Pyramid Sequencer Hands-On Demo


Squarp Instruments shared this series of videos that offer a hands-on look at using their new Pyramid sequencer.

The videos cover: Live Mode; Step Mode; Track Mode; and Seq Mode.

The Pyramid is a standalone hardware sequencer that they say is ‘designed to be the perfect brain for your musical setup.’

The Pyramid Polythymic Sequencer is price at US $660 and is expected to ship in March 2016. See the Squarp site for more info.

20 thoughts on “Pyramid Sequencer Hands-On Demo

  1. This looks pretty straightforward and easy to use. Looking forward to seeing more. I’m loving the variety of synths and drums machines from small companies that have come out the last 4-5 years.

  2. way too complicated. roland´s fantom g sequencer (“phrase list”!!) is still the best and easiest. unfortunately they changed the gui for the fa-06/08.

    1. Have you actually spent time on the Pyramid? It is actually pretty easy to use, especially when you consider the power available.

  3. the whole scene of computer-assisted improv music and all this kind of ultra-conceptual/randomized stuff is not my thing at all – but im definitely glad it exists and that there is a thriving technology community around it… because i think it enriches electronic music altogether to have all these different approaches

    personally i prefer to use these kinds of elements very sparsely, but yeh – its interesting to see people that base their whole setup around these kinds of ideas

  4. if this is a standalone sequencer how many midi outs does it have?????
    some midi keyboards have no midi through ,so a stand alone sequencer in the year 2016 should have at least 8 sets of midi in/out as standard or it is unable to do the job required without extra bits of kit ,
    so it is not a true stand-alone as more kit is required if more then 1 synth is to be sequenced.

    1. The full specs are on their web site. It is very much a standalone sequencer. It has two MIDI outs and USB MIDI out. It also has CV and Gate output. Just think about the footprint of the device you are asking for (8 ins/outs). That leaves room for little else. I do think the Pyramid does work for a lot of setups. The real complaint should probably be about the devices that failed to include a MIDI Thru. You could always address that with a MIDI patchbay but I guess that makes it not stand alone.

      1. exactly i want a standalone sequencer with 8midi in/out plus the same cv and i want it for less then £500, ,unless we demand better they will keep selling nearly but not quite, i agree that 2 midi outs is better but not nearly far enough,i want to be able to jump on any keyboard midi or cv and the sequencer to capture this all on their own dedicated channels ,maybe he will make a pro edition

        especially as some manufacturers have fixed their drums to channel 10 =two drum machines running and no channels left???????????????

        1. I am presuming your keyboards don’t have MIDI thrus?

          The reason you would want multiple outs IMHO is one of two reasons:

          1) One MIDI out will be a dedicated clock, the other is output goes to multiple keyboards.
          2) You have more than 16 tracks and each needs to go to a synth/drum machine/sample and since there is only 16 MIDI channels per spec, you could route one track to any MIDI channel (1-16) on one MIDI out and another on the same MIDI channel, so effectively increasing the number of MIDI channels.

          There is a legitimate concern about MIDI latency, but I think if you were running 1-2 thrus chaining up to the in (or 1-2 thrus chaining to the final device), then you really don’t have much to worry about from what I have read (with at least most devices).

        2. I share your point of view…. we need more MIDI in/outs. Remember que old sequencer Yamaha QX1 and his 8 MIDI outs? perfect size and solid playback. I have and old Roland MV8800 and it has 3 independent MIDI OUTS with the additional expansion.

          Modern sequencers have amazing software but limited hardware (2 outs is not enough) … only the Cirklon brings the real solution for some of us need.

          One sequencer I dream to see is some evolution of the Roland MV8800 maybe a MV9000 with SSD drive, modern interface and arpeggiators….. just that 🙁

    2. The device already isn’t a standalone in that you have to have sound devices connected to it. If you are planning to use 8 MIDI Ins/Outs, it is far from standalone. Since you already have to deal with all those devices, adding a MIDI patchbay to route the channels from for Pyramid is really not a big deal.

      I have no problem with your asking for such a device but a lot of device makers look to fill a niche that isn’t already addressed.

      1. And even more so, such a device has never existed even it the heyday of MIDI. A midi patch bay is no more an encumbrance than the external synths that it will be driving.

        1. Yep, just put something like the Alyseum AL-88 or 88C behind it. Sure, you need to raise the budget a little, but you get MIDI routing, merging, splitting etc in one expandable junction, and the Alyseum kit can be configured over Ethernet using the (free) CopperLAN manager. CopperLAN also sees USB devices as “virtual MIDI”, so other kit can be integrated (routed from and to) should you want that. Latency is quoted as well below 1ms. It might not eliminate a computer from the workflow but it can mimimise the influence of a computer in the work. Irrespective of all that, it still resolves a lot of problems for me, someone who needs to integrate newer with older hardware and who wants to work in the hardware domain as much as possible and is prepared to invest some time up front in the computer domain to get benefits downstream.

  5. This thing is beautiful. Looks like I may finally be able to remove by DAW from my workflow when writing music. Or even with the DAW, this looks like it would be a way more fun way to build music in Ableton than Ableton’s own workflow.

    Here’s a question though – if I’ve already been considering getting an Octatrack at some point this year, should I skip the Pyramid? I know the Octatrack is supposed to be a pretty flexible sequencer in addition to being a great sampler. Anyone have an opinion on that?

  6. What about the ability to change pattern bass or chord channels to another note or change the chord eg from minor to major etc. Without this ability it is just another commercial sequencer with a software daw sequencer could also do. Appreciate a reply to this ability.

    1. you are describing the legendary and misterious “Zyklus MPS-1 sequencer”, the perfect tool to play live but the market didnt appreciated in its time.

      Maybe today only the KARMA 2 technology inside a Korg Kronos can do these kind of realtime harmonic manipulation you describe. I try to do that kind of things using Kurzweil VAST technology but the sync between “riffs” have issues and the experiment didnt work because of software bugs.

      I also find that Roland try these concept in the Roland GW8 a workstations with intelligent backing-track functionality; it can change in realtime the harmonies inside the sequences. Very interesting option to have inside a hardware sequencer from Roland.

      Imagine a hardware sequencer with Zyklus technology or Karma 2 technology….

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