by Robin Vincent | 4,2 / 5,0 | Approximate reading time: 3 Minutes
Spectro Audio NGEN

Spectro Audio NGEN  ·  Source: Spectro Audio

Spectro Audio NGEN

Spectro Audio NGEN  ·  Source: Spectro Audio

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NGEN is a 16-track MIDI sequencer with 12 pattern generators and 10 MIDI effects to produce music and rhythms algorithmically.

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NGEN

It’s a very unassuming little box. Four buttons, four knobs and a screen to run your whole DAWless MIDI setup? Well, rather than writing or programming your melodies, basslines and percussion NGEN (pronounced “engine”) has algorithms that will generate these things for you.

Spektro Audio has already been playing with these sorts of generators in their ACDGEN VST plugin and Polyform Max for Live Device. And back in 2019, it put ACDGEN into a little hardware box which was really very cool. Over three years of development, Spectro Audio has combined its software expertise and experience with the ACDGEN hardware to create what they hope will be the ultimate algorithmic sequencer.

Spectro Audio NGEN

Spectro Audio NGEN

The idea is to generate sequences through these 12 algorithmic processors. Each one has strengths and focus that can be influenced by a handful of parameters that you control on the front panel. You can reshape patterns by pushing the length around, shifting parameters and transposition.  You can run one generator and one MIDI effect on each of the 16 channels; let’s check them out.

Generators

For melodic parts, ACDGEN is probably the main focus with its ability to create cool MIDI sequences. It has a bunch of algorithms within itself and gets you started with really nice basslines and patterns. Polyform takes on a polyphonic role by listening to ACDGEN and playing along. ARPER generates arpeggios that you can mess with. INSEQ, or “input sequencer”, is a more regular step sequencer. MARP is an experimental polyrhythmic arpeggiator. POP is a chord progression machine. TURING is inspired by the Music Thing Turning Machine and generates interestingly random outputs. And then there’s THRU, which can modify incoming sequences.

Spectro Audio NGEN Algorithms

Spectro Audio NGEN Algorithms

On the more rhythmic side, firstly, we have DRUMGEN, which generates 4-part drums based on probability factors and choice of genre. SAMBA is inspired by Euclidean rhythms to generate 4-part percussion. Finally, SHUFFLER slices up loops and remixes them.

MIDI FX

There are 10 MIDI effects to choose from, which will undoubtedly add a bit more spice to your generators. The effects include glitching, delays, program change and CC sequencing, velocity randomisation, chord generation and other things too. The video below will fill you in on what it’s all about.

Generate my world

NGEN looks like a fun little box that is the sort of thing that could be helpful in generator tracks alongside larger projects. Or it gives you a place to quickly get things going so you can focus on playing with your MIDI gear. I get the sense that depth and focus are available if you want to dive deeper but on the surface, you can get the party started really quickly. I also like the fact that there are two lots of CV/Gate on the back.

The video below goes into a lot of very helpful detail about what this box can do.

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NGENs first batch should be available for preorder today and will cost you $599. Spektro Audio is in Brazil, and currently, I can find no information on the shipping costs.

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Image Sources:
  • Spectro Audio NGEN: Spectro Audio
  • Spectro Audio NGEN Algorithms: Spectro Audio
Spectro Audio NGEN

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