I'll switch out sequencers just to see what happens.

Personal favs (not best)
-MPC's (60 w/3.10, 3000, JJ OS)
-P3/Cirklon
-Numerology + Launchpad
-Latronic Notron (why the hell did I sell it cry )

I've owned and used TONS of different ones over the years but there's still a few I need to have a crack at.... Like the Genoqs stuff. Modular sequencer are super fun, but I generally like memory, so I can build up variations and changes. Stuff like the RS7000 is underrated also.
Notron fn
CF3 wrote:


Personal favs (not best)
-MPC's (60 w/3.10, 3000, JJ OS)
-P3/Cirklon
-Numerology + Launchpad
-Latronic Notron (why the hell did I sell it cry )



I’ve lusted after mpc 3000s. Also lusting after a grp r24

I’ve got numerology+launchpad, a cirklon, rm1x, a keystep, and a rev II notron.

Numerology is rediculously fun with the launchpad.

The cirklon plays double duty as a step sequencer and midi to cv converter for the modular and sh2.

I also have a mobius and an orb, orbs can be fun as well.
zeit
Not much experience with sequencers, besides the OT...but curious if anyone has owned a Manikin Schrittmacher sequencer and did they like it? What were the things they liked and disliked about it? What's the step limit on it? It's expensive for sure, but nice looking. I need to read the manual soon...
Nelson Baboon
zeit wrote:
Not much experience with sequencers, besides the OT...but curious if anyone has owned a Manikin Schrittmacher sequencer and did they like it? What were the things they liked and disliked about it? What's the step limit on it? It's expensive for sure, but nice looking. I need to read the manual soon...


i won't get involved in the original question here - how many times has this question been asked and has it become more meaningful over the years?

but I'd give a hearty shout out to the schrittmacher. it's not for you if you want to construct songs per se, but in many ways it exceeds the cirklon in terms of its ability to generate non-repeating, algorithmic type sequences.

technically the step limit is 16, but if you are modulating the direction and the timing of the notes, i'm not sure how that applies in the usual sense.

i find it much easier to use 'on the fly' than the cirklon, and unless the cirklon has been updated since I used it (VERY possible), there is way more timing resolution available on the schrittmacher. really a great midi sequencer for experimenting. You can probably go much cheaper for straightforward 16th note sequences....
seepaxton
for me its the elektron A4/A keys. such versatility. i love how it can calibrate synths like my CS20M.

I also love the Kilpatrick Audio Carbon. polyphonic CV stuff is great fun.
Torn n Frayed
CF3 wrote:
There is no "best ever" sequencer. They all take a slightly (or radically) different approaches. And they've all got their own drawbacks.

What features do YOU need?

Memory? CV? MIDI? Multiple tracks? Minimum tracks? Realtime? Step? Song Mode? etc.......

I mean there are soooo many different factors that go into this. And even before we talk about interface and ergonomics. Stability and reliability are HUGE factors too.

For me, it all about sequencers. The sound sources are secondary. Different sequencer yield totally different results. Sometimes I'll switch out sequencers just to see what happens.

Personal favs (not best)
-MPC's (60 w/3.10, 3000, JJ OS)
-P3/Cirklon
-Numerology + Launchpad
-Latronic Notron (why the hell did I sell it cry )

I've owned and used TONS of different ones over the years but there's still a few I need to have a crack at.... Like the Genoqs stuff. Modular sequencer are super fun, but I generally like memory, so I can build up variations and changes. Stuff like the RS7000 is underrated also.


That's the one...
Rex Coil 7
smitty.west wrote:
... which sequencer would get your personal vote as the best ever? ...
So there's a giant question with more than one answer.

Koekepan wrote:
For complex composition, I've really come to like my Krome. Its internal sequencer is great for long, linear passages, overdubbing, and multiple attempts but then you can also do step entry, direct data entry and it will let you automate anything in the world of MIDI.
I've read this sentiment more than once around here. Worth noting, perhaps.

Koekepan wrote:
For straight-up performance, and quick creation in front of an audience, I went with the Social Entropy Engine .... Yes, it's very XOX-ish, but that's part of its charm.


Nightly Closures wrote:
Engine: ... XoX beast ...
Seems to be a bit of a consensus there.

Nightly Closures wrote:
Engine: ... Great arpeggiator..
Worth a look, I'm always on the hunt for good arpeggiators that offer features (memory slots, lots of patterns, and so on). Some of the old 1990s E-MU "Proteus" series 1U rack synths have seriously killa arpeggiators, I bought an E-MU Audity 2000 primarily for the arpeggiators (16 of them, one per MIDI channel and 235 patterns per arp).

TheMentat wrote:
... For the money, it’s really tough to beat the Beatstep Pro.


