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Intellijel Metropolix

Intellijel Metropolix  ·  Source: Intellijel

Intellijel evolves and expands upon its popular Metropolix M-185 style sequencer with more tracks, modulation and performance features.

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M-185

Intellijel aced it with the Metropolis step-sequencer. Based on the RYK M-185 sequencer from the Roland System 100 format it takes the idea of introducing pulse counts and gate types to the humble 8-step sequence. Each step can have up to 8 repeats or pulses and the gate type dictates whether that’s a repeating pulse or single long pulse or a pulse and space and so on. You can very quickly evolve a sequence to interesting places and unexpected rhythms.

Last year RYK returned with their own M-185 sequencer for Eurorack and added a split-sequence and more gate modes. Intellijel has answered by fleshing out their sequencer in different directions and opting for an OLED screen to help pile on the functionality of which there is plenty.

Metropolix

The main interface is completely intact from the Metropolis with the 8-steps, the 8 pulse counts and the 4 gate types. I’m very surprised that they didn’t adopt the 8 gate modes of the RYK M-185 which I think gives you a lot more variation but a couple of these are incorporated into other places. The changes come in the digital brain and deeper levels of functionality.

You have two tracks that share the same pitch and pulse factors but can be separated by playback order, direction, speed, length, swing and slide. So while they will always be using the same notes they won’t necessarily be in the same order.

There are plenty more parameters that can be messed with where you can override the pitch or gate, add ratchets and probability. You can slide between notes, you can skip notes and you can feed modulation back into itself. In fact it has 8 lanes of modulation that can be routed to all the internal parameters or out of the 2 CV outputs. There are also 3 CV inputs with attenuators for bringing in external modulation.

One natty feature is the Accumulator which adds curated transposition to the playback of a step so that it rise or fall in pitch on every cycle, pulse or ratchet. It’s a brilliant way of varying and adding interest to a relatively short sequence. Another is Loopy where you can “play” short sequences with the stage buttons or use it as a keyboard.

There’s an optional Gate expander to give it some gate sequencing functionality.

X-Factor

I really like how the Metropolix stays with the original idea and builds interesting functionality in around it. The screen and many of the options remind me of the Erica Synths Black Sequencer which is no bad thing. Watching the Loopop demonstration video (below) it does seem to be a bit heavy on the button combinations and menu diving but that is inevitable when trying to make a versatile and fully featured sequencer. At the same time the screen can really help visualise what’s going on even when used simply.

At its heart, it’s an 8-step sequencer that aspires to 64 steps, charms its way to a second track as a variation on the first and lets you do dozens of interesting things with them. It’s an infectiously fun sequencer.

The Intellijel Metropolix should be available soon for $579.

 

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