Social Entropy Intros Engine Multitrack Sequencer

engine-sequencer

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.

social-entropy-engine-sequencer-angleFeatures:

  • 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.

47 thoughts on “Social Entropy Intros Engine Multitrack Sequencer

      1. This thing seems like a bargain for the price! Compare to other modern or vintage midi sequencers and it begins to seem quite feature packed.

        Bonus if you actually like x0x sequencing.

    1. And you pay extra for CV! Though 8 sq-10s would cost the same with less features and 2 beat step pros would cost the same but still wouldn’t sequence as many tracks.

      1. I’ve been looking into the beatstep pro. They’re only $250 now, so actually you could probably buy three for the price of one of these with the CV add on.

        The engine looks like a great alternative though, if you need more out of a single unit.

        1. beatstep pro sucks. this is the real deal, steel and solid OS and software vs plastic and a bug filled software and strange behaviour of the chunky and large beatstep pro.

  1. Yes…very expensive considering that it has no SD or flash card slot that could make the storage nearly infinite. And since SD card drives only cost ten bucks or so that is a damn shame. This could have been the MPC killer with only a few other features.

  2. I think you may be missing the point.

    The heart of the 303 – and to a lesser extent, the entire x0x series – is the sequencer and the way you can interact with it.

    Put the Future Retro Möbius, for example, on just about anything and it will sound acid and awesome.

    This thing will be an ideal sequencer for doing dance music, techno and doing crazy shit with modulars.

    Did you see the part where it says the sequences can run freely? Randomize? Rolls, slides, accents?

    The people that understand this thing are going to want it!

    1. $700 puts it out of a lot of people price range whether they understand it or not. Personally I’d rather have a different interface if trying to sequence 8 tracks, id really rather have separate chainAble modules.

  3. Wonder when someone will take the next step for something better but cheaper.
    There was downsides to those original 303 designs and with all the technology improvement
    thinking outside the box might come up with something cool.
    not saying there hasn’t but have not seen anything that says take my money

    1. I feel like a stuck record. I have used cubase and synths and samplers for many years. Ataris where the business running midi software , cubase etc. I am one of the many who miss the stable midi only sequencers that gave us key edit, cut and paste , etc
      When a company fetches out a midi sequencer that has a good screen and allows us to write and layout tracks very easily , that will be great.
      They are fetching out the amiga again (?) I would be happy to have a new Atari, with midi ports just
      to run my synths and samplers etc

      1. does the Atari ST already have the built in midi ports?
        I believe it was the only one to have it standard (as far as a standard computer went)

        1. Yes they did, I honestly miss it . They where so stable , so simple and allowed you to get on with writing tracks and getting into arrangement.
          I have an Atari now but it is just an object to look at , it’s floppy drive ain’t viable.

          Dragging blocks of midi info around to work on arrangements now is very difficult and a pain in the arse. Bloat ware.
          A company will do it and will become a new standard. Why Steniberg don’t is hard to understand.
          How many times have you been in a music shop and some one is trying to fix a computer to show some crap software off and they say things like ‘It’s normally like this’

          1. I’ve got a 1040st running cubase v2, and it’s very stable,
            and I also keep it for the ‘interactive phrase synthesiser’ .

  4. LOVE IT!!!! I love any new product related with hardware sequencers and the CV are a must.
    I thing that the price is expensive compared with super powerful CIRKLON that offer multitude of more features outputs and expansions.

  5. Looks pretty cool to me. Just a month ago I was commited to saving 500 bucks for a used metropolis sequencer, and another 120 for a midi to trigger interface so I could sequence drum modules with a volca beats. Now there are 3 sweet new cv sequencers in 3 different prices brackets, two of which with native trigger sequencing. (Sq-1, beat step pro, engine) and they all look much better than the previous options. Psyched to try them!

  6. Was extremely stoked on this until I saw the price. I’ve been looking for something to replace my Yamaha and Alesis sequencers for years. It’s hard to justify $700 when you can get a 32 track box from the 90’s for $100 or less. This would definitely be more fun to program than those old vcrs, but like others have said, it needs more to justify the cost.

        1. I’m 30… Just because I appreciate good gear doesn’t mean I’m an old man. I would by one of these in a heartbeat if the price was right. Exactly what I’ve been looking for, as mentioned before. My complaint isn’t about the product, which looks fantastic, just that it’s really overpriced.

  7. Buy an electron analog 4 for a little bit more and get the same form factor, same type of sequencing with cv and midi out AND a four voice analog poly with peramiter lock step sequencing and an effects unit…..

    1. ..a little bit more?? the A4 is $1350. This is $650-$700. Not to mention you can’t midi sequence with the A4. That’s just such a random comment. This is hardware, it costs money to design and make. 18 years ago people paid $500 for that piece of crap Roland MC-303, and people are complaining about a $650 sequencer in 2015?

  8. $650-$700 is a bit pricey for a strictly MIDI sequencer, no matter how cool it is. I could see it being that price with the CV/Gate option installed. For the money, i think the Beat Step Pro is probably a better deal. But damn, this is a killer sequencer. Just too expensive.

  9. FFS, for that price why not slap a damn 303 engine in there while you’re at it. I understand the appeal of this device, but that price point is a bit steep for just a sequencer.

  10. This is certainly a more full featured and serious sequencer than the Beatstep Pro, but for me the price of the CV expansion will be the deal maker or breaker. If it had MIDI polyphony, I’d be 100% sold, but poly sequencers seem to be as rare as hens teeth.

  11. $700 really?
    And then a plus for the CV expansion?
    Look here, my Elektron Analog Four has a 4 voice analog synth, effects, top class sequencer and… yes CV outs
    Wait, did I say that I’m in love with my Elektron? 🙂

  12. YAY for more hardware sequencers! They are not asking $4000 for it. Please go develop, test, produce, ship, and support a hardware device before you criticize the price of this. The economies of scale for buying components and manufacturing are huge. Making just a few hundred of one device costs you many times more per device than making thousands.

  13. This is the device that I always thought Elektron would come out with. They are, after all, known for their flexible sequencer. Their Monomachine only does six tracks of external MIDI control, but it does it extremely well. Whatever. Just a thought.

    1. YEP >>> ELEKTRON SEQUENCER (MPC killer, Maschine Killer, Push Controller killer!!!)
      they know how to do it.
      crazy MPC with an Analog 4 inside and octatrack sampling technology…
      Just a dreamer

  14. I bought a quicksilver 606 upgrade off John Kimble about two years ago. A new CPU with awesome features, 3 individual outs and MIDI i/o not t to mention stuff like retrig, 32 step patterns, mutes and tons of other cool shit
    In short it made my 606 a beast and had absolutely no impact on the sound of the analog circuitry. I saw some one above moaning about the price of the quicksilver upgrade. They have obviously never used one

    This engine seq likes pretty awesome too. And I imagine it’ll be worth the money. Built well, good features etc.

    Social entropy and john were super nice to deal with and I wish them best of luck with this new product. Great to see so many stand alone hardware sequencers hitting the market this year

  15. I like this, but it’s just too expensive. And to then ask for more money for the cv option lol?! Forget it. I’m going with other sequencers.

  16. As mentioned before by D Beau, if it had polyphonic midi tracks (not sure if the drum tracks can be used for that) I would be sold.

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