Hi folks,

I've been in modular a few months now -- got a nice setup (thanks to a lot of forum feedback and ideas), and I am having a lot of fun going deeper into it.

As I think about the future of my setup, one thing I'm considering is MULTIPLE SEQUENCERS. I have Five12 Vector sequencer with expansion presently, like it a lot, and still have plenty more to learn about it (and harnessing its power with the expansion). But I am thinking "well what if I add Make Noise Rene 2" when available? What if over time my rig evolves to have 2-4 sequencers playing various roles?

This is a topic I've really not gotten deep on yet, so I wanted to ask some advice from around the Forum:
-- are you using multiple sequencers? If so, what for? Percussion vs. pitched tracks are an obvious possibility. Are there other interesting "complex sequencing" or "compound sequencing" tasks you're performing?
-- what types of useful techniques and patching do multiple sequencers open up to you that you couldn't just do with a single good one?
-- what capabilities did you want from your "compound sequencing" setup? What are the important "supporting" modules you needed to add, that aren't themselves sequencers, but were needed to get the compound array working as you desired?
-- are there any great videos, posts or threads you would point me towards? For any references, let's try to focus more on "compound / complex sequencing" and less on broad "generative" topics (see below).

I'm not currently interested in a full "generative" setup BUT my thinking is certainly influenced by that stuff. Basically I would like some sequencing that takes advantage of the powers and freedoms inherent to the modular domain, beyond sequencing that is a mirror image of general DAW sequencing or ~80s hardware.

Ideas? Comments?

Thanks!!

Nicholas


Multiple sequencers are a kick and a half! My AE has several...three CV sequencers as well as a couple of trigger sequencer devices.

The big key to REALLY making multiple sequencers skip-n-jump is to dive into the world of clock modulators and Boolean logic. By having Boolean logic modules, you can take two gates and combine them in various ways to create different gate signals altogether. Pulse dividers/multipliers allow mathematical clock changes. Trigger sequencers such as Euclideans can add elements of stochastics to this, as can pulse skippers. And pulse delays can shift the overlaps between different gate signals, which then gives the Boolean gates even MORE to gnaw on. There's even a clock gen (from Evaton) that employs logic between two different clock generators to make the clocking more complex, too. And then you can ALSO use modules such as comparators and discriminators to "read" modulation signals and generate gate pulses from them as well. Lastly, pulse integrators (also known as "diode ORs") allow you to "mix" gates to create composite signals from those. And so on...LOTS of "so on", in fact...


@Lugia, thanks for the ideas above! Since my Vector+Expander can run multiple lanes of sequencing, it would seem I already have enough "source signal" to feed the type of signal flow you're indicating above. Cool -- I don't absolutely have to buy another sequencer unit to dig into this line of exploration.... still I'll probably want to add at least a Rene2 when I can get my hands on one!

Other forum folks, do you have anything to add to the discussion / ideas / suggestions re: multiple sequencers?


Sequencers cover such a broad range of devices and modules. Some are very complex... which is good when you really have something complex in mind. But can be frustratingly tedious to program. So something simpler might be awesome to get immediate results from. But again, its simplicity means a lack of additional features. Neither is better or worse... just different. Sometimes you just need a hand-saw and sometimes you need an entire table-saw... to try and make an analogy out of it.

The biggest thing you'll want to worry about is getting your sequencers to play nicely with each other when sync'ing them together. Okay... here's where you get into trouble. One sequencer has to be the master that every other sequencer gets its timing from. They also have to have a way of starting together, so one sequencer has to send out a reset trigger to every other sequencer when play starts or your sequencers might be out of sync and not playing when you'd like them to. Another issue is HOW your sequencer interprets clocks (timing triggers). A trigger is a short square wave. Some sequencers use the leading edge of the square for timing, some use the falling edge. This can be problematic and lead to issues, especially concerning triggers that initiate the reset. So before bringing a new sequencer home... you might want to make sure it'll play well with everyone else or at least buy from some place with an easy return policy.


I love modular sequencers! Having a good trigger sequencer to pair up with the Vector is quite useful. Maybe something like an Eloquencer or WMD Metron would be fun for you to expand. I like clocks as well and Pamela New Workout is fantastic in this area.


I love modular sequencers! Having a good trigger sequencer to pair up with the Vector is quite useful. Maybe something like an Eloquencer or WMD Metron would be fun for you to expand. I like clocks as well and Pamela New Workout is fantastic in this area.
-- sacguy71

Having separate trigger/clock sequencers and separate CV/pitch sequencers allows sequencing to be deconstructed into its elements. I use a Temps Utile running either a Euclidean, step, or logic functions to drive a Memitic Digitalus from Noise Engineering. There are trigger inputs on the MD that control step advance, reset, or even skipping around +-4 steps, or randomly.

This decoupling allows for more complexity from two simpler sequencers.


Also, don't neglect the smaller sequencers. A few companies (Xaoc and Ladik come to mind) offer 4-step sequencers...and at first, that might seem really underfeatured. But if you use something like a clock counter (this sort of thing: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/emw-pulse-counter) to step it, you can then sequence your harmonic patterns by using the 4-banger to shift the other sequencer(s) global pitch CV. So, those are just PERFECT for stepping through typical chord changes, especially where you only have 3-4 chords in the track.


