IMG_2398

It costs just a hundred bucks. It’s tiny, in a metal case with ultra-compact knobs and light-up buttons for hands-on control. And with MIDI, USB, CV, and even dedicated littleBits ins and outs, there’s a reason I described the announcement of KORG’s new SQ-1 sequencer as a sequencer that does everything.

But doing everything in such a little box is a tall order. And the SQ-1 packs in so much, it’s not obvious what its capabilities can be. One one hand, there are some powerful features that you might completely miss (like MIDI-to-CV capabilities). On the other, it has some limitations you should know about, as well. In trying to be all things to all gear in the smallest package possible, it has to make some sacrifices – so it’s better at some jobs than others.

I’ve gotten my hands on one and begun to use it (thanks to a studio neighbor who brought one back from Japan). And I’ve been in touch with KORG’s engineers in Japan to clarify its capabilities. So, let’s take a detailed look.

Overview

The SQ-1 is available both on its own and in a bundle with the new MS-20 module – though I’m guessing it’s mainly of interest as a compact, affordable standalone sequencer. Its name is a nod to the vintage SQ-10, but it’s only loosely based on that.

What you get:
A small, metal box with little plastic knobs (as found on the volca series), red light-up buttons
93 x 84 x 63 mm/7.60″ x 3.31″ × 2.48″
641 g/1.41 lbs.
Runs on AA batteries or USB power (USB power adapter will work, that is, if you’ve got one)

Connections:
CV out: pitch (Linear, Minor, Major, Chromatic)
CV out: voltage (1V, 2V, 5V (Oct) 8V (Hz/V))
Gate out (positive or negative polarity – that is, rise and fall)
littleBits OUT jack
MIDI out (via an included Mini plug – DIN cable for MIDI)
USB jack (for USB MIDI)
Sync in and out jacks (just like on the volca, monoTribe, etc.)

How it operates:
Sequencer modes: alternate, order, parallel turn, parallel order, CV/DUTY, CV/SLIDE, CV/DUTY RANDOM, random
Steps can be gate on/off, active step, slide, or step jump
Resolution of step can be quarter notes, eighth notes, sixteenth notes

sq-1back

MIDI Implementation

Spoilers! Let’s go ahead and look at what MIDI the SQ-1 can receive and transmit, because – well, it’s otherwise kind of a guessing game. (CV is more straightforward.)

As per usual, KORG have uploaded the MIDI Implementation Chart, in English, on the Japanese site … but you won’t find it on the international sites.

You will find it here:
http://www.korg-datastorage.jp/Manual/SQ1_MIDIChart_E.pdf

MIDI Behavior – and Some Limitations

It’s a little box with very few controls. So, prepare yourself: a lot of what you might like to do with the SQ-1, you can’t.

On the independently-moderated Korg Forums (hosted by KORG USA but not operated by them), you’ll find a helpful post from a tester on what is and isn’t possible with MIDI:

Korg SQ-1 MIDI-behaviour [“chris-korg” in Austria]

I went through and verified this with my own testing, and Korg engineering in Japan. So, I’ll repeat a bit what was said before, but with some commentary and doubly-sure what I’m saying is correct.

1. There’s no hardware MIDI input. MIDI input and output is available via USB, but there’s only the single MIDI output minijack (which you can attach to gear with MIDI DIN input ports via the included cable). So input can only come from a computer. That means, in effect, that the SQ-1 has to be a clock source when you’re using it standalone.

2. You can receive MIDI clock over USB, but it’s limited. If the SQ-1 has an external MIDI clock source, it will slave to that source. The only way to do that is over USB (since there’s no other input). However, and this is where things get a bit weird, you can’t then transmit that same clock signal to the SQ-1’s MIDI out.

At least if you make the SQ-1 a clock source – or use its analog sync input – it’s more useful, as it then transmits MIDI clock to its output normally.

3. You can chain SQ-1s. If you chain SQ-1s via the SYNC in and out ports, you can get two or more running in sync. But that SYNC connection in general is limited: it uses clock, but not start/stop.

4. There’s no “linear” mode in scale selection when using MIDI. MIDI can adjust scales, though you’re limited to chromatic, major, and minor. Here, analog gear has an advantage: it’s only via the CV output that Linear behaves as described. Now, KORG could have gotten fancy and implemented linear operation with pitch bend messages, but they described that was overly complicated – and transmitted too much data.

The same is true of “slide” functions – they work via CV, but not MIDI (by design). For slide between notes on outboard MIDI gear, you just need gear with a portamento/glide function.

5. Scales are limited to C Major and C minor; you can’t change root or transpose. Chris correctly points out that this is fairly limiting. You can’t change the root note. The KORG engineer who designed the SQ-1’s functionality here told us somewhat apologetically that he had only two buttons for selection, though, so he didn’t have much choice. This sounds like a deal killer, maybe, but it isn’t – provided your outboard gear has a transposition function. If it does, you can transpose on the synth rather than the SQ-1. And if you want more scales, you may want to consider a more advanced sequencer – or software.

