How much of your Music relies on a Sequencer?

Would you be lost without one? Would your music world be destroyed? What have you discovered are the benefits of having a sequencer and what are the negatives for you? Interested to hear. Cheers.

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Some overdubs are live, but the bedrock is always on a grid. I’d imagine most electronic/techno music would sound pretty dumb played live, but obviously works great if I’m making beatless ambient stuff (sometimes) or hip hop (almost never).


Wouldn’t be lost but it would really suck.
It would likely make my music more composition-based, and the whole process more ORGANIC.

Edit: it would render all of the Elektron boxes useless which would be a sad thing.

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My musical exploration relies on many many sequencers. I can play instruments without one, but I just really love having multiple sequencers running concurrently, often with different lengths, rates, swing settings, clock divisions, etc. I like finding sonic collisions that happen because of sequencers. I’m basically a sequencer junkie.


I can playback midi ideas created in 1987, since I can’t read nor write music with pen and paper. But before 1987 I would record my VL Tone and PSS on my boombox with its built-in mics. And I still have that old tape, waiting to be eaten by my OT :slight_smile:


I use Elektron sequencers for all the things. I often play in via live recording, but it’s all captured and modified in the grid.

I also play bass/guitars, but pretty much always on top of sequenced electronic music, and frequently will sample directly into my DT for further sequencing/processing.

Edit: Just to specifically answer the questions:

I would indeed be lost without one. My music world wouldn’t be destroyed because I would continue to play my guitars, but it would be dramatically diminished, and I would do much, much less with my synths/sampler/drum machines. The main benefits are numerous…first of all and most practically, I am not a good keyboard player, so being able to program in notes allows me to achieve things musically that I simply couldn’t do with my hands alone. But furthermore, I find step sequencers - and here especially the Elektron sequencer, with conditional trigs - coax me to explore note sequences that I simply wouldn’t while directly playing the instrument. Finally, having a sequencer allows me to “perform” the sounds of my synths…filters, envelopes, all the things! The main negative I think is the ease with which one falls into the short, endless loop.


Considering this is Elektronauts, my guess is most people here use sequencers. Just a guess, since Elektron is known for having great sequencer tech.

@Landings, why do you ask? Are you considering not using one or something along those lines?

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I love sequencers. Now I use the MPC Live 2 for drums and samples and for controlling the modular I use the Oxi One.
I can’t work without a sequencer. The randomization of the Oxi One gives me so much inspiration and creates weird things.

2 much lol either way you’re still sequencing music in your head

ive found that sequencers were a big help as i learned how to do all this stuff but now that i’ve got a decent handle on production, ive found that moving away from sequencers has upped my creativity.

had a long stint with no sequencers, just using skipback on the 404 to record everything live. found myself enjoying the music i was making much more.

hopped back into sequencing with the ep-133, and while it is useful for fixing single wrong notes, i still find myself just undoing the recording and trying to play it into the sequencer live again. im in no rush when making tunes, so the time saving aspects of sequencers arent that appealing to me.


i mean, i do house/techno so . . .

Yes i know that the majority here use one but i wanted to know how it was implemented and the drawbacks. My attention has been drawn to the new Keystep Pro Limited edition just released. As i haven’t a lot of modular gear i feel its overkill. And i like the keyboard being attached to the sequencer for ease of use. I like Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk so i will need a sequencer but with so many to choose from. Now i had an Octatrack so im familiar with Elektron boxes and it could do more for individual steps than the Keystep which i believe only has global coomands.(Cirklon wins here as well). It gets a bit more complicated as i do a lot of hip hop as well as electronic so a sequencer isnt so relevant. But i do need one for sure. But for everything i wont. Hope this makes sense. :).

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I would argue that if people can do long jams in drum circles, then techno and electronic music can be played live without sounding dumb. It comes down to skills.

I rely on sequencers for 90% of the things I do be it electronic or none electronic.

Nope. I am fortunate to come from a traditional band background and I started making and recording music with a 4-track, so I would be able to adjust without issues. The music may change, but there would still be music to be made.

Sequencers are my sheet music. Assuming that we are not talking about generative sequencers and auto this and that, sequencers allow me to make what I hear in my head with ease, move things around, try things out, break from the norm without much compromise. I don’t just let a machine or software do its thing, I compose with these things, and sequencers are the canvas, the open world where I can do that.


For me not much would change aside from live playing becoming more difficult. Keyboard splits are fun, but there’s a limit of how much you can actually play by hand if there are multiple parts ongoing. I am not going to play parts with my feet, three pedals is more than enough and I don’t want to become an organist.

I use a DAW as a futuristic multitrack tape recorder anyways and play things in by hand, so on that side there would be very minimal change.
I would still miss the convenience of a linear sequencer for sure, but step sequencing isn’t all that important for me.

Most of the music I make relies 100% on a sequencer, but occasionally I take my Ocean Machine and a couple of piezos and create live soundscapes with that. If somebody took away my sequencer, I’d probably use a multitrack recorder and dig out my guitar and bass, as I’m not much of a keyboard player. I might even make music that’s more original and interesting :thinking:. Hm.

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Until I read the replies I actually assumed you meant MIDI sequencers as opposed to all sequencers including drum-machine style ones. I can play keys, and most of the time I record directly to audio clips, but when doing anything textural you want to be able to sculpt the sound without having to rerecord so it only makes sense to sequence it one way or another. Also, I usually record my Elektron patterns directly to audio clips. But most of the time I just set mutes before hitting record and don’t touch a single knob, even though I consider Elektron gear to be instruments. Go figure. Need to work on that.

This old footage is cool of Keith Tucker & Blak Tony (AUX88) live in the studio in 95, playing live on what you may have expected to be sequenced.

From 08:30 onwards:

I have played bass in bands for some time (usually with sequenced drums, though), but my own solo or solo-ish music is sequencer heavy simply because I want there to be more than one or two parts and I want to have designed those parts.

If making music was my career, I imagine I would record more parts live, but it isn’t, and sequenced parts work fine for the most part.

I could of course record hand played arpeggios and cut and paste those clips in a DAW, but I’d rather not work that way.

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All of it. 100%. I cannot do anything live. I am programming.


Do you still have the Octatrack? I’ve considered getting a dedicated sequencer, like Cirklon, Social Entropy Engine, Squarp Pyramid, etc but then I realize the OT is pretty much everything I need in a sequencer (I don’t have any CV sequencing needs). I also like sequencing with trackers (Dirtywave, Renoise), so I’ve never personally had a need for such a feature-packed standalone sequencer like the Cirklon… It’s probably fun as hell though, even Aphex Twin likes it.

This topic has made me consider trying to finish a project with no sequencer. It would definitely put me outside my comfort zone and that might be interesting. It also might totally suck :laughing:

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