Great comments above! Thanks!!

One above that especially suites my direction is @Ronin1973's suggestion "Having separate trigger/clock sequencers and separate CV/pitch sequencers allows sequencing to be deconstructed into its elements. I use a Temps Utile running either a Euclidean, step, or logic functions to drive a Memitic Digitalus from Noise Engineering. There are trigger inputs on the MD that control step advance, reset, or even skipping around +-4 steps, or randomly." That "decoupling" of pitch and rhythm information is very appealing to me.

I'm running around this weekend but will need to give these comments further reflection soon.

In the meantime, can I invite some comments from @JimHowell1970, @troux, @GarfieldModular, @farkas and others? The folks I've named, I maybe recall seeing some older posts of yours on similar topics?

Any further ideas to add to the above, along the topic "what great can look like" with a multi-sequencer setup?

Much appreciated!!


Hi Nick. I can definitely recommend multiple sequencers. I have several different CV and gate sequencers.
I especially like to use the Acid Rain Switchblade to switch back and forth between a programmed melodic pitch sequence on the Winter Modular Eloquencer and the WMD Arpitecht while improvising live techno stuff. I also use a Low Gain Short Bus to combine gate patterns from multiple gate sequencers to "crossfade" between different drum patterns or add trigger bursts for rolls and that kind of thing. There are all sorts of cool tricks that I'm figuring out by combining and switching sequences.
Have fun and good luck.


Aw, man ... I just did this big write-up with my thoughts on about 10 different sequencing modules I've owned or do own, and the cookie timed out while I was writing it and when I went to post, it evaporated. :(

The short version: I'm also new to modular, and yeah, having multiple sequencers is fun and useful. My favorite so far, especially in terms of bang-for-the-buck, is the Sequence 8 by Synthrotek. I got mine for $150 and it has per-step CV outputs, 3 independent CV sequence outputs with individual limiters/attenuators, random mode, trigger or gate, reset button & CV trigger ... it's great for its price. It also feels really solidly made and in my opinion looks cool, though it does take up a little space.

I've had a few small form factor sequencers, like 2HP and Erica Synths, and they're fine, but I find with sequencers I like having a little more visual feedback. I love my external Rucci 16-step sequencer. It's just a big brick with some sliders and a single CV output, not a ton to it, but I always enjoy using it. There's one on Reverb right now but it's a little overpriced in my opinion, I guess bc I got mine for like $120 or so straight from Rucci.

Also have a DFAM which is great, and had a Subharmonicon, but didn't care for that one.

Getting some multipliers, dividers, and/or sequential switches is also great, and maybe some S&H modules for random voltages.

Here's a recent rec of select portions of a recent patch session, just me playing around with some new modules. The Rucci is that little guy running on the bottom right. Had a Korg SQ64 which actually did a lot more, but I just didn't like it.

Thinking about getting a Nerdseq as a sort of master utility once I can afford one, anyone have experience with one of those?


Thanks everyone for the replies above!

Informed by those ideas, and in hopes of giving myself some further clarity on the issue, I'll try to summarize below what I presently see as the main use cases for multiple sequencers (note what follows are not strictly exclusive of one another):

  1. more sequencing lanes & CV outputs: simple idea here, yes, but sometimes you just need more
  2. running different instruments or instrument groups: the most standard instance of this would be percussion on one sequencer, pitched on another
  3. complementary sequencer styles: for example, a "normal" sequencer vs. an acid specialty sequencer vs. a "euclidean" sequencer like Rene 2, etc. A good list of sequencers with style labels is at: https://doudoroff.com/sequencers/
  4. derived sequencing: requires 2 or more sequence signals run through logic (e.g. AND modules, etc.) to output a derived signal. This hits on what @Lugia was indicating in his 1st post above. Tons of ways to do this, potential modules to involve, potential patching. In general, this gives a good way of getting some complexity and change in an output signal from two pretty basic input signals.
  5. additive sequencing: not wholly distinct from other techniques mentioned here, but worth spelling out, this is adding gate signals to construct more general stepped CV signals, see https://www.modulargrid.net/e/forum/posts/index/9928 for a very interesting detailed example
  6. function-specific sequencing: an example of this would be like @Ronin1973 indicated, e.g. where one sequence chain is driving pitch CV and another is driving gate/trigger signals. The main premise here is, for a single instrument voice, there are multiple sequence inputs driving the score and realization
  7. compound sequencing: sequencers feeding sequencers, as if SeqA outputs go to SeqB inputs, or SeqA outputs go to SeqA inputs (if it was capable of that kind of feedback). This is kind of a bottomless pit topic, and surely depends on the specs of the sequencers involved

Of course one or more of these use cases could be combined at any given time, if the modules support doing so.

[This post is edited to shorten... additional ideas / comments later.]


