sq1

Analog or digital, clock or notes, it appears Korg’s new SQ-1 will do anything. It loves your MS-20, but also your volca series and your monotribe and your MIDI gear and your computer. In fact, with audio clock, it’ll support a product even Korg probably only heard about yesterday – those cute Teenage Engineering machines.

The SQ-1 is the new compact step sequencer hardware from Korg. Way back when Korg first unveiled the MS-20 mini, I hoped for a remake of the SQ-10 to go with it. Now, instead of that lumbering behemoth, we got something much more practical. The SQ-1 is a spiritual successor to the SQ-10, but it’s almost volca-sized in dimensions — a small rectangular device that can control anything.

Basically, the SQ-1 is the little box that will suddenly make all those other boxes you started collecting more useful. Want to keep some synths and drum machines in sync, by sending clock? Want to make some rhythmic or melodic patterns? The SQ-1 could be the one you want, simply because it crams a lot of useful creative controls onto the front panel, and then connects to anything. What initially looked like just control voltage for the MS-20 in the bits that leaked yesterday now covers all the bases:

  • Analog: you get dual CV (Hz/V and V/Oct) trigger and gate
  • Analog sync: (clock volca series, electribes, or monotribe – or the Teenage Engineering gadgets)
  • Analog for littleBits: In an unexpected twist, there’s even an explicit jack for Korg’s collaboration with the snap-together littleBits hardware system.
  • Digital hardware: Three-pin MIDI connection to your computer (via stereo minijack breakout – we didn’t seen that DIN icon yesterday)
  • Digital/USB: there’s a USB port for MIDI connection to your computer.

sq-1top

None of that would be terribly interesting if not for some sequencing options. But what makes me really keen to review the SQ-1 is how much they’ve managed to squeeze in small space. You get different sequence modes (parallel, alternate) and step modes (active step, slide, jump) that look great for performance. See the full specs below.

In other words, what the sequencer here does is what the volcas have done. You can “play” those steps directly, or jam with the sequence modes. You can skip steps while the sequence plays, jump to a particular step, or go acid bass with the slide function.

To select pitches, you turn the knobs – as you would on a classic analog sequencer. (There’s the SQ-10 lineage, if much shrunken down. It’s not quite an SQ-10 mini so much as an SQ volca, but you get the idea.) Now, the problem with finding pitches with knobs is, you can easily get lost. Here, though, you can either get nicely-detuned pitches by turning knobs to pitch directly, or quantize to major / minor / chromatic scales.

In fact, the only really bad news here is that Korg didn’t put a display on, so like many step sequencers, you’re left guessing. But… I have a feeling this isn’t even the last step sequencer news from NAMM, let alone this year, so, uh, stick around.

All of that said, Korg… sure, a module version of the MS-20 is cool, but … okay, now a real SQ-10 sequencer remake, as a limited edition kit, seems not out of the question. Think about it, won’t you?

No pricing or availability yet – follow us on Facebook (Like, then choose Get Notifications on the Like button) or Twitter and we’ll have the news there.

littlebits_sq

Full specs (this all runs on a couple of AA batteries):

Sequencer Mode: ALTERNATE, ORDER, PARALLEL TURN, PARALLEL ORDER, CV/DUTY, CV/SLIDE, CV/DUTY RADOM, RANDOM

Step Mode: GATE ON/OFF, ACTIVE STEP, SLIDE, STEP JUMP

Sequence Step Resolution: quarter notes, eighth notes, sixteenth notes

CV OUT Pitch: Linear, Minor, Major, Chromatic

CV OUT Voltage: 1V, 2V, 5V (Oct) 8V (Hz/V)

Connectors
– littleBits OUT jack (mini monaural phone jack)
– OUT (MIDI OUT) jack (mini stereo phone jack)
– CV – A OUT – GATE jack (mini monaural phone jack, CV OUT : Output Level 1V, 2V, 5V, 8[Hz/V], GATE OUT: output level 10V)
– CV – BOUT – GATE jack (mini monaural phone jack, CV OUT : Output Level 1V, 2V, 5V, 8[Hz/V], GATE OUT: Output Level 10V)
– IN – SYNC – OUT jack (mini monaural phone jack, SYNC IN: Max Input Level 20V, SYNC OUT: Output Level 5V)
– USB jack (type B, USB MIDI)

Power Supply
Two AA batteries (alkaline batteries recommended), or USB power

Battery Life
approximately 5 hours (when using alkaline batteries)

Dimension: 93 x 84 x 63 mm/7.60″ x 3.31″ × 2.48″

Weight: 641 g/1.41 lbs.

SQ-1 Product Page [KORG]

  • DBM

    Hopefully it does triplets ! Any info on quantizing ?