6. Pitch range is the same on CV and MIDI. Pitch begins with C and covers a range of 1, 2, 3, or 5 octaves.

7. You only get pitch and gate length – nothing else / no CC’s. You can’t transmit Control Change messages on the SQ-1. The SQ-1 recognizes just one Control Change message – CC 120, for all notes off. (Yeah, you want that one!)

8. You can’t define the MIDI channel of row B. It’s always just one channel higher than the main channel.

IMG_2397

Sequence modes

The above writer Chris helped explain sequence modes that the SQ-1 manual does not.

Looking at the modes clockwise from left on the SEQUENCER MODE selector knob, where the top row of steps is row A and the bottom row B:

Modes 1 and 2 (alternating A/B, A->B): 16-step sequencer (by linking A and B). Step knobs change pitch. Gate length (duty cycle) is controlled by the duty knob.

Modes 3 and 4 (parallel reversing direction, parallel): 2 x 8-step sequencer. The top row step knobs work as pitch, the second-row step knobs work as pitch on a MIDI channel one channel number higher. Gate length is controlled by the duty knob.

Modes 5 and 7 (CV DUTY and CV DUTY RANDOM): 1 x 8-step sequencer. The top row is pitch, the bottom row is gate length. The duty knob is inactive.

Mode 6 (CV SLIDE): 1 x 8-step sequencer. The top row is pitch. The bottom row is unassigned (confirmed by KORG, wasn’t in the post above). The buttons below those unassigned knobs function for activating slide – just as the buttons do on the top row. So, the knobs are unassigned; the buttons are assigned but redundant.

Mode 8 (RANDOM): 16-step sequencer. Knobs control pitch. Duty controls gate length.

How step resolution behaves:

The above tester also looked at how the sequencer step resolution behaves when you change the global parameter settings.

A/B, A->B, parallel reversing direction (1-3). The SQ-1 responds to external clock. But its sync out will change as you change modes – 4x, 2x, 1x – so it acts as a clock divider.

Parallel, CV DUTY, CV DUTY RANDOM, CV DUTY RANDOM, CV SLIDE (4-8). In these modes, the SQ-1 clocks at half tempo to an external source. Here again, sync out from the SQ-1 changes at 4x, 2x, 1x.

In modes 7 or 8, there’s another twist. As KORG tells us: “When you save the Global parameter, SEQUENCER MODE should be set to Mode 7 or 8 If you don’t want to change the STEP resolution.” (Chris had assumed modes 7 or 8 didn’t work.)

What’s it Like in Use?

I quickly got the SQ-1 running with KORG’s volca sample – and our own MeeBlip anode hardware synth. The result is an impossibly small, all-in-one, live hardware rig. The trick is to send MIDI to the MeeBlip and send sync signal to the volca sample. You can then use the volca’s perfectly capable internal sequencer.

The SQ-1’s selection as a pack-in with the MS-20 makes a lot of sense. As a little monophonic analog sequencer, it’s just about perfect.

I think the trick is, at first glance it also seems like a do-everything MIDI sequencer. It’s just too limited to cover all your sequencing needs. I’m a bit disappointed with Korg for some missed opportunities to make it more flexible.

1. MIDI in: If it only had MIDI DIN input, it would be easy to stick this at the end of a chain with other gear.
2. Send and receive clock: Two, if it could transmit and receive MIDI clock at the same time, obviously, it’d be hugely easier to put in a bigger rig.
3. Use CCs to add depth: while I understand that they ran out of room on the front panel for features and didn’t want to overcomplicate things, I wish it could use MIDI CCs to receive additional controls – like transpose, for instance.

In the end, cute as this thing is, you have to decide whether you really need a box with tiny knobs to sequence in C – at least if MIDI is your main (or only) target).

The other frustration for me is, the moment you turn the SEQUENCE MODE dial, the sequence retriggers instantly. It’d be great to change sequence order as you play to make variations, but since there’s no why to turn the dial precisely on a beat. Some step sequencers are able to operate this way: they simply quantize the next step to the active beat grid, so that when you make a global parameter change, it doesn’t throw off all of your timing.

With that big knob and the different sequence directions being one of the most compelling features of the sequencer, this winds up being a significant deal in coming up with creative sequence applications.

As with Arturia’s BeatStep (see my previous review), which did eventually spawn the BeatStep Pro, I guess using the SQ-1 I sort of immediately want, well, an SQ-1 Pro. (SQ-10 mini?) Of course, the BeatStep Pro is still coming, so it may turn out that that’s exactly what we get.

In the meantime, for a hundred bucks the SQ-1 still makes a whole mess of sense in many instances. If you’ve got some analog gear around to control and want a little gadget to make some sequences, it’s an obvious purchase. And because I like twisting dials, it’s still fun with MIDI – I’m just not sure I’d get it if MIDI were all I was using.

This does mean that you might tuck away that hundred bucks toward the purchase of advanced sequenced hardware – or software. Given that some of the SQ-1’s MIDI functionality requires it to be tethered via USB anyway, you should consider tools like the amazing modular Numerology Pro – or just mapping an onboard sequencer to a controller. It’s also why I’m looking forward to ModStep – the iPad mini is equally compact, too, and then you have layers, MIDI CCs, any scale you want, none of these quantization problems, and so on.

