Here’s something I’d very much like to see: a hackable, kit step sequencer.

nostromo tips us off to a blog item on his site on the project. The creation of Monowave maker Paul Maddox, the 8-step sequencer is based on an Atmel Mega16 micro chip. The whole thing is looking very compact, which could make a nice little unit or might integrate well with other projects (like a synth).

The other good news to me: new DIY hardware could be a great way to run clock into software. Previously, that job has fallen to somewhat dull consumer drum machines. With DIY projects, even software lovers may soon be hacking new features into hardware and manipulating software sequences with that.

Planned features include “rock-solid timing” (sounds good), plus:

  • 4 sequences with parameters
  • Steps with pitch, velocity, gate on/off, and two Control Change messages (CC1/CC2) on a selectable channel
  • Adjust tempo, base note (including via MIDI), sequence and step length
  • Legato mode
  • Send MIDI clock out, MIDI sync in (currently input isn’t done – input is usually trickier than output, but output may actually be more interesting to people)

nostromo already has some ideas for how to make this interesting when combined with chip trackers like LSDJ and LPGT, so worth reading his original post (thanks!):

Meet Gorf [mustakl]
GorF Project Page at Paul’s site Vaco Loco

Anyone out there worked on a similar project? (I’d sure love to have a DIY sequencer or two at our Handmade Music events in NYC!)

  • I've built a similar, though much simpler Arduino-powered MIDI sequencer. I've also added pseudo-CV/Gate outputs, as well as a trigger output mode (for percussion). I've got the code and a video demonstration of the trigger mode on my blog.

  • audioworld

    maybe this one?
    MIDIbox SEQ V3

  • Rex Rhino

    The MIDIbox is not comparable due to the complexity of it. That isn't to say the MIDIbox is bad (the MIDIbox is fantastic), but the MIDIbox requires some serious forethought. Many of us are simply looking for something simple and cheap to integrate into a project, not necessarily the kind of pro-sequencing that MIDIbox offers.

  • audioworld

    Rex:I agree, but it seems no one has ever asked for a "minimal" MIDIbox SEQuencer version, all the builders on the forum are interested in more and more functions and knobs.
    A basic MIDIbox Core plus one Digital In + one Digital Out module can be assembled in approx. 4 hours (this is my personal benchmark, I have built three cores and 10 Digi In/outs so far). I will ask around in the forums what the minimum hardware effort for a basic sequencer could be, maybe "we" (I am no expert but just a novice MIDIbox coder, but I am sure Thorsten or Stryd can comment on this) can also write a minimum firmware application.

  • The trouble with the MIDIbox is that it's a closed project. Thorsten Klose will allow people to use his designs for non-commercial use, but he retain ownership of the hardware and software. That's his choice to make, but it doesn't allow people to extend or improve his hardware and offer PC boards or kits, which I think really hampers the DIY scene.

    Compare that to the Arduino – everyone is free to make their own variant (or even the original) and the company is doing very well.

  • audioworld

    James: I have read a lot on the forums and also exchanged some messages with Thorsten, but I never ever got the impression it is a "closed project". The only thing which is NOT allowed is to MAKE MONEY by selling hardware or (modified) software. There are printed circuit boards on sale, there are tons of modifications on the forum, and it is generally a very DIY friendly crowd (think group buys etc…).

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