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Looking for a sequencer

Discussion in 'Recording' started by ZeHa, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. ZeHa

    ZeHa Guest


    I'm looking for a good hardware sequencer that suits my needs. At the moment, I am using Electribes to make sequences, but these are very short (only 4 bars per pattern). I'd like to have something without such a limitation, or at least a much higher one (16 bars or something).

    One thing that would be important is that it's pattern- and songbased, it would be cool if I could make a few patterns and then chain them one after another for song use, but I would also like to use it as a live sequencer, so that I can have a pattern which loops eternally until I switch to another one. Also, it would be cool if I could make a chain of patterns, and have that looping, if that's somehow possible. And I would also like to turn channels on and off during play.

    Sequencers that I have found are Kawai Q80, Yamaha QX5 and Roland MC50/MC80. But I don't know too much about their usage and live possibilities. Also, an Akai MPC might be the thing I need, but it's more expensive, and I thought maybe I could get some of those old MIDI sequencers cheap until I can afford an MPC or something similar.

    Another thing that might be possible is the Yamaha RM1X or whatever it's called exactly, I heard a lot of people saying good things about it. But I never used it, I also never used one of those above. The only hardware sequencers I every really got my hands on were my Electribes (which have very good usability, but are also very limited) and an Roland MC 505.

    Do you have any suggestions?
    Thanks in advance
  2. hueseph

    hueseph Distinguished Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Vancouver, BC, Canada


    You can download and read those manuals for a start. I think you're crazy not to want to do this on a laptop. It would be so much easier and the learning curve is not that steep. In fact it's very visual so, it should be easier.
  3. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Nov 30, 2008
    Lake Ki-Chi-Saga, Minnesota USA
    ZeHa, you are referencing to hardware sequencing, right?

    FWIW, I started out with an Ensoniq EPS many years ago. I never did find a better, more intuitive sequencer. It was fast, quite intuitive and right at your fingertips.

    Funny thing is that it does not work with newer midi gear. I tried to use it years ago with my Roland XV-3080 and it was not recognizing it.

    Perhaps the ASR-10 will due?

    Too bad Ensoniq bit the dust, they started out with some great ideas and a wonderful product.

    One things for sure, it takes a while to get to know your hardware.
  4. ZeHa

    ZeHa Guest

    @ hueseph:
    Thanks for the links, I think I'll check that out. This might be a good start actually!
    I do not want to use a laptop because somehow I prefer having hardware stuff around me. For production, I use Reason, but for live playing or even just jamming in the studio to get new ideas, I prefer the hardware-only way. I often program some little sequences on my Electribes and jam around, of course recording everything in the background for later relistening, and that's great.

    @ jammster:
    Yes, hardware :) the ASR-10 also looks interesting, maybe it's like an MPC but without the sampling. Another box many people recommend is the Alesis MMT-8...
    It would be a lot easier if I knew people who have all these devices ;) and sadly, on Youtube, there aren't too many videos about those... so I guess I have to read some manuals...
  5. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Nov 30, 2008
    Lake Ki-Chi-Saga, Minnesota USA
    ASR-10 is a 16 bit sampler in both the rack and keyboard version.

    If your looking at the sequencer don't even bother with the rack version, the keys are what you'll want. :eek:
  6. ZeHa

    ZeHa Guest

    Ahh sorry, I mixed that up with the Akai ASQ-10 ;)
  7. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff Resource Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Prince George, BC
    Home Page:
    Akai MPC 60 has got to be one of the easiest and finest sequencers ever made. Especially for both drum programming and keyboards. It will do exactly what you are asking. Tempo changes, on/off tracks at will. whatever. Its sends and receives System Exclusive. Has 2 ins and 4 midi outs. Sync's to everything. Has stereo outs or 8 sep assignable outs. Really so much....
    The best thing is how you build songs. Its just as you think. You create bars, timing etc, group them as patterns. Copy paste its all around and presto! Song after song. You can mix and match, merge and un merge. Its so logical.

    The upgrade IMO didn't do it for me. The simplicity of the original MPC 60 was the best. I still have mine but it needs a new screen. To give a time time frame on durability... I used it for 10 years on the road. 6 days a week, 46 weeks a year. It made me thousands and never let me down once. Composing songs on then are a snap. IMHO, Its hard to find a replacement.

    You can find them used for $400.00


    Maybe this is what you are looking for...

    ( also see Ableton Live and its two new controllers now released... very similar in logic using software and hardware)
  8. GentleG

    GentleG Guest

    emu mp7 or xl7 (my favourites)
    yamaha rm1x or rs7000
    akai mpc

    all very nice
  9. ZeHa

    ZeHa Guest

    Thanks so far for your answers. I read the manual of the Q80 and I don't think it will suit my live needs pretty much. Because my music is more loop-based, and as it seems, I'd have to abuse the 10 available songs as patterns, which is not too much for a live set.

    I also heard a lot of good things about the MPC 60 and its standalone-sequencer-version, the ASQ 10.
    @ audiokid, why do you think the newer MPCs weren't as good as the MPC 60?

    Maybe I should explain my live use case a little better:
    As I said, my music is mostly loop-based electronic stuff, but still, it can be very song-oriented, with verses and choruses. So when I play live, I have to be able to switch between different patterns which belong to the same song, usually there are 2-3 different patterns per song. But I don't want to program these pattern switches as a fixed song structure, I want to do them manually, so that I am more flexible and can play longer verse parts and so on. And I'd also like to be able to turn on and off parts during live play. Another important thing is that I'd like to switch between songs seamlessly. If I only use patterns, that wouldn't be a problem of course, because then it would be merely another pattern switch, but if there is a sequencer that also lets me group patterns (like I described in my initial posting) to longer sequences and then lets me switch between those sequences, that would actually be great.

    But still, I'd also like to use it to compose songs in the studio, so in that case, I also want to be able to have a fixed song programming mode.

    Last but not least, I'd like to have a sequencer-only-box, without a keyboard, because that would take up too much space for me.

    Maybe to throw another cheap-to-buy-and-easy-to-find machine in the round, does anybody know if the Roland MC-303 is a good live sequencer? I probably wouldn't want to use its internal sounds, but maybe just to trigger other synths? Are the tracks just mono or poly, can patterns be long enough? I remember the MC-505, and I know that there was a tiny gap noticeable when switching patterns... :?
    >>> EDIT: I just read that the MC-303's sequencer is cool, but the MIDI-Out is very poor, so that is not an option...

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