At the 2015 NAMM Show, Social Entropy introduced Engine, a new hardware sequencer for pattern-based music composition and performance.
Social Entropy is known for their drop-in CPU mods that bring updated sequencing capabilities to the Roland 303 bassline synthesizer and the Roland 606 drum machine.
Engine is multitrack hardware sequencer, that builds on their experience with 303/606 sequencing, and is designed for creating both melodic and percussion patterns in a compact tabletop unit.
Here’s a video overview from the NAMM Show floor by designer John Kimble.
- Engine can be used for sequencing MIDI-based devices using standard MIDI or USB-MIDI, and with an optional CV expansion board, Engine can interface with modular and other analog devices.
- Engine can sequence eight simultaneous tracks. Timing for each track is independent, with only a shared master clock across patterns. Each pattern can be up to 64 steps in length with eight available timing scales, multiple levels of shuffle and the ability to skip individual steps.
- Engine contains 512 patterns which can be either synth (melodic) type or drum type. Synth type patterns allow for monophonic programming with dedicated accent, slide and transposition and also include a built in arpeggiator.
- Drum type patterns allow for eight instrument polyphony, with dedicated accents, instrument muting and a drum roll mode.
- The sequencing engine supports simultaneous grid and realtime recording. Allowing realtime performances to be captured with the built in mini-keyboard or via MIDI controller.
- In addition, the arpeggiator, drum rolls, slides, accents and transposition can also be recorded directly into a sequence in realtime.
- Functions like copy and paste, randomize, rotate and reverse can be applied to entire patterns or to individual drum instruments. All operations can be performed without stopping the sequencer. All settings are stored in non-volatile memory.
- For constructing songs, snapshot and song modes allow the current state of all tracks to be captured and recalled with a single button press.
- Six general purpose controller knobs can be mapped to any MIDI controller message and MIDI channel, or follow the MIDI channel of the selected track. This makes it possible to tweak devices directly from Engine.
- The optional CV expansion board adds eight analog output pairs, with one output per track. Synth type patterns output CV/Gate voltages, while drum type patterns output Trigger and Accent voltages for one drum instrument. A hardware slide circuit produces smooth CV output for programmed slide events.
- Synchronization can be either internal, MIDI clock or DIN sync (master or slave).
- Full MIDI System Exclusive support means that pattern data can be dumped to external devices for backup or sharing. Patterns from Quicksilver 606, Quicksilver 303 and (upcoming) Quicksilver 808 can be loaded directly into Engine.
- USB connectivity is also used for easy operating system upgrades.
Engine will be available in early 2015, with an expected price around US $700. See the Social Entropy site for more information.