Don’t get me wrong: I like the SQ-1. Once you’re aware of what it can and can’t do, it may well find a nice place in your rig for analog and digital gear. But you can’t blame us for dreaming of something that, in hardware, does a little more, without turning to enormous or expensive hardware sequencers. Stay tuned – we’ll see if that dream gets fulfilled.

In the meantime, I think the SQ-1 is a winner if you want something extra that’s portable to make sequences, if you have some analog gear to drive in combination with digital, or both.

SQ-1 in videos

Let’s watch some of the best demonstrations of the SQ-1 in use – partly because, at the end of the day, it’s what you do with this hardware that matters.

It’s great to see the new SQ-1 unite with vintage MS-20 and MS-10 synths. And it’s clearly well-matched to monosynths, generally.

For more vintage loveliness, there’s my favorite retro KORG, the Mono/Poly, plus a Prophecy:

It’s nice to see paraphonic use, with transposing, as here. And again, your best bet is to transpose on the outboard gear since you can’t on the SQ-1:

The French-language La Boite Noire du Musicien has shot some gorgeous films of the SQ-1 as part of the MS-20 kit. They’re nice to just watch:

But my favorite SQ-1 jam so far, musically speaking, is this transporting journey, which adds not only the volca sample, as I did, but an Elektron Analog Four and the Czech-built microGranny granular sampler. The microGranny is really a perfect addition to these rigs. Don’t forget to support independent hardware.

And finally, for a novelty, here’s a project that uses a physical metronome as a clock source. No, really. The trick is to apply a mic to the metronome. The actual sound of that metronome drives the clock – it’s the magic of analog. Nice one, karenevil, whoever you are:

Big thanks to Ikuo Koyama for the use of his SQ-1. If you read Japanese (or you’re satisfied looking at pictures and videos), his site is excellent:
http://1ikkai.com

  • yohex

    Would it be possible to do slide on the littlebits modules?

  • yohex

    Would it be possible to do slide on the littlebits modules?

  • yohex

    Would it be possible to do slide on the littlebits modules?

  • KE4

    All the reviews about the SQ-1 so far don’t mention that it doesn’t work with iOS devices. It will be bus-powered under iOS 8 but doesn’t send USB Midi. Even on battery power it doesn’t work. Hopefully this will be adressed with a firmware update from Korg.

    • Cocker

      to be fair, anyone looking to buy this as a MIDI or iOS sequencer is completely missing the point

      • KE4

        I expected this sort of comment and I am happily using the SQ-1 to drive my analogue machines. Still, this is a direct competitor to the Arturia Beatstep. The BS does work with iOS, can transpose, is not stuck in C and can be used as a Midi CC Controller. The only advantage of the SQ is connectivity.

        • yeah the focus on MIDI threw me a little bit. It seems very geared toward modular stuff and the ms20 mini. One of these and a teeny tiny bit of eurorack will go a long way

          • yup bought it to go with my modular. slightly bummed by the lack of unquantized cv output but sync makes up for it

          • Etamin

            Just set the scale mode to linear – no quantization.

    • Fvzz

      Nobody bothered by the fact it´s only 16 steps? are we living in the 60s? why can´t this have an SD slot to play a 10kilobyte hour long midi sequence?

      • why would we think its really a midi sequencer? its a sequencer, it does midi, but its main thing is as a CV seqeuncer. little brother to the SQ10

        http://www.vintagesynth.com/korg/sq10.php

      • Jake

        just go write a song on your computer and everything will be ok

  • KE4

    All the reviews about the SQ-1 so far don’t mention that it doesn’t work with iOS devices. It will be bus-powered under iOS 8 but doesn’t send USB Midi. Even on battery power it doesn’t work. Why did they leave out the 9V external power input? All the Volcas have it.

    • Cocker

      to be fair, anyone looking to buy this as a MIDI or iOS sequencer is completely missing the point

      • KE4

        I expected this sort of comment and I am happily using the SQ-1 to drive my analogue machines. Still, this is a direct competitor to the Arturia Beatstep. The BS does work with iOS, can transpose, is not stuck in C and can be used as a Midi CC Controller. The only advantage of the SQ is connectivity.

        • yeah the focus on MIDI threw me a little bit. It seems very geared toward modular stuff and the ms20 mini. One of these and a teeny tiny bit of eurorack will go a long way

          • yup bought it to go with my modular. slightly bummed by the lack of unquantized cv output but sync makes up for it

          • Etamin

            Just set the scale mode to linear – no quantization.

    • Fvzz

      Nobody bothered by the fact it´s only 16 steps? are we living in the 60s? why can´t this have an SD slot to play a 10kilobyte hour long midi sequence?

      • why would we think its really a midi sequencer? its a sequencer, it does midi, but its main thing is as a CV seqeuncer. little brother to the SQ10

        http://www.vintagesynth.com/korg/sq10.php

      • Jake

        just go write a song on your computer and everything will be ok

  • KE4

    All the reviews about the SQ-1 so far don’t mention that it doesn’t work with iOS devices. It will be bus-powered under iOS 8 but doesn’t send USB Midi. Even on battery power it doesn’t work. Why did they leave out the 9V external power input? All the Volcas have it.

