arrangement & sequencing

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cyberdine
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arrangement & sequencing

Post by cyberdine » Sat Sep 11, 2021 1:55 pm

Hello,

I am increasingly thinking about arrangement.

Specifically: things that I record tend to be loops, maybe evolving patches, but they suffer from repetition. Once I have a sound locked in I'll tweak and play with it but I get stuck on it.

I think one solution may be a "serious" sequencer. I don't want to record onto a DAW and arrange that way - I want to play within in the confines of my system, and compose and arrange there too. So, the reason that I posted this in the Euro forum rather than the techniques forum is that I wondered if anyone has any suggestions for a Euro (or Euro compatible) powerful sequencer that I can effectively compose and arrange on?

Thanks in advance

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Re: arrangement & sequencing

Post by Powerdwarf » Sat Sep 11, 2021 2:38 pm

depends on what u r using at the moment but sequential switches is a must in modular. you can do endless stuff with few minimal 8 step sequencers with resets and different clocks for example and seq switches. also consider such simple tools as mutes or matrix mixers. also going even more simpler you can utilise vcas to create evelving changes as you can modulate the modulations with these. try these utilities before buying complex sequencer, maybe its cheaper to go with later but former way is more immediate intuitive and most importantly fun. its essence of modular for me, sorry for using that word

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Re: arrangement & sequencing

Post by megarat » Sat Sep 11, 2021 2:46 pm

I encourage you to follow some of the ideas suggested by @Powerdwarf, but there are many sequencers in Eurorack that are built for composition. I’ve settled on the NerdSEQ (with the More Triggers and More CV expanders) as my battleship sequencer of choice, but I’ve also used the ER-101/102 and it’s just as capable, even more so in some ways, but you need to love its workflow and UI. The Five12 Vector also gets a lot of praise around here, and the Eloquencer would be another good choice.
Last edited by megarat on Sun Sep 12, 2021 8:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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cyberdine
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Re: arrangement & sequencing

Post by cyberdine » Sat Sep 11, 2021 3:04 pm

@powerdwarf you know, I haven't tried sequential switching and muting in the way you describe. I take the point - it's a lower level of functionality than a dedicated sequencer and therefore more 'modular'. Any recommendations for good switches and mutes?

@megarat thanks... yes the nerdseq looks pretty cool.

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Re: arrangement & sequencing

Post by Powerdwarf » Sun Sep 12, 2021 12:41 am

cyberdine wrote:
Sat Sep 11, 2021 3:04 pm
@powerdwarf you know, I haven't tried sequential switching and muting in the way you describe. I take the point - it's a lower level of functionality than a dedicated sequencer and therefore more 'modular'. Any recommendations for good switches and mutes?

@megarat thanks... yes the nerdseq looks pretty cool.
addac 206 is good but expensive. i like ryo paths, befaco muxlicer, ladik 4ch switch, there are also bunch of nice simple amd cheap doepfer switches as well. these are the ones that stand out most for me. oh and behringer 962 if ur not allergic to the brand, that switch is very cool as well

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Re: arrangement & sequencing

Post by cyberdine » Sun Sep 12, 2021 2:07 am

I cannot argue with the price of the Behringer switch. And, to be fair, it isn’t rocket science and it doesn’t look like .. oh, I’m not going to go into that rabbit hole.

Maybe not what you were saying but… yeah I hear you, I think I’m approaching the issue of arrangement in a non ‘modular’ way… ie I’m not allowing for the flow and I’m trying to impose some detailed sense of order. Not how this works.

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Re: arrangement & sequencing

Post by GuyaGuy » Sun Sep 12, 2021 2:40 am

cyberdine wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 2:07 am
I cannot argue with the price of the Behringer switch. And, to be fair, it isn’t rocket science and it doesn’t look like .. oh, I’m not going to go into that rabbit hole.

Maybe not what you were saying but… yeah I hear you, I think I’m approaching the issue of arrangement in a non ‘modular’ way… ie I’m not allowing for the flow and I’m trying to impose some detailed sense of order. Not how this works.
I think it’s one option. I see 3 basic options for arranging:

1) Fully Controlled: Linear sequencing via DAW, BeatStep Pro, Eloquencer, Pyramid, etc.
2) Patched + Controlled: Simpler sequencers but patched with switches, comparators, and the like for more depth.
3) Patched + Generative: No dedicated sequencer as such

They’re all legit and can be combined or used for different needs. My default mode is the first. And I don’t think it’s any “less modular.” It’s how the RCA synthesizer was programmed. But if I approach it more in the second two ways, I get to things I never would have otherwise.

