Korg SQ-64

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Re: Korg SQ-64

Post by dryjoy » Sat Mar 20, 2021 3:15 pm

Ishkash wrote:
Sat Mar 20, 2021 2:33 pm
Hi dryjoy,

Really appreciate you chiming in.

But...MAY?! Boy, that'll hurt me right in the gut.

My hurt feelings aside, it seems to me that this product, great as it appears to be, won't really come of age for at least another year (via implementation of a *good* software editor, firmware updates, etc.) anyhow. My local vendor (Perfect Circuit) has no word, but succinctly mentioned that while supplies and production are cut in half, demand is up by a factor of three. Makes sense during this time...seems we studio guys & gals are all gearing up during pandemic season.

Patience is a virtue, patience is a virtue...
Sorry, yes I realised I was not the bearer of good news. It must be frustrating. Let's hope to be pleasantly surprised.
I think you're right that this is a product that will hopefully get better as it matures with an update or two. I hope they follow through on it.

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Re: Korg SQ-64

Post by Andreso » Sun Mar 21, 2021 6:30 pm

Hello Korg SQ-64 (/ hardware sequencer) users 🙂

One thing I would very much like to know about this sequencer is if there is any kind of drift / jitter, as in when you are looping tracks and playing back via CV, which I believe is a lot less susceptible to these kind of things than MIDI, but I'd hope a dedicated sequencer doesn't glitch out anyway, you don't have dropped notes and the timing appearing sloppy, especially when you you manually move / offset the start point of notes / steps. I'm shocked at how bad a problem this is inside inside software sequencers.

I'm thinking in a 16th note arpeggio on the grid with certain notes moved off of the grid would be a good way to tell, when repeatedly looped for a time.

Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated...

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Re: Korg SQ-64

Post by Gordon Cole » Wed Mar 24, 2021 1:17 pm

For anyone interested in one of these, I picked one up recently and put it through its paces

Pros:

- decent trigger / gate sequencer: its easy to add remove steps and fly around the pattern. This is what I'd hoped for and it didn't disappoint (with one caveat, in the cons below)
- compact
- step buttons are great, right amount of pressure to trigger
- syncs fairly well with audio clock: its not as tight as using silent way, but it's good enough for sure. I went back and forth between sync to midi or clock and both were about the same degree of jitter
- settings are saved when you move off of a particular page (pitch, gate). It's nice to rotate or transpose a sequence, then switch back to that page and have that become the new default
- using loop mode along with the bounce or reverse modifiers can get to weird places quickly
- random / percentage / x times per bar implementations are easy to use and quick. Its nice to see some of the Elektron workflows bleeding into other tech

Cons:

- first thing I noticed on power up is the oled display is actually slightly crooked (!)
- buttons that have a click are too stiff, and this includes things you will be pressing on a regular basis (gate, pitch, A-D). I'd really have preferred the entire thing to have the resistance of the step buttons
- transpose function only works with the internal keyboard, not incoming midi
- internal keyboard itself is fairly useless. There is no octave switching. Modes don't make much sense either, as 'keys' is the same as 'octaves' but 'keys' just has a bunch of wasted space. On both the first three notes are repeated at the end of the keyboard. If it was me I would have used that space for an octave control.
- the D-Sub tracks are all tied to the master D-Sub length. The maximum number of steps you get before a reset is 64, which is bad news if you wanted some outputs to be odd lengths, they won't repeat infinitely like that
- no quantize function which makes playing in sequences a write off
- some weird stuff intermittently happening like it stops responding to usb midi and needs a power cycle, or the first pattern disappears if I copy it to other locations
- you can't edit a pattern on one voice if you have another voice playing in a chain, you are either in chain mode or not. Makes pattern chain mode useless in a live situation
- but you need to use pattern chains, because if you try to just trigger new patterns they fall out of sync (!). This happens whether sync is set to pattern, beat or step, and happens quite reliably
- editing the patterns / chains is slow and a bit annoying
- [EDIT - triplets work fine, that was my error]

So I obviously have mixed feelings about this thing. If you just use it as a percussive box / instrument, and don't try to chain or build song structures, then its pretty good. The looping & chance / probability stuff is great. But it feels like an unfinished, or not completely thought out piece of gear, with a ton of stuff just straight up broken. However, it could still be great since most of the cons I mentioned could be cleaned up in the software.