    • Cocker

      to be fair, anyone looking to buy this as a MIDI or iOS sequencer is completely missing the point

      • KE4

        I expected this sort of comment and I am happily using the SQ-1 to drive my analogue machines. Still, this is a direct competitor to the Arturia Beatstep. The BS does work with iOS, can transpose, is not stuck in C and can be used as a Midi CC Controller. The only advantage of the SQ is connectivity.

        • yeah the focus on MIDI threw me a little bit. It seems very geared toward modular stuff and the ms20 mini. One of these and a teeny tiny bit of eurorack will go a long way

          • yup bought it to go with my modular. slightly bummed by the lack of unquantized cv output but sync makes up for it

          • Etamin

            Just set the scale mode to linear – no quantization.

    • Fvzz

      Nobody bothered by the fact it´s only 16 steps? are we living in the 60s? why can´t this have an SD slot to play a 10kilobyte hour long midi sequence?

      • why would we think its really a midi sequencer? its a sequencer, it does midi, but its main thing is as a CV seqeuncer. little brother to the SQ10

        http://www.vintagesynth.com/korg/sq10.php

      • Jake

        just go write a song on your computer and everything will be ok

  • leolodreamland

    why this and not arturia beatstep?

    • aaron

      both fall short, but at least this has sync input..and when you dont have a tempo display read out, that’s a huge deal when you want to use it in a computer-less setup. that’s a pretty big + for the SQ1. that, and its a couple bucks cheaper. not interested in the least with the littlebits output unless it turns out to be useful cv for something else.

  • leolodreamland

    why this and not arturia beatstep?

    • aaron

      both fall short, but at least this has sync input..and when you dont have a tempo display read out, that’s a huge deal when you want to use it in a computer-less setup. that’s a pretty big + for the SQ1. that, and its a couple bucks cheaper. not interested in the least with the littlebits output unless it turns out to be useful cv for something else.

  • leolodreamland

    why this and not arturia beatstep?

    • aaron

      both fall short, but at least this has sync input..and when you dont have a tempo display read out, that’s a huge deal when you want to use it in a computer-less setup. that’s a pretty big + for the SQ1. that, and its a couple bucks cheaper. not interested in the least with the littlebits output unless it turns out to be useful cv for something else.

  • Cocker

    No idea why you’re focusing so much on the MIDI. You’re entirely missing the point here. This isn’t meant to be a MIDI sequencer. The fact that any MIDI has been implemented at all is a bonus. What this is, is a compact, affordable analog sequencer. Not to mention a rudimentary MIDI-CV convertor at the same time. The likes of which cannot be found anywhere for less than a ridiculous price. As i said, to be fair, anyone looking to buy this as a MIDI or iOS sequencer is completely missing the point

  • Cocker

    No idea why you’re focusing so much on the MIDI. You’re entirely missing the point here. This isn’t meant to be a MIDI sequencer. The fact that any MIDI has been implemented at all is a bonus. What this is, is a compact, affordable analog sequencer. Not to mention a rudimentary MIDI-CV convertor at the same time. The likes of which cannot be found anywhere for less than a ridiculous price. As i said, to be fair, anyone looking to buy this as a MIDI or iOS sequencer is completely missing the point

  • Cocker

    No idea why you’re focusing so much on the MIDI. You’re entirely missing the point here. This isn’t meant to be a MIDI sequencer. The fact that any MIDI has been implemented at all is a bonus. What this is, is a compact, affordable analog sequencer. Not to mention a rudimentary MIDI-CV convertor at the same time. The likes of which cannot be found anywhere for less than a ridiculous price. As i said, to be fair, anyone looking to buy this as a MIDI or iOS sequencer is completely missing the point

  • DBM

    In a Namm video Rich mentioned the little bits out was just like the monotribe cv input …. Care to test ? As in is it then a trrs that sends cv and gate ?

  • DBM

    In a Namm video Rich mentioned the little bits out was just like the monotribe cv input …. Care to test ? As in is it then a trrs that sends cv and gate ?

  • DBM

    In a Namm video Rich mentioned the little bits out was just like the monotribe cv input …. Care to test ? As in is it then a trrs that sends cv and gate ?

  • teknoid

    can somebody please explain if this can be used just to modulate the patch bay of the arturia microbrute?

    • aaron

      yes, any cv sequencer can be used for value sequencing or notes..you just choose where to plug it in.
      however, if that is all you want, maybe you should look into something like the electro harmonix 8-step. you can store presets with it also.
      hrmn, actually.. rethinking that a bit.. the sq-1 is cheaper than the 8-step.. it has other settings specifically for value sequencing though, such as glide rate.

      • teknoid

        thank you! sounds like a nice alternative for Brute LFO ( iOS) that has the low voltage problem,and amping that up seems just not worth the hassle…

  • teknoid

    can somebody please explain if this can be used just to modulate the patch bay of the arturia microbrute?

