Analog Sequencer for the Little Phatty?

Everything Phatty.
Squid Tempest
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Dec 02, 2009 8:02 am

Analog Sequencer for the Little Phatty?

Post by Squid Tempest » Wed Dec 02, 2009 3:10 pm

Hi folks. I've recently bought a Stage II and a CP 251, and I'm wanting to be able to run old-style analog sequences through them, a la Tangerine Dream. Ideally I want the abilities to:

1. Change pitch of individual notes via knobs
2. Change the length (number of notes) of a sequence e.g. from a 16 note sequence to a 12 note sequence while the sequence is running
3. Have CV out to run the LPs filters etc
4. Have MIDI out to record the sequence on a DAW or run other MIDI synths.

What would people suggest? I rather liked the look of the Doepfer MAQ 16/3, but the nice people at Doepfer say that as the 16/3 only outputs between 0 and +5V it will only control that range of the Little Phatty. Given that the LP has the following voltage specs:

> Pitch CV -5 to +5V
> Filter CV -5 to +5V
> Volume CV 0 to +5V
> Keyboard gate +5V trigger

What would that mean?
Are there other alternative machines that aren't horribly expensive that would do a similar job?

Many many thanks in advance from a rather over-keen newbie!

User avatar
Portamental
Posts: 888
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 8:53 am

Post by Portamental » Wed Dec 02, 2009 3:58 pm

Sequencers have the features they have, that may or may not fit your own exact criteria. You got to study them and choose the one that fits you best. So asking around it a good thing.

Don't be too concerned about the voltage specifications for now. It is the norm for CV devices (expression pedals, sequencers) to output 0 to 5 volts (for a 5 octave range, greater than most synth keyboards). This is added to a (possibly negative) voltage offset (the base note) in the synth for a 9+ octaves total range. Besides, CV range will not matter if you choose a midi only sequencer.

Similarly, in the Moog CV world, all CV inputs with a red jack and white labels on foogers will accept an expression pedal that is capable of generating a 0-5 volts CV, which is sometimes a greater range (on LFO rates namely) than the corresponding knob for that function. For those inputs that could handle a negative CV, you have to devise you own way to generate those signals... such as with a CP-251 which features a mixer with voltage offset control and inverted output (if desired). Of course, the MP-201 is capable on handling (and generating) 4 full range CV's at the same time.

As far as sequencers go, I grabbed an Electribe AE-1 mkII in the classified for a very reasonable price. It performed quite well up till now. It is simple to program, yet in some ways, too complicated. I was not dissatisfied with it, but as it happens, I am just back from the music store with a new MF-101, and right there in front of me was an MFB Step 64. This particular unit was my first choice, but it was next to impossible to get for a while. I could not resist. The Step 64 is a tiny little thing, basic and simple yet flexible, very easy to work with in live situations. It's capable of sequencing both to midi and CV (the AE-1 can't do CV's). I expect this will be the right one for me (and my own requirements are exactly just like yours). I'll know soon how it turns out ;) In the meantime, search YouTube for MFB Step 64, there's a pretty convincing video of it with a Phatty I believe. It is BTW, compatible with the whole Moog family, modern or vintage, and definitely not outrageously price, even more considering that it will also work as a straight midi-to-CV converter, with two full programmable CV's in addition of pitch and gate.

Sir Nose
Posts: 1024
Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2008 11:15 am

Post by Sir Nose » Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:00 pm

I recently went with a MIDI sequencer to sequence my LP, EMU Command Station.

I have no experience but have research CV sequencers recently.

Sequencers to check out:

Cyclus 3 http://www.spectralaudio.ch/cyclus3.htm

Future Retro: Orb or Mobius http://www.future-retro.com/products.html

MFB Step64 http://www.mfberlin.de/Produkte/Musikel ... tep64.html

genoQs: Octopus or Nemo (MIDI only no CV) http://www.genoqs.com/

Squid Tempest
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Dec 02, 2009 8:02 am

Post by Squid Tempest » Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:00 am

Thanks very much for all that info folks, particularly the stuff about CV (thanks Portamental). It hadn't occurred to me that I could use my CP 251 to offset the voltage.

I'm not so interested in the MIDI side of things, I can do all that from Cubase if I need to. What I'm after is the performance capability of the older style analog sequencers like the Doepfer.

The Step 64 looks interesting though, certainly for the price. Does it allow you to change sequence length on the fly? And change the note value (pitch) on the fly (preferably using a knob rather than keyboard driven)? I'll have to look into it.

User avatar
DeFrag
Posts: 456
Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2007 3:21 am
Location: Wa, USA
Contact:

Post by DeFrag » Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:52 am

One problem is that most sequencers available require a CP-251 unit to modify the voltage range for use with the Phatty. I still haven't found a worthy sequencer.

I'm sure Moog could whip one up in a few weeks & be into a limited production run with a couple months -- even though as responsive & great Moog is... I'm entirely afraid that they still work toward the bottom line which is money.

