Re: [AH] sequencers for CV/gate?

From tmoravan
Sent Thu, Oct 21st 1999, 19:46

> I've pretty much given-in to the fact that I'm relegated to using at
> least some MIDI equipment [3] in my home studio, so having one of the
> kentons or a similar MIDI-CV convertor and sequencing via MIDI would
> certainly be an option, but there are others:
> * CV/gate synth with a sequencer (MC-202, ???)
> * standalone CV/gate sequencer (MC{4,8}, CSQ-?, ARP?, ???)
> * MIDI CV/gate hybrid (Doepfer MAQ16/3, ???)
> * psychic ESP brain control (telekenesis? theremin?)
> My only hard requirement is that it be syncable from an external source,
> or provide both DIN and MIDI sync...
> What do you people use for sequencing?  Or are you all just extremely
> talented keyboardists and multitrack everything?  :)

One-box-does-it-all, low-cost-solution:  buy a simple MIDI->cv
converter and use your existing sequencer(s).

Pure analog solution: get a hardware sequencer like an ARP 1613,
Oberheim mini-sequencer, MC-202 (bonus! includes sounds!!), or 
newer stuff like Tom Carpenter's stuff (Concussor), Doepfer, etc
and drive the MOTM with that.  All you'd need is a steady trigger
pulse to sync up most of that stuff with a MIDI device.

If you have a mix of analog, DIN sync, and MIDI and want to have lots of
fun, you'll need various converter devices to help everyone talk.  In
no particular order, here's a small list of such boxes:

TAMA TSQ-1000: generates 6 channels of trigger pulses, can be synced up
    to DIN sync devices

Roland SBX-10: MIDI -> DIN sync converter.  Also provides a couple
   trigger outputs and can be synced to an audio pulse

Korg KMS-30: MIDI->DIN sync converter. similar to the SBX-10, with less

Garfield Dr. Click/Dr. Click 2: trigger pulse, DIN sync, MIDI converters.
   various weird and wonderful features.  I could never get mine to do
   exactly what I wanted, but others have had better success

Garfield MasterBeat: MIDI, DIN, trigger sync box.  Lots of features in
   a 2 space rack.

Garfield MiniDoc, NanoDoc: smaller, less-featured sync boxes.

All Garfield products excelled in providing multiple clock outs
appropriate for driving Roland, Korg, Linn, Oberheim, Fairlight, and
PPG machines.  If you have some weird devices to be synced, usually there's
a Garfield product to do it.

There's a few Simmons products mainly designed to allow their drum
machines to be interfaced to the rest to the world.

Simmons SDS-6 Drum trigger sequencer: large grid of LEDs, coolness
   factor cannot be underestimated.  :-)  The only machine that you
   can spell your name on.  :-)  Some have MIDI as an add-on.  They
   generate multiple channels of triggers and have a few more 
   features.  I have had problems getting MIDI on mine and my friend's
   machine to work reliably.  Your mileage may vary.

Simmons MTM: MIDI to Trigger to MIDI module.  Rack unit that converts
   between Triggers and MIDI.  Lots of options, very flexible unit,
   usually pretty cheap.

Simmons MTI:  MIDI to Trigger interface.  A less-featured version
   that only converts one way.  There's probably more to it, but
   I've only used one briefly.

Other bits:  If you have Oberheim synths (OB-Xa, OB-8), the DSX and
DMX sequencer and drum machine can be a good buy.  Usually low cost,
these machines really shine when used in conjunction with an Xa or 8.

The Akai MPC-60 and the sequencer-only cousin the ASQ-10 are great
hardware sequencers that have lots of features, multiple MIDI outs,
and are easy to use.

The MC-4B sequencer handles DIN sync as well as cv/gate outputs and
it can be especially effective as a trigger sequencer.  Resign 
yourself to buying a cassette recorder to save your sequences since the
MC-4 forgets it all when powered down.  The up-side is that the MC-4
loads really fast from cassette.

The Roland CSQ-600 is a neat forgotten little sequencer with some
powerful features.  The good news is that it has memory.  The
bad news is that you need a cv/gate keyboard (or other hardware
sequencer) to input sequences.  I've used CSQ-600's as a single
channel 'memory' for my MC-4 sequences or if I have a nice litle
loop going on an ARP sequencer, I'll just dump it into the CSQ
for storage and later use.

The Roland MSQ-700 cane be used as a bridge between MIDI and
DIN sync, with some limitations as noted in the archives.

Other boxes I have but haven't played much with include the Firstman
SQ-01 sequencer and the Multivox MX-8100 sequencer w. keyboard. 

Tom Moravansky