Eurorack Pitch + Gate Sequencer Module Comparison

Martin Doudoroff

Related discussion thread: heavy duty pitch + gate sequencer module comparison (MuffWiggler forum)

2018-09-19 added René 2
2018-07-30 added Pittsburgh and Random Source sequencers, misc updates
2018-04-26 misc updates, added Red Light District, Varigate 4+, and Lifeforms Micro Sequence
2017-11-01 updates to FLXS1, added Squarp and 1010Music Toolbox
2017-08-15 NerdSeq updates
2017-07-03 Corrections
2017-06-29 Added column on gate sequencing features; added Rene, Popcorn and Mattson sq816
2017-06-18 Rough draft
2017-06-19 Various tweaks and additions

Introduction

There are many sequencer-related modules for Eurorack. This comparison is rather picky, focusing on heavier-duty, melodic-oriented designs with fairly complete gate sequencing ability It includes pretty much everything at the “high end” and excludes pretty much all simpler “utility sequencers”.

This comparison can never be more than a starting place for further research—these modules are amongst the most complex in Eurorack and they are extremely hard to compare fairly and accurately—they each have design biases reflecting different priorities and ideas about “process” (how you work with them). Most of these modules have tons of features that I cannot even begin to describe here. Do your homework. Sequencers are intensely personal tools.

The Steps (UI basis/max pattern length) column describes the number of steps the interface facilitates for editing at one time versus the (max) number of steps in a pattern. This provides a clue about how “playable” or how much “windowing” is going on working with and navigating your sequence.

The UI Style column is an attempt to broadly categorize the operational styles of these different designs:

The Gate handling column is an attempt to characterize how the sequencer treats gates. All these sequencers emit (or at least pass through) gates of some sort, but they vary wildly in capabilities and style. Perhaps most critically, some attempt to provide per-step control over gate length, whereas most do not. Per-step gate length can be critical for use with ADSR- and ASR-envelopes, but this capability often implies a more complex, programmatic user interface for the sequencer.

Comparison

ProductStyleSteps (UI basis/max pattern length)TracksPer track outsGate handlingRatcheting/repeatCV insHPShippingApprox. Price (USD)Additional Notes
1010Music Toolbox

Modular Grid >
Web site >
GUI 64 8 1 cv
1 gate
per step 4 assignable 26 Yes 600
  • MIDI interface
  • rhythm sequencer
  • function generators (LFOs)
  • cv recorder
Audio Damage Sequencer 1

Modular Grid >
Web site >
x0x 16/64 1 1 pitch
3 cv
1 gate
1 aux
per step length; accent ratcheting 2 assignable 36 Yes 699
  • lots of internal modulation options
Bastl Instruments Popcorn

Modular Grid >
Web site >
classic 8 1 1 cv
1 gate
per step on/off; global gate length 1 assignable 10 Yes 263
  • requires external clock
  • dual clock inputs supports bi-directional clocking
  • cv and expanders available
  • chain two for 16 steps
Copper Traces Seek

Modular Grid >
Web site >
x0x 1/64 1 1 cv
1 gate
1 accent
per step on/off; accent 12 Yes 299
  • extensive randomization features
Detroit Underground DU-SEQ

Modular Grid >
Web site >
classic 8/8 1 1 cv
1 gate
per step pulse, ratchet, hold or pass-through repeat 2 playback modifier gate ins 30 Yes 500
  • analog
  • no built-in quantizer or storage
ProductStyleSteps (UI basis/max pattern length)TracksPer track outsGate handlingRatcheting/repeatCV insHPShippingApprox. Price (USD)Additional Notes
Doepfer A-155

Modular Grid >
Web site >
classic 8/8 1 1 cv
1 gate
3 trig
per step trigger and/or gate (three trigger buses) 50 Yes 375
  • analog
  • expander available
  • no built-in quantizer or storage
Five12 Vector

Modular Grid >
Web site >
Cirklon-ish 8/16 2-6 1 cv
1 gate
1 mod
per step length; velocity ratcheting 2 assignable 42 Yes 699
  • hardware implementation of Numerology
  • extensive MIDI support
  • two additional MIDI-out-only tracks
  • expander adds more track outs and gate outs
Golt Red Light District

Modular Grid >
Web site >
classic 12/32 2 1 cv
1-2 gates
per step on/off (three gate buses) play mode 84 Yes 900
  • MIDI clocking focus
  • unique gate timing features
Industrial Music Electronics Stillson Hammer Mk II

Modular Grid >
hybrid 16/16* 4 1 cv
1 gate
per step length and delay ratcheting 1 tempo, 2 assignable, 1 cv record in 32 Yes 666
  • per-step delay
  • cv outs can double as gate outs for up to 8-tracks of drum sequencing
  • *sliders do not always reflect state
Intellijel Metropolis

Modular Grid >
Web site >
classic 8/8 1 1 cv
1 gate
per step pulse, ratchet or hold repeat 2 assignable 34 Yes 580
  • shuffle
  • transpose
ProductStyleSteps (UI basis/max pattern length)TracksPer track outsGate handlingRatcheting/repeatCV insHPShippingApprox. Price (USD)Additional Notes
Make Noise René

Modular Grid >
Web site >
classic 16 1 2 cv
2 gate (sort of)
per step pulse or pass-through (see notes) 6 multipurpose 34 Yes 500
  • requires external clock
  • dual clock inputs supports dual-axis sequencing
  • more a gate processor than gate sequencer (conditionally generates pulses or passes through and merges externally-generated gates)
  • separate aux cv output (arcane)
Make Noise René 2

Modular Grid >
Web site >
hybrid 16 3 1 cv
1 gate
trigger or pass-through 5 multipurpose 34 Yes 525
  • requires external clock(s)
  • multiple clock inputs supports multi-axis sequencing
  • z-axis supports sequencing through states
Malekko Heavy Industry Varigate 8+

