Free Mark Eats Sequencer, A Beautiful Example of What Pattern Making Can Be [monome]

If we’re living in a golden age of resurgent synthesizers, we’re also in the midst of a renaissance in step sequencers. Faced with the challenge of making machines make musical sense, the lowly step sequencer – a kind of relic from the days of more primitive hardware – is getting renewed. The latest example is Mark Eats Sequencer, a labor of love for the monome platform. And just as we’ve seen with Tomash Ghzegovskyy and Traktor or Julien Fayard and his MTRX-8, this is not so much about reinventing the sequencer so much as getting as much mileage as possible …

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Midi Fighter Twister 4×4 Encoder Controller, and More Traktor Step Sequencing

DJ site DJ TechTools continues to create their own hardware, augmented by custom mappings to popular software, with the Midi Fighter Twister. From the early days of their 4×4 arcade button controller Midi Fighter, things have gotten a bit more sophisticated. The Twister keeps the compact housing and 4×4 matrix design, but swaps those on/off buttons with 16 encoders, each with push-button capability, ringed by color LEDs for additional feedback. (You get white LEDs for indicators, plus full-RGB color at the very bottom.) There’s no pricing yet, but availability is slated for January. Anyone wanting a box of encoders should …

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A Brilliant 199€ Hardware Sequencer with Jog Wheel: MTRX-8 Preview [Photos, Video, Interview]

Sleek and black, sporting a high-resolution jog wheel, the MTRX-8 is a futuristic sequencer the likes of which you probably haven’t seen in hardware before. Even though it’s the product of a boutique DIY maker – France’s Fyrd Instruments, aka designer Julien Fayard – it’s eschews the usual homebrewed, retro aesthetics. And it’s not expensive, either; the launch price has been lowered to 199€ based on early demand. It’s a MIDI sequencer, it’s a drum sequencer, it’s a performance-geared machine with quick access to presets, and it’s covered with quick access controls rather than confusing menus. At last, it’s sequencer …

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Monster 16×12 Grid Step Sequencer Hardware, Built with Arduino

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 …

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MFB Tanzbär Analog Drum Machine Arriving, 800€ [Sound Sample]

Amidst a wave of monosynth options, it seems your options for a new hardware drum machine in the classic mode are surprisingly limited. The new Tanzbär from Berlin-based boutique builder MFB could be the one to put in the budget. At 800 €, it isn’t exactly an impulse buy – but it’s also considerably cheaper and more compact than the Tempest from Dave Smith Instruments. And then there’s what you get for that price. The instrument simply sounds stellar, and packs some serious functionality to boot. The sound source is a beautiful, classic analog-based sound with loads of direct access …

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Giant Steps for Step Sequencing: Two Free Ableton Sequencers, with a Twist

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of physical control of a step sequencer for immediate, musical results. But you’d be forgiven for thinking there isn’t much more you can do with the concept. Think again. New step sequencers demonstrate how to get more with less, using clever tricks to maximize the musical variations you can get with just a few pads. They’re each free, and they’re each from Ableton Live, coming to us from our friends Sebastian Tomczak aka little-scale, the obscenely-prolific musical inventor in Australia, and Matt Black (UK, of Ninja Tune / Coldcut fame) working with Ableton guru …

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Chroma + Gris-Gris: Sequence Live with Anything, Then Let the Synth Run Wild [Reaktor]

Chroma and Gris-Gris are a beautiful pairing, a performance-savvy sequencer and a “monster” monosynth. If the release of the OSC implementation we dreamed of in Reaktor wasn’t enough to make you dust off NI’s modular flagship, this will surely do the trick. It’s the work of Montreal-based Reaktor guru Peter Dines, veteran CDM contributor and one of our favorite patchers anywhere, on any platform, for his eminently-practical, sonically-lovely creations. And just as the Chrome sequencer goes nicely with the Gris-Gris synth, the whole thing comes alive with Reaktor’s new OSC implementation, letting you perform sequences – alone or in public …

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Classic KORG Polysix, Reimagined for iPad, Becomes All-in-One Workstation

In designing for Apple’s mobiles, KORG has again turned to equipment from their past. Having reinterpreted the ElecTribe and MS-20, their newest target is the versatile, classic Polysix. The 1981 original brought programmable polyphony to keyboard lovers, with analog oscillators, memory storage, six-voice polyphony, and various effects and modulation. For iOS, Korg models that sound (having done so already with the desktop Legacy Collection), and mimics the front-panel. But even more so than on the DS-20 rendition (iMS-20), they pack in modern features that make this a production tool as much as a synthesizer. That should be welcome news for …

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The Analog Four, stuff of dreams, as immortalized by eBoy in a parallel universe with a lower polygon count. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Elektron Analog Four Preview: Four Voices, Step Sequencer, All The Trimmings [Video, Audio]

Following its endless teasers and science fiction mini-movies, Swedish machine maker Elektron this week has announced features, specs, and preorder pricing for its Analog Four synth/sequencer, along with some sample sounds and a promo vid. It’s also been immortalized in a wonderful image, above, by artist eBoy. Just in case you needed a version to tack up above your bed. Ahhhh…. The damage: US$1099 / 1099,– € including VAT, shipped. The date: December 3. Yes, it’s analog, and even the early sound samples suggest a color of its own. And that’s a good thing. But, of ourse, that can’t be …

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Mutable’s Anushri Bundles Sequencing, Drums, Synthesis, CV in One Hobbyist-, Modular-Friendly Kit

Call it the Mutable Fun Pack. The Synth Happy Meal. The Family Variety Bucket. The Anushri doesn’t have quite the sound design depth that Mutable’s Shruthi-1 does, but in its place, you get a whole mess of different features. It’s an analog synth, with an additional digital oscillator. It’s got its own step sequencer/arpeggiator. It’s got an 8-bit, bit-crushed drum machine. And it has analog connections for modulars in addition to MIDI, so modular lovers can put it into a Eurorack if they like. In fact, it seems to bring some of the compact, lovable features of Roland’s 101 and …

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