Does anyone use a Midibox Seq V4?

I’ve been looking for the right sequencer for a while, and haven’t found it yet… There are a few promising software options, but I use linux, and everything I’ve found so far is “almost good enough”, and I’d rather not have a computer in my setup anyway. (If you’re a linux user, you might want to check out b-step and cythar at http://monoplugs.com/ - they’re not totally ready for prime time, but both are very promising linux sequencers.)

Anyway, I think I’m just about convinced to take the plunge and build a Midibox Seq v4. Are there any Midibox users out there? If so, a couple of questions:

  • What’s the best configuration to build to start with? I will probably eventually want to add a button matrix eventually, but there are a lot of different button matrix options - I thought it would probably be best to build a basic V4 with the Wilba frontpanel and add a button matrix later once I’m more familiar with the device. Does that make sense to you? …or do you wish you built a different configuration right from the start? …any mods I should consider incorporating right from the start?

  • Is it possible to use an external midi controller to perform the functions that a hardwired button matrix performs? I’m thinking I could use a Groovesizer (http://groovesizer.com/) or two instead of building a button matrix - are the button functions on the V4 mapped to MIDI?

  • Does it make sense to order the frontpanel parts from SmashTV’s bulk order (http://www.midibox.org/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=wilba_mb_seq_pcb_bulk_order), or should I self-source them? I have a lot of the common components here already. Is there a Seq V4 BOM with digikey/mouser part numbers anywhere?

  • How much did it cost to build yours? How do you like the V4 generally? Is it easy to use for improvising live? Are you happy with it, or are you still looking elsewhere for the right sequencer?

Thanks in advance for any answers. Hope this isn’t too far off topic - I thought I might get more objective reviews of the device here than on the Midibox forums.

I’ve Built all options at one point or another…

  • What’s the best configuration to build to start with?

decide what you want an build out from there. The enclosure will be the costliest part of the deal so unless you will build a DIY one, its best to get to do i right from the get go

  • Is it possible to use an external midi controller to perform the functions that a hardwired button matrix performs?

In a “dumb” manner yes, the BLM is more useful since it has feedback from the core

  • Does it make sense to order the frontpanel parts from SmashTV’s bulk order

Yes. You’ll have to work hard to spend less

  • How much did it cost to build yours? How do you like the V4 generally? Are you happy with it, or are you still looking elsewhere for the right sequencer?

~600$ total. It’s my primary sequencer for midi stuff and is deep to say the least, I’m far from really exploring all the features

Id like to have had a Seq V4 but at the time i was looking it was a pita to figure out where to get what - thats the most annoying thing about it and i decided it was easier for me to go to work and earn the remaining 900€ to a Cirklon rather than figuring the whole thing out and build it my selves.

But this is in no means an opinion the Seq V4 is a bad thing - in fact its next best to the Cirklon and miles ahead of anything else.

I’d probably just build the components and the wilba frontpanel, and mount them cheaply on acrylic for now. I can get an acrylic frontpanel cut for cheap, and rather than building a permanent enclosure now, I’d probably just mount the thing on acrylic with standoffs.

…Then I could take some time to become familiar with the device and figure out what options are available for button matrixes, etc., and I could build a permanent enclosure later. Does that make sense to you?

How much of your $600 was spent on the enclosure?

…and what’s the typical waiting time for the SmashTV bulk order?

@fcd72 - yeah, it’s pretty hard to figure out even just what parts/boards/whatever you have to buy to make it.

borfo It can be so easy: just mail at barbarasequentix.com and wait a random time between 3 - 12 Months :wink:

One thing that would put me off is the display. Using character LCDs for sequencing is a bit of an annoyance. Especially given graphical (or giraffical as a friend used to say) LCDs have been around and in use for decades. On a synth it’s not such a big deal but for sequencing I’d prefer a dot matrix screen.

Not having used one I can’t really comment on how much of a drag that is. It may be fine. I just know that the MIDIBox stuff is very feature intense, I still don’t know how to control my MIDIBox SID properly.

It’s like rabbit hole!

You should only build something like this because you really enjoy building something like this.

You’ll spend less money, have more fun, and actually make music if you get a Cirklon, Octatrack, RM1x, or a recent MPC.

parts for the minimal setup: control surface, lpc core, 2 40x2 displays, sdcard

@t2k - have you used a v4? What did you find frustrating about it?

My whole setup is diy except kaoss pads and mixer. I enjoy making this stuff.

>You’ll spend less money, have more fun, and actually make music if you get a Cirklon, Octatrack, RM1x, or a >recent MPC.

I’ll add QY700 to that list.

@t2k There’s nothing wrong with the v4, it’s just that in the case of sequencers, DIY is not going to save you time nor money. If you enjoy making stuff, than by al means, go for it.

By the way, there’s no shame in getting a second-hand Mac just to be able to run a decent sequencer on OS X. Linux is great, but not everything you’ll ever need is going to be available on it.

True. Avoid the Mac Pro though, I have one with a busted PSU and it’ll cost me £300 to replace it. Never again.

A fairly recent Mac Mini is ideal IMHO, with the Thunderbolt you get a high performing expansion bus. It’s basically PCI express sent over a wire.

Yeah, Thunderbolt is great, esp. since it seems to be 100% compatible with your old Firewire gear if you get Apple’s Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter.

i have one too, i just asked SmartTV, i received the kit 2 weeks after, and builded it. I have the basic wilba version, with a metal frontpanel. Easy to build. I think, it is even better with a BLm, but the actual solution don’t charmed me. I never used a Cirklon, but as FCD72 said, i think it’s the second best sequencer here. i think i use 10% of his capability, it’s easy to use, sometimes you have to understand TK logic, but, it’s really cool, and it got update everytime !

The only problem for me is the case, i got the 19’’ faceplate, but can’t find something to cover the back, so actually, it taking dust, because i have no box… Shame…

I also got the TPD pcb, i need to build it too…

@lamouette_rck - Thanks. Where did you get the faceplate? Does Smashtv sell them, or did you have to get it cut somewhere?

@Lamouette: if it is between 1 and 4 HU i would recommend a complete 19" kit from Adam Hall (Thomann) and swapped the frontplate. I did this with my 19" programmer, and it worked fine…

i have a just builded one and fully functionnal that i want to sale, without even learning it…ponoko case… pm’d me if you want save some time but loose some money… lpc core…