    • aaron

      yes, any cv sequencer can be used for value sequencing or notes..you just choose where to plug it in. however, if that is all you want, maybe you should look into something like the electro harmonix 8-step. you can store presets with it also.

      hrmn, actually.. rethinking that a bit.. the sq-1 is cheaper than the 8-step.. it has other settings specifically for value sequencing though, such as glide rate. hrmn then again, the sq-1 has glide too.. lol…

      anyways, yes is the answer to your question.

      • teknoid

        thank you! sounds like a nice alternative for Brute LFO ( iOS) that has the low voltage problem,and amping that up seems just not worth the hassle…

  • teknoid

    can somebody please explain if this can be used just to modulate the patch bay of the arturia microbrute?

    • aaron

      yes, any cv sequencer can be used for value sequencing or notes..you just choose where to plug it in. however, if that is all you want, maybe you should look into something like the electro harmonix 8-step. you can store presets with it also.

      hrmn, actually.. rethinking that a bit.. the sq-1 is cheaper than the 8-step.. it has other settings specifically for value sequencing though, such as glide rate. hrmn then again, the sq-1 has glide too.. lol…

      anyways, yes is the answer to your question.

      • teknoid

        thank you! sounds like a nice alternative for Brute LFO ( iOS) that has the low voltage problem,and amping that up seems just not worth the hassle…

  • aidan

    send the note cv to a mixer module and mix note cv from a keyboard. voila. transposition.

  • aidan

    send the note cv to a mixer module and mix note cv from a keyboard. voila. transposition.

  • aidan

    send the note cv to a mixer module and mix note cv from a keyboard. voila. transposition.

  • Rayk

    Is there some hackability like on the volcas?

  • Rayk

    Is there some hackability like on the volcas?

  • Rayk

    Is there some hackability like on the volcas?

  • genshi

    Thanks for including one of my videos (Paraphonic Sequence with Transpose.) The SQ-1 really is a great little device for the money… as long as you know what it is. I also have the Doepfer Dark Time which is 7 times more expensive and is pretty much the same difference features-wise.
    I’ll be performing live soon at a synth collective here in Portland, with the SQ-1 sequencing the MS-20 mini and my Dark Time sequencing my forthcoming Korg Arp Odyssey (which should be arriving any day now!) In the mean time, here is another video I did with the SQ-1/MS-20 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MmK4b0YiW4

    • chris-korg

      hi genshi!
      in Austria the DDT (EUR 444.-) is less then 4 times the price of the SQ1 (EUR 119.-) it offers definitely more possibilities, especially with the actual firmware:
      Transpose, defining your scale, Midi-in, free definition of MIDI-out-channel, and much more provided in a much better casing….
      I do think both products have their justification (and I´m already thinking about ordering my second SQ1 🙂 )

      • genshi

        That is a low price. Here in the U.S. the DDT is $750 (which is what I paid.) Of course the DDT is better made, but the SQ-1 has the advantage of both Volts-per-Octave as well as Hertz-per-Volt (which the DDT does not have) plus the littleBits out (I have 2 of the littleBits Synth Kit) etc. I love my DDT and won’t be getting rid of it anytime soon (again, I will now be using it with my Arp Odyssey) but the SQ-1 is just a perfect little addition to my MS-20 mini, littleBits and Volca Beats/Sample setup. Exactly what I’ve been waiting for!

        • Etamin

          Also, although I love my DT, I get a bit lost with the switches – I have to practice. The SQ-1 is very ‘playable’ – for example, you can rapidly hit several buttons while in Active Step mode to change the sequence on the fly. The SQ-1 is not a DT, but is good value for money.

        • genshi

          UPDATE: As it turns out… I did get rid of my Doepfer Dark Time and bought a second Korg SQ-1. Go figure.

    • Fvzz

      why does anybody care about a 16 step sequencer in 2015? how about a 24, 88 or whatever steps I want in a memory patch? no need for more knobs, just a good interface. Why is this silly, dumb limitation built into these devices? Why can´t Korg, Akai or Roland design a product that plays mono midi files/tracks from SD or USB cards and sends them via CV or Midi-out to a synth? wouldn´t that be something amazing? Akai released a sampler with wav, midi-out and SD capabilities, yet they specifically blocked .mid compatibility.

      • InfoWarfare

        You obviously don’t get it do you… it’s about getting back to basics, by putting limitations on yourself; forcing yourself to be more creative and move beyond those limitations. It’s like today’s Digital Photographer wondering why people are going back to Film Photography when they don’t have to… but if you can do a great photograph, or a great song with these “limited” analog devices, then all the better! Sounds like you are more afraid of finding out you are not as talented as you think if you only had to work with these limitations… 😉

  • genshi

    Thanks for including one of my videos (Paraphonic Sequence with Transpose.) The SQ-1 really is a great little device for the money… as long as you know what it is. I also have the Doepfer Dark Time which is 7 times more expensive and is pretty much the same difference features-wise.
    I’ll be performing live soon at a synth collective here in Portland, with the SQ-1 sequencing the MS-20 mini and my Dark Time sequencing my forthcoming Korg Arp Odyssey (which should be arriving any day now!) In the mean time, here is another video I did with the SQ-1/MS-20 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MmK4b0YiW4