But a final issue is, because it's Korg there's no easy way to get in touch with the actual development team. I tried, and got a fairly canned response agreeing to 'send my thoughts on'. If you pick one of these up and you have issues you are stuck, you aren't going to get an email back from Dieter Doepfer trying to work through your problems. So who knows if this stuff will ever be fixed.
Last edited by Gordon Cole on Wed Mar 24, 2021 3:17 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Korg SQ-64

Post by Nightly Closures » Wed Mar 24, 2021 1:53 pm

Thanks for the feedback! Aside from everything you said, they should call the arp “strum” or something and then implement an arp like every other damn sequencer. I’ll definitely be holding off this purchase until most of these issues are resolved. Thanks again for your thoughts.

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Re: Korg SQ-64

Post by perestroika » Wed Mar 24, 2021 2:15 pm

Gordon Cole wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 1:17 pm
For anyone interested in one of these, I picked one up recently and put it through its paces...
i was really excited for this one but your detail comments and some previous ones here on this thread has made me unsure about it. i dont do live music, just wanted a screen-less sequencer but i love improvising while things are playing and the cons made me a bit sad about it. too bad though since its like a better deal than the beatstep pro.

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Re: Korg SQ-64

Post by joeSeggiola » Wed Mar 24, 2021 3:26 pm

Gordon Cole wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 1:17 pm
So I obviously have mixed feelings about this thing.
Although I experienced the same issues and I agree on almost all your points, I'm still very happy about it. I mean, in that price range simply there wasn't anything viable for me. I love the look of this thing (yeah, it's something I actually value in a product), its form factor, the connectivity features, and (above all) the workflow, where the buttons are the protagonist and there's little to none menu-diving.

Gordon Cole wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 1:17 pm
- buttons that have a click are too stiff, and this includes things you will be pressing on a regular basis (gate, pitch, A-D). I'd really have preferred the entire thing to have the resistance of the step buttons
Right, they could have been less stiff, but I wouldn't have liked if they were like the ones in the grid. You can almost activate then with a caress, it'd be too easy to do it by accident, IMO. In short, I noticed it but I don't think it's an issue.

Gordon Cole wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 1:17 pm
- internal keyboard itself is fairly useless. There is no octave switching. Modes don't make much sense either
I actually like the internal keyboard a lot. When using scales, ISO mode it's pretty smart and much fun, it makes you think chords and melodies as shapes. I like how they thought lights to indicate "black" notes and octaves (in pink). Octave switch it's under SHIFT + knob, and if you're brave enough you can activate it using one hand only, but yeah, using a couple buttons for it would be nicer for sure.

Gordon Cole wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 1:17 pm
- but you need to use pattern chains, because if you try to just trigger new patterns they fall out of sync (!). This happens whether sync is set to pattern, beat or step, and happens quite reliably
That was really unexpected for me, I thought I was doing something wrong for longer I'm willing to admit, before realizing it was its fault. However I searched for workarounds, and noticed that enabling polyrhythm or changing step division plays a role in that, although I can't tell exactly how and why. As you can see in my latest video (I won't spam here), I trigger patterns multiple times without sync issues, and that was true throughout the numerous rehearsals I made before recording.

Gordon Cole wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 1:17 pm
But a final issue is, because it's Korg there's no easy way to get in touch with the actual development team.
Yeah, it's frustrating. Their "contact us" official page is absurd and ridiculous. I wanted to contribute my thoughts and suggestions too, I ended up spamming stores mailboxes, who kindly replied to me saying they forwarded my text to Korg staff... Who knows... Also KORG USA have some public email addresses here.

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Re: Korg SQ-64

Post by dryjoy » Wed Mar 24, 2021 4:38 pm

joeSeggiola wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 3:26 pm
Gordon Cole wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 1:17 pm
- internal keyboard itself is fairly useless. There is no octave switching. Modes don't make much sense either
I actually like the internal keyboard a lot. When using scales, ISO mode it's pretty smart and much fun, it makes you think chords and melodies as shapes. I like how they thought lights to indicate "black" notes and octaves (in pink). Octave switch it's under SHIFT + knob, and if you're brave enough you can activate it using one hand only, but yeah, using a couple buttons for it would be nicer for sure.

