What if those encoders had a new life? Photo (CC-BY-SA)  Shunichi kouroki.

What if those encoders had a new life? Photo (CC-BY-SA)
Shunichi kouroki
.

Dear Gods of step sequencing, we beseech thee.

Give unto us first a lot of knobs. We pray for a bounty of encoders, ideally built into hardware everyone kind of forgotten about.

And shine upon us with lights round those encoders.

Next, let us breaketh our warranty together, so that we may onto thine encoders map parameters.

And set my people free from the chains that bind them to their computers, so that they may roam free across the land and sequenceth hardware free from the tyranny of the folding metal fruit books and boxy Compy.

Amen.

Yes, your prayers have been answered – maybe prayers you didn’t know you had. Like, wouldn’t it be great if someone came along and turned the inexpensive Behringer BCR2000 encoder box into a badass step sequencer.

It’s amazing sometimes what comes from individual developers and doesn’t come from big makers. Of course, the developer here – Christian Stรถcklmeier – had the advantage of starting with finished hardware and focusing on firmware. But it’s an impressive project, nonetheless. (And it makes me want to see Christian work on firmware for new hardware, too.)

Whatever the future might hold, ZAQ Audio’s Zaquencer is available now. So, at the risk of driving BCR prices up, let’s have a look.

32 steps
Sequence length (8 steps, 16 steps, 32 steps…)
Chord function (with a pool of chords from which you can choose)
4 tracks with mute function, per-track shuffle, sync with reset button
Individual drum mutes
TR-style drum programming (x0x it up!)
Modify individual steps, or hold to change everything at once
Note pitch
Change direction (forward, backward, ping-pong, random)
Clock divider
192 patterns, 12 pages stored in flash
(and more)

It does all of this by entirely replacing the BCR’s usual firmware. Instead of being a controller for MIDI and computers, the hardware becomes a standalone device with an entirely new set of features. And yes, this voids the warranty – though in this case that almost makes it seem more awesome. Void away.

Here’s a brilliant jam on the system by Jacob Korn:

https://zaqaudio.com

I remain excited by the Digital Warrior, too, which has recently been adding features (and is in fact original hardware). There’s lots happening in this space. It’s an exciting time to be a lover of hardware sequencing. The more, the better.

http://digitalwarrior.co

zaq

  • Wow! This is really great work. That wall wart-powered Behringer series had a really brief period like ten years ago when it was the absolute shit and everyone wanted them, but then they fell out of favor really quickly. Would like to see this guy repurpose the BCF, too!

  • Wow! This is really great work. That wall wart-powered Behringer series had a really brief period like ten years ago when it was the absolute shit and everyone wanted them, but then they fell out of favor really quickly. Would like to see this guy repurpose the BCF, too!

  • Nathan Coleman

    69โ‚ฌ seems a lot for a firmware, even if the firmware is really well designed… Remember the days where mappings for APCs, launchpad et al. were free ๐Ÿ™

    • I don’t think a mapping and a firmware involve the same amount of work as one is settings of the device while the other is rewriting the brain of it.
      Meanwhile I’m pushing a friend to load the demo version for test on his bcr, I really want to put my hands on it.

  • Nathan Coleman

    69โ‚ฌ seems a lot for a firmware, even if the firmware is really well designed… Remember the days where mappings for APCs, launchpad et al. were free ๐Ÿ™

    • I don’t think a mapping and a firmware involve the same amount of work as one is settings of the device while the other is rewriting the brain of it.
      Meanwhile I’m pushing a friend to load the demo version for test on his bcr, I really want to put my hands on it.

  • Ashley Scott

    The is will send the prices up on ebay! Great idea. The BCR is the most versatile standalone MIDI controller out there (still, after all these years). Well overdue for a facelift.

  • Ashley Scott

    The is will send the prices up on ebay! Great idea. The BCR is the most versatile standalone MIDI controller out there (still, after all these years). Well overdue for a facelift.

  • Derp

    While not as in-depth, someone used one as a step sequencer years ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27M2ixl6M-w

    • votejoel

      The Aturia Step Beat is very nice also. It’s versatile as it does many things, works with analog as well as MIDI and is small.

      joel in Dallas

    • ZigD

      True, but there is also the technical achievement here that is quite different in this case. Hats off to Christian, what a genius. I’ve gone as far as writing some custom MIDI middle-man/translator type software to achieve what i wanted, but this is another thing entirely. kudos to him to conceive and achieve this ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Derp

    While not as in-depth, someone used one as a step sequencer years ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27M2ixl6M-w

    • votejoel

      The Aturia Step Beat is very nice also. It’s versatile as it does many things, works with analog as well as MIDI and is small.

      joel in Dallas

    • ZigD

      True, but there is also the technical achievement here that is quite different in this case. Hats off to Christian, what a genius. I’ve gone as far as writing some custom MIDI middle-man/translator type software to achieve what i wanted, but this is another thing entirely. kudos to him to conceive and achieve this ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Scott White

    No wall warts… the BCR uses an “Eyeglass” style plug. Been using the Zaquencer since the release last week. A decidedly different approach to taking care of things, but once you get your head around it, there is definitely a ton of fun to be had. Maybe not as insanely feature-packed as something like the Cirklon, but at less than a tenth of the price? Seriously, no complaints here.

  • Scott White

    No wall warts… the BCR uses an “Eyeglass” style plug. Been using the Zaquencer since the release last week. A decidedly different approach to taking care of things, but once you get your head around it, there is definitely a ton of fun to be had. Maybe not as insanely feature-packed as something like the Cirklon, but at less than a tenth of the price? Seriously, no complaints here.

  • mxb

    I just hope if for whatever reason I get mentioned in a CDM post it merits the “awesomeness” tag

  • mxb

    I just hope if for whatever reason I get mentioned in a CDM post it merits the “awesomeness” tag

  • regend

    Prices are about $250 for the controller now =(
    Arturia Beat Step to the rescue.

    • Zymos

      Sure you aren’t thinking of the one with the faders? BCR is $150 USD from every major retailer….

  • regend

    Prices are about $250 for the controller now =(
    Arturia Beat Step to the rescue.

    • Zymos

      Sure you aren’t thinking of the one with the faders? BCR is $150 USD from every major retailer….

  • cool I have a bcr collecting dust, shame I have no external gear to control with this, more dust will be gathered ๐Ÿ™‚

  • cool I have a bcr collecting dust, shame I have no external gear to control with this, more dust will be gathered ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Yermom

    Did that demo remind anyone else of The Eraser?

  • Yermom

    Did that demo remind anyone else of The Eraser?

  • James Husted

    Now if someone can do this for my Mackie C4 I would be in heaven. It has all those nice LCD strips to readout notes and stuff. Haven’t used mine in years…

  • James Husted

    Now if someone can do this for my Mackie C4 I would be in heaven. It has all those nice LCD strips to readout notes and stuff. Haven’t used mine in years…

  • Bynar

    I’m lucky enough to have a BCR2000 around. I haven’t really been using it lately. I just tried the demo out, and I am just blown away. Numerous times I have made attempts at building a step sequencer with the BCR in either SC or Max and never really came up with anything that I liked. This is completely different and is worth every penny. The BCR2000 has always begged to be a step sequencer.

  • Bynar

    I’m lucky enough to have a BCR2000 around. I haven’t really been using it lately. I just tried the demo out, and I am just blown away. Numerous times I have made attempts at building a step sequencer with the BCR in either SC or Max and never really came up with anything that I liked. This is completely different and is worth every penny. The BCR2000 has always begged to be a step sequencer.