Social Entropy Engine Step Sequencer Now Available


Social Entropy has announced that the Engine, a new hardware sequencer for pattern-based music composition and performance – is now available. 


Engine is multitrack hardware sequencer, that builds on the company’s experience with 303/606 sequencing, and is designed for creating both melodic and percussion patterns.

Here’s a video overview from the NAMM Show floor by designer John Kimble.

Here’s a video demo, via ripe909:

social-entropy-engine-sequencer-angleHere’s what they have to say about the Engine:

ENGINE can be used for sequencing MIDI based devices using standard MIDI or USBMIDI, and with an optional 16 output CV expansion board, ENGINE can interface with modular synthesizers and other analog devices.

ENGINE can sequence eight simultaneous tracks. Timing for each track is independent, with only a shared master clock across patterns, allowing simultaneous patterns of varying lengths and meters. Each pattern can be up to 64 steps in length with eight timing scales, multiple levels of shuffle, directions and the ability to skip individual steps.

Up to 16 patterns can be chained for extended length sequences.

ENGINE contains 512 patterns which can be either synth (melodic) type or drum type. Synth type patterns allow for polyphonic programming with dedicated accent, slide, delay, repeat and transposition and also include a built in arpeggiator. Drum type\ patterns allow for eight instrument polyphony, with dedicated accents, delay, per instrument repeats, instrument muting/soloing and a drum roll mode.

The sequencing engine supports simultaneous grid, realtime and step 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. 32 songs can be recorded in realtime or by step programming.

Six general purpose controller knobs can be mapped to any MIDI controller message
and MIDI channel, or follow the selected track. This makes it possible to tweak devices directly from ENGINE. The knobs also control an interactive MIDI effects system that add ratcheting, delay, velocity and gate offsets per track.

The optional CV expansion board (available soon) adds sixteen analog outputs that can be used in multiple modes to provide pitch CV, gate, triggers, clocks and auxiliary
voltages. A hardware slide circuit produces smooth CV output for programmed slide
events. CV voltage range from -3V to +7V with +10V gates allows full range control over analog devices. The CV expansion also allows ENGINE to function as a standalone 8 channel MIDI to CV converter operating in either monophonic or polyphonic mode

Synchronization can be via internal clock, MIDI clock or DIN sync (master or slave). MIDI System Exclusive support allows pattern data to be dumped to external devices for backup or sharing.

USB connectivity via an isolated USB port eliminates grounding problems and is also
used for easy operating system upgrades.

The Social Entropy Engine is available now for US $665. See the Social Entropy site for more information.

via Tom Rossi

34 thoughts on “Social Entropy Engine Step Sequencer Now Available

        1. I was kinda trolling.
          It’s way more powerfull than a beatstep and so the price is right.
          But still in my need not sure i can afford the difference

    1. their website has been crashing due to high demand.

      if you refresh a few times you can get through, I ordered a blue one, so excited!

      been waiting for this one since that first NAMM video.

    1. beatstep pro is far from an Engine just from specs alone. I’ve been following both since NAMM, You could buy eight beatstep pros and you still can’t do what engine does.

      – 8 tracks polyphonic (beatstep 2 tracks mono + rhythm)
      – Pattern chaining, snapshots and songs (beatstep no)
      – Isolated USB (beatstep disaster)
      – Optional CV Outs with -3 to 7V range (beatstep 0-7v)
      – Two MIDI Outs & one Dinsync Out (beatstep has one MIDI Out)
      . says everything can be done realtime w/o glitching (beatstep good luck)

      Beat step is really cheap I think you can new for $240 (maybe $200 on sale) but you get what you pay for.

      1. Nope, read the specs- only the drum track is polyphonic, and if you insist in comparing, the BSP drum track has twice the polyphony.
        Obviously, this is more powerful, as well as being a lot more expensive.