Gordon Cole wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 1:17 pm
- but you need to use pattern chains, because if you try to just trigger new patterns they fall out of sync (!). This happens whether sync is set to pattern, beat or step, and happens quite reliably
That was really unexpected for me, I thought I was doing something wrong for longer I'm willing to admit, before realizing it was its fault. However I searched for workarounds, and noticed that enabling polyrhythm or changing step division plays a role in that, although I can't tell exactly how and why. As you can see in my latest video (I won't spam here), I trigger patterns multiple times without sync issues, and that was true throughout the numerous rehearsals I made before recording.
Wow, this is interesting. Firstly, thanks for the info about the octave switch. I had not found that, it has been annoying me. That'll make a difference.

That thing about the patterns going out of sync - I have experienced that with all the pattern sync modes. I thought it was me, I couldn't work out what I was doing wrong. But just lately, the last few days, with the sync mode set to 'pattern', it's been basically fine - it's certainly stayed in sync, but there is this weird thing where if I press the key to change to the next pattern, it reliably plays the last step of the pattern it's about to switch to, even though it shouldn't change pattern until the current pattern ends. The LEDs indicate the latter, yet I always hear the end of the next pattern just before it starts. It's quite strange. Not sure if I've described this very clearly.

It's kind of a relief to know the sync issue wasn't just me, but it is quite buggy. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with it, I'm doing useful stuff with and getting inspired by it (been many, many years since I've used a hardware sequencer of any description), but I am hoping for a decent firmware update sooner or later.

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Re: Korg SQ-64

Post by Gordon Cole » Wed Mar 24, 2021 4:42 pm

joeSeggiola wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 3:26 pm
Although I experienced the same issues and I agree on almost all your points, I'm still very happy about it. I mean, in that price range simply there wasn't anything viable for me. I love the look of this thing (yeah, it's something I actually value in a product), its form factor, the connectivity features, and (above all) the workflow, where the buttons are the protagonist and there's little to none menu-diving.
I agree. I'm enjoying it for what it offers & will be keeping it.
joeSeggiola wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 3:26 pm
Octave switch it's under SHIFT + knob, and if you're brave enough you can activate it using one hand only, but yeah, using a couple buttons for it would be nicer for sure.
Thanks, I managed to miss that in the manual.

joeSeggiola wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 3:26 pm

That was really unexpected for me, I thought I was doing something wrong for longer I'm willing to admit, before realizing it was its fault. However I searched for workarounds, and noticed that enabling polyrhythm or changing step division plays a role in that, although I can't tell exactly how and why. As you can see in my latest video (I won't spam here), I trigger patterns multiple times without sync issues, and that was true throughout the numerous rehearsals I made before recording.
This is still unresolved though. I thought it was solved by changing to STEP but even in that mode I'm able to get the sequence to fall out of sync if I trigger it enough times. This is definitely something they need to fix.

If you figure out what you are doing so that it doesn't fall out of time post it up.

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Re: Korg SQ-64

Post by dryjoy » Wed Mar 24, 2021 4:51 pm

joeSeggiola wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 3:26 pm
As you can see in my latest video (I won't spam here)
Just checked your channel out BTW. Really enjoyed Les Yper-Sound. Massive Stereolab fan here. When I saw them in 1996 (?), it was literally a life changing experience. They weren't even scheduled to play that night, it was a last minute substitution. That one gig turned me from being only interested in guitars, to going out and buying a synth (Juno 6), getting into the electronic side of music, and then to a record deal and some great opportunities. A chain of events and inspiration set off entirely by that one evening with Stereolab. One of my ex-band mates interviewed Laetitia Sadier recently, as well, for his podcast (Lost and Sound). I recommend checking it out.

Sorry, massive digression - but again, I really enjoyed your cover!

