One of the most interesting things we saw at Superbooth, the ASQ-1 is a two-channel SH-101 style sequencer and 4-track classic drum machine with clacky keys and a playful intention. Is simplicity the key to modular sequencing?
Busy Circuits suggests that modular sequencers can be a bit overloaded with features and functions, and I would tend to agree. Deep sequencers are certainly powerful and awesome but sometimes you need something more immediate, more fun and jammable. The ASQ-1 could be all of those things.
You have two CV and Gate channels for pumping out melodies or modulations. The sequencing is modelled after the Roland SH-101 step-sequencer, which means that you enter a series of notes on the keyboard, including rests and ties, and you have a pattern ready to go.
For the drum section, you have 4 trigger outputs that are programmed like you would any classic 808/909 drum machine. The keys become a row of steps that you turn on or off. It’s all so deliciously simple.
The fabulously clacky mechanical keys that form the user interface undoubtedly draw your eyes. They are shaped into a single octave keyboard, appropriately coloured and have LEDs to show active notes and the movement of steps. With just a couple of additional buttons for mode, transport and octave, it couldn’t be simpler to navigate.
It has an internal quantizer which you can access externally and an internal clock. Changing the BPM is a bit laborious, which is probably why Busy Circuits recommend using an external one. Certainly, it’s a perfect opportunity to patch in Pamela’s New Workout, which fills out some of the ASQ-1’s features.
Each sequence can have independent lengths and time divisions, and you can mute/unmute sequencers on the fly. Pattern storage is also a doddle, and you can back it up over USB.
All in all, this is a brilliantly useful sequencer, especially for a live performance rig that grabs an alarming amount of HP to give you a luxuriously accessible interface. At £315, it’s about right for a multi-channel Eurorack sequencer module.
- Busy Circuits ASQ-1: Busy Circuits