DIY step sequencer

does anyone know if there is something like a diy step sequencer? Is there anybody who can recommend one? Has Mutable Instruments ever thought about building one?
Thank you, Freddy

It’s only conjectures, but I believe that Olivier is currently working on an original sequencer… but it won’t be released as a kit.
There are plenty of products for diy analog step sequencers, from very simple ones using 4017s to more complex and cool things as the klee sequencer. I think there are some kits for midi step sequencers as well.
First, do you need an analog or a midi step sequencer?

MFOS 10 and 16 Steps
Fonik VCPS
Fonik Baby10
hexinverter Symple Seq

I’d need a MIDI one, but perhaps analog options would be cool aswell for synths I’ll maybe buy eventually.
Well, I’m no expert, but I always thought that 666€ for a Doepfer MAQ16/3 and even more for a analogue solutions oberkorn is … ehm not cheap for a product that seems to be so simple (???) in my eyes and maybe there’s the possibility of getting a cheaper diy sequencer somewhere.

Thank you!

MIDIbox MBseq v4.

maybe have a look at the gorf then (Paul Maddox)

yeah i thought the V4 would be to costly then too, but the SeqV4 Light certainly isn’t

What do you guys call a step sequencer actually?

I’ve seen this term mean so many different things:

  • To some people it means something that sequences controllers/CVs, rather than something focused on notes + durations unlike a MIDI piano roll.
  • To some people it refers to something that is fundamentally based on a grid, with stuff (gates / values) assigned to each cell of the grid…
  • To some people it refers to a type of user interface in which we have 1/ potentiometer per value.

To some people it’s some specific combination of these. Personally I’ve always thought that step sequencer was 2, but it’s an interesting discussion…

FreddyB, what do you call a step sequencer and which features matter to you the most? What do you expect in terms of interface?

IMHO step sequencer means patterns and being able to step through a pattern, entering notes and velocity etc as you go through the pattern.

Step by step, hence step sequencer.

So the SH-101 sequencer (with note by note recording) is a step sequencer?

I’m sure there’ll be a hot debate around this question…

What about beat707 ?

IMHO a decent step sequencer should support both step recording and real time recording, then loop through recorded patterns spitting out notes, velocities and CCs. GorF v2 is the typical example.

There are cheaper hardware ‘analogue’ style step sequencers than the Oberkorn and MAQ 16/3.
The Doepfer Dark Time and MFB Step 64 to name but 2. Not DIY though…
I’ve had a MAQ 16/3 for around 18 years now. And it’s almost DIY as i’ve had it apart several times for servicing and upgrades to bring it up to the latest spec! Yes, it’s a bit expensive I guess, but you can do a lot of very cool things with it.

I don’t know of many DIY ones. Mostly just the Midibox stuff and the little Vaco Loco Gorf.
A well featured one is unlikely to be so cheap though. Things like pots look like cheap parts until you realise how many of them you need. Indeed there will be many multiples of parts required, and the cost soon starts to climb.

Btw, did any of you ever see the DIY MAQ 16/3?

Mein German ist sheisse, but it appears it was based on an original old MAQ 16/3 MK 1 or 2 mainboard. The MK 3 upgrade required a new mainboard, so the old mainboard would be going spare afterwards. I guess this is what some clever chap decided to do with one!??
(If any hard core DIY’ers are feeling brave, I have a MK 2 MAQ 16/3 board knocking around…)

Vaco Loco Gorf.
that’s the one I was trying to remember. IMO it’s what freddy is looking for

edit : about the “step sequencer” term, I was mostly thinking about the doepfer dark time, MFOS, klee thing…

It appears to be a loose term if you look at all the examples:


MidiBox SEQv4
MidiBox SEQv4L

"It’s only conjectures, but I believe that Olivier is currently working on an original sequencer"
yeeek !
fingers crossed !

Would be interesting to see Oliviers take on a sequencer, how it differentiates itself from the others mentioned here. Needless to say, I’m a fan and would get one.

The big MIDIbox SEQv4 is a monster! I use mine with Lemur on the iPad. I added a WiFi to wired ethernet bridge to my modular where it sits, directing MIDI, USB, OSC. It also spits out 8CV/gates for my analog pleasures. I like the MIDI-syncable LFOs you can get output to the CVs, they compliment the ones internal to the synth :slight_smile: Good stuff!

Gotta see if the Gorf or the Sequentix would be useful as well, but I think that between the v4, the v4L, and the Klee I need to get panel parts for, I think I’m covered.

I was thinking about the Shruthi-1 earlier and how generally maintaining a state of a synth in a composition is the thing that annoys me the most. Most VST or AU plugin based MIDI sequencers can preserve the state of an instrument in the project.

So I was thinking, wouldn’t it be handy to be able to press a button and have the synth transmit all of its current parameters to be recorded into the song. You wouldn’t even need to use presets to store the patches then.

The RM1x did something like this, but it was annoying since you didn’t get the ability to store patches as well.

Anyway, I’m not asking for the above. It was just an idea, I think of many silly things when I’m walking my dogs.

You can store Sysex along with your songs on the MBseq v4. I slapped a 4GB SDHC in mine as those bad boys cost relatively little these days. Should hold a ton of songs and sysex.