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Recommend a trigger sequencer not for drums
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules  
Author Recommend a trigger sequencer not for drums
Greetings. I’m looking for suggestions. My current favourite sequencers are Numerology and the Octatrack, but

TL;dr: I’m curious about alternatives or supplements to step sequencing as an approach to triggering sounds (or really, envelopes that control VCAs that control sounds). Videos, tutorials, etc., also appreciated.

More detail than you could possibly need:

Here’s my planned application. I’m running 4-6 granular streams from my iPad into my modular via an ES-8, which I then process with effects, envelopes, etc, and then mix together and run through an aux bus. For each piece I’m doing, I will also be using 2-4 tuned oscillators that have some kind of harmonic relationship with the granular material. So I don’t need pitch, since that is essential set beforehand, but I do need triggers for envelopes and VCAs (yes, I have enough VCAs!).

One effect I’m interested is in slow, repeatable, evolving, overlapping. I can already achieve this with Numerology but am looking for other approaches than step sequencing just to see if they generate new ideas of lead to more interesting performance ideas. I do like the sound of different duration sequences playing against one another.

The other is dense, chaotic-sounding (but again, repeatable) blasts of sound, somewhere between Riverrun and Venetian Snares.

Important to me: clear user interface, not too much menu diving, if I’m away from it for 4 weeks I don’t have to look back at the manual (I’m looking at you, Octatrack mk1).

Trigger Riot? (But can it do odd-over-even rhythms?) Something else? I’m already set with the best I can get for what I want to achieve, so why buy anything?

I’d consider the Five12 Vector sequencer and expander but I will be digging into this project in a few weeks, and there are few in the wild, and I’m not sure all the bugs are ironed out (reliable is important). So maybe in a year it’ll be in my hands.
A couple of thoughts (from a relative noob) of things to look into.

A Varigate 4 or 4+ is a nice, pretty cheap, and dead-simple way to generate rhythmic gates with probability and quasi-ratcheting (to make trills and bursts) per step.

A Knight's Gallop is a nice and hands-on way to turn one clock into a 2 sets of rhythmically interesting and related gates (using Euclidian and other systems). (alternatives could be (the left half of) a Marbles, or a Zularic Repetitor).

You might be interested in something like a VCA matrix to combine gates from different sources to build and mix different gates to create new patterns.
rosten wrote:

You might be interested in something like a VCA matrix to combine gates from different sources to build and mix different gates to create new patterns.

This would be my approach too-- I wouldn't even bother with a trigger sequencer.

Logic, a couple clocks, clock dividers/multipliers, a comparator will take you really far.

In addition to clocks, I would use function generators with EOR/EOC such as Make Noise Maths-- lots of cool stuff with that and you can control the length of the clock which is useful for composing into more complex rhythms.

I would also probably investigate Bin Seq by Noise Engineering. It's a handy way to generate a stream of gates. I don't have one myself, but it's similar to the top section of the Verbos Voltage Multistage from what I gather.
Thanks for the thoughtful replies and please keep them coming.

On the matrix suggestion, I’m not sure whether you’re talking about the 4ms VCA matrix or the Doepfer a138m or something else (these are slightly different modules). What modules did you have in mind? And wouldn’t both be similar in functionality to the Trigger Riot with the exception that it also has the clock + multipliers/dividers built in and presets?

In terms of VCAs, I’ve got Mutable Shades, Intellijel Linix, and a few others here and there.

The Varigate 4 looks great but is pretty close to what I can do with Numerology already. I’m not sure it offers me any advantages other than being in Euro.

I had been thinking about something like Knight’s Gallop or Zularic Repetitor (or Grids) as another way to go.
Even though the Beatstep Pro’s third sequencer is aimed at drums, using the velocity out also gives you lots of o-tio s as well as the randomization and roller looper pad is very useful
The main modules I use for this are:

Rossum Control Forge

A-143-2 Quad ADR with 4ms VCA Matrix

Greyscale Permutation and Variant

Doepfer A-152 Switch

Intellijel Shapeshifter

Synthtech E370

SSF Ultra Random Analog

Intellijel Linux

ER-301 (internally)
turin horsey
Perhaps a trigger delay with cv control over delay? This way you can use a slow lfo to move your clocked trigger off its quantized step. I know that the SSF Propagate can do this.
I can reccomend the Knight's Gallop. The great thing about it is that you can get predictable, repeatable results once you messed around with it for a while and memorized the knob settings that result in your favourite rythms. And once you're there you can change rythms incredibly fast by just turning the two knobs and hitting the two buttons. Plus it has CV Inputs for the knob controlled parameters so you can patch generative rythms.
Antimatter Launch Codes
How about Mutable Instruments Grids. Pretty cheap on the second hand market. But gives you tons of instant rythms. Interface is also real easy to understand.
Bastl Knit Rider is a great little trigger sequencer.
Thanks everyone. Lots to research here. Dubonaire: that’s an impressive list, but how do you patch it up — what is controlling what?
First, seems like using numerology through an es-8 would be dope. Does that work well for you?

If it does, it seems like numerology has all the basic tools you'd need to create generative gate patterns, polyrythms, etc -so you might not really add that much to your toolkit by adding more trigger sequencers. I think this is what Luke was getting at.

I'm just kind of guessing at what you might want/need and what your constraints (space/$/etc/might be) so take with a grain of salt, etc:

Seems like the two things that adding modules could give you would be:

a) tactile control over the sequence/shifts so you can improvise and develop ideas quickly or in the moment.

b) the ability to generate events, signals, triggers, etc using streams of stuff that is already going through your patch.

If you're looking for a - I do think the varigate and knight's gallop could be useful, they are really quick, can get random or repeatable results, and are responsive and fun to fiddle with multiple parameters at once.

if you're looking for b - I think a logic circuit or something like a VCAMatrix might be helpful.

A logic module (like PLOG or whatnot) would help you selective combine triggers you're already generating from numerology or with other kinds of signals (e.g. if you run two out of phase lfos through an "AND" logic circuit you can get an interesting set of stuttering rhythms that you can manipulate by changing the LFO frequency, etc; or combine a step sequence with a square wave LFO or a comparator triggered envelope, and so on).

A VCA Matrix (I'm thinking of, and more familiar with, the 4ms one but I think the Doepfer and others could work similarly) would let you mix and attenuate envelopes that you've already got triggered to create interesting rhythms.

Ex: Plug your 4 granular streams into the 4 inputs of the VCAMatrix. Plug 4 rhythmic envelopes, LFOs, etc into the 4 of the VC control inputs. Now you can attenuate each of those sources to create an interesting and complex pattern with variation in timing and level/accent. And now you can play that matrix by muting and mixing the VC sources. Repeat.

And I should say I'm not too familiar with Trigger Riot, so if that seems to do all that for you, then maybe that's what you need!
What about this beast? First thing I think of when someone says Trigger Sequencer. Should be versatile enough.
Not sure if SSF / Erogenous Tones Gatestorm has been mentioned yet.. I have one. It’s a pretty deep and interesting gate sequencer (logic, random, loads of cv control).. not cheap but worth checking out (and can be picked up second hand of course)
Trigger Riot is not step sequencer so it has no bars/beats unit of measure. It can do very complicated patterns with only a few parameters and very long cycles (like 91 vs 117) are easy to create. There is also the 'Speed' parameter that allows slight offsets for phasing type patterns.
(sorry to take it off topic, but what are you using for your granular streams on the ipad? i have a similar setup with ES-8.)

i share your frustrations with the OT. super fun when diving in but when i come back a week or two later always starting from scratch very frustrating

i’ve heard excellent irregular clock polyrhythmic things with Trigger Riot, though i’m not sure how much user control it affords. assuming you’re after that approach.

edit: depending on your ES-8/ipad setup, Audulus has a whole host of clocking/gating/trigger sequencer options
Thanks for all the replies and suggestions. Even if I don’t wind up using most of what’s suggested (since I’m looking for 1-2 things) it’ll be good to know about for the future.

To answer some of the questions.

1. For Shred. I’m using iDensity as an Auv3 run through AUM for multichannel outs. Though I should try Audulus. I used to use DensityGS and DensityM4L with Live but they have become less stable and Alessandro is fully into iOS development now. Since i got a new iPad a month or so ago, iDensity because a real possibility (my old one was a 2013–it worked for proof of concept but no much more). I’ve tried tons of granulation software and iDensity is my favourite. It is, of course, a matter of preference. I’m taking large audio files and essentially running them through a sieve, then processing them. The granular stuff in Euro doesn’t work as well for that sort of thing for me and you can’t do multiples at once, which is where the fun is at for me, plus setting up part of the file to “play” via presets. IDensity has its quirks but years of working with Alessandro’s software mean I “get” them.

