Eurorack Pitch + Gate Sequencer Module Comparison

Martin Doudoroff

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

Latest

2021-04-08 errata
2021-02-15 added Intellijel Metropolix
2021-01-23 minor updates
2021-01-03 added Intellijel Tete+Tetrapad
2020-12-19 added D&D Modules Heaven 16
2020-12-12 added Extralife Super Sixteen, other updates
2020-10-25 added Ladik S-280
Show full revision history

Introduction

It is important to understand that this comparison is quite picky, focusing on complex, all-in-one (“battleship”), melodic-oriented sequencers with fairly complete gate sequencing ability. It includes pretty much everything at the “high end” and excludes pretty much all simpler “utility sequencers”.

The Eurorack market offers a huge number (dozens, even hundreds) of comparatively simple “utility sequencers” that vary wildly in design and features. None of them are included in this comparison. Some of these “utility sequencers” store or generate variable CV levels, while others specialize in gate generation (gate sequencers). Any “simpler” sequencers can be patched together with each other and in combination with virtually any other Eurorack utility modules to create a custom pitch and gate sequence, often with interesting and idiosyncratic characteristics that cannot be achieved by relying on the all-in-one tools listed here. This modular, patching-centric approach to creating sequences can be more hands-on, immediate, and rewarding. So, please do not assume that you need any of the products listed on this page in order to make melodic music with your synthesizer.

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, many attempt to provide per-step control over gate length. 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.

A few sequencers even provide for variable step length, meaning each step can have a duration of variable length, and within that duration, a gate of variable length. This approach, while more complex, makes more sophisticated phrasing (or “groove”) possible. Some of these designs will use the term “stage” in place of “step”.

Below the comparison is a directory of additional tools of potential interest that do not fit in the comparison.

Comparison

ProductStyleSteps (UI basis/max pattern length)TracksPer track outsGate handlingRatcheting/repeatCV insHPShippingApprox. Price (USD)Additional Notes
1010Music Toolbox
2017

Modular Grid >
Web site >
GUI 64 8 1 cv
1 gate
variable gate length per step 4 assignable 26 Yes 600
  • MIDI interface
  • rhythm sequencer
  • function generators (LFOs)
  • cv recorder
Audio Damage Sequencer 1
2014

Modular Grid >
Web site >
x0x 16/64 1 1 pitch
3 cv
1 gate
1 aux
variable gate length per step; accent ratcheting 2 assignable 36 (discontinued but readily available) 699
  • lots of internal modulation options
Bastl Instruments Popcorn
2017

Modular Grid >
Web site >
classic 8 1 1 cv
1 gate
gate on/off per step; global variable 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
Befaco Muxlicer
2017

Modular Grid >
Web site >
classic 8 1 1 cv
1 gate (but there’s more to it than that)
gate on/off per step or half-step length on/off per step ratcheting various, patch programmable 16 Yes 225
  • combines eight step sequencing with bi-directional sequential switch functions, gate generation, and clock generation
Behringer System 100 – 182 Sequencer
2019

Modular Grid >
Web site >
classic 8 or 16 1 1 or 2 cv
1 gate
manual gate length knob; ch-2 pots control stage length in “parallel” mode 16 Yes 99
ProductStyleSteps (UI basis/max pattern length)TracksPer track outsGate handlingRatcheting/repeatCV insHPShippingApprox. Price (USD)Additional Notes
Behringer System 55 – 960 Sequential Controller
2019

Modular Grid >
Web site >
classic 8 3 1 cv variable stage length per step (via third row of knobs), but no gate/trigger bus 56 Yes 140
  • separate gate output at each step and clock output, but no real gate sequencing features
  • third row can control stage length
  • pairs with 962 Sequential Switch to create 16 or 24 step sequences
Circlefade CFM1
2019

Modular Grid >
Web site >
GUI 16/64 6 configurable variable gate length per step 52 Yes 370
  • touchscreen UI
  • MIDI sequencer
Copper Traces Seek
2017

Modular Grid >
Web site >
x0x 1/64 1 1 cv
1 gate
1 accent
gate on/off per step; accent 12 (discontinued) 299
  • extensive randomization features
D & D Modules Heaven 16
2020

