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Erica Synths Black Sequencer
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules  
Author Erica Synths Black Sequencer
onthebandwagon
Any thoughts about this? Can’t find anything about it outside of an IG post.
mdoudoroff
There’s a little coverage toward the beginning of this video, but nothing in-depth:



The official specs released so far:

Quote:
Erica Synths Black Sequencer takes the classical modular sequencing to the next level by adding tons of features required for contemporary modular synthesizers. Black Sequencer features 4 channels with CV, gate and modulation outputs, up to 64 step sequences that can be chained in longer ones, independent track time divisions, multiplications and lengths. CV and Gate recording, built-in quantiser, MIDI in/out and many other features essential for composing and performing electronic and experimental music. Even though it provides many programmable parameters per step, it’s intuitive, easy and straight-forward to use, and, we believe, it will become a master controller of many modular setups.

Features:

4 CV / Gate / Modulation tracks
CV / Gate / MOD recording
Clock and Reset In / Out
Microtonal tuning
MIDI In / Out for clock and recording
16 encoders for easy sequence input
Up to 64 steps per pattern
Song mode
Note, Glide, Gate length, Modulation adjustment per step
Probability, repeats and ratcheting per step
Performance record mode
Adjustable shuffle per track
Timing divisions / multiplications per track
Built in quantiser
Random pattern generator
Tap tempo
16 banks of 16 patterns memory
SD card slot for backup and firmware updates


It appears to me they’re prioritizing immediacy over heaps of (buried) features.
16osc
I'll be very happy if the randomizer works similar to the one on their pico seq - very useful.
Lokua
Gorgeous.

AND it looks like it has push-button rotary encoders? Finally! I see them and Frap Tools finally get it! This may be the sequencer for me! I've passed on every other existing sequencer for very specific reasons, this being one of the biggest.

Looking at the demo, one thing I can see as a problem is having to look at the screen to see what gates are on/off. I can already feel the disconnect between the two sides of brain. With the CV value it's not so bad because that's only one value to read, and that value is way more accurate than looking at the position of a knob in any case. For the gates it would be great to be able to switch the LEDs from following the active step to displaying which gates are on/off. You can probably do both - show active step and what gates are on/off via brightness (maybe that is what's going on, hard to tell by the light in video)?

Another thing I'm puzzled by, is that there doesn't appear to be a dedicated track length button? Aside from CV, gate, and mutes, the next logically most important things are length and resolution, right? Really hope changing lengths is super easy.

Let me stop before this gets too long. It's just that I've passed up on EVERY eurorack CV/Gate sequencer "brain" thus far, and it surely isn't because I don't need one! Fingers crossed because again, this thing is GORGEOUS
mdoudoroff
Added to my comparison, although we are still missing many details:

http://doudoroff.com/sequencers/

Lokua wrote:
Looking at the demo, one thing I can see as a problem is having to look at the screen to see what gates are on/off. … You can probably do both - show active step and what gates are on/off via brightness (maybe that is what's going on, hard to tell by the light in video)?


I think that’s exactly what Erica is doing: using three brightness levels (off/dim/bright).

Lokua wrote:
Another thing I'm puzzled by, is that there doesn't appear to be a dedicated track length button? Aside from CV, gate, and mutes, the next logically most important things are length and resolution, right? Really hope changing lengths is super easy.


That LAST button might be related. I would expect that choosing a first or last step for a pattern would involve pressing the encoder for a step want.

My initial skepticisms:

- as elegant as push encoders are on paper, I have found that I often change a value by accident (twist a little) when I only mean to push

- the screen is the only visual feedback for an encoder’s scalar setting (pitch, gate length etc.) other than what the red LEDs can offer (active step, gate on/off), so a lot of the programming of this sequencer is going to be similar to the Eloquencer or FLXS1—note that DATA knob next to the screen

- keeping all the above in mind, how much does that grid of sixteen encoders really buy you, especially when you factor in navigating between the four “bars” of 64 steps?
synonymist
Lokua wrote:
...it looks like it has push-button rotary encoders? Finally! I see them and Frap Tools finally get it! This may be the sequencer for me! I've passed on every other existing sequencer for very specific reasons, this being one of the biggest.


Hello. Five12 Vector has them.


mdoudoroff wrote:

- as elegant as push encoders are on paper, I have found that I often change a value by accident (twist a little) when I only mean to push


True. This happens to me often enough with Pamela's New Workout, when I am working quickly.
mdoudoroff
synonymist wrote:

True. This happens to me often enough with Pamela's New Workout, when I am working quickly.


Funny you should mention PNW. I sold off my Pam’s and bought an alternative in part because of this very problem. I’d go to make a change while recording and screw up the entire performance! Frustrating.

You also mentioned the Vector, but in addition to the push encoder, it has a separate button per encoder, which I suspect might help reduce the dependency on depressing the encoder.
synonymist
mdoudoroff wrote:
synonymist wrote:

True. This happens to me often enough with Pamela's New Workout, when I am working quickly.


Funny you should mention PNW. I sold off my Pam’s and bought an alternative in part because of this very problem. I’d go to make a change while recording and screw up the entire performance! Frustrating.

You also mentioned the Vector, but in addition to the push encoder, it has a separate button per encoder, which I suspect might help reduce the dependency on depressing the encoder.


That's understandable. For now, I am so habituated to PNW that I forgive its quirks. Besides, Pamela is just too cute... or is it goofy? smile

After only a week with my Five12 Vector, my impression is that its two button arrays have rather different relationships with its knob array. The top row of buttons is more strongly related to the knobs: they set the context in which the knobs function. The bottom "keyboard" array of buttons can sometimes be related to the knobs, but mostly they do their own thing. I think.

If true, then once context is set by a button, for most operations the knobs are on their own.
mdoudoroff
synonymist wrote:

If true, then once context is set by a button, for most operations the knobs are on their own.


Interesting! How often do you push those encoders relative to turning them?
synonymist
mdoudoroff wrote:
synonymist wrote:

If true, then once context is set by a button, for most operations the knobs are on their own.


Interesting! How often do you push those encoders relative to turning them?


So far, not often. But to date I played my Vector only twice, of which one was a try at serious work. smile

My recollection is that in the kinds of edits I did (mostly sequence creation plus some global changes), the workflow was mainly alternation between 1. a single press of an upper button to set context, and 2. a. turning knobs per sequence step, and b. pressing a next/previous button (on the left side) to scroll through any sequence longer than eight steps. A notable exception was c. pressing knobs to mute or un-mute steps.

At first blush I find Vector to embody a well considered, elegant, beautifully rendered design that enables high usability and even fun in operation. This in light of the depth of its formidable feature set.

But back to Erica Synths. grin I own several Black modules. A fan of their no nonsense, but cool aesthetic, I like their "chunky", tactile UI. Therefore my bet would be on Erica Synths doing an excellent job of solving the design problem for a complex, perfomance-orient sequencer module using the Black design language.
Zymos
I don't push the encoders very often either. They are used for only a few selectable parameters, and they aren't ones I use that often.

We should probably take this over to the Vector thread if anyone wants to discuss it further though....
Lokua
mdoudoroff wrote:

as elegant as push encoders are on paper, I have found that I often change a value by accident (twist a little) when I only mean to push


In this case I don't think it'd be a problem since gate/cv/mod are all separate modes. It also depends on if the encoders are notched, which for me would be amazing as I could count/feel clicks representing scale degrees without even looking at the device. Notched might sacrifice a little serendipitous/fast wigglyness, but that's a trade off I'm willing to make.

mdoudoroff wrote:

- keeping all the above in mind, how much does that grid of sixteen encoders really buy you, especially when you factor in navigating between the four “bars” of 64 steps?


Compared to Eloquencer it buys me one handed operation. Compared to the non-relative fader/knob implementations perhaps it buys less, but again it avoids the latch/jump UX issues in those modules when changing channels.

synonymist wrote:

Hello. Five12 Vector has them.


Ah yes. Good on them smile (2outs@42HP tho!?!)
synonymist
Lokua wrote:

synonymist wrote:

Hello. Five12 Vector has them.

Ah yes. Good on them smile (2outs@42HP tho!?!)

Yes, and a McLaren 720S is the size of a passenger car yet it seats only two. Why would anyone bother to own one? wink
Lokua
synonymist wrote:
Lokua wrote:

synonymist wrote:

Hello. Five12 Vector has them.

Ah yes. Good on them smile (2outs@42HP tho!?!)

Yes, and a McLaren 720S is the size of a passenger car yet it seats only two. Why would anyone bother to own one? wink

Touché hihi

I just need to drive the family around on small roads wink
onthebandwagon
So aside some posters dislike of the push buttons I guess we’ll have to wait and see what this is all about?
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