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Re: Korg SQ-64

Post by joeSeggiola » Thu Mar 25, 2021 4:03 am

dryjoy wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 4:38 pm
with the sync mode set to 'pattern', it's been basically fine - it's certainly stayed in sync, but there is this weird thing where if I press the key to change to the next pattern, it reliably plays the last step of the pattern it's about to switch to, even though it shouldn't change pattern until the current pattern ends. [...] Not sure if I've described this very clearly.
Gordon Cole wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 4:42 pm
If you figure out what you are doing so that it doesn't fall out of time post it up.
The fact is, as I said, I'm not sure about how exactly I managed to make it work. I just noticed polyrhythm and step division (both accessed using the grid buttons while pressing SHIFT) play a role in that, and I experimented until I found a "stable" spot. In my specific situation (the video I was referring to) I was having problems with the drums track: first, it played out of sync until I enabled polyrhythm for it; then it stayed in sync, but I noticed that same issue dryjoy is mentioning, where the last step of the next selected pattern plays before the pattern starts; so I tried switching from 1/16 to 1/32 (which required rewriting the sequence obviously) and the issue went away (I guess because now the last 32nd step is empty, as if the sequencer incorrectly "pre-loads" the pattern too soon)... In all this, I think I was using the BEAT synchronization option... That said, I'm pretty sure this won't work in different scenarios, so we'll wait for a proper fix. Hopefully...

dryjoy wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 4:51 pm
Just checked your channel out BTW. Really enjoyed Les Yper-Sound. Massive Stereolab fan here [...] One of my ex-band mates interviewed Laetitia Sadier recently, as well, for his podcast (Lost and Sound)
Thanks! Really glad that you liked it and that it reminded you of good times. Will listen to the podcast while commuting home later.

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Re: Korg SQ-64

Post by dryjoy » Sat Mar 27, 2021 4:30 pm

Gwem at the Gwembassy detailing a serious CV tuning issue with the SQ 64

https://youtu.be/aK_Ft93OWtw

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Re: Korg SQ-64

Post by Ishkash » Sun Mar 28, 2021 3:03 am

Seems pitch calibration is off by .04V - .06V. Workaround would be quick manual re-tuning, plus saving into a default template I guess? That HAS to be the sort of thing that can (soon) be fixed by firmware though, right? If Korg does this thing where they take like 2-3 years to fix picayune s**t...I'm jumping off the Korg bandwagon. Lol.

I have to believe that these tiny maddening kinks will be resolved by year's end.
Last edited by Ishkash on Sun Mar 28, 2021 3:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Korg SQ-64

Post by dryjoy » Sun Mar 28, 2021 3:25 am

Ishkash wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 3:03 am
Seems pitch calibration is off by .04V - .06V. That HAS to be the sort of thing that can (soon) be fixed by firmware though, right? If Korg does this thing where they take like 2-3 years to fix picayune s**t...I'm jumping off the Korg bandwagon. Lol.

I have to believe that these tiny maddening kinks will be resolved by year's end.
I really hope so. Some of these problems are quite frustrating.

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Re: Korg SQ-64

Post by Gordon Cole » Sun Mar 28, 2021 2:28 pm

A few more issues to add to the list:

- internal keyboard is limited to -/+ 2 octaves, but the sequencer is capable of transmitting notes outside those ranges
- gates in the D section cannot be tied together, its impossible to make a gate longer than one step

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Re: Korg SQ-64

Post by Gordon Cole » Mon Mar 29, 2021 7:49 pm

And one more:

- you can set up the D channel to receive incoming midi, but you cannot live record the incoming midi onto the track.

Beginning to wonder if anyone bothered to test this at all before it was shipped?

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Re: Korg SQ-64

Post by Ishkash » Mon Mar 29, 2021 11:56 pm

Gordon Cole wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 7:49 pm
And one more:

- you can set up the D channel to receive incoming midi, but you cannot live record the incoming midi onto the track.

Beginning to wonder if anyone bothered to test this at all before it was shipped?
Shoot! I don't like that one. I was looking forward to printing patterns to DAW. :sstorm:
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Re: Korg SQ-64

Post by DumbleDor » Tue Mar 30, 2021 3:07 am

Korg are Notorious for not updating their Products if at all for Years!

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Re: Korg SQ-64

Post by Gordon Cole » Tue Mar 30, 2021 8:46 am

Ishkash wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 11:56 pm
Gordon Cole wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 7:49 pm
And one more:

- you can set up the D channel to receive incoming midi, but you cannot live record the incoming midi onto the track.

Beginning to wonder if anyone bothered to test this at all before it was shipped?
Shoot! I don't like that one. I was looking forward to printing patterns to DAW. :sstorm:
You may have misunderstood. Channels A-C respond to midi from an external source. When you set them to record, the midi you play in is recorded by the SQ-64 sequencer. Channel D responds to midi from the external source, but will not record what you play in.

