You’re right, definitely a budget workhorse. Totally understand the appeal of the SQ-1, I honestly got into modular more for interesting sequencing than for sound design, so I have a lot of fun using separate sequencers for gates and CV.

Have you considered the Behringer 182?

It’s a recreation of the sequencer from the Roland System 100 that has a lot of great features in a relatively compact module (16hp). It can be used in parallel or series, and you can vary the (shared) step length. You can also drive it with a trigger, so it works really well to sequence with a separate gate sequencer from the one triggering your EG. the variable length is great for creating shifting sequences and polyrhythms in a really intuitive way. Very affordable as well.

You can’t vary the direction of the sequence or the length of the two sequencers independently, but it’s a small price to pay for such a straight forward design imo.