SO, after some more thought, IMO the practical next steps for me are:

-- grab another sequencer when one I like is in stock. I generally don't like very menu divey modules or ones with huge instruction manuals; I prefer something that can be learned by working with front panel controls and modest manual/video reference. My current top picks for a next module are Rene2, Verbos Multistage CV, and as I'm interested in acid, the Stepper Acid. Those are all out of stock currently at my preferred vendors. Waiting would be okay. I'm also considering Mimetic Digitalis or Verbos Sequence Selector to give an ability to select sequence steps like @Ronin1973 was discussing; both of those modules remain somewhat baffling for me, the Verbos especially. WMD Metron is a top candidate for me for trigger / gate sequencing, though I'm feeling that as a lesser priority currently. And @Lugia and @eexee points about a smaller seqeucner being useful, I will keep in mind. Then of course I would need supporting modules (some of which I have on hand already), @farkas ideas of switch and bus would be great, as well as the variety of support modules mentioned by Lugia above. SO many possibilities!!!

-- all considered, more time on rig, more exploration using what I have, that should help me get a clearer sense of what will suit my tastes. But practicing is harder than fantasizing about new modules! ; )

Last, a couple random responses to above items:
-- @eexee, thanks for the post and video above, very cool! I also suffer from a lost post every now and then. Re: Nerdseq, it looks deep, powerful, and well respected (?), but IMO its not for me because of the interface. If it appeals to you, then it could be a good choice!? On scanning the Doudoroff list, I did not see a lot else that looks just like it, it seems pretty unique. I can recommend you check out Five12 Vector, it is very powerful, yet still very easy to use, which is great for me.
-- @farkas, I'll have to try the switch and bus setup you mentioned, that definitely appeals to me! BTW have you yet seen the additive sequencing post (#5 above)? I get a sense that that setup would be interesting for you.

Thanks everyone! Additional ideas / questions / comments would be welcomed.


I had seriously considered the Vector, but ended up going with the Frap Tools Usta. It fit my experimentation style. I also have an external box, the Akai MPC One which has midi and 8 CV outs, for when I want to do straight melodic stuff via a piano roll interface. I'll expand from there, eventually, once I've decided what direction I want to go.


USTA is another I've considered. Looks very good! Also out of stock at my vendors : (

As I continue to try to wrap my head around the possibilities of multiple sequencers + downstream logic & utilities, it occurred to me "I could model a lot of that in Excel." A lot of 1s and 0s, small integers representing quantized pitch CV, AND, OR, XOR, etc., yes that would work fine in Excel. The main problem is !!!BORING!!!... but I'm imagining a few hours with a spreadsheet would go a long way in helping me understand this -- as I'm still trying to wrap my head around "if I take XYZ basic sequences and push them through ABC units downstream, what outputs do I get?" AND if I get a better grip on that, it tells me better what (if any) additional sequencing capabilities would be useful. I'll post more if I have any interesting findings on this.

In the meantime, I'm crossing my fingers Patchworks (Seattle) might find me an in stock unit I like!


@nickgreenberg That touches on what I liked about the Nerdseq demo I watched -- you can punch in exact CV voltages and program specific numbers for a lot of different parameters. Here's the start of their tutorial series. I'm not sure if it does everything the USTA does, but it's a mite bit less expensive. I like patching so I don't want to get too many "mini-computers" for my system, but this one's def on my list to try at some point.


Synching multiple sequencers: for you folks running 2+ sequencers, are you using any special modules or techniques to get perfect synchronization? Ronin (above) and some others have warned me about sync problems. Before I add more sequencing its worth considering if and how I can get the units all lining up rhythmically. Thanks for all the ideas!


I’ve had good luck with clocking from Pamela’s New Workout. I have a Moffenzeef Mito trigger sequencer that is a little squirrelly with syncing so I just send a reset gate to it every four bars from either the Eloquencer or PNW. I’ve found workarounds for any issues I’ve come across.
*edit: Just a note regarding Ronin's important consideration of rising/falling clock pulses, Pamela's New Workout allows you to skew and offset gate/trigger signals per channel if you do find a synchronization issue between multiple sequencers. I have not found it necessary to do this, but the capability is there. PNW also serves as my master "start/stop" button. Cool module. It's definitely the one that glued my rack together for the first time early on while I was just getting started.


This is super helpful input guys, thanks!!

@farkas that's a great suggestion for synching driven by PWN. As I already have a PWN your suggestion will be my go-to fixit should the need arise. I also have a Malekko Quad Gate Delay I could use if needed, but I'd rather keep that free for creative purposes; plus trying to get the sequencers to synch through manual adjustment sounds to me like a fiddly and potentially frustrating or failing effort.

If anyone else has suggestions to make via synching multiple sequencers (see above), feel free to chip in.

Thanks to the ideas above and the related "favorite seqeuncer" thread, I'm narrowing in on what could be a great multi-sequencer setup for me, which is ultimately in the interest of creating a "modular-based scoring system" which can spit out the backbone parts of a songwriting effort. I've not yet solved how to connect that to my specific DAW+PC down the line: I posted that query as a separate thread: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/forum/posts/index/10312

I feel somewhat embarrassed by posting what seem to me like several "dumb$ss newbie" questions in a row. Sigh... Modular is definitely deep, and I can use a hand here and there. Thanks again to everyone offering friendly pointers, advice and perspectives!

NG