Sequencer

The three sequencers ( A , B , and C ) are identical in functionality. Although the structure seems complicated at first, it is very easy to use once you understand it.

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Fundamentally, a sequence is an ordered set if phrases, built upon a bank of patterns , as follows:

  • Each pattern contains 16 steps . Each step has its own pitch, velocity, and duration. The Pattern Designers lets you view and modify the steps of the currently selected pattern.
  • Patterns are contained in banks. Each bank contains 8 patterns. Each sequencer can use its own local ban k, or one of the 6 shared banks.
  • Each sequencer also has up to eight phrases . Each phrase is based on one pattern from the sequencer's currently selected bank. The pattern in any one phrase may repeat up to eight times. Each phrase can also add its own transposition, note duration, and tempo factors.
  • The phrase settings for each sequencer comprise its sequence . The Phrase Designers let you view and modify the current pattern sequence in each sequencer.
  • The phrase designer lets you set up to eight phrases in any sequence. Each sequencer can store the phrase settings its own local sequence , or apply changes to one of 6 shared sequences .

The ensemble keeps shared banks and sequences in a single shared table. If two sequencers use the same shared bank and/or shared sequence, then changing the table data in one sequencer causes exactly the same change to appear automatically in the other sequencer. This feature is referred to as shared table data , as the next sections describe in more detail.

Batch Copy

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As each sequencer contains multiple banks and tables, it would takes a long time to copy all the data from one sequencer to another using the table context menu (eight patterns of pitch data; eight patterns of velocity data; eight patterns of note duration data; and five phrase tables). The Shared Data Table section therefore provides controls to batch-copy data from any one sequencer to another.

You can choose whether to copy:

  • Pattern - Copies just the visible pattern.
  • Pat Bank - copies the bank of eight patterns.
  • Phrases - copies the table settings in the phrase designer.
  • Everything - Copies both the pattern bank and the contents of the phrase designer.

Make sure the source sequencer shows up in the From list box, and the target sequencer in the To list box. Now press the Go button. The change is instantaneous.

Snap Changes

There is no need to save a snapshot to store any table changes. Table data is automatically saved, independent of the snapshot. Be aware if two snaps use the same table data, then changing the table data for one snap will change the other snap.

When loading a snapshot (and when launching Reaktor), the sequencer simply loads the bank selected by the snapshot's stored setting for the pattern designer's bank knob.

When changing snapshots, a sequencer is unaffected if its Bank and Seq settings are the same as for the previous snapshot. If Bank or Seq are different, then the sequencer loads new banks and sequences in real time.

Snap changes do not affect the clock or current step. The sequencer remembers the current step across snap changes, regardless whether the bank and sequence knobs are the same or different. The next step will play just as if there was no snap change at all! This lets you use snap changes to modify a sound without changing the sequence patterns, or alternatively, change sequences without affecting the sound.

Note that the shared data is not specific per snapshot. For example, if you change a pattern for one snapshot and another snapshot uses the same pattern, then the same pattern changes in the other snapshot also. Actually, this is very useful, because you can make global changes to a pattern for a set of snapshots. If you want to preserve data for a set of snapshots, then it's easy to do this using the global Load and Save.

Clock

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The Clock section provides the following controls for the global clock, used throughout the sequencer and synthesizer:

Run

Starts/stops the clock, regardless whether using an internal or external clock source. If using an external clock source, the external clock must also be enabled, independent of enabling this button.

Auto

Auto-trigger on startup and snap change. When turned on, the Run button turns itself on automatically upon ensemble launch and snap change. (If the clock is already running before snap change, the Auto button has no effect).

int/ext

selects clock source (internal or external).

Bpm

Sets the internal clock bpm (assuming 4/4 tempo). If using an external clock, this control has no effect.

shuf

Symmetric shuffle, applied to individual steps in each sequencer. Setting to 0 results in no shuffle. Negative values delay odd steps; positive values delay even steps. For example, setting to 0.25 delays even steps by 25%.

Reset

Sends a global reset, which is useful if using an external MIDI source and some stuck notes have occurred (generally reset is not required otherwise).

tick

Displays the number of clock ticks since start.

beat

Displays the number of beats since start.

Sequencer Controls

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Each sequencer has the following main controls:

Play

When turned on, the sequencer starts playing from step 0.

Cntl

If disabled, the sequencer sends pitch and gate information to both Voice Merge, and to the modulation matrix as modulation controller data. If turned on, pitch and gate information is only sent as controller data, and the pitch and gate data do not trigger new events.

Slen

Sets the number of steps in the pattern. When Step Record is turned off, the purple line in the pattern tables is positioned after the last step in the pattern, as set by this knob.

Xpos

Sets a transposition value, in semitones, over a +/-2 octave range. Transposition is applied after any phrase transpositions, but before pitch mapping of the output. When you change the Xpos knob, the resulting pitch names for each step in the pattern designer update automatically to show the output pitch after transposition and key scaling.

Fine

Sets a small pitch offset of less than +/-1 semitone.

Tempo

Sets the base tempo of the sequence. In the tempo list, the acronym D (such as 1/1 D) refers to dotted intervals, and the acronym T (such as 1/4T) refers to triplet intervals. Note that the phrase designer may also scale the tempo for any particular sequence.

Bank

Sets the current pattern bank (0 is the local bank, banks 1-16 are shared between the sequencers).

Pat

Sets the current pattern (there are 8 patterns in each bank). The current pattern shows up in the pattern designer. The Pat knob is also linked to the phrase designer, and the knob changes its position automatically when the phrase designer changes the current pattern.

Pattern Designer

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The Pattern Designer in each sequencer lets you view and modify the steps of any pattern in the currently selected bank.