Unfortunately, I don't think Moog would be amiable to giving us a sequencer due to limited sales potential. Some of us have been asking for a long time. :cry:

Amos, what are your feelings to a CP style seq? Here's an idea: it could animate MoogerFoogers in addition to controlling the Little Phatty!
Little Phatty TE #1023 • Schrittmacher • Walking Stick ribbon • Korg microXL/Electribe MX/KaossPro • Sonnus G2M
MF-101 Filter • MF-102 Ring • MF-103 Phaser • MF-104Z Delay • MF-105 MuRF • MF-107 FreqBox • MF-108M Cluster • Etherwave
_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/

Amos
Posts: 2438
Joined: Wed Jul 23, 2003 3:11 pm

Post by Amos » Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:04 am

DeFrag wrote:I'm sure Moog could whip one up in a few weeks & be into a limited production run with a couple months
Haha! :lol: you give us a lot of credit.... thanks! That might be true if we didn't have anything else we were working on at the time... but we are always busy with as many projects as we can juggle.
DeFrag wrote:Amos, what are your feelings to a CP style seq? Here's an idea: it could animate MoogerFoogers in addition to controlling the Little Phatty!
It would be really cool! I don't know what the market would be, or how cheap we could make it while still having interesting features. Something with only: [8 step knobs, an internal Rate oscillator, a clock input and a voltage output] ... might be do-able and cheap... but as soon as you propose that, someone will say:

- what about switches for step on/off/restart per step?
- what about a restart CV input jack?
- LED per step?
- MIDI clock sync?
- etc...

it can be hard to strike the right balance. I'll think about it... kick around a few ideas... and remember folks, I'm not in charge of new product development. I mostly write firmware these days.

Squid Tempest
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Dec 02, 2009 8:02 am

Post by Squid Tempest » Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:34 am

For the record, I have the CP 251, so that isn't an issue.

It would indeed be splendid if there were a Moog sequencer. I would want a few bells and whistles though, I'm afraid!

btw, I've been browsing the forum and come across another couple of sequencer threads, so sorry if all this is repetition.

CTRLSHFT
Posts: 986
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2005 2:24 pm
Location: boulder, co
Contact:

Post by CTRLSHFT » Thu Dec 03, 2009 12:30 pm

i'd get a cp-style seq, if the price was right. An 8 step would be a little limited, but a good justification for putting two together and putting em up in a 3space rack as a combo. Or maybe we could find a way to have like an A/B mode so you could set it to get up to 16 by going A-B on loop.

Anywho, we can dream. :)
www.ctrlshft.com

tomoe97
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:54 pm

Post by tomoe97 » Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:59 pm

I'd buy one in a heartbeat! If Moog is uncertain about potential sales, they could set up a preorder a la Taurus III to test the economic waters.

Squid Tempest
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Dec 02, 2009 8:02 am

Post by Squid Tempest » Thu Dec 03, 2009 6:47 pm

Well, if we're going to dream...

Ideally I'd like a basic 16 step control module with optional 8 step modules as add-ons!

Mind you, I'm seriously considering the Doepfer MAQ 16/3 after hearing that the CP 251 would off-set any voltage differential. I'm going to have to start saving.

Thanks again for all the info you lot.

User avatar
Portamental
Posts: 888
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 8:53 am

Post by Portamental » Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:10 pm

Squid Tempest wrote: ..... after hearing that the CP 251 would off-set any voltage differential...
I am not sure if you understood what I said about the CP-251. It's mixer will introduce voltage offset, it's a feature if you need it somehow somewhere but it's not needed for sequencer use.

After some (fun) testing, the MFB Step 64 is working fine. Very easy to use, quite capable. I tested it first with midi, to make sure of pitch, then connected it via midi again to the MP-201, where it is sequencing both the LP and Voyager OS at the same time as I am writing this, in double midi-to-CV mode , perfectly in tune, . Much more fun through CV's since you can transpose the sequence at the touch of a key ;)

User avatar
Portamental
Posts: 888
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 8:53 am

Post by Portamental » Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:02 am

MFB Step 64 report 2 : All is well, this thing is a snap to learn. A few gray areas and misses, nothing major, such as transpose limitation. This midi limitation does not apply (as usual) when sequencing LP or OS with CV's, easy transpose of a sequence over 9 octave confirmed. Highly tweakable during performance. From 4 mono channels to 4 voice polyphonic, there are many operating modes to choose from.

Combined with the flexible MP-201, it sequences LP and OS so well I am not tempted to go any further. I have another midi-to-CV converter (which has no tuning or voltage range issues) to test, and MFB's own CV output mode and check for tuning just in case. But obviously, a midi sequencer and an MP-201, that's just a worry free combination for any Moog's.

Squid Tempest
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Dec 02, 2009 8:02 am

Post by Squid Tempest » Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:58 am

Does the MFB Step 64 allow you to change the length of sequences on the fly? Can you change the loop point from, say the 8th note of the sequence to the 5th note with a simple button press? If so it might fit my bill.

Presumably the voltage offset would be useful where the CV voltage range of a module didn't match that of the LP? Have I understood that part right?!

Cheers!

alamilla
Posts: 48
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:35 pm
Location: London via Belize

Post by alamilla » Fri Dec 04, 2009 6:27 am

Personally I think Moog's time would be better off spent on projects other than a sequencer


I don't know what your budget is, but Modcan make a really nice sequencer with plenty of features based on a Milton design
worth having a looking at

http://www.modcan.com/bseries/vcseq.htm
http://www.myspace.com/skipteque

Squid Tempest
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Dec 02, 2009 8:02 am

Post by Squid Tempest » Fri Dec 04, 2009 7:10 am

That looks very nice, but I suspect it is beyond my budget. How much is it, do you know? I couldn't find a price list on that site.

Post Reply