Modular Grid >
Web site >
classic 8 or 16 1-2 1 cv
2 gates
clock duty cycle transpose 27 Yes 360
  • cycle repeats
  • two gate buses
Detroit Underground DU-SEQ
2016

Modular Grid >
Web site >
classic 8/8 1 1 cv
1 gate
pulse, ratchet, hold or pass-through per step repeat 2 playback modifier gate ins 30 (discontinued) 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
2012

Modular Grid >
Web site >
classic 8/8 2 2 cv
1 gate
3 trig
trigger and/or gate on/off (three trigger buses) per step 50 Yes 375
  • analog
  • expander available
  • glide features
  • no built-in quantizer or storage
endorphin.es Ground Control
2019

Modular Grid >
x0x 64/64 3 (plus 8 triggers) 1 cv
1 gate
variable gate length per step, TBD TBD 4 assignable 42 No TBD
  • quantized mutes
  • extensive MIDI support including recording
  • 2 octave “keyboard”
Erica Black Sequencer
2019
Cirklon-ish 16/64 4 1 cv
1 gate
1 mod (assignable
including envelope generation)
variable gate length per step, TBD ratcheting, repeat TBD 38 Yes 610
  • MIDI support including recording
  • microtonal tunings
  • pattern chaining
Extralife Instruments Super Sixteen
2020

Modular Grid >
Web site >
x0x 16/64 1 1 cv
1 gate
1 velocity
variable gate length per step beat-repeat and stutter “effects” 20 Yes 350 (or DIY)
  • open source/open hardware
  • swing
  • randomization
Five12 Vector
2018

Modular Grid >
Web site >
Cirklon-ish 8/16–64 2 to 6 (plus MIDI) 1 cv
1 gate
1 mod (with some assignability)
variable gate length within variable step length per step; velocity ratcheting, repeat 2 assignable, plus assorted trigger inputs on expander 42 Yes 700
  • extensive MIDI support including two additional MIDI-out-only tracks
  • chord sequencer
  • drum sequencer
  • expander adds more track outs and gate outs
  • built-in Launchpad support
ProductStyleSteps (UI basis/max pattern length)TracksPer track outsGate handlingRatcheting/repeatCV insHPShippingApprox. Price (USD)Additional Notes
Frap Tools USTA
2019

Modular Grid >
Web site >
hybrid 16 4 2 cv
2 gate
variable gate length within variable step length per step ratcheting 2 assignable 36 Yes 750
  • fully-independent tracks
  • cross-pattern looping
  • scale/root quantization
  • microtonal support
  • cv recording
Golt Red Light District
2018

Modular Grid >
Web site >
classic 12/32 2 1 cv
1-2 gates
gate on/off per step (three gate buses) play mode 84 Yes 900
  • MIDI clocking focus
  • unique gate timing features
Industrial Music Electronics Stillson Hammer Mk II
2015

Modular Grid >
hybrid 16/16* 4 1 cv
1 gate
variable gate length per step; 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
2012

Modular Grid >
Web site >
classic 8/8 1 1 cv
1 gate
pulse, ratchet or hold per step repeat 2 assignable 34 Yes 580
  • shuffle
  • transpose
Intellijel Metropolix
2021

Modular Grid >
Web site >
hybrid 8/8 2 1 cv
1 gate
plus assignable mod outputs
per step length ratcheting, repeat 3 assignable 34 Yes 580
  • eight subsequencers, probability and pitch manipulation features
  • gate expander
ProductStyleSteps (UI basis/max pattern length)TracksPer track outsGate handlingRatcheting/repeatCV insHPShippingApprox. Price (USD)Additional Notes
Intellijel Tetrapad + Tete
2019

Modular Grid >
Web site >
GUI 256 1 1 cv
1 gate
plus many more depending on mode
variable gate length per step looping 3 assignable cv, 3 assignable gate 28 Yes 600
  • 4 position- and pressure-sensitive pads
  • per-step sequencing or real time recording/looping
  • chord generator
  • many other functions out of scope of this document
Ladik S-280
2020