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Re: Korg SQ-64

Post by Gordon Cole » Tue Mar 30, 2021 8:47 am

DumbleDor wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 3:07 am
Korg are Notorious for not updating their Products if at all for Years!
Why Are You Capitalizing these Words?

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Re: Korg SQ-64

Post by Ishkash » Tue Mar 30, 2021 12:29 pm

Gordon Cole wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 8:46 am
Ishkash wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 11:56 pm
Gordon Cole wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 7:49 pm
And one more:

- you can set up the D channel to receive incoming midi, but you cannot live record the incoming midi onto the track.

Beginning to wonder if anyone bothered to test this at all before it was shipped?
Shoot! I don't like that one. I was looking forward to printing patterns to DAW. :sstorm:
You may have misunderstood. Channels A-C respond to midi from an external source. When you set them to record, the midi you play in is recorded by the SQ-64 sequencer. Channel D responds to midi from the external source, but will not record what you play in.
Ah, well in the interest of brand loyalty I sure do hope that Korg addresses all these kinks, and pronto! No bueno. One of the reasons I chose the SQ 64 as a first sequencer for my growing hybrid studio instead of, for example, the OXI, was Korg's legacy...their history...their libraries full of proprietary technology for musical devices. I figured I'd be taking a chance on a newer company (erroneously so, perhaps). I can already tell I am going to be miffed about some things (like everybody else) when it arrives, though.
Last edited by Ishkash on Tue Mar 30, 2021 12:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Korg SQ-64

Post by Ishkash » Tue Mar 30, 2021 12:35 pm

edit: Oops, double post.
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Re: Korg SQ-64

Post by ATW » Tue Mar 30, 2021 12:39 pm

Funny, this.

Was looking at Korg thinking that if anyone was going to do a relatively straightforward, reasonably uncomplicated WYSIWYG sequencer, it'd be them. So far it sounds like it has some quirks + idiosyncrasies, to say the least. I expect I can live with those if the good generally outweighs the bad—and then wait (as many of us w/ preorders currently are) again for a firmware upgrade.
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Re: Korg SQ-64

Post by Ishkash » Tue Mar 30, 2021 2:16 pm

DumbleDor wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 3:07 am
Korg are Notorious for not updating their Products if at all for Years!
Yeah, I keep hearing that pop up too. :despair:

Nowadays, from a company like, say Arturia, it is unimaginable (to me at least), that the company wouldn't quickly step up and upload fixes. I'll be truly sad if Korg leaves us hanging.
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Re: Korg SQ-64

Post by dryjoy » Tue Mar 30, 2021 4:18 pm

ATW wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 12:39 pm
Funny, this.

Was looking at Korg thinking that if anyone was going to do a relatively straightforward, reasonably uncomplicated WYSIWYG sequencer, it'd be them. So far it sounds like it has some quirks + idiosyncrasies, to say the least. I expect I can live with those if the good generally outweighs the bad—and then wait (as many of us w/ preorders currently are) again for a firmware upgrade.
I really like the design and workflow Korg have come up with here, which make the bugs and issues even more frustrating. I hadn’t been too bothered about them, but they’re really starting to annoy me (especially the pattern sync issue), and that’s because I’ve really clicked with it and so want to be able to rely on it. I’m going to stick with it and hope Korg does step up pretty soon.

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Re: Korg SQ-64

Post by ATW » Tue Mar 30, 2021 4:27 pm

dryjoy wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 4:18 pm
ATW wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 12:39 pm
Funny, this.

Was looking at Korg thinking that if anyone was going to do a relatively straightforward, reasonably uncomplicated WYSIWYG sequencer, it'd be them. So far it sounds like it has some quirks + idiosyncrasies, to say the least. I expect I can live with those if the good generally outweighs the bad—and then wait (as many of us w/ preorders currently are) again for a firmware upgrade.
I really like the design and workflow Korg have come up with here, which make the bugs and issues even more frustrating. I hadn’t been too bothered about them, but they’re really starting to annoy me (especially the pattern sync issue), and that’s because I’ve really clicked with it and so want to be able to rely on it. I’m going to stick with it and hope Korg does step up pretty soon.
I see you're in the UK. While we wait stateside, Korg is putting the UK user base (and presumably some EU folks) through the beta testing ringer :-)
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