Polyphonic sequencing in 2023

Been a while since I owned the Digitakt, but was it so that every note in a chord had to be the same length and velocity?


Take a look at the Oxi One.

Edit: apologies, I neglected to read the bit about the budget.

Deluge, Hapax

Synthstrom Deluge is an interactive piano roll that you can setup whatever manner of chords/arps you want.

Toraiz Squid.
300-350 Euros second hand.

The Hapax and Deluge are both above $1000, so more expensive than the €350 proposed by @Mister_Wood. The Oxi One is €650 or so.

The RK-008 (for €360) is probably a bit simpler to learn compared to the Pyramid, because it has a lot less features. But if that is you cup of tea, maybe an original MMT-8 is also an option?

One decision you need to make is how much you would rely on the display for editing, e.g. the OXI One has a really tiny display, and the RK-008 as well as the EP-133 have displays that are not even pixel based, so both can’t display several recorded events simultaneously, let alone a piano roll (as e.g. Pyramid can).

Edit: here’s the thread about the Squid it seems one can get those used for under €350 these days.

Very interesting thread!
Anyone knows whether Arturia Keystep Pro allows for more “linear” polyphonic sequencing (strumming, chord notes played with different lenghts etc.)?
Or is it more typical Elektron-like step sequencing?

is it really worth spending on something entirely new and then learning that, versus learning something that you already own? I assume you know some QY700 basics at least, so I wouldn’t think it’d be that difficult to add to them with poly sequencing abilities. looks like there’s some videos on YT for it. you could be polyphonic sequencing by the end of the day…

or maybe you just didn’t gel with the machine in your experiences with it? so learning on something you don’t like doesn’t seem like much fun.

To save some money, have you tried using several DT midi tracks all set to the same midi channel? In this way, you can program each track as mono lines with individual lengths, probability and timing, etc, but still have things overlapping, triggering at different times, doing melodies/passing notes, etc


Using my old roland Jx-305 as midi controller/sequencer for exactly this. Has 8 midi tracks that can’t be set to different channels then 1-7 and 10 but along with the DT/DN as soundsource and “hub” for other hardware in the chain. This works like a charm.
It always makes me wonder how this rather old instrument provide in a lot more options that today’s developers with way faster processors and available memory can come up with.

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I think this is probably the perfect option for me, does lots of fun things in a neat format and the extra features might even get me using more of the various bits I have lying around, going to deep dive a bit this evening I think.

To respond to several other posts:
The QY700 is a very Yamaha way of doing things and it’s kinda overkill for what I want. I gave it a go but there’s not a lot of resources out there in text form (I find serious learning from video difficult and frustrating) and I’ve lent it to a pal anyway and she lives very far away now! :sweat_smile:

I find the Digitakt layering process doesn’t work for my brain as I work in intervals and not being able to work those on the fly is what led me to looking into a proper solution.

The RK008 is a wicked machine but it’s not designed for editing and so less suited to how I work.

The Deluge, Sampletrack and other devices with sound engines are def not what I’m after, I’m happy with the sound sources I have.

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Roland MC-707/101 was the last piece of gear I did a lot of polyphonic sequencing on. I played the chords on a connected Keystep 37. The main weakness is the note editor, which is kind of clunky. To minimize using the editor, I got into the habit of recording the chords with the tempo set to a speed I could play at, then dialing the tempo back up to speed for playback. When I messed up I just wiped the pattern and re-recorded.

I later got the MPC One. Note editing on that one is friendlier.

For the OP since there is a willingness to use desktop computer, I submit trying out a software sequencer. The major DAWs all have one. There are some standalone apps as well.


It’s really, really hard (I found) to get a solid sequencer for 350.
I want to suggest the Pyramid as well, which has been perfect for me and is extremely powerful. They’re around for that price and are stellar.

However, it’s not a ‘can’t be bothered’ kind of thing.
I’d highly recommend rethinking ‘can’t be bothered’ when it comes to sequencing and sequencers: they’re THE central tech-to-master of MIDI-based music, and there’s not a way to escape that.

Well, you can, and that’s why there are so many 1000+ sequencers in the world these days. For ‘can’t be bothered’ - there’s a cost.

Pyramid has ended my search for a sequencer brain personally, though.
Also, I can’t say enough bad things about the key step ‘pro’ (lol). Not in any way worth the price of entry unless you can get one at guitar center for there 199 deal they do periodically on them.

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if budget is paramount concern (you get what you pay for, generally, in my experience and the full-featured hardware sequencers are worth the extra if you really need a “brain” for all your gear) maybe also look at Blackbox 1010 since the latest firmware update. it sounded like that was very sequencing-focused

oh I gotcha. just not a good fit for you it sounds like. I get it. always loved the look of that thing. I want to find one that’s super cheap and maybe even non-functional. just to put it on the wall because it looks so awesome. :rofl:

I have no great suggestions other than Cirklon. but that might as well not even be suggested unless you’ve got deep pockets for a second-hand gouging or want to wait a few years… I do like the polyphonic sequencing in it though. it’s very straightforward to use, both to record midi data into and to edit.

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In all honesty, I would say your DAW on your computer. (Assuming you have one).

It does everything you’re asking for, is more powerful than pretty much any hardware sequencer, and if you have a DAW it’s free too.


Hardware-wise, the Oxi One is the only one I’ve used out of the modern offerings but it’s the only one I feel I would ever need.

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You could start by reading the SoS Review or thos overview on Pro audio files which uses the illustrations of the PyraOS manual to great effect, or watch Loopop’s tutorial.

If you want to check for instrument definition files for your synths, go to this thread in the Squarp forum.

Ah, and here’s a discussion about the difference between mk1, mk2, and mk3. I had a mk2 and was perfectly fine with it.


My Cirklon is the only reason I sold my Pyramid, it was no use having both. I got a Pyramid while waiting for a Cirklon to become available. The Cirklon is better, but in terms of value for money, the Pyramid wins hands down IMHO.

And for many usecases the MIDI effects in the Pyramid are so much more straightforward than the Aux Events in the Cirklon.

I think the Pyramid is on par with the Cirklon’s CK patterns canwhen it comes to polyphonic recording, but the I appreciate the Cirklon’s larger display and many encoders for editing those recordings. TBH I find Polyphonic sequencing in the P3 patterns is not much better than what the Digitakt is offering, and the way the Pyramid does that with the pads while stepping through the note values with the encoder is IMHO quite elegant.

I love my Cirklon, but somehow I loved my Pyramid more. Such a nice machine, but I have never found a way to use both sequencers together that justifies the additional desk space . The Pyramid’s only “flaw” is that it does not autosave, you have to save your songs manually. But it’s just 2 taps to do that.

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I work on a computer all day which is why I moved to hardware :sweat_smile:

I’ve been producing for over 25 years so I’m pretty solid on what I need and what I’m likely to actually stick with, especially as I have ADHD. I’ve built sequencers on various platforms from the ground up, and used a whole lot of software sequencers too, so it’s not from a place of ignorance :slight_smile: