Sequencing – the collection of techniques that actually assemble events in our music – seems to get far less attention than it deserves. After all, there are fairly accepted ways of synthesizing sound, but as many ways of thinking about musical events as there are ways of thinking about composition. Among the big DAWs, you’ll often see pitches to upgrade based on new effects plug-ins or magical audio-processing abilities, but rarely MIDI sequencing improvements. (When there are, of course, I applaud.)

That makes this week’s pre-Christmas announcement of Numerology 2.0 all that more special. Numerology is a modular sequencer and that alone. It brings some of the modular capabilities usually found in synths to sequencing, with component sequencers and modulation for manipulating sequence evens the way you’d usually transform sound signal.

The upshot of all of this: you can play with musical patterns with the freedom usually reserved for synths. Features:

  • Sequencing modules, including MonoNote (monophonic sequencer), polyphonic PolyNote (duh) and MatrixSeq, eight-track DrumSeq
  • Component sequencers for modular-style sequencing, plus LFOs, envelopes, CV mixers, MIDI generators, MIDI processors
  • Stacks: virtual equipment racks for easier composing / performance, and an integrated audio mixer
  • Add software plug-ins (AU) or route to external hardware gear (yep, the computer is still awesome when it comes to sequencing outboard synths, even in 2008/9!)
  • New, simple sound-generating modules for easy integration with the environment, including synthesis, polyphonic AudioSample and eight-part DrumKit
  • MIDI remote control of parameters, plus custom CV, audio, and MIDI routing
  • Timeline playlist arrangement
  • Sync via MIDI clock, MTC, or ReWire
  • Mac-only, 10.4.11 and later; US$99 until 1/4/09 (then $119)

System requirements are pretty tame (this is a sequencer, after all), so this could be a great application for an older Mac, provided it has a 1GHz or greater CPU. (PowerPCs included.)

How does it all work? Here are some videos to give you an idea. Hope to add this to my scary but delicious testing pile (New Years’ Resolution: more useful hands-on content).

A demo:

Getting started:

Any passionate Numerology users out there? We’d love to hear from you. What are your thoughts on the new version, and how do you use the tool in your music?