    • chris-korg

      hi genshi!
      in Austria the DDT (EUR 444.-) is less then 4 times the price of the SQ1 (EUR 119.-) it offers definitely more possibilities, especially with the actual firmware:
      Transpose, defining your scale, Midi-in, free definition of MIDI-out-channel, and much more provided in a much better casing….
      I do think both products have their justification (and I´m already thinking about ordering my second SQ1 🙂 )

      • genshi

        That is a low price. Here in the U.S. the DDT is $750 (which is what I paid) vs $99 for the SQ-1. Of course the DDT is better made, but the SQ-1 has the advantage of both Volts-per-Octave as well as Hertz-per-Volt (which the DDT does not have) plus the littleBits out (I have 2 of the littleBits Synth Kit) etc. I love my DDT and won’t be getting rid of it anytime soon (again, I will now be using it with my Arp Odyssey) but the SQ-1 is just a perfect little addition to my MS-20 mini, littleBits and Volca Beats/Sample setup. Exactly what I’ve been waiting for!

        • Etamin

          Also, although I love my DT, I get a bit lost with the switches – I have to practice. The SQ-1 is very ‘playable’ – for example, you can rapidly hit several buttons while in Active Step mode to change the sequence on the fly. The SQ-1 is not a DT, but is good value for money.

        • genshi

          UPDATE: As it turns out… I did get rid of my Doepfer Dark Time and bought a second Korg SQ-1. Go figure.

    • Fvzz

      why does anybody care about a 16 step sequencer in 2015? how about a 24, 88 or whatever steps I want in a memory patch? no need for more knobs, just a good interface. Why is this silly, dumb limitation built into these devices? Why can´t Korg, Akai or Roland design a product that plays mono midi files/tracks from SD or USB cards and sends them via CV or Midi-out to a synth? wouldn´t that be something amazing? Akai released a sampler with wav, midi-out and SD capabilities, yet they specifically blocked .mid compatibility.

      • InfoWarfare

        You obviously don’t get it do you… it’s about getting back to basics, by putting limitations on yourself; forcing yourself to be more creative and move beyond those limitations. It’s like today’s Digital Photographer wondering why people are going back to Film Photography when they don’t have to… but if you can do a great photograph, or a great song with these “limited” analog devices, then all the better! Sounds like you are more afraid of finding out you are not as talented as you think if you only had to work with these limitations… 😉

  • genshi

    Thanks for including one of my videos (Paraphonic Sequence with Transpose.) The SQ-1 really is a great little device for the money… as long as you know what it is. I also have the Doepfer Dark Time which is 7 times more expensive and is pretty much the same difference features-wise.
    I’ll be performing live soon at a synth collective here in Portland, with the SQ-1 sequencing the MS-20 mini and my Dark Time sequencing my forthcoming Korg Arp Odyssey (which should be arriving any day now!) In the mean time, here is another video I did with the SQ-1/MS-20 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MmK4b0YiW4

    • chris-korg

      hi genshi!
      in Austria the DDT (EUR 444.-) is less then 4 times the price of the SQ1 (EUR 119.-) it offers definitely more possibilities, especially with the actual firmware:
      Transpose, defining your scale, Midi-in, free definition of MIDI-out-channel, and much more provided in a much better casing….
      I do think both products have their justification (and I´m already thinking about ordering my second SQ1 🙂 )

      • genshi

        That is a low price. Here in the U.S. the DDT is $750 (which is what I paid) vs $99 for the SQ-1. Of course the DDT is better made, but the SQ-1 has the advantage of both Volts-per-Octave as well as Hertz-per-Volt (which the DDT does not have) plus the littleBits out (I have 2 of the littleBits Synth Kit) etc. I love my DDT and won’t be getting rid of it anytime soon (again, I will now be using it with my Arp Odyssey) but the SQ-1 is just a perfect little addition to my MS-20 mini, littleBits and Volca Beats/Sample setup. Exactly what I’ve been waiting for!

        • Etamin

          Also, although I love my DT, I get a bit lost with the switches – I have to practice. The SQ-1 is very ‘playable’ – for example, you can rapidly hit several buttons while in Active Step mode to change the sequence on the fly. The SQ-1 is not a DT, but is good value for money.

        • genshi

          UPDATE: As it turns out… I did get rid of my Doepfer Dark Time and bought a second Korg SQ-1. Go figure.

  • eter

    it´s a great little tool for a modular synthesizer, wouldn´t have bought it for midi sequencing.
    the step jump is a really neat performance feature. clock your sq-1 from amodular and hold down some of the buttons and the korg cycles through the held buttons, let go of them and you´re back to the programmed sequence, plus you can get some great grooves going by manualy delay or advance one row to the other. a lotof nice sequences to be found there.

  • eter

    it´s a great little tool for a modular synthesizer, wouldn´t have bought it for midi sequencing.
    the step jump is a really neat performance feature. clock your sq-1 from amodular and hold down some of the buttons and the korg cycles through the held buttons, let go of them and you´re back to the programmed sequence, plus you can get some great grooves going by manualy delay or advance one row to the other. a lotof nice sequences to be found there.

