What is a step sequencer and how do I use it?

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crazyrocker3
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2011/05/17 15:18:57 (permalink)

What is a step sequencer and how do I use it?

Hi, people have told me that I need to use a step sequencer. the problem is I don't know what that is, let alone how to use it. Can someone please explain what it is, how to use it, and how I can get to it. That would be very much appreciated. Thanks!

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    Mesh
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    Re:What is a step sequencer and how do I use it? 2011/05/17 16:11:06 (permalink)
    You should check out the CakeTV videos for this. There's also a lot of tutorials on Youtube. Your best resource would be to get Scott's book: Sonar X1 Power.

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    A1MixMan
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    Re:What is a step sequencer and how do I use it? 2011/05/17 17:25:14 (permalink)
    A step sequencer sequences steps in a beat.

    For example, if you break up a 4 bar loop that is in 4/4 time, it will have 16 beats, or steps. You can then use the step sequencer to enter the bass drum on the steps you want it to play, and enter the snare on the steps you want it to play. Then you start the step sequencer and it will play those back at the right time to give you your beat. It's basically a way to map out exactly where each drum hit should land in relation to the time of the beat.
    post edited by A1MixMan - 2011/05/17 17:26:30

    A1
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    A1MixMan
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    Re:What is a step sequencer and how do I use it? 2011/05/17 17:28:25 (permalink)
    Check out these vids!

    http://forum.cakewalk.com/tm.aspx?m=2130369

    And don't ask anymore questions until you've watched them all.

    Just kidding...

    A1
    #4
    Metaphasic
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    Re:What is a step sequencer and how do I use it? 2011/05/17 17:33:49 (permalink)
    Simplest answer...

    Instead of a staff, you get a grid, with individual notes/perc on the Y axis and timing (steps) on the X axis. Just plot out your beats.
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    A1MixMan
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    Re:What is a step sequencer and how do I use it? 2011/05/17 20:10:14 (permalink)
    A1MixMan


    A step sequencer sequences steps in a beat. 




    I thought mine was the simplest answer?

    A1
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    mick@itc
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    Re:What is a step sequencer and how do I use it? 2011/05/17 20:15:25 (permalink)
    Yes, check out the videos AND the drums master class is the best step sequencer explaination I have cone across...yes its about drums but you can really see how it works and if you imagine the drum beats are notes you will see the huge potential of this machine.
     
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    Bristol_Jonesey
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    Re:What is a step sequencer and how do I use it? 2011/05/18 07:16:21 (permalink)
    So, playing Devil's advocate, what's the big deal with the SS compared to entering notes (of any kind) directly into the PRV?

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    DeveryH
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    Re:What is a step sequencer and how do I use it? 2011/05/18 07:27:24 (permalink)
    Bristol_Jonesey


    So, playing Devil's advocate, what's the big deal with the SS compared to entering notes (of any kind) directly into the PRV?


    I was thinking the exact same thing lol! For me it's so much easier recording what I want first and then editing it next (my mistakes). I can't imagine using the Step Sequencer. It would take me ages to create beats in the Sequencer.
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    Karyn
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    Re:What is a step sequencer and how do I use it? 2011/05/18 07:37:35 (permalink)
    Bristol_Jonesey


    So, playing Devil's advocate, what's the big deal with the SS compared to entering notes (of any kind) directly into the PRV?


    A step sequencer is intended for creating repeating patterns.

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    FastBikerBoy
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    Re:What is a step sequencer and how do I use it? 2011/05/18 07:40:57 (permalink)
    spanky


    Bristol_Jonesey


    So, playing Devil's advocate, what's the big deal with the SS compared to entering notes (of any kind) directly into the PRV?


    I was thinking the exact same thing lol! For me it's so much easier recording what I want first and then editing it next (my mistakes). I can't imagine using the Step Sequencer. It would take me ages to create beats in the Sequencer.


    I find the great thing about the step sequencer is the looping and changes on the fly. I know that can be done in the PRV but I find it easier in the SS. Drum names are easier to read and adding things such as flams is real easy (a double click).

    Set it running and start clicking left to add right to remove. I find it a very useful way of coming up with unique drum patterns
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    DeveryH
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    Re:What is a step sequencer and how do I use it? 2011/05/18 07:52:09 (permalink)
    FastBikerBoy


    spanky


    Bristol_Jonesey


    So, playing Devil's advocate, what's the big deal with the SS compared to entering notes (of any kind) directly into the PRV?


    I was thinking the exact same thing lol! For me it's so much easier recording what I want first and then editing it next (my mistakes). I can't imagine using the Step Sequencer. It would take me ages to create beats in the Sequencer.


    I find the great thing about the step sequencer is the looping and changes on the fly. I know that can be done in the PRV but I find it easier in the SS. Drum names are easier to read and adding things such as flams is real easy (a double click).

