Squarp Pyramid + Drambo Question(s)

I was curious if anyone here uses the Squarp Pyramid, and if so, have you thought about what Drambo could mimic from it in order to make Drambo an even more powerful midi sequencer than it already is.

Seeing everything that Drambo offers, I know we're just a hand full of modules away from doing even more amazing things none of us imagined.

I've never used a Squarp Pyramid, but it is one of those midi sequencers which I have definitely looked fondly upon :)

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Comments

  • The chord sequencer from numberology is pretty nifty

    u set scale

    and then u just put 1,2,3,4,5, (and various variations) on stephttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_odMY3YfVvw

  • @echoopera i have a pyramid. Most of the midi fx can be done with Drambo modules. I think the biggest difference is that the pyramid is a 64 track sequencer, and Drambo has 16 tracks. And also the architecture of tracks, patterns, sequences and song mode of pyramid is quite different. With the pyramid it’s easy to create an extra track for modulation or p locks because there are plenty.

  • I’m actually building a project in Drambo where I try to make a combination of Pyramid and Octatrack. I really like how it’s turning out. Mapping my Sensel Morph (touch strip cross fader for scenes!) and midi fighter twister makes navigating and performing quicker than on the pyramid.

  • I use a pyramid as well.

    It's a really nice sequencer, but it certainly has its flaws and limitations. Oddly enough, the Sequencer section (pattern chaining) is by far the weakest link. I was dreaming of a sequencer that could be used to create music without stopping and starting. FLOW! but the SEQ section in the pyramid is simply awful.

    One of my favorite features of the Pyramid is the live looper. You can record to any track while the sequencer is running and it creates a new pattern of whatever length you punch in/out - much like an audio looper, but quantizable and malleable.

    Imo, where its strengths really lie are the ability for each track to operate by its own rules, such as setting the sequence length per pattern and applying a chain of midi fx to add randomness and chance etc. Of course this can all be done in drambo, but I much prefer each part having its own length rather than a Jump module (both would be best imho 🙂). On the pyramid, an euclidian percussion part can be 2 bars long and another instrument can be 256 1/4 bars long. Each part can be set to loop freely, retrigger, or one shot. Plus, you can zoom in on the step resolution to get micro-timing per track. You can use instrument definition files to easily map external hardware (this would be a nice addition to Drambo)

    You can assign multiple tracks to a given midi channel, so you can have a sequence doing a 4 bar thing and then have another, longer sequence running cc automations.

    The midi fx are pretty fun (I particularly like how swing and quantize operate as non-destructive midi fx per track) but you are limited to 4 per track and the ranges are often too limited (very much geared to 4/4 or 3/4 stuff). This is where drambo shines :)

    As much as I love having a dedicated hardware box, Drambo does much more of what I was looking for in a sequencer. As soon as the sequencer section becomes more modular (ie, ability to run sequences at different lengths, and add different types of sequences per track (automation, stochastic, euclidian, etc) I will likely ditch the pyramid for a dedicated Drambo midi controller. I'd love to eventually find a controller that could intuitively be used for step editing on Drambo. I like the idea of building instruments on the screen, but sequencing without having to touch the ipad (I prefer to enter parts in realtime with a midi keyboard)

    I'm currently using the pyramid and Drambo in tandem and while they go pretty well together, I look forward to the day when I can do it all in Drambo 😎. At this juncture, it's still much quicker to sequence my hardware using the Pyramid.

    To sum up my rambling thoughts... the main thing that I'd love to see Drambo implement from the Pyramid: more independence of each track's pattern sequencer (zoom, length, automations, plocks, quantize, swing). @giku has even suggested more types of sequencer modules might be in the cards down the road and I'm very much hoping things move in that direction.

  • edited September 5

    @palms As we know, clips are in the works and they will certainly introduce more independency than we have today. Like you said, the jump module is an easy solution to have different track sequence lengths and when changing the pattern length, I would in more than 95% of the songs expect all tracks to follow automatically as part of the arranging process...

    As for hardware controlled step entry, we're getting closer. Very recently, the new chord entry method has been introduced: Hold a sequencer step and toggle all keys you want on that step.

    For full MIDI control, only a few destinations are missing:

    As soon as sequencer steps and range switches can be controlled by MIDI as well, you could have an 8x4 Launchpad button matrix plus 3 range switch knobs and a MIDI keyboard to enter and edit your sequences.

    Hold a step button and play the note or chord. That easy.

  • Interesting thread!

  • holy mackerel! that would be brilliant!


    I need to reread the thread about the clips. admittedly just skimmed and glazed over with all of the ideas being tossed around. I'm not sure I follow what the proposed concept is. similar to Live? or cooler? I hope it's cooler because I'm really not a fan of the ableton approach.

  • edited September 5
  • btw. I like the idea of dynamically growing clips as you record.

  • 100%!! In ableton it’s nice not to have to calculate/specify clip length ahead of recording. Be great to see this in Drambo :)

  • Turning overdub on or off can help if you do want to record a set amount of bars. With the pyramid a dynamic growing clip is optional, which I like very much.

  • edited September 5

    personally, I'm not a big fan of static loops, and I don't find piano rolls inspiring to work with. so perhaps the idea of clips just isn't for me to begin with. I've always found ableton's clips to be stifling. "Disableton" might be a more accurate name when it comes to actually finishing tracks in it. Since moving to hardware and iOS combo for a faster sequencing flow has been much more fun and has led to finishing things.