Modular Grid >
Web site >
hybrid 16/16* 2 1 cv
1 gate
per step on/off and delay ratcheting 1 randomization gate, 1 cv record in 26 Yes 549
  • provides additional six gate-only tracks
  • probability features
  • *sliders do not always reflect state
Malekko Heavy Industry Varigate 4+

Modular Grid >
Web site >
hybrid 8 2 1 cv
1 gate
per step on/off 12 Yes 279
  • can be four gate channels, four cv channels, or 2 gate+cv channels
  • integrates with Varigate 8+ and Voltage Block
Mattson sq816

Modular Grid >
Web site >
classic 8 or 16 2 or 1 1 cv
1 gate
plus extra per-step gate outs
global pulse, hold or pass-through 1 transpose cv, 1 clock rate cv 52 Yes 970
  • midi output
  • gated run control
ProductStyleSteps (UI basis/max pattern length)TracksPer track outsGate handlingRatcheting/repeatCV insHPShippingApprox. Price (USD)Additional Notes
Modcan Touch Sequencer

Modular Grid >
Web site >
GUI 8/64 4 1 cv
1 gate
per step length 1 assignable 21 Yes 600
  • touchscreen UI (some users may need a stylus)
Monome Teletype

Modular Grid >
Web site >
GUI/Tracker 64+ 4 1 cv
1 gate
programmable ratcheting, repeat 1 assignable trigger, 1 assignable gate 18 Yes 480
  • additional outputs per track available with expander
  • reliant on external QWERTY keyboard for programming (included)
Ornament & Crime

Modular Grid >
Web site >
GUI 16/64 2 1 cv
1 gate
per step on/off; global length 4 assignable 14 Yes (DIY) 300 (approx)
  • requires external clock
  • includes other sequencing-related programs
Orthogonal Devices ER-101

Web site >
per-step window 1/99+ 4 2 cv
1 gate
per step length ratcheting, repeat (de facto) various part selection, assignable modulation and cv recording options with ER-201 expander 26 Yes 600
  • requires external clock
  • ER-102 expander adds addressable parts, CV modulation, various CV recording features, and SD card storage
Pittsburgh Lifeforms Micro Sequence

Modular Grid >
Web site >
hybrid 8 1 2 cv
1 gate
per step on/off ratcheting 1 assignable gate input 10 Yes 199
  • various playback modes, including self-transposition
ProductStyleSteps (UI basis/max pattern length)TracksPer track outsGate handlingRatcheting/repeatCV insHPShippingApprox. Price (USD)Additional Notes
Pittsburgh Sequence Designer 128

Modular Grid >
hybrid 32 4 1 cv
1 gate
per-track length ratcheting, repeat 2 assignable 47 No 649
  • midi support
  • quantization
  • euclidean and random features
  • more
Random*Source Serge Sequencer 8 XL

Modular Grid >
Web site >
classic 8 2 1 cv
shared gate
per step pulse direction, hold 42 Yes 630
  • per step gate outs
Rossum Electro-Music Control Forge

Modular Grid >
Web site >
GUI/per-step window 8 1 1 cv
2 trigger/gate
no per step control; global length arbitrary behavioral logic yes (it’s complicated) 22 Yes 499
  • really an arbitrary function generator, but can be operated as a step sequencer
Squarp Hermod Modular Brain

Modular Grid >
Web site >
Tracker 1-256 8 configurable per step length TBD four configurable inputs 26 Yes 460
  • tracks can be configured for polyphonic or velocity/aftertouch use
  • so-called cv effects
  • MIDI interface
  • cv recording
Transister Sound Labs Stepper Acid

Modular Grid >
Web site >
x0x 16/16 1 1 cv
1 gate
1 accent
per step on/off; accent 32 Yes 395
ProductStyleSteps (UI basis/max pattern length)TracksPer track outsGate handlingRatcheting/repeatCV insHPShippingApprox. Price (USD)Additional Notes
Verbos Multistage

Modular Grid >
classic 8/8 1 1 cv
1 gate
per step on/off 30 Yes 549
  • analog
  • no built-in quantizer
  • really an arbitrary function generator, but can be operated as a step sequencer
Winter Modular Eloquencer

Modular Grid >
Web site >
GUI/x0x 16/16 8 1 cv
1 gate
per step length ratcheting, repeat 2 assignable 38 Yes 616
  • extensive random/probability features
XAOS Moskwa

Modular Grid >
Web site >
classic 8/8 1 1 cv
1 gate
per step length 20 Yes 349
  • no built-in quantizer
  • two units can be chained with expander for 16 step sequences
XOR-Electronics Nerdseq

Modular Grid >
Web site >
GUI/Tracker 16/64 6 1 cv
1 gate
1 mod
per step length ratcheting 4 assignable 32 Yes 590
  • probability
  • MIDI I/O with expander
  • tables
  • includes sample playback feature and synthesizer cartridge-based voice expanders
ZetaOhm FLXS1

Modular Grid >
Web site >
GUI/x0x 16/64 4 1 cv
1 gate
1 mod
per step length arpeggiation 4 assignable 26 Yes 699
  • extensive arpeggio features
  • LFOs
  • tracks individually clockable
  • MIDI I/O

External and partially-external alternatives with direct Eurorack integration

There are, of course, a zillion MIDI solutions available for Eurorack and related ways to control one’s rack. These are a selection of alternatives to either a heavy-duty sequencer module (per above) or a straight-up MIDI-style approach (i.e., these can produce CV):

Further alternatives

In addition, the modules below don’t quite belong in the above comparison but have been pointed out as being of potential interest:

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