by Stefan Wyeth | 3,0 / 5,0 | Approximate reading time: 4 Minutes
The Best Hardware Sequencers

The Best Hardware Sequencers for Electronic Music Production  ·  Source: Adi Goldstein / Unsplash / OXI Instruments

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If you’re looking to create and perform music without the help of a laptop, you’re in for a treat. We’re looking at some of the best hardware sequencers to switch up your workflow.

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So what’s the difference between a sequencer and a groovebox? Well, a groovebox provides multiple channels of sound generation and pattern creation capabilities in a standalone device.

Sequencers, on the other hand, offer multiple channels of MIDI and CV control and require additional modules, synthesizers, or drum machines to complete the creative cycle.

Choosing the Best Hardware Sequencers

By using a sequencer you give yourself a central hub for all creative operations in your studio setup. Not only does this make working with multiple instruments more convenient, but it also gives your music a particular feel.

From the early computer-based sequencers like Amiga or UMI on the BBC Micro to hardware units like the SND RAM-16 and the Sequentix Cirklon, artists have loved these creative tools throughout their existence in the history of recorded music.

Because they do not generate sound, it’s much harder to call one sequencer better than another. They simply provide a different creative platform that can elevate your process as a music producer or performing artist.

Arturia Beatstep Pro

With its versatility and a straightforward interface, it’s no wonder the Beatstep Pro is still one of the most popular sequencers. As you alter and upgrade your setup, it remains central to your workflow with 2 independent sequencers and a dedicated drum section.

From controlling MIDI to DIN Sync devices, Eurorack modules, and even plug-ins within your DAW the Beatstep Pro provides a fluid platform for generating new ideas.

Arturia BeatStep Pro

Arturia BeatStep Pro

Arturia Beatstep Pro

Arturia Beatstep Pro

Customer rating:
(240)

Doepfer Dark Time

The Dark Time gives you that quirky, vintage analogue approach and feel you certainly won’t get from sequencing your drum and synth patterns in a DAW.

Although you might find the interface quite alien at first, it grows on you steadily and actually provides an intuitive system for creating patterns with the room to make mistakes, which is everything you want in a sequencer.

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Doepfer Dark Time

Doepfer Dark Time

Doepfer Dark Time Red

Doepfer Dark Time Red

Customer rating:
(91)

Erica Synths Black Sequencer

If you’re planning to do everything from within your Eurorack rig, the Erica Synths Black Sequencer is a 64-step pattern sequencer in a 42 HP module with pitch CV, mod CV, and gate outputs for each of the 4 tracks.

The 16 encoders make it more versatile, with the ability to control values manually. In addition, the Black Sequencer has per-step parameters like note value, glide, gate time, modulation, probability, repetitions, and ratcheting.

Erica Synths Black Sequencer

Erica Synths Black Sequencer

Erica Synths Black Sequencer

Erica Synths Black Sequencer

Customer rating:
(15)

OXI Instruments One

The OXI One is a compact performance sequencer with extensive editing capabilities. Each of its 4 sequencers can run in mono mode, 8-voice chord mode, 8-track multitrack mode, 7-voice polyphonic, or stochastic mode.

There is a wide range of parameter controls, with features like step probability as well as an LFO and 4 modulation tracks per sequencer. What’s more, the One provides MIDI-to-CV and Bluetooth 5.0 and it can be expanded with the OXI Pipe module and the Split box.

OXI ONE

OXI ONE

OXI Instruments One

OXI Instruments One

Customer rating:
(11)

Elektron Octatrack MKII

The Octatrack is the central hub of many artists’ setups for both music production and live performance. It combines a beat-centric sampler with a powerful sequencer, giving you simultaneous playback of 8 tracks of audio and 8 MIDI tracks.

Due to the fact that it offers multiple workflows, the Octatrack is a little more involved than the others mentioned here. It also functions as a standalone instrument, which adds a great deal of value.

Elektron Octatrack MKII

Elektron Octatrack MKII

Elektron Octatrack MKII Black

Elektron Octatrack MKII Black

Customer rating:
(31)

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Image Sources:
  • Arturia BeatStep Pro: Arturia
  • Doepfer Dark Time: Doepfer
  • Erica Synths Black Sequencer: Erica Synths
  • OXI ONE: OXI Instruments
  • Elektron Octatrack MKII: Elektron
The Best Hardware Sequencers

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3 responses to “The Best Hardware Sequencers for Electronic Music Production”

    Bailey says:
    2

    For pure midi sequencers the cirklon is leagues ahead of the field – super solid timing and very flexible.. As a performance sampler, mixer, studio hub the octatrack is ace.

    ScottG says:
    2

    No Hapax?

    Bruno says:
    0

    Oxi is fully featured, but not that stable.

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