This is the second part of our Sequencer roundup. For a general overview of what Sequencers are all about, be sure to check out Part One in which we give an overview of some of the great software sequencing options available for free using Max For Live.
But if you’re hardware is more your thing, this is a quick roundup of some of the best dedicated hardware sequencing options around. Ranging from the extremely expensive and hard to obtain, to units you can pick up for the cost of a night out – its not an exhaustive list.
Ableton Push 2
The Push 2 should need little introduction to people familiar with Liveschool. As our go to sequencing unit it really is an all in one solution for people who want to get their workflow outside of the keyboard and mouse combo. With the ability to sequence melodies in note mode, the intuitive step sequencer for drums and deep integration with Ableton, this is the unit that does it all.
This tiny sequencer is based off the SQ10, a unit developed to sequence the legendary Korg MS20. It has been revived along with the MS20 as a tiny pocket sized sequencing unit. What it lacks in features it makes up for in value. It features two rows of eight steps allowing you to sequence two parameters at the same time – leading to some truly wild sounds.
This is the big daddy of the hardware sequencing world. A fully featured and rock solid hardware sequencer with a rock solid price tag to match. Known for its extremely tight timing and intuitive workflow, the Cirklon can open up doors to hardware heaven, if you can afford the price and survive the wait list!
Arturia Beatstep Pro
Another of the more budget units, but this one doesn’t skimp on features. Improving on the original Beatstep, the Pro version comes with two independent melodic sequencers and a drum sequencer, allowing users to stretch the limits of how many things they can focus on at the one time.
More of a DAW in a box than a traditional sequencer, the Octatrack has a big reputation in the world of electronic music. Once you master the quirky Elektron workflow common across all of their hardware units the Octatrack opens the door to crazy sequencing as well as sample mangling possibilities. One of the key features of the Octatrack are the Parameter Locks enabling very finely detailed control of different parameters for every step, enabling extremely complex control over your sequences.
Another budget option, this one is a hack of an existing hardware unit, the Behringer BCR2000. Owners of the BCR2000 can buy the firmware upgrade online and be off and racing with a fully featured hardware sequencer for a fraction of the cost of a dedicated hardware unit. With four tracks of sequencing switchable between melodic and drum sequencing the BCR2000 is an extremely functional unit that you might already own!