    In ableton, I feel like I have to trick a clip it into having movement and life. Assigning LFOs using max and such is pretty clunky and hard to keep track of what's doing what, not to mention so limited in what they can modulate. Why can't I modulate the clip length with another midi clip or an LFO?

    I want to be able to modulate anything with any midi automation lane. midi fx should be much more robust for how expensive the software is. I know there's max plugins etc, but you'd think there'd be more killer built-in midi fx like game of life clip mutators and things like that. I like the follow actions alright but find it weird how they're pretty buried and again kinda basic.

    Don't get me wrong, I like Live for certain things, but I just don't find it lives up to its name. Too much fussing with menus and clicking around to do relatively basic stuff in realtime. I end up using it more as a normal DAW. But again, I'm not so interested in loops that repeat ad nauseum. I like things to evolve and move. Of course it can be done, it just doesn't really encourage that kind of thing. misses the quick-footed improvisational flow that make music creation fun for me. Drambo is so much more promising to me in that regard.

    Most of all, Live can't do microtuning natively, so that's a dealbreaker 😑

    ...of course even if Drambo did borrow from ableton's clip approach, Drambo already solves many of my annoyances with Live so I'm sure it would be much more fun and with that superb Drambo FLOW. I would only hope that Drambo's clips are more.. modular in their conception. I guess I'll quit writing and go read that thread so I actually know what the hell y'all are talking about. 😁

  • edited September 5

    Interesting.

    I'm more like you, I just want an invisible linear sequencer. (my best experience was first Cakewalk, then trackers and Logic).

    One downside of clips is that they are not compatible with linear song representation. In Live we have 2 separate perspectives, that I perceive as a mess. 

    Deluge has interesting approach. There are no clips, but regular regions like in DAW. You see a standard regions arrangement. But.. regions may be launched separately like clips.

  • edited September 5

    Im not a fan of clips for drambo really although they make sense in a DAW and i use them alot. However if this is happening drambo Absolutely need overdub and overwrite on clips.

    i dont want to be editing ever expanding clips when i can just jam over the same predetermined clip lenght.

  • edited September 5

    Yes, rec behaviour will be configurable..

    Its nothing new..

    • Scenes are like Patterns now
    • Clip is just a track in a Scene (pattern)


  • edited September 5

    As currently we dont have an overwrite mode so nice to see that implementation before clips.

  • @TheInvisibleMan Yes... currently overwrite mode is like holding CLR button and play a sequence while recording :)

  • edited September 5

    Yep, in the next live release indeed

    Can you add a on/off function to CLR then, or an overwrite option in the settings so this is clear for people to use?

    Sorry a little off subject now. I guess

  • edited September 5

    i think its rather like Recording: overdub , replace or overwrite

  • I think rec options should be visible on the main screen.

  • edited September 5

    Considering how many people work with Ableton clips a lot, it seems that there's enough preference of clips over linear tracks. It's a personal thing for sure.

    I don't like linear tracks at all but indeed, when working with patterns, there has to be a means to add some variation to avoid the typical repetitiveness of patterns. That's where the Once and Scene conditions kick in.

    When composing in Drambo, I rather tend to extend existing pattern lengths though and add variation by deleting a few notes and adding new ones. The fact that existing bars are duplicated into the new extended bars is very, very helpful.

  • yes! I've mentioned this a few times and I'll mention it again. Would love if this were always there on the center panel. either a little menu, or better yet, little icons for quick access, and so you can see what the settings are at all times.

    Of course there's always a risk of UI clutter, but this is very pertinent information! Right now it's out of sight, out of mind.

  • Yes, I agree - it's super useful the way Drambo deals with extending a pattern.

    I realize people love loop based music, and that right now it seems to be clips vs piano roll. My argument is that both of those run into the problem of being too fixed. They shape the music that can be made.

    I think there's a way to offer more flexibility. not throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but using the strong points from existing systems.

    My issue with clips in Ableton is that they exist as little islands. whether they are audio or midi, they can't speak to one another, you can only jump from one to another and then iron out the seams. You can't easily have one clip modulate the tempo of the entire piece (rubato). Or when a note is triggered, it triggers a fifth down 50% of the time on another clip, Or to be able to slap a single chain of midi filters and direct it to a handful of tracks (can you?). You can't even have two midi clips playing on the same track simultaneously! What's up with that!?

    Abelton's most glaring problem is that the clips / arrange views are two separate worlds that get easily messed up when you attempt to bridge them. Not very intuitive and took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out how to use the linear and clip views together. I agree with @giku that it's still a hot mess after all these years.

    So we would want: flexibility and and intuitive interface in which clips can flow into one another and influence each other. perhaps we can brainstorm ways to integrate both the clips and linear models in a way that doesn't feel constrained.

    I'd like to hear more about how the deluge handles this. sounds intriguing.

  • Bitwig implementation of clips is superior to Ableton and works together with the linear track well as this design allows.

  • @TheInvisibleMan thanks, I've never messed with it. I'm going to try the demo.

  • oh wow! that's a pretty robust microtuning module! Incredible.

    I've been avoiding looking at bitwig because I didn't want to drop money on another piece of software. But it looks pretty well thought out.

  • Bitwig is great. Unfortunately crashes a lot on both of my macs and UI is quite slow.

  • edited September 6

    Never ever crashed for me, I use a PC. When was the last time you used it?

    im not a heavy user currently as I'm in transition from Ableton to bitwig so I hope I dont bump into this.

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