        1. ^ not sure if you were responding to my comment but engine is 4-voice polyphonic on all 8 tracks (each track also has chord memory as well). Also each track has 8 drums… so you can have 64 drums voices if you want to play that game. At any rate it’s very flexible. If I saw Will’s comment below I wouldn’t have responded he nailed it… it’s kinda apples and oranges. Also we don’t know if engine does everything it says yet.. I get mine next week!

      2. Sorry, I don’t mean to insult the device and I will admit I don’t fully understand its capabilities.

        I don’t use hardware sequencers at all, and Engine does seem much more high end. I guess it’s one of those things that you really have to know you will have lots of uses for or have the extra money to spend.

        I can see the appeal, it would be fun to plug this into a rack unit and build patterns live. What I could have said with more accuracy is “Looks really cool, but I can’t justify spending that much on any hardware sequencer at that price for the music I make- which doesn’t use hardware sequencers.”

    1. Yes. If I didn’t have the RS7000 I’d be upset at the price of this.

      Still, it would be nice to have, just because it’s smaller. The Yamaha is freaking huge!

  1. In my opinion the Beatstep Pro (BSP) sets a strong statement regarding price-to-performance. And on top it’s very intuitive to use and can be easily setup via software. I was first considering to buy a Social Entropy Engine, but compared to the BSP I feel now that it’s much too overpriced and seems more difficult to program. I’m very pleased with the BSP, so I’ll surely spend my money in a second BSP.

    1. Apples and oranges. This is an 8 track *polyphonic* sequencer. The BSP is a 3 track mono sequencer. The BSP has physical pitch/velocity controls per step, this doesn’t. As such, the BSP is really meant as a performance/real time sequencer. This is (to me) more of a compositional sequencer—it has variable length pattern chaining (up to 1024 steps?!), 16 times the amount of pattern storage and a full on song mode. Yes, both sequencers but very different beasts.

      I get what you’re saying but Engine would appear to have about 2.5X the feature set as the BSP—which is the same ratio as the price difference. Yes, it’s missing some super sweet things the BSP comes with as stock (loads of CV i/o, knob-per-step control, separate drum steps, the drum pads themselves…) but it also ships with other things—namely polyphony, track count and song mode—that put it into a very different use case scenario.

      1. I get your point. The polyphony and pattern chaining makes the difference. I’m using the BSP for live performance. The UI lets you directly see what’s going on. And I especially like the feature that the value is displayed before you even touch a knob. Engines follows a different philosophy.

  2. I own a beatstep pro, but this looks much more versatile. Will it record all incoming midi too?! It looks kinda perversely semi old school too.

  3. The BSP firmware is in a very poor state at the moment, and the support is lacking to say the least. Sure, it has the potential to become about 30% of what the Engine is from the onset, but that would require a much greater priority from Arturia regarding software development.

    Major problems on the BSP:
    – No song mode
    – No chain mode
    – Goes out of synch
    – Convoluted workflow

    The Engine seems to get pretty much everything right, especially the workflow. And where there is some sort of compromise in the design, you realise that it is thought through and has certain decisiveness to it. Whereas the faults on the BSP seem completely random, stupid or unnecessary.

    My BSP is going straight out the door.

  4. Social Entropy seems committed to support this product well into the future as well. If their prior product support matrix is any indication of their level of commitment, then I personally do not have any concerns that they will offer adequate support. I know that this has has been a concern with Arturia’s products.

  5. if the drum tracks had 11 drums not 8 i would buy this. i know you could just make another drum track to get the others in there but it would be nice if they where all in one. It is missing buttons for MT, RS, CP, CB IMO. Could of used the black keys for CH, OH…LT, MT, HT

  6. The biggest difference between the Beatstep Pro and this, is that this is fully polyphonic guys !
    The Arturia’s one is unsensed monophonic, and cannot chain long sequences !

  7. I have a BSP and it is easy to use but limited. I am using a Moog sub37, iPad (Annimoog app), Roland drum machine DR-880, Korg Minilogue and Moog Minitaur. I have to do workarounds to compensate for the 3 track limitation. If BSP added another track (Shift accessible layer it would be a serious contender. The Engine looks like the ticket and I am ready to upgrade.

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