Modular Grid >
Web site >
classic 8/8 1 or 2 2 cv
2 gate
variable gate length per step or per sequence repeat 32 Yes 260
  • basic semitone quantization available on-board
Livestock Electronics Shepard
2019
x0x 16/256 6 4 assignable TBD TBD 4 assignable 28 No 650 (approx)
  • each track has four assignable outputs PER STEP (pitch, arpeggiators, gates, triggers, synced lfo, free lfo, adsr envelope or ad envelope)
  • mutes
Make Noise René
2012

Modular Grid >
Web site >
classic 16 1 2 cv
2 gate (sort of)
pulse or pass-through per step (see notes) 6 multipurpose 34 (discontinued but readily available) 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
2018

Modular Grid >
Web site >
hybrid 16 3 1 cv
1 gate
trigger or pass-through per step 5 multipurpose 34 Yes 525
  • requires external clock(s)
  • multiple clock inputs supports multi-axis sequencing
  • z-axis supports sequencing through states
ProductStyleSteps (UI basis/max pattern length)TracksPer track outsGate handlingRatcheting/repeatCV insHPShippingApprox. Price (USD)Additional Notes
Malekko Heavy Industry Varigate 8+
2016

Modular Grid >
Web site >
hybrid 16/16* 2 1 cv
1 gate
gate on/off per step; 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+
2017

Modular Grid >
Web site >
hybrid 8 2 1 cv
1 gate
gate on/off per step 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
2013

Modular Grid >
Web site >
classic 8 or 16 2 or 1 1 cv
1 gate
plus extra per-step gate outs
pulse, hold or pass-through, globally 1 transpose cv, 1 clock rate cv 52 Yes 970
  • midi output
  • gated run control
Modcan Touch Sequencer
2012

Modular Grid >
Web site >
GUI 8/64 4 1 cv
1 gate
variable gate length within variable step length per step 1 assignable 21 Yes 600
  • touchscreen UI (some users may need a stylus)
Monome Teletype
2015

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)
ProductStyleSteps (UI basis/max pattern length)TracksPer track outsGate handlingRatcheting/repeatCV insHPShippingApprox. Price (USD)Additional Notes
Oakley Eight Stage Sequencer
2019

Modular Grid >
Web site >
classic 8 2 1 cv
1 gate
gate on/off per step (two gate buses) 2 transpose 50 Yes (DIY) 280
  • multi-step “parallel loading” feature
Ornament & Crime
2016

Modular Grid >
Web site >
GUI 16/64 2 1 cv
1 gate
gate on/off per step; global gate length 4 assignable 14 Yes (DIY) 300 (approx)
  • requires external clock
  • includes other sequencing-related programs
Orthogonal Devices ER-101
2013

Web site >
per-step window 1/99+ 4 2 cv
1 gate
variable gate length within variable step length per step 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
2017

Modular Grid >
Web site >
hybrid 8 1 2 cv
1 gate
gate on/off per step ratcheting 1 assignable gate input 10 Yes 199
  • various playback modes, including self-transposition
Qu-bit Bloom
2019

Modular Grid >
Web site >
hybrid 8/32 2 1 cv
1 gate
variable gate length per step repeat transpose, various inputs for controlling and navigating pattern variations 16 Yes 330
  • derives recursive, ephemeral, navigable melodic variations on a seed melodic pattern
ProductStyleSteps (UI basis/max pattern length)TracksPer track outsGate handlingRatcheting/repeatCV insHPShippingApprox. Price (USD)Additional Notes
Qu-bit Octone
2016

Modular Grid >
Web site >
classic 8 1 1 cv
1 gate
gate on/off per step; global gate length ratcheting 10 Yes 330
  • quantizer
  • special features when two Octones connected together
Random*Source Serge Sequencer 8 XL
2018

Modular Grid >
Web site >
classic 8 2 1 cv
shared gate
pulse per step direction, hold 42 Yes 630
  • per step gate outs
Rossum Electro-Music Control Forge
2017

Modular Grid >
Web site >
GUI/per-step window 8 1 1 cv
2 trigger/gate
global gate length arbitrary behavioral logic yes (it’s complicated) 22 Yes 499
  • really an arbitrary function generator, but can be operated as a step sequencer
RYK Modular M185
2020