    Set it running and start clicking left to add right to remove. I find it a very useful way of coming up with unique drum patterns


    Exactly. I'm sure if no one had a use for it Cakewalk wouldn't have put it in there. Different strokes for different folks, right? I've messed with the SS, it's just not my thing. I'm so used to the PRV I guess.
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    mgh
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    Re:What is a step sequencer and how do I use it? 2011/05/18 07:56:12 (permalink)
    SS is much easier to use for drums than PRV. you can set any number of steps in each beat, you see individual drum names, you can more easily change velocity, not to mention setting swing, portamento and other fx. it's also very easy to think like a drummer - once a SS clip is made, you can copy it, click on 'unlink SS clips' (by default a change made in any copied SS clip is made in all) and then add in an extra crash, roll or whatever.

    where SS falls down is if you find it hard to judge musical time, or if you wanna do complex poly-rhythmic stuff inside a bar - say 8ths for the first two beats and 6ths for the next two beats. for that stuff, i tend to play on keys then edit in PRV.

    all the drums for my songs are programmed in SS. i appreciate that for people used to using drum maps, then they may be more comfortable in that though. no right or wrong, just for me SS is a lot easier!

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    stevenpanter
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    Re:What is a step sequencer and how do I use it? 2011/05/18 11:50:14 (permalink)
    mgh


    i appreciate that for people used to using drum maps, then they may be more comfortable in that though. no right or wrong, just for me SS is a lot easier!


    Don't forget that drum maps will work in conjunction with the SS. If a midi track is outputting to a drum map, the SS rows will automatically adopt the drum names from the map which makes things so much easier. Then when ciircumstances such as the polyrhythmic timings you've described arise, you can switch from SS to PRV and the drum names are automatically preserved. Bloomin' marvellous I say!

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    mgh
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    Re:What is a step sequencer and how do I use it? 2011/05/18 13:14:21 (permalink)
    good point Steven - and i see you live just down the road (we're in Billericay, but the wife's parents live in Hockley...and she went to school at St Bernard's in Westcliff!)

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    SteveGriffiths
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    Re:What is a step sequencer and how do I use it? 2011/05/18 13:27:29 (permalink)

    My Given name is Dicky, I come from Billericay, and I'm Doing ....Very Well.

    Grew up in Southend - moved to US in 77 


    I love using step sequencer for drums too - add in track layering and I can set up a Kick snare hat rhythm, layer for cymbals, and another for fills.  I like the time offset too.  Years ago I used to have a sequencer called Vision (ran on an Apple Quadra).  It had a smear control - essentially opposite of quantitize.  You  could use it to add a little reality to a perfect drum sound - make th e2nd kick beat a little late etc.  This is the only control I've seen in Sonar that can do a similar if not identical thing.
    Cheers

    Grif
     
    mgh


    good point Steven - and i see you live just down the road (we're in Billericay, but the wife's parents live in Hockley...and she went to school at St Bernard's in Westcliff!)



    post edited by SteveGriffiths - 2011/05/18 13:31:27
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    Bristol_Jonesey
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    Re:What is a step sequencer and how do I use it? 2011/05/19 05:27:51 (permalink)
    mgh


     it's also very easy to think like a drummer 


    There's my first major stumbling block he he

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    tlw
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    Re:What is a step sequencer and how do I use it? 2011/05/19 06:38:04 (permalink)
    The step sequencer's great if you want to prgram e.g. Session Drummer, or a similar sample-player.

    It has some serious bugs/irritations if you want to use it to control a synth though. For example, if you insert MIDI CCs other than the few "pre-set" in the pull-down controller list into a pattern, then drag out a copy, cut the clips apart and unlink the second clip, all those MIDI CCs will be lost in the newly unlinked clip (Cakewalk have acknowledged this bug).

    The assumption that some CC numbers are only used for one thing is a pest as well - if you use the CC the SS pre-assigns to "pan" for example, then the pane where you insert the values only allows you to enter an offset from a central "zero" point, rather than the usual 0-127. Some way to see what the CC values actually are, rather than trying to guess them from the height of the bars would be nice as well.

    Having said all that, I use the SS quite a lot - it can do useful  things the PRV can't (e.g. set probabilities that a note will/won't be played).

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    FastBikerBoy
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    Re:What is a step sequencer and how do I use it? 2011/05/19 07:43:26 (permalink)
    Bristol_Jonesey


    mgh


     it's also very easy to think like a drummer 


    There's my first major stumbling block he he


    As soon as I do that I loose all co-ordination and sense of time.......
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    jerry@macwood.com
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    Re:What is a step sequencer and how do I use it? 2014/02/10 20:17:33 (permalink)
    i am suing the step sequence and changing the routing to addictive drummer and now I have lost all of the names of the drum in step sequence instead I have the notes .. how do I get them back/
     
    #20
    scook
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    Re:What is a step sequencer and how do I use it? 2014/02/10 20:19:39 (permalink)
    To get instrument names using Addictive Drums requires a drum map. Get it here.
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    jerry@macwood.com
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    Re:What is a step sequencer and how do I use it? 2014/02/10 20:41:54 (permalink)
    and if I toggle back to session drummer I need to reload the session drummer map?
      If I want to use a mixture of both?
     
    #22
    scook
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    Re:What is a step sequencer and how do I use it? 2014/02/10 21:07:35 (permalink)
    It depends on how the step sequencer is used. If the step sequencer is closed between opening clips from each synth, the step sequencer will pick up the Session Drummer names correctly without a drum map. If the step sequencer is not closed between opening clips from each synth, drum maps will keep the instrument names correct. If using a mix of Addictive Drum and Session Drummer on a regular basis a custom drum map combining both synths might make sequencing easier allowing a single MIDI track to control both synths.
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