  • eter

    it´s a great little tool for a modular synthesizer, wouldn´t have bought it for midi sequencing.
    the step jump is a really neat performance feature. clock your sq-1 from amodular and hold down some of the buttons and the korg cycles through the held buttons, let go of them and you´re back to the programmed sequence, plus you can get some great grooves going by manualy delay or advance one row to the other. a lotof nice sequences to be found there.

  • tyrokauteros

    so i can connect a microbrute via cv and sequence … connect a volca keys via midi and do a different sequence and connect my rest volca beats/bass via sync just for sync? or it will only sequence one at the time?

  • tyrokauteros

    so i can connect a microbrute via cv and sequence … connect a volca keys via midi and do a different sequence and connect my rest volca beats/bass via sync just for sync? or it will only sequence one at the time?

  • chris-korg

    Conc. “scales”: in my opinion this should be easy to implement: for example on the Dopefer Dark Time you can “create” your scale simply by choosing which of the 12 semitones of an octave you like to have – on the SQ1 they just need to take 12 step-buttoms and in a sub-menue you either turn them on or off.
    Conc. “transpose” my big hope is that the SQ1 has the same Sync-Input as the Monotribe; then we should be able to transpose via CV-In with a future Firmware-update. (anyhow you would loose clock-In so it would then only work as Midi-master)

  • chris-korg

    Conc. “scales”: in my opinion this should be easy to implement: for example on the Dopefer Dark Time you can “create” your scale simply by choosing which of the 12 semitones of an octave you like to have – on the SQ1 they just need to take 12 step-buttoms and in a sub-menue you either turn them on or off.
    Conc. “transpose” my big hope is that the SQ1 has the same Sync-Input as the Monotribe; then we should be able to transpose via CV-In with a future Firmware-update. (anyhow you would loose clock-In so it would then only work as Midi-master)

  • chris-korg

    Conc. “scales”: in my opinion this should be easy to implement: for example on the Dopefer Dark Time you can “create” your scale simply by choosing which of the 12 semitones of an octave you like to have – on the SQ1 they just need to take 12 step-buttoms and in a sub-menue you either turn them on or off.
    Conc. “transpose” my big hope is that the SQ1 has the same Sync-Input as the Monotribe; then we should be able to transpose via CV-In with a future Firmware-update. (anyhow you would loose clock-In so it would then only work as Midi-master)

  • Matthew Battaglia

    I just got mine in the mail a few days ago. I absolutely love it, it’s the best gear purchase I’ve made in awhile. I may get a couple more…

  • Matthew Battaglia

    I just got mine in the mail a few days ago. I absolutely love it, it’s the best gear purchase I’ve made in awhile. I may get a couple more…

  • Matthew Battaglia

    I just got mine in the mail a few days ago. I absolutely love it, it’s the best gear purchase I’ve made in awhile. I may get a couple more…

  • Apeirophobe

    Can the 2 sequences been run at different speeds/lengths?

  • Apeirophobe

    Can the 2 sequences been run at different speeds/lengths?

  • Apeirophobe

    Can the 2 sequences been run at different speeds/lengths?

  • bunglemuff

    i agree, the lack of midi in, and not being able to stick this on the end of a chain of gear and then ping all the old analog kit via cv is a mad oversight….its entirely what i had envisioned. Weird.

  • bunglemuff

    i agree, the lack of midi in, and not being able to stick this on the end of a chain of gear and then ping all the old analog kit via cv is a mad oversight….its entirely what i had envisioned. Weird.

  • bunglemuff

    i agree, the lack of midi in, and not being able to stick this on the end of a chain of gear and then ping all the old analog kit via cv is a mad oversight….its entirely what i had envisioned. Weird.

  • DBM

    When sequincing the minibrute …playing a note on the keyboard transposes the sequince .

  • DBM

    When sequincing the minibrute …playing a note on the keyboard transposes the sequince .

  • DBM

    When sequincing the minibrute …playing a note on the keyboard transposes the sequince .

  • Dude Bro

    Does anybody know if it’s possible to control the pitch of the Volca Sample with one of these?

  • Dude Bro

    Does anybody know if it’s possible to control the pitch of the Volca Sample with one of these?

  • Dude Bro

    Does anybody know if it’s possible to control the pitch of the Volca Sample with one of these?

  • NashSpaceRocket

    I think this is a great little box for the money. Last night i had hours of fun.
    Boss
    DR-55 trigger out driving SQ-1, midi out from SQ-1 to arturia
    microbrute, CV/gate out on the Microbrute driving a roland SH-09, and
    then the CV/gate on the SQ-1 driving a Moog LPT. also switched out the
    Microbrute for a Korg volca bass (the great thing about using this is
    you can sync an onboard volca sequence with what’s coming over midi
    from the SQ-1 to get very weird combinations), and then strung the
    SH-09 and Moog via cv/gate from the SQ-1. All analog all of the time
    ….
    I’ve also plugged it into my old Yamaha PSS-590 and used the transpose function to change the key.