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Re: arrangement & sequencing

Post by vidret » Sun Sep 12, 2021 3:26 am

GuyaGuy wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 2:40 am
cyberdine wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 2:07 am
I cannot argue with the price of the Behringer switch. And, to be fair, it isn’t rocket science and it doesn’t look like .. oh, I’m not going to go into that rabbit hole.

Maybe not what you were saying but… yeah I hear you, I think I’m approaching the issue of arrangement in a non ‘modular’ way… ie I’m not allowing for the flow and I’m trying to impose some detailed sense of order. Not how this works.
I think it’s one option. I see 3 basic options for arranging:

1) Fully Controlled: Linear sequencing via DAW, BeatStep Pro, Eloquencer, Pyramid, etc.
2) Patched + Controlled: Simpler sequencers but patched with switches, comparators, and the like for more depth.
3) Patched + Generative: No dedicated sequencer as such

They’re all legit and can be combined or used for different needs. My default mode is the first. And I don’t think it’s any “less modular.” It’s how the RCA synthesizer was programmed. But if I approach it more in the second two ways, I get to things I never would have otherwise.
I've been thinking about this lately, and I just recently got a Nerdseq which obviously pushed me in the (1) direction.

I'd just like to add that how you start the process affects this - I can just as easily start my session with everything BUT the nerdseq and find this very generative flow, and once that's locked down I can sequence the important parts of it in the nerdseq, then move on from there.
Whereas if I start with the nerdseq it very easily turns into a linear programmed thing where the other modules otherwise used for generative movements now get used to control more interesting parameters that have been programmed.

tl;dr: where/how you start affects the end result

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Re: arrangement & sequencing

Post by WarpHead » Sun Sep 12, 2021 6:54 am

GuyaGuy wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 2:40 am
cyberdine wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 2:07 am
I cannot argue with the price of the Behringer switch. And, to be fair, it isn’t rocket science and it doesn’t look like .. oh, I’m not going to go into that rabbit hole.

Maybe not what you were saying but… yeah I hear you, I think I’m approaching the issue of arrangement in a non ‘modular’ way… ie I’m not allowing for the flow and I’m trying to impose some detailed sense of order. Not how this works.
I think it’s one option. I see 3 basic options for arranging:

1) Fully Controlled: Linear sequencing via DAW, BeatStep Pro, Eloquencer, Pyramid, etc.
2) Patched + Controlled: Simpler sequencers but patched with switches, comparators, and the like for more depth.
3) Patched + Generative: No dedicated sequencer as such

They’re all legit and can be combined or used for different needs. My default mode is the first. And I don’t think it’s any “less modular.” It’s how the RCA synthesizer was programmed. But if I approach it more in the second two ways, I get to things I never would have otherwise.
I combine basically all of them.

Linear sequencing through KSP into O&C quantermain (to take advantage of the oscillator auto-calibration feature). Instant keyboard lines and input do wonders for quickly injecting more targeted musical ideas and dictating the harmonic and melodic course of the patch.

Then there are a variety of ways I've been experimenting with to mix it up. Originally switching O&C input between KSP and rack cv, but that requires *a lot* of switches. So lately I'll have a second O&C running MetaQ modulated by LFOs and different trigger streams, to get two pitch CVs with selectable scales for two melodic voices. The bass voice I usually keep sequenced by the KSP, unless I want it to get a bit crazier. KSP also usually does twin intervals for a pair of SATB voices, and does polyphony pads (often extensions or shells). Meta-structure and moving between sub-patches is done through a number of controllers.

Sometimes I want to input new scales on the fly, but have a bit of variation. So I run a track on KSP at a ludicrous speed while set to an uneven/prime step length. O&C receives triggers from various sources in the rack, to sample notes from whatever I play into the KSP. This was basically my simplistic version of a SIG avant la lettre.

KSP drum tracks + velocity CVs are also really handy for event management, triggering things, setting variable gate lengths, etc. Often have a couple going into Akai S3000 + Squid Sample. Can also gate VCAs for on the fly mixing (though clicking is sometimes a problem if not set up well or not devoting an EG/slew to the task).

The main thing I miss in the KSP is per-step clocking, which would allow for switching the KSP from steady to irregular clocking. The regular keystep can do this and I really miss that feature here. :waah: :waah: :waah: While it's not perfect, the KSP can be a pretty powerful centerpiece/brain. Can't even imagine the outlay and cost of doing all that in the rack or separate components.

This will all get so, so much easier once the SIG get here, it will essentially be a better and more efficient version of the bewildering array of modulations and sequencing paths I was patching up with O&C quantizers and a metric crapton of switches, comparators function generators and spaghetti. Especially the fact that it outputs TrEGs for each voice will avoid so much hassle and spaghetti. Something like half the rack can once again go towards modulating timbres, filters, etc. once SIG is in the rack. Definite win!