When playing, the green cursor is positioned before the current step, and the purple cursor is positioned after the last step in the pattern (as set by the Slen knob.

By default, the pattern tables are in Draw mode, which lets you modify each parameter in each step of the pattern by dragging the respective bar up or down. You can change the tables to Select Mode, then perform transformations to groups of values, by right clicking on the tables and using the context menu.

The ensemble samples the data for each step once at the beginning of the step. After the note for that step has been triggered, any changes to that step, or to global parameters, appear on the screen immediately, but the output values for the current step don't change (because its values have already been sampled). Changes are applied to the output at the onset of the next step. This lets you adjust parameters between steps without losing the sequence tempo.

There are three parameters for each step in each pattern, as follows.

Pitch

The top table sets the base pitch for each step, prior to key scaling and transposition.

Below each step in the pitch table is the note name for that step, after key scaling and transposition. When the pattern or sequence is transposed or key-scaled, then the note name below the table changes dynamically, to show the actual output note!

Key scale mapping uses Bubu's excellent scale mapper, with some modifications to improve performance and handling of fine tuning.

Velocity

The middle table controls the velocity for each step. Output is between 0 and 1. If the column is set to its bottom-most value, step velocity is zero, in which case, the sequencer does not send a note-on event to the sequencer for that step (however a value of zero is still sent as a controller value to the modulation matrix).

Duration

The bottom table controls the note duration for each step. Values are between 0 and 1, quantized into 4 steps.

  • When set to the middle (default) value of 0.5, the duration exactly follows tempo.
  • When set to 0.25, note duration is half the step interval (as set by tempo).
  • When set to 0, note duration is one quarter the step interval.
  • When set to 0.75, note duration is 1.5x the step interval.
  • When set to 1.0, note duration is twice the step interval.

Note duration has different effects on the note output (which are fully polyphonic notes) and controller values sent to the synthesizer modulation matrix (which are series of monophonic values).

  • For notes, the duration directly sets the period between note-on and note-off events. If a note is longer than the tempo interval, then the prior note continues to play after the next note starts, without either note cutting each other off (note output is fully polyphonic).
  • When using sequencer pitch or gate values as monophonic controller values in the modulation matrix, then note durations longer than the tempo interval are ignored. With duration set to 1.0 or higher, pitch and gate controller values directly change to their next step value upon step advance. With lower durations, the pitch and gate controller values drop to zero for the set interval, before the next step commences.

Note that the phrase designer (if enabled) may scale the overall duration settings.

Step Record

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In record mode, the pattern designer can step-record pitch and velocity information from external MIDI, as well as pitch information from the on-screen keyboard. When using the on-screen keyboard, velocity for each recorded step is hard-wired to 0.5.

By default, step record is Off . To enable step record, set the toggle button to A , B , or C . This selects sequencer A, sequencer B, or sequencer C as the target for incoming notes. (If the target is set to use shared memory and another sequencer is using the same shared memory, then the notes will also appear in the other sequencers).

When you enable step record, the record cursor (the purple cursor) is positioned before the first step for the currently selected pattern. Also, all transposition and key scaling is disabled, so that exactly the recorded note appears in the sequencer (and is heard when recorded).

The cursor advances automatically after a note is received, and the pattern advances automatically to the next pattern after the last step in the current pattern (as set by the Slen knob). This lets you quickly enter a set of notes into multiple patterns.

Key Scale

The Key Scale list box is in the lower left corner of the B panel. All three sequencers use this common setting for mapping pitch values to key scale.

When you change the key scale mapping, the displayed pitch names in the sequencer Pattern Designer panels automatically update with the resulting pitch names.

Phrase Designer

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Each sequencer contains its own phrase designer. When enabled, the phrase designer controls which pattern is currently playing from the sequencer's pattern bank. The phrase designers also control how many times a pattern repeats before moving to the next pattern. During each pattern playback, the phrase designers additionally can transpose pitch, scale the tempo, and/or scale note duration.

The phrase designer contains the following controls for up to eight phrases:

On

Enables the phrase designer. If the phrase sequencer is turned off, the currently displayed pattern in the pattern designer loops continuously. When turned on, the phrase sequencer steps through the phrases.

Step

Displays the current step.

Repeat

Displays the number of times that the pattern for the current phrase has repeated (between 0 and 7)

Phrase

Displays the current phrase.

Seq

Sets the sequence to use for this sequencer. The sequence may be the local sequence (seq 0) or one of the shared sequences (seq 1~32). The settings for all the phrase tables are stored in each of the sequence locations.

Pattern for this phrase.

Selects the pattern to use for the current phrase. Each phrase can use any of the eight patterns from the current pattern bank.

Repeats

Sets the number of times that the phrase's pattern repeats before moving to the next phrase. If set to 0, then the phrase sequencer returns to the first phrase when the sequencer reaches that step. If the first phrase is set to zero, then the sequencer uses the currently selected pattern.

Phrase Transpose

Sets a transposition (of +/-24 semitones) applied to the current phrase. The default middle position applies no transposition.

Note Tempo

Scales the sequencer tempo for the current pattern. With the default middle position, the phrase uses exactly the tempo for the sequencer. Higher values speed up the tempo. Lower values slow down the tempo.

Note Duration

Scales the duration of notes for the current pattern. With the default middle position, the phrase uses exactly the note durations as set in the pattern. Higher values scale the duration to longer periods; lower values scale the duration to shorter periods.

Values for Note Tempo and Note Duration are between 0 and 1, with 0.5 being the middle default value. Values are scaled using the same shaper circuit, as follows:

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Thus, when the column in the note duration or phrase table is set to its highest value, source values are increased by a factor of 4. When set to its lowest value, source values are reduced by a factor of 8.