  • NashSpaceRocket

    I think this is a great little box for the money. Last night i had hours of fun.
    Boss DR-55 trigger out driving SQ-1, midi out from SQ-1 to arturia
    microbrute, CV/gate out on the Microbrute driving a roland SH-09, and
    then the CV/gate on the SQ-1 driving a Moog LPT. also switched out the
    Microbrute for a Korg volca bass (the great thing about using this is
    you can sync an onboard volca sequence with what’s coming over midi
    from the SQ-1 to get very weird combinations), and then strung the
    SH-09 and Moog via cv/gate from the SQ-1. All analog all of the time
    ….
    I’ve also plugged it into my old Yamaha PSS-590 and used the transpose function to change the key.

  • NashSpaceRocket

    I think this is a great little box for the money. Last night i had hours of fun.
    Boss DR-55 trigger out driving SQ-1, midi out from SQ-1 to arturia
    microbrute, CV/gate out on the Microbrute driving a roland SH-09, and
    then the CV/gate on the SQ-1 driving a Moog LPT. also switched out the
    Microbrute for a Korg volca bass (the great thing about using this is
    you can sync an onboard volca sequence with what’s coming over midi
    from the SQ-1 to get very weird combinations), and then strung the
    SH-09 and Moog via cv/gate from the SQ-1. All analog all of the time
    ….
    I’ve also plugged it into my old Yamaha PSS-590 and used the transpose function to change the key.

  • Justin Andrews

    hi there, i’m using the sq-1 sync out to trigger the arpeggiator in my juno 6, which is great. with the sync out function, even though i can vary the tempo, is there a way to turn certain pulses on and off, thereby mimicking the way the ju-6 arp could be sequenced from the step seq of a drum machine? or are the pulses just continuous? maybe it’s possible after slaving the sq-1 to ableton via midi? any advice greatly appreciated, thankyou!

    • Charlie D

      use one of the gate outs and send a sequence of triggers. the arpeggiator will play 1 note per trigger/pulse it gets so you can get creative with the rhythmic patterns you send it. some interesting applications for arp and VCF inputs here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xmi4u3PZj6s

  • Justin Andrews

    hi there, i’m using the sq-1 sync out to trigger the arpeggiator in my juno 6, which is great. with the sync out function, even though i can vary the tempo, is there a way to turn certain pulses on and off, thereby mimicking the way the ju-6 arp could be sequenced from the step seq of a drum machine? or are the pulses just continuous? maybe it’s possible after slaving the sq-1 to ableton via midi? any advice greatly appreciated, thankyou!

    • Charlie D

      use one of the gate outs and send a sequence of triggers. the arpeggiator will play 1 note per trigger/pulse it gets so you can get creative with the rhythmic patterns you send it. some interesting applications for arp and VCF inputs here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xmi4u3PZj6s

  • Justin Andrews

    hi there, i’m using the sq-1 sync out to trigger the arpeggiator in my juno 6, which is great. with the sync out function, even though i can vary the tempo, is there a way to turn certain pulses on and off, thereby mimicking the way the ju-6 arp could be sequenced from the step seq of a drum machine? or are the pulses just continuous? maybe it’s possible after slaving the sq-1 to ableton via midi? any advice greatly appreciated, thankyou!

    • Charlie D

      use one of the gate outs and send a sequence of triggers. the arpeggiator will play 1 note per trigger/pulse it gets so you can get creative with the rhythmic patterns you send it. some interesting applications for arp and VCF inputs here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xmi4u3PZj6s

  • Mario Mantero

    Need Help: i have found a limitation.

    I have Korg MS10 (work well with SQ-1 alone), and a Roland SH09 (same), with the correct settings (CV/GATE)

    The problem is to work TOGETHER (SQ-1 + KORG + Roland, in row a and b)

    I have checked the correct V/OCT and HZ/V on row A and B, BUT…….

    GATE is only GLOBAL! Is impossible to made + polarity on row A and – polarity on row B (or reverse).

    It sis correct? Is a bug?

    Anyone have found this limitation? Thank you.

  • Mario Mantero

    Need Help: i have found a limitation.

    I have Korg MS10 (work well with SQ-1 alone), and a Roland SH09 (same), with the correct settings (CV/GATE)

    The problem is to work TOGETHER (SQ-1 + KORG + Roland, in row a and b)

    I have checked the correct V/OCT and HZ/V on row A and B, BUT…….

    GATE is only GLOBAL! Is impossible to made + polarity on row A and – polarity on row B (or reverse).

    It sis correct? Is a bug?

    Anyone have found this limitation? Thank you.

  • Mario Mantero

    Need Help: i have found a limitation.

    I have Korg MS10 (work well with SQ-1 alone), and a Roland SH09 (same), with the correct settings (CV/GATE)

    The problem is to work TOGETHER (SQ-1 + KORG + Roland, in row a and b)

    I have checked the correct V/OCT and HZ/V on row A and B, BUT…….

    GATE is only GLOBAL! Is impossible to made + polarity on row A and – polarity on row B (or reverse).

    It sis correct? Is a bug?

    Anyone have found this limitation? Thank you.

  • ARNKUSA

    Thank you for the article, but could you clarify the following: “At least if you make the SQ-1 a clock source – or use its analog sync input – it’s more useful, as it then transmits MIDI clock to its output normally.” I’m using Cubase Pro, but what steps would you take to set this up with your DAW? When I use the analog sync input my SQ-1 stops playing patterns.