Will use the same scheme. Creative switching and fades between KSP and SIG. Got the A-152 ready to go for addressed switching.
Don't believe the hype.

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Re: arrangement & sequencing

Post by Karl_Joseph » Sun Sep 12, 2021 12:09 pm

vidret wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 3:26 am
GuyaGuy wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 2:40 am
cyberdine wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 2:07 am
I cannot argue with the price of the Behringer switch. And, to be fair, it isn’t rocket science and it doesn’t look like .. oh, I’m not going to go into that rabbit hole.

Maybe not what you were saying but… yeah I hear you, I think I’m approaching the issue of arrangement in a non ‘modular’ way… ie I’m not allowing for the flow and I’m trying to impose some detailed sense of order. Not how this works.

I think it’s one option. I see 3 basic options for arranging:

1) Fully Controlled: Linear sequencing via DAW, BeatStep Pro, Eloquencer, Pyramid, etc.
2) Patched + Controlled: Simpler sequencers but patched with switches, comparators, and the like for more depth.
3) Patched + Generative: No dedicated sequencer as such

They’re all legit and can be combined or used for different needs. My default mode is the first. And I don’t think it’s any “less modular.” It’s how the RCA synthesizer was programmed. But if I approach it more in the second two ways, I get to things I never would have otherwise.
I've been thinking about this lately, and I just recently got a Nerdseq which obviously pushed me in the (1) direction.

I'd just like to add that how you start the process affects this - I can just as easily start my session with everything BUT the nerdseq and find this very generative flow, and once that's locked down I can sequence the important parts of it in the nerdseq, then move on from there.
Whereas if I start with the nerdseq it very easily turns into a linear programmed thing where the other modules otherwise used for generative movements now get used to control more interesting parameters that have been programmed.

tl;dr: where/how you start affects the end result
Interesting. I’ll have to try this workflow and see what happens. Thanks for the tip.
- KARL

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Re: arrangement & sequencing

Post by Snufflepuff » Sun Sep 12, 2021 2:17 pm

Powerdwarf wrote:
Sat Sep 11, 2021 2:38 pm
depends on what u r using at the moment but sequential switches is a must in modular. you can do endless stuff with few minimal 8 step sequencers with resets and different clocks for example and seq switches. also consider such simple tools as mutes or matrix mixers. also going even more simpler you can utilise vcas to create evelving changes as you can modulate the modulations with these. try these utilities before buying complex sequencer, maybe its cheaper to go with later but former way is more immediate intuitive and most importantly fun. its essence of modular for me, sorry for using that word
This is intriguing and encouraging. Can you give an example of how you would use a sequential switch in this arrangement?

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Re: arrangement & sequencing

Post by IncognitoAvocado » Sun Sep 12, 2021 5:00 pm

I mostly use a Keystep pro but I have also been trying to do it just with the modules. I have had some success with a combination of the Doepfer clock divider, precision adder and sequential switch.

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Re: arrangement & sequencing

Post by Wavtekt » Sun Sep 12, 2021 5:25 pm

Use ES-8 + software, you can get a lot more complex sequence and arrangement with that configuration.

I have a simple external hardware sequencer to sketch out ideas, but I don't see the need to get any eurorack sequencers, except sequence-altering modules like logic / comparator / switch etc.

Also with software like VCV Rack, you can create complex sequences with logic / comparator / switch etc., without worrying hardware artifacts like voltage drooping.

I think software is best for sequencing duties, although lack of hands-on control.

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Re: arrangement & sequencing

Post by joncharliefeathers » Mon Sep 13, 2021 2:11 pm

Somebody recently commented I have an insane amount of sequencing power.
I don't agree with them but I accept there are quite a few powerful sequencers.

when you consider the wide sweep of voltage and triggers/gates that flow out from a loop then this super sequencer has more a context in the main than simply existing as an outrageous arsenal of devices.

No matter the form, be it drone, dance, generative, EDM or some of the more classic modular styles the super sequencer can accommodate each on its own terms.

My choices were made in consideration of the inate state of instinct and sense. It's been a few years, not many, in which what you see in the link reflects the instinct and intuitive nature of each which way I travel in the mood of or arrangement and composition with modular

https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/1484229

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Re: arrangement & sequencing

Post by jkanizzle » Mon Sep 13, 2021 5:08 pm

A vote for the Westlicht Performer over here. With 8 channels of gate/cv information, and advanced song sequencing capabilities it's really really hard to beat. Just hard to find, unless you build it yourself....

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Re: arrangement & sequencing

Post by Liquidcolor » Mon Sep 13, 2021 7:29 pm

I don’t see how the NerdSeq can be beat for classic song structure composition.

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Re: arrangement & sequencing

Post by Rabid » Mon Sep 13, 2021 7:32 pm

I have 5 Eurorack sequencers, 2 that I really like that will save patterns. Erica Synth Black and Rene 2. Neither allows me to finalize a song the way I want. For me, at some point it is always time to start moving things a DAW. You might consider one of the many hardware beatboxes that will sequence both internal sounds and drive your modular. I enjoy using my Elektron, Arturia and Roland devices this way.
Sometimes I feel like the Red Green of modulars.

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Re: arrangement & sequencing

Post by megarat » Mon Sep 13, 2021 9:12 pm

Liquidcolor wrote:
Mon Sep 13, 2021 7:29 pm
I don’t see how the NerdSeq can be beat for classic song structure composition.
I completely agree. The top-level sequencer view of your song, with all of the patterns laid out and color-coded, is a thing of beauty.

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Re: arrangement & sequencing

Post by AndrewSouthworth » Mon Sep 13, 2021 9:38 pm

NerdSeq is a great solution to this. It brings similar functionality of Ableton Live's clips to a Eurorack sequencer in the form of a tracker. Not a sequencer you'd edit on the fly, but you can trigger clips and scenes on the fly. Its also obscene how many outputs you can get with expanders, 22 trigger outputs, 28 CV / Mod outputs, 2 sample outputs, MIDI out/in.

One particularly magical thing you can do with it is record a sequence into it with MIDI, another is outputting envelopes and LFO's alongside your notes, and another is use the MIDI out to control an entire module like BitBox Micro with full polyphony.

I haven't seen a single complex Eurorack sequencer that even comes close to NerdSeq in number of outputs, ease of programming and low learning curve.

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Re: arrangement & sequencing

Post by cyberdine » Tue Sep 14, 2021 9:32 pm

thanks for all the replies. I'm going to try the Nerd Seq out - looks like it will be fun to play with.

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Re: arrangement & sequencing

Post by Liquidcolor » Tue Sep 14, 2021 9:50 pm

One of the things a like most about the NerdSeq is that it's easy to set up generative patches with various probabilities and other behaviors and then lock them down into particular repeating patterns. Or patterns with slight variations. I now totally sequence within the Nerd and only use a DAW as a tape recorder. The latest track I've been working has the Nerd sequencing the modular, using internal samples and sequencing a Juno-106 and some Yamaha FM synths. It's a totally inspirational bit of kit coming back to synth music after a decade away.


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Re: arrangement & sequencing

Post by Mikeyg3k » Wed Sep 15, 2021 3:09 am

Intellijel Metropolix has a song mode which they call preset mode I believe

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Re: arrangement & sequencing

Post by studio460 » Wed Sep 15, 2021 3:48 am

Interesting thread. It seems everyone needs to find their own path (or multiple paths) toward this end.

I have several low-level sequencers/quantizers. I like them for their pre-programmed modes (e.g., Dorian, Phyrgian, etc.) which can help jump-start melodic ideas:

• pittsburgh modular sequence b.
• Behringer 960 + 962.
• WMD Arpitecht + Triad.
• Toppobrillo Quantimator + Acid Rain Chainsaw.
• Arturia BeatStep Pro.

Sort of a cornucopia of small control-devices, with no centralized, primary controller. Haven't dived into the Behringer 960 yet, and the Arpitecht—just received—isn't even in the rack yet. Also just grabbed a Kaosillator Pro+ which is really fun—I've actually learned to play its touchscreen-grid more like a keyboard. I've yet to settle on a composing approach with these tools especially since my command of them is very nascent.

I do notice one thing: Composing something in my DAW, recording into Logic live primarily from keyboarded synths (i.e., without the use of MIDI, except for syncing BPM), is a much different experience than composing in modular, of which I've actually done very little—still obsessed with making crazy sounds (e.g., spaceship-drones, alien-speak, sound-effects, etc.).

Of the modules listed, sequence b is very playable and the Toppobrillo/Chainsaw combo is probably the most fun/satisfying (again, much of it is still brand-new to the rack). Actually, the simple sequencer in my new Behringer Odyssey is the tool I've been using the most lately for creating my principle bass-lines. Still, I find modular's sonic-vistas so vast, I'm often too distracted by the effects-realm to concentrate on melodic compositions; too many options—too much fun.

I suppose what I'm aiming for (since I own so many fixed-architecture synths) is a way to better integrate my synth/DAW mindset/workflow with my more hands-on, modular-workflows. A challenge, since both worlds are physically and psychologically disconnected. Or, perhaps, it's just fine the way it is.
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