Polyphonic sequencing in 2023

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:

I know what you mean, for a long time I really wanted to use hardware sequencers only - mainly because I had a weird thing about not wanting a computer on stage above all else.

I haven’t played live since covid, and since then I have embraced the computer more. For me personally I really found using the computer opened things up a lot in regards sequencing plus other things like automations which I wasn’t taking advantage of etc. Of course though I understand it’s not for everyone!

Not sure what I’ll do if I ever get on stage again though…

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RK-008 is great, other than the 64k midi data limit per song.