  • DBM

    Hopefully it does triplets ! Any info on quantizing ?

  • DBM

    Hopefully it does triplets ! Any info on quantizing ?

  • Clifford Anger

    I know its pure laziness on my part but when are you planning to implement the opening of links and images in a new tab??

    • dog01

      just middle mouse click the image automatically open up as new tap in everything expect internet explorer, what do you guys think is best thing out namm so far out of korg SQ1 arturia Beatstep pro and PO 12 pocket operators or something else not list here like waldorft ws1 or pro 6

      • Clifford Anger

        I never knew that! Completely forget ctrl click as well. Derrrr!.
        Torn between the Beatstep pro & the PO 12’s meself.

  • Clifford Anger

    I know its pure laziness on my part but when are you planning to implement the opening of links and images in a new tab??

    • dog01

      just middle mouse click the image automatically open up as new tap in everything expect internet explorer, what do you guys think is best thing out namm so far out of korg SQ1 arturia Beatstep pro and PO 12 pocket operators or something else not list here like waldorft ws1 or pro 6

      • Clifford Anger

        I never knew that! Completely forget ctrl click as well. Derrrr!.
        Torn between the Beatstep pro & the PO 12’s meself.

  • Clifford Anger

    I know its pure laziness on my part but when are you planning to implement the opening of links and images in a new tab??

    • dog01

      just middle mouse click the image automatically open up as new tap in everything expect internet explorer, what do you guys think is best thing out namm so far out of korg SQ1 arturia Beatstep pro and PO 12 pocket operators or something else not list here like waldorft ws1 or pro 6

      • Clifford Anger

        I never knew that! Completely forget ctrl click as well. Derrrr!.
        Torn between the Beatstep pro & the PO 12’s meself.

  • Chris Stack

    This could be pretty useful in my setup.

  • Chris Stack

    This could be pretty useful in my setup.

  • Chris Stack

    This could be pretty useful in my setup.

  • rgb

    Cool, this looks like a great little piece of gear. Now for the love of FSM, let us know what you’ve been hinting at!!!!

    • papertiger

      seriously. every post there’s that little tease. driving me nuts! 🙁

  • rgb

    Cool, this looks like a great little piece of gear. Now for the love of FSM, let us know what you’ve been hinting at!!!!

    • papertiger

      seriously. every post there’s that little tease. driving me nuts! 🙁

  • rgb

    Cool, this looks like a great little piece of gear. Now for the love of FSM, let us know what you’ve been hinting at!!!!

    • papertiger

      seriously. every post there’s that little tease. driving me nuts! 🙁

  • Rob

    This is exactly what I’ve been looking for to sequence my Volcas and get more than 4 steps out of the littleBits (can we PLEASE get those MIDI bits soon, Korg?!). I’m not familiar with the SQ stuff, though–are there two sets of 8-step sequences here, or can you use all 16 steps for one pattern?

  • Rob

    This is exactly what I’ve been looking for to sequence my Volcas and get more than 4 steps out of the littleBits (can we PLEASE get those MIDI bits soon, Korg?!). I’m not familiar with the SQ stuff, though–are there two sets of 8-step sequences here, or can you use all 16 steps for one pattern?

  • Rob

    This is exactly what I’ve been looking for to sequence my Volcas and get more than 4 steps out of the littleBits (can we PLEASE get those MIDI bits soon, Korg?!). I’m not familiar with the SQ stuff, though–are there two sets of 8-step sequences here, or can you use all 16 steps for one pattern?

  • guest

    Swing or shuffle? it seems that we have to get the volca sample to have this simple feature.

    • Adam Jay

      or the free iOS app

  • guest

    Swing or shuffle? it seems that we have to get the volca sample to have this simple feature.

    • Adam Jay

      or the free iOS app

  • guest

    Swing or shuffle? it seems that we have to get the volca sample to have this simple feature.

    • Adam Jay

      or the free iOS app

  • Zymos

    “But… I have a feeling this isn’t even the last step sequencer news from NAMM, let alone this year, so, uh, stick around”. Arturia Beatstep 2….

  • Zymos

    “But… I have a feeling this isn’t even the last step sequencer news from NAMM, let alone this year, so, uh, stick around”. Arturia Beatstep 2….

  • Zymos

    “But… I have a feeling this isn’t even the last step sequencer news from NAMM, let alone this year, so, uh, stick around”. Arturia Beatstep 2….

  • Will

    Without a MIDI In jack, I’m guessing we’re SOL on sync and transposition via MIDI *in*. Hopefully I just missed it though. Even without that, this will be hard to resist if it lands at under $100.

    But, seriously, why not put the jacks on the back? Volcas aren’t meant to be racked or really even actively patched. I suppose it’s cost but please take my extra, what, $3?

