Squarp Hapax Sequencer Hands-On Review

Loopop host Ziv Eliraz shared his review of the Squarp Hapax sequencer and, as always, his review is detailed, hands-on and though-provoking.

The Hapax is intended to be a professional step sequencer that can be used as the ‘brain’ of your studio or live performance rig. It can handle up to a million notes and events; has MPE compatibility; offers input and output via DIN MIDI, USB MIDI & CV/Gate; features more than 180 physical controls; supports saving and loading to SD cards and more.

If that makes you want to know more about what the Hapax can do, Eliraz has you covered. In his 45 minute video, he covers the key features of the Hapax, how you can use it with all types of gear, digs into the sequencer’s unique functionality, and shares his thoughts on the pros and cons of the device.

Check it out and share your thoughts on the Hapax in the comments!

Topics covered:

0:00 Intro
1:00 Overview
5:35 Connectivity
6:50 Setup
8:55 Workflow
11:55 Live mode
12:15 Scales
13:30 Chord mode
14:40 Drum pads
14:50 Hold & relatch
16:30 Step mode
17:30 Roll & math
18:20 Param locks
19:05 Learn
20:55 Loop points
21:30 Shortcuts
22:40 Automation
24:40 Global LFOs
25:05 The Matrix
26:05 MIDI FX
28:20 Algorithms
31:40 Patterns
32:45 Section, song
34:00 Track transpose
34:40 Projects
35:40 Snapshot
36:40 Settings
37:45 Rec settings
38:35 Pros & cons
43:50 Outro

13 thoughts on “Squarp Hapax Sequencer Hands-On Review

  1. Has it really only got 8 patterns per track (in each project) or have I misunderstood something? Every video seems to just mention and then waltz past the fact there’s lots of projects, 16 tracks .. each with only 8 patterns! That can’t be right. Who would make a mega sequencer and give it eight patterns per track? Who has 8 drum patterns in project ?

    1. Been making electronic music for 25 years and can’t recall ever really needing more than 8 patterns per track in a project. So this will not be much of an issue for me. But that’s just me, I realise others might need more complexity. Probably not a big deal to add more patterns with an update later I assume.

    2. I do agree that for such an impressive machine 8 patterns for track sounds like just too few. 16 would be just fine. Other than that it is pretty much the step sequencer of my dreams…or even better, because I would have never expected seen something like that MIDI fx chain on a hardware step sequencer.

  2. Was watching Ron Cavagnaro use this thing and he took down his first video for wasting his time trying to sequence without hearing a note preview when programming. . Just cant get over the whole not being able to hear the note as I input it into the step sequencer. I use the Deluge as a MIDI sequencer amongst other things so this feels like such a missed opportunity. YES, you can just play it in live and edit but if I wanted a eurorack sequencer, there are many out there where you just blindly program notes while it runs until it sounds good. This is a massive midi sequencer without the option to hold a step, turn a knob to change the note and hear it as you turn. Disappointing.

    1. They have been updating the pyramid and hermod for years, I’m sure they’ll take suggestions that are possible on the hardware.

      1. Im sure they will but im not sure how I feel about that. “Hey $1000 step sequencer, can I hear the notes I enter please?” I sold my Hermod but when I had it, i programmed with my OP-1. Having a screen is great but it just sucks the life out of music-making sometimes, most definitely with note programming since its so easy to do with your ears and sound. Im sure itll get implemented but thats version 1.0, you know. “Version 2.0, note preview, sounds weird for a step sequencer in this tier.

        1. A screen shouldn’t hamper you, it should serve as a reference point in music production. I realise that is sometimes easier thought than practiced, and it is certainly application dependent. However you are absolutely correct, the omission of hearing the note entered, in a sequencer no less seems just daft, and that is being generously kind. Correcting this via OS update should be relatively simple and an apology should accompany it!

        2. Had my Pyramid since 2016 (OS v0.87 or whatever). Even then entering & confirming step notes could be done silently and audibly using the push encoder. It wasn’t obvious but nice to have without toggling through the settings. There’s a chance that Loopop missed that function if it’s also in the Hapax (always wondered if we expect too much from reviewers like him).

          Don’t forget the grid can be played as an isomorphic controller into the sequencer while recording live, with each pad pressed being audible.

          I’ve tried writing music in the Pyramid by only entering notes into the step sequencer, but it sucked. Watched people online making music the same way & it usually sucks as well. The Hapax’s live mode with the grid in isomorphic mode looks like a great combo (use the humanise midi effect to work around the lack of velocity). Or just use a midi controller because human performances sound better & more expressive.

          The grid is effectively the same as a screen or a paper sheet of music, giving visual feedback about your music. How you chose to interact with that is all you, not the product.

          1. If you can play your melody or chord progression with the pads in live mode, why you would need a step sequencer like this in the first place? A step sequencer is a tool to write sequences that you can not play yourself, otherwise it would just be a simple midi recorder.

    2. On the pyramid it’s possible to preview the notes in step mode by pressing an encoder. I’d guess either Ron doesn’t know what to press or it hasn’t been implemented yet, but I doubt squarp is blind to it. It is a feature that exists in their other product.

  3. By this review, it seems to me the OXI ONE is better in every way. I received mine today — it’s fantastic in form and function, so far.

  4. So is it like a compromise between a Push and a Monome Grid? Not sure who would want that. I’ll stick to my Grid…

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