Nightly Closures wrote:
I love sequencers. Love ‘em ... BSP: ($250) It’s an amazing value for what it does ...
That's 2 for the BeatStep Pro .... make that 3, I have one as well. Excellent choice.

pulse_divider wrote:
...Korg SQ-1-- certainly has its limitations but is so playble [sic] and fun that I will never be without one


Nightly Closures wrote:
... SQ-1: ($99) ... This little guy is endlessly fun ...
Another one I also own, so +3. Really handy little gadget. I think of it as more of a portable modulator than just a sequencer. Smaller than many stomp boxes.

Raven_Martin wrote:
...It’s essentially irreplaceable for me..
Is ~irreplaceable~ even a word? Why yes, yes it is. At first it seemed to me to be like the old faithful non-word "irregardless". However after taking a few moments to actually look it up, it turns out ~irreplaceable~ is indeed a word. Any day I learn something new is a good day.

IN SUMMARY (regarding sequencers):

Koekepan wrote:
Depends on what you want to do. Different sequencers for different purposes.


CF3 wrote:
There is no "best ever" sequencer. They all take a slightly (or radically) different approaches. And they've all got their own drawbacks.


And that pretty much sums it up very nicely.

cookie?!?
DiscoDevil
Zaquencer
Carrousel
Rex Coil 7 wrote:


Raven_Martin wrote:
...It’s essentially irreplaceable for me..
Is ~irreplaceable~ even a word? Why yes, yes it is. At first it seemed to me to be like the old faithful non-word "irregardless". However after taking a few moments to actually look it up, it turns out ~irreplaceable~ is indeed a word. Any day I learn something new is a good day.



Irregardless is a kind of morphological tautology; the 'less' gives negative meaning to the word, rendering the 'ir' superfluous.

Irreplaceable just means something that cannot be replaced innit.
Rex Coil 7
Raven_Martin wrote:
Rex Coil 7 wrote:


Raven_Martin wrote:
...It’s essentially irreplaceable for me..
Is ~irreplaceable~ even a word? Why yes, yes it is. At first it seemed to me to be like the old faithful non-word "irregardless". However after taking a few moments to actually look it up, it turns out ~irreplaceable~ is indeed a word. Any day I learn something new is a good day.



Irregardless is a kind of morphological tautology; the 'less' gives negative meaning to the word, rendering the 'ir' superfluous.

Irreplaceable just means something that cannot be replaced innit.
Why thank you. nodnod

My understanding of English grammar leaves a lot to be desired (and English is my first language!).

Uh ... I'll just fetch me dunce cap and sit in the corner .... lol lol
WilDFire
I would like to volunteer the Deluge as the best sequencer ever. The color coding piano roll view is as effortless as it is fun.
Morley
Fenix III for me in the analogue world. So deep.
Schrittmacher is great for midi step sequencing.
strettara
I had good times with the monome 256 and the Mark Eats sequencer. Lots of fun, very flexible and easy to play live. That was a few years ago.

If I were looking for a sequencer now it'd probably be the Koma Komplex Sequencer.
thisoldhouse
I find for making full tracks i can recall later, the Cirklon is best for me. BUT my favorite sequencer to ‘jam out’ on is by far the SND SAM-16.

It took me about 7 years before i started finding my way with the SND SAM-16. It’s a lot of fun because of the physical 3 rows of knobs and 2 rows of switches as well as the 2 analog input modulation busses either or of which can be activated for any step.

But that is also only surface. It can control 2 midi channels at the same time with 7 different ways the velocity row can select which midi channel any given step is sending to. If you hook up a modulation bus to control the velocity row then you can have your analog LFO or other source modulated the velocity of any given step

Once you also program your own scales and chords (up 2 seven notes) for any of the twelve knob positions one is able to have 2 midi synths play chords and the analog out control a bass patch. And sync’d(or not) input cv’s can do the velocity switching of chord channels while your hands work the resets, skips, or other stuff. Plus all the midi can be recorded through its midi out so you can capture you live performance and including how all incoming cv’s affected the sequence.

I like to make velocity switched patches on my sampler so each of the 2 channel actually plays 2 sounds depending on velocity, so now an lfo modulating the velocity row could play actually any blend or switching of 4 different chord timbres. And the analog out will play the root note of the chord.

I almost gave up on the SAM a long time ago, but i just kept ready that tiny manual over and over and over as tried to work my why through each function it described. Some really just took off!

I love the Cirklon and use it in conjunction with the SAM but and i’ve tried to work my way through the varies aux events. Some have clicked and I find a use for! But there’s so many that haven’t worked for me. I hope someday i find a use for them or at least an understanding.

Any case, sequencers can be a lot of fun! I wish i could try them all:). Best out there? The sequencer that fits your needs or brings you the most joy
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