For some, there’s the step sequencer you dream of. Maybe it has a massive array of buttons for patterns, capable of spreading musical ideas across a lit grid. Maybe every last rhythm is visible, maybe it juggles layers and patterns with ease.

Ryan B just went and built what he wanted.

Under the moniker RNInstruments, he constructed a killer hardware step sequencer with a massive 16×12 grid. And this isn’t like a monome – or Push, or Launchpad, or the like – in that it is truly standalone MIDI hardware. You don’t need any computer, period. See the walkthrough above and pics and demo below.

And what inspired it? You did – the makers who have built your own projects, and readers who have helped build this site and tipped us off on those projects. Ryan explains:

I find so many things inspirational and it is great to see what people can come up with [on CDM]. I was even inspired to make my own MIDI sequencer based on an Arduino. This was my second Arduino project (the first being an LED controller board) and something that I mostly came up with on my own. I’m not a musician, computer scientist, or electrical engineer, but I made this entire sequencer, wrote all the code, and designed working circuit boards and I am pretty proud of that.

Building takes time, of course, so sometimes documentation has to come second. But it is coming. “I do plan to set this up as a DIY project in the future,” Ryan tells CDM. “I am getting ready to build another one and create a detailed instruction guide for the DIYer that I hope will be done at the end of the year.”

We’ll be watching. Congrats, Ryan.

In the meanwhile, you can check out his YouTube channel or his blog:




  • Tony Scharf


  • Tony Scharf

    And it should say 12×16…

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Oooops. Maybe I was distracted by the fact that it’s August 16. Or… maybe I just can’t count. 😉

  • http://www.camelaudio.com/ Chris Sciurba

    That looks quite cool.

  • doh

    Another grid of flashing buttons…

    • http://jeffkocan.com/ jeffk

      Another useless comment.

  • toma

    If it just sends midi without a computer…I want one…How much?

    • majunon

      I think there is a lot of MIDI controller that can work without a computer… Not the launchpad nor the monome, this is why this particular device fills a need.

  • Darwin Grosse

    The perfect addition to a Vermona DRM1! Want…(to DIY!)

  • RN HN

    13×16… 😉

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Actually, it’s not – though that might have made more sense. If you look closely, you’ll see it is 12 buttons vertically, and the top row is subtracted for those menu keys. So you have basically a 1×16 menu array, then *11×16* sequencing area.

  • Mark Eats

    I’ve been working on some new software for the monome with a pretty similar philosophy recently (do everything sequencer, multi-page, all options accessible from hardware) http://instagram.com/p/buk98ptj3C/

    It’s still very alpha but just thought I’d share!

  • poopoo

    Awesome. The big font on the front looks very 90’s. I was expecting “Rave” to appear somewhere in the title.

  • Frank

    Will be the music created on this machine any different or special or progressive?
    I see only advantage and it’s the immediate access to all channels of the rhythm,but I would expect some creative features like shuffle, trigger in for external tempo control, polyrhytms, infrared sensors with cv out’s…why not to make a more expressive instrument

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      That depends on the musician, no?

      I like some of these other features, too, though, so … will keep pondering step sequencing. 😉

  • newmiracle

    Great work, excited to see more build details.
    Any idea of a ballpark cost for the materials for the build?