  • Will

    Without a MIDI In jack, I’m guessing we’re SOL on sync and transposition via MIDI *in*. Hopefully I just missed it though. Even without that, this will be hard to resist if it lands at under $100.

    But, seriously, why not put the jacks on the back? Volcas aren’t meant to be racked or really even actively patched. I suppose it’s cost but please take my extra, what, $3?

  • Will

    Without a MIDI In jack, I’m guessing we’re SOL on sync and transposition via MIDI *in*. Hopefully I just missed it though. Even without that, this will be hard to resist if it lands at under $100.

    But, seriously, why not put the jacks on the back? Volcas aren’t meant to be racked or really even actively patched. I suppose it’s cost but please take my extra, what, $3?

  • syntheticb

    Will the USB connection be a class compliant MIDI thing? Can you hook it up to an iPad through the camera connection kit and send out MIDI to iMS-20, for instance?

    • KE4

      Just picked up a unit in Toronto. It works with iOS devices but you have to power it with via an extra USB hub, which is annoying. Even on battery power I get an error message on my iPad that it drains too much power 🙁

  • syntheticb

    Will the USB connection be a class compliant MIDI thing? Can you hook it up to an iPad through the camera connection kit and send out MIDI to iMS-20, for instance?

    • KE4

      Just picked up a unit in Toronto. It works with iOS devices but you have to power it via an extra USB hub, which is annoying. Even on batteries I get an error message on my iPad that it drains too much power. There is no external powerplug on the SQ-1 🙁

  • syntheticb

    Will the USB connection be a class compliant MIDI thing? Can you hook it up to an iPad through the camera connection kit and send out MIDI to iMS-20, for instance?

    • KE4

      Just picked up a unit in Toronto. It works with iOS devices but you have to power it via an extra USB hub, which is annoying. Even on batteries I get an error message on my iPad that it drains too much power. There is no external powerplug on the SQ-1 🙁

  • Rich

    Can someone please explain this – “OUT (MIDI OUT) jack (mini stereo phone jack)”

    How can MIDI info be transmitted via a stereo phone jack? I’m thoroughly confused..

    • syntheticb

      I have some other gear that came with 1/8″ stereo to MIDI cables, mainly some iOS MIDI interfaces. They work fine. The only downside is you can’t just grab a longer regular MIDI cable to replace it if needed. So I got a female-female MIDI extender thing and now all is good. So basically, yeah, all you need is the cable and it works.

  • Rich

    Can someone please explain this – “OUT (MIDI OUT) jack (mini stereo phone jack)”

    How can MIDI info be transmitted via a stereo phone jack? I’m thoroughly confused..

    • syntheticb

      I have some other gear that came with 1/8″ stereo to MIDI cables, mainly some iOS MIDI interfaces. They work fine. The only downside is you can’t just grab a longer regular MIDI cable to replace it if needed. So I got a female-female MIDI extender thing and now all is good. So basically, yeah, all you need is the cable and it works.

  • Rich

    Can someone please explain this – “OUT (MIDI OUT) jack (mini stereo phone jack)”

    How can MIDI info be transmitted via a stereo phone jack? I’m thoroughly confused..

    • syntheticb

      I have some other gear that came with 1/8″ stereo to MIDI cables, mainly some iOS MIDI interfaces. They work fine. The only downside is you can’t just grab a longer regular MIDI cable to replace it if needed. So I got a female-female MIDI extender thing and now all is good. So basically, yeah, all you need is the cable and it works.

  • ghostly

    So, I want to be able to sync MIDI gear with my OP-1 as master. The OP-1 can send sync out (as an audio channel) but not MIDI clock. Can the SQ-1 receive sync in, and send midi clock out? i.e. act as a sync / MIDI converter?

    This would save me having to get a USB host!

  • ghostly

    So, I want to be able to sync MIDI gear with my OP-1 as master. The OP-1 can send sync out (as an audio channel) but not MIDI clock. Can the SQ-1 receive sync in, and send midi clock out? i.e. act as a sync / MIDI converter?

    This would save me having to get a USB host!

  • ghostly

    So, I want to be able to sync MIDI gear with my OP-1 as master. The OP-1 can send sync out (as an audio channel) but not MIDI clock. Can the SQ-1 receive sync in, and send midi clock out? i.e. act as a sync / MIDI converter?

    This would save me having to get a USB host!

  • Zead

    Can the Volca beats be controlled by the SQ-1?

  • Guest

    Can the Volca beats be controlled by the SQ-1?

  • Guest

    Can the Volca beats be controlled by the SQ-1?

  • Zead

    Can the Volca beats be controlled by the SQ-1?

  • Zead

    Can the Volca beats be controlled by the SQ-1?

  • Zead

    Can the Volca beats be controlled by the SQ-1?