Korg SQ-1 sequencer part 1

Oh joy, my Korg SQ-1 sequencer arrived today! I have dreams of step jumping through OP-1 samples and microGranny samples. Let’s see what this thing can do.

Some quick examples.

Sound Cloud: ugly shit

General Korg SQ-1 tips:

  • SQ-1 features several 3.5mm outward bound ports: legacy Korg littleBits; MIDI; A and B channel pitch, gate CV; and sync in, sync out.
  • It’s quite easy to mistakenly plug into the wrong out port(s), so when in doubt check your connections.
  • For MIDI, the included Korg SQ-1 3.5mm TRS male to 5-DIN MIDI female adapter must be used; Third party TRS MIDI adapters may not function.
  • For MIDI, Continue using the Korg factory default SQ-1 positive polarity setting.
  • For MIDI, You can ignore most CV parameters, including Slide and Scale, such as for A and B channels.
  • The SQ-1 Duty knob should be maxed out.
  • Manually power down SQ-1 when disconnecting USB power cables, or else the device may occasionally freeze up.
  • Tune the SQ-1 step knobs to varied pitch values to begin with.
  • Prefer slower SQ-1 Speed to begin with.
  • Prefer SQ-1 16-step zipper pattern to begin with.
  • Prefer SQ-1 Gate mode to begin with.
  • SQ-1 Gate mode can toggle pitch vs. rest for each step in your pattern.
  • Keyboards, software synthesizers, and other MIDI devices commonly limit the range of audible pitches. Adjust any external transposition accordingly.
  • The included 3.5mm 5-DIN MIDI adapter has a female 5-DIN end. For most devices, you will probably need a separate male to male 5-DIN cable.
  • SQ-1 Step Jump feature (in fact Step Jump for multiple Korg products) is a divine joy to use. When active, you hold and then let go of different steps in your pattern to create fantastic live improvisations.
  • Cats love synth equipment and may introduce their own melodies. Or unplug your cables.

TASCAM DR-05X tips:

  • TASCAM Line Out will not emit sound when not in Recording mode.
  • A lot of noise and volume variability will be present in recordings, unless a mixer is tuned to filter better before the signal reaches the TASCAM.

Sequencing Korg Volca Drum:

  • Volca Drum should have Play enabled in order to be sequenced.
  • SQ-1 can connect to Volca Drum via either Sync Out → 3.5mm patch cable → Sync In; Or the official Korg SQ-1 3.5mm TRS → 5-DIN MIDI female adapter → a 5-DIN MIDI male to male cable → MIDI In.
  • Other than Speed and Start/Stop, no other SQ-1 parameters appear to alter the Volca Drum’s behavior.
  • Note that Volca Drum features its own Step Jump function, gate controls, and many other parameters.

Sequencing Arturia Analog Lab:

  • Generally, Analog Lab is unable to function when devices power on, power off, connect, disconnect, or reconnect after the application has already launched. When necessary, relaunch Analog Lab.
  • Analog Lab breaks OS audio output integration, requiring you to manually select the desired output (e.g. built-in speakers vs. headphone jack).
  • Select a piano synth to begin with.
  • Enable MIDI control via Analog Lab logo → Audio Midi Settings → MIDI Devices → SQ-1 SEQ IN.

Note that the SQ-1 does not feature any built-in transposition ability, preventing the SQ-1 from natively switching between mG samples via the mG’s preferred C-1 … F-1 note mechanism. A separate device with MIDI in, MIDI out, and transposition would theoretically be able to map between SQ-1 pitch knobs and different mG samples.

Sequencing Bastl microGranny:

  • mG sample parameters may reset on power cycle unless managed with the Preset system.
  • mG accepts MIDI signals on channel 1 by default. Configure mG and/or SQ-1 accordingly.
  • mG Tuned parameter should be enabled.
  • The mG 3.5mm TRS headphone jack should be connected to functioning headphones/speakers/mixer.
  • The mG Volume parameter should be high enough.
  • Effective mG volume will differ between MIDI-triggered samples and manually triggered big button samples.
  • Generally, let go of the big buttons when triggering mG samples via MIDI.
  • Prefer mG samples with high attacks and short durations, such as drum kits or sound effects. You can also take a longer sample and use the Blue Start, End parameters to hone in on interesting sample slices.
  • The mG Repeat, Hold parameters can sometimes be helpful when troubleshooting.
  • For other MIDI controllers, you may want to include a silent mG sample for rests.


SQ-1 Software Updates

Now, I was able to finally switch between mG samples on the fly, but not using the SQ-1. Instead, I soft configured an Arturia KeyStep’s Transpose Center Pitch to C3, then used the Oct- button to drop down four octaves all the way to reach C-1. Then, playing the black and white keys C-1 through F-1 activated pitch-neutral versions of each of my mG’s six big button samples. It would be fun to pitch bend samples, but unfortunately the mG doesn’t process pitch bend MIDI signals. In any case, the active octave is forgotten each time you power down the KeyStep :stuck_out_tongue:

Which leaves us with some open-ended questions.

Is it possible to transpose SQ-1’s pitch low enough to trigger mG Big Button sample selection, e.g. using Arturia KeyStep? I don’t see any Korg software for adjusting the SQ-1’s natural pitch center. May be possible with someone’s custom SQ-1 modification firmware patch out there.

What is the note range of the SQ-1? Is this C3 … G3, or something else?

Is Analog Lab able to send data MIDI out? Is Analog Lab able to transpose notes MIDI in?

Could the Critter & Guitari Organelle transpose MIDI? There seem to be several (buggy) patches for mimicking this.

Getting reports online that Electron Digitakt is unable to transpose inbound MIDI notes. The Digitone can, though we’re getting into quite expensive territory just to glue a sequencer to a sampler :frowning:

The Bastl documentation for microGranny is vague and a bit misleading: They say that the “lowest” notes on an inbound MIDI device are sufficient to trigger the different big button samples. But in fact, the lowest notes on the SQ-1 don’t map to different samples. And notes below C-1 on KeyStep are silent; they don’t map to different big button samples. So what exactly are the real requirements to do this? Does the incoming scale (major, minor, chromatic, non-Ionian) matter?

What’s a basic eurorack configuration for transposing SQ-1 CV down four or more scales? A power unit, some adder, and a MIDI (out) unit. A Doepfer A-185-2, and maybe an Intellijel Zeroscope 1U for troubleshooting. Cre8audio NiftyBundle seems to do everything but the final CV-to-MIDI conversion. Gotta find out more. Again, so much money involved!

Wellp, looks like I’ll be dusting off rtmidi.

what the microgranny means by lowest notes is midi note 0 - 5
to trigger big buttons

if u peep the midi implementation chart for the SQ1
you’ll find that it only transmits midi notes 48-108

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Wellp, writing a MIDI transposer app wasn’t too bad :stuck_out_tongue: