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.


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 Stöcklmeier – 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:


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.