MAM SQ16 Step Sequencer

sq16.jpg (59184 bytes)

The SQ16 is a nice, fairly inexpensive step sequencer that is well suited for playing rhythm patterns. It has 16 tracks, 13 of which play a single note (i.e. one sound in a drum kit). The last three tracks play monophonic note sequences. The interface takes some getting used to, but everything is adjustable as it's playing, so it's best just to try different things and see what happens. It can be easy to forget which parameter is being displayed, and which edit buttons to use (these change depending on the mode the SQ16 is in). So, I created the SQ16 cheat sheet (link below) which summarizes all the key information on a single page.

Some nice features of the SQ16
Notes can be recorded into it, they don't have to be programmed. Also, you can record the notes on a midi channel of your choice that may be different from the channel that the track transmits. It has an arpeggiator, and you can record the arpeggiated notes into sequencer patterns. There is a rotate function that can shift and do unpredictable things to the step play position, allowing interesting pattern variations. Patterns can be chained or combined into songs (14 song steps with up to 32 repeats of each). There are 64 patterns and 8 songs, but these can be saved into one of 8 memory blocks (with all parameters). The midi set concept allows a pattern to be quickly mapped into one of 16 midi sets that define the midi channels for each track (and note numbers for the drum tracks).

Some Limitations
It would have been nice to have a knob for entering note data. The note tracks can cause hanging notes if muted while playing. The settings for velocity and note length are fairly limited. Each step of a track has accent (velocity) on or off, not a programmable value (though the value can be different for each track). Note length is restricted to 50% or 100%. The clock can be synced externally, but you have to send it a midi "start" or else it will use the internal clock. The SQ16 sends only midi note data, not controllers.

btzbul1a.gif (1801 bytes)  SQ16 cheat sheet  btzbul1a.gif (1801 bytes)
adjust margins to print on one page
A review by David Talento
MAM Products

 

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updated October 22, 2004     --- egw ---