Other stuff I’ve tried: Borderlands (brilliant interface, not for me), Spacecraft, Quanta (too “all in one” for my taste plus not set up to drone by default, and not written for iOS). On the Mac: Live’s Granulator (memory hog, not stable enough, FM is nice); Granite (super stable, great interface, used for performances but find it’s not quite powerful enough); several Reaktor ensembles; Audiomulch, and a bunch of others. My introduction to all of this was Audio Ease Riverrun back in like 2002. For Spectral freezing, Timefreezer (which probably qualifies as a “vintage” plugin at this point) is still my favourite.

Also, I really want to use the iPad for one thing, not everything, and my one performance with the iPad taught me that my hands are not made for touchscreens in a live setting....

2. Rosten: Thanks for you thoughtful reply and different scenarios. The gear suggestions have been great, but I was definitely hoping someone would lay some scenarios out for me.

I love Numerology for step sequencing. It’s pretty much the best thing I’ve ever found, and with a Launchpad or Push it can be played like hardware. I was really looking for something that’s not like a step sequencer, or that provides other modes of control—another interface. And yes, for real time control and improv. I hadn’t thought through the VCA matrix but it’s an interesting alternative or supplement to a hardware mixer. I could also do something similar with my Linix, though I’d have to manually patch feedback loops and there are no fun buttons. The Knight’s Gallop hadn’t been on my radar but seems like a good alternative and even something that could work in tandem with Numerology.

Like lots of people, I suppose, I hadn’t fully though through the value of logic. I have Maths already and have used it for its envelopes and waveshaping powers (and sometimes just as a clock) but I haven’t even dug into that side of it.

Anyway, thank you all so much, please keep the replies coming if you have other suggestions, and I’m happy to talk more about process or granulation (though maybe that should be another whole thread!).
Sounds to me like a burst generator might interest you. Burst generators (like 2hp's Brst, Qu-Bit Pulsar, Ladik S-075, or others) usually let you input a single trigger or gate and then the generator outputs some definable number of triggers. Some have CV over the number of output pulse and/or the rate of output pulses, some have other features too (the Pulsar in particular has a lot of features). It's good for trills, sure, but if you mix a burst gen's output with a more regular clock, it lets you selectively fuck up that regular clock. And if you're triggering it with a clock divider that's based on that regular clock, you can make it pretty rhythmic. Maybe every 16 clock ticks you output a rapid trill of 5 triggers?

You can also make your own burst generator with a envelope that has a end-of-cycle output or end-of-rise or some other such thing, then you're invert that (so it's positive while the envelope is running) and use that signal to CV a VCA that you have a clock running into. That way, when you trigger or gate the envelope, it'll open the VCA letting the clock through until the envelope hits the end-of-whatever point.

Also, I second anyone who suggested logic modules. A few different clocks with some different logic combining can make all kinds of fun weird clock sequences. Have some of the input clocks be voltage controllable, and you take it to another level. Use some passive trigger combiners (or just a mixer) to mix different trigger sources. Use some switches to switch between trigger sources. There's a lot of ways to make neat trigger sequences without a proper "trigger sequencer"!
Have a look at the temps utile (DIY). Very flexible module, which has on board trigger sequencer, clocks, eucledian trig sequencers, and logic goodies.

Four CV ins let you do all kind of mangling to your clocks & triggers.

It has taken a centre stage in all my patches, highly recommended!
chapelier fou
Teletype is absolutely awesome.
Have you considered it ?
You can make pretty much anything with it : Cartesian sequencing, random, pattern-based, algorithmic, clock divide, etc....
combine an euclidian circles with a simple logic (and/or/xor) module.
gb2 wrote:
combine an euclidian circles with a simple logic (and/or/xor) module.

Exactly what I was going to suggest, but maybe look into the RIT_M Rhythm sequencer/recorder which is on the fly tap creation & editing
HEAVILY recomend temps utile for 6 discrete channels of variable PW trigger/gates

seriously badass and EASY to program
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