Modular Grid >
Web site >
classic 8* 2 1 cv
1 gate
hold, off, or various patterns per step various patterns 30 Yes 590
  • MIDI clock and out
  • supports microtonal scales
  • can sort of do 16 step sequences by chaining the two tracks
  • also available DIY
SDS Digital Sequarallel
2020

Modular Grid >
Web site >
Tracker 64/2000+ 4 1 cv
1 gate
1 mod (or 12 drum triggers)
variable gate length per step various ratcheting behaviors 2-3 assignable 8 No 240
  • extensive MIDI I/O features including recording
  • probability features
ProductStyleSteps (UI basis/max pattern length)TracksPer track outsGate handlingRatcheting/repeatCV insHPShippingApprox. Price (USD)Additional Notes
Squarp Hermod Modular Brain
2017

Modular Grid >
Web site >
Tracker 1-256 8 configurable variable gate length per step ratcheting four configurable inputs 26 Yes 460
  • tracks can be configured for polyphonic or velocity/aftertouch use
  • so-called cv effects
  • MIDI interface
  • cv recording
  • arpeggio features
Tesseract Modular Step Fader
2019

Modular Grid >
Web site >
classic 8/16 1 or 2 1 cv
2 gates
gate on/off per step (two gate buses) 26 Yes 200
  • glide feature
  • can run as two separate sequencers, one sequencer with two cv rows, or as a single 16-step sequencer
Transister Sound Labs Stepper Acid
2014

Modular Grid >
Web site >
x0x 16/16 1 1 cv
1 gate
1 accent
gate on/off per step; accent 32 Yes 395
Verbos Multistage
2014

Modular Grid >
Web site >
classic 8/8 1 1 cv
1 gate
gate on/off per step 30 Yes 549
  • analog
  • no built-in quantizer
  • really an arbitrary function generator, but can be operated as a step sequencer
Westlicht Per|Former
2019

Modular Grid >
Web site >
GUI 16/64 8 1 cv
1 gate
variable gate length per step ratcheting 4 assignable 34 Yes (DIY)
  • MIDI
  • modulation tracks
  • deep feature set
ProductStyleSteps (UI basis/max pattern length)TracksPer track outsGate handlingRatcheting/repeatCV insHPShippingApprox. Price (USD)Additional Notes
Winter Modular Eloquencer
2017

Modular Grid >
Web site >
GUI/x0x 16/256 8 1 cv
1 gate
variable gate length per step ratcheting, repeat 2 assignable 38 Yes 616
  • extensive random/probability features
  • MIDI expander available
WMD Metron + Voltera
2019

Modular Grid >
Web site >
x0x 16/256 4 to 64 1 cv (see notes) variable gate length per step ratcheting 2 assignable 40 Yes 850
  • sophisticated gate sequencer with cv track expander (4 channels per Voltera expander)
  • note that gate and CV tracks are independent—Metron has 16 gate tracks, plus 16 accent tracks with the optional Axxent expander
  • up to 64 cv channels possible with additional Volteras
  • optional scale quantization
XAOS Moskwa
2012

Modular Grid >
Web site >
classic 8/8 1 1 cv
1 gate
variable gate length per step 20 Yes 349
  • no built-in quantizer
  • two units can be chained with expander for 16 step sequences
XOR-Electronics Nerdseq
2016

Modular Grid >
Web site >
GUI/Tracker 16/64 6 1 cv
1 gate
1 mod (assignable
including envelope generation)
variable gate length within variable step length per step ratcheting 4 assignable 32 Yes 590
  • probability
  • additional CV output expanders
  • MIDI I/O with expander
  • subsequencers (tables)
  • includes sample playback feature and synthesizer cartridge-based voice expanders
  • Launchpad and game controller support with expander
ZetaOhm FLXS1
2017

Modular Grid >
Web site >
GUI/x0x 16/64 4 1 cv
1 gate
1 mod
variable gate length per step arpeggiation 4 assignable 26 Discontinued 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 all produce CV):

Additional Eurorack modules

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

• • •