Does this exist: A small, cheap sequencer kinda like OT's

As the title suggests, I’m looking for something to replace the OT in a live situation. I’m buying a TR-8 soonish, so I don’t have the need for the OT as a drum machine, which leads to it being just a sequencer for the Ambika (and maybe other synths I might buy).

What I need:

  • Pattern-based step sequencer with chord capability (4 simultaneous notes like on the OT is fine)
  • Doesn’t need a huge amount of tracks, 4 is fine.
  • Small size, preferably half of OT’s. I go to gigs with public transport, so I can’t take huge things with me, particularly not many of them
  • Really fast and easy to use. The actual sequencing can be complex, but playing back patterns must be really easy, so I won’t mess things up after a few free artist beers
  • Cheap-ish, partly to reduce the risk of someone spilling their drinks on my gear or other such accident. So no Cirklon
  • Preferably just a midi sequencer, not a sampler or a synth with midi sequencing capabilities. I’d like to keep it simple.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the OT and I’m not getting rid of it anytime soon. I just need a smaller, simpler, more specific device for techno live gigs, which are quite minimal in nature and don’t need 10 different pieces.

Any suggestions?

Alternatively, I’ll just keep using the OT and sample synth loops to it. Then I lose the ability to tweak synths live though.


Not sure if this is exactly of your interest, but reading about your needs I thought to show you…

Im building at the momment one of this MIDIBud units:

Its basically a redisign of the MIDIPal by Mutable Instruments, a “swiss army knife MIDI tool”… it does a lot more than sequencing 4 midi channels, drum algorythim sequencing, chord progressions, scales, midi splitting, MIDI CC´s, MIDI LFO´s, arpeggios, midi monitoring…

Really cheap, much more if you do it yourself… 90 euros I think if you buy it from MUTABLE instruments (allthough their version is more minimalistic and harder to program than MIDI Bud).

I hope to recieve the rest of components in 2 weeks so once I build it I might show here some of its functions!!

Hope it helps! :wink:

Try and find one of these second hand. Pretty much exactly what you want


you may have a look at this…i’m using the mb seq 4 (not the lite)…its amazing

I’d like to keep computers and ipads out of the equation.

Yamaha QY-70? It’s a small box with a very capable sequencer; it can run on batteries so you could even write music on public transport. That’s why I bought it when I was commuting to work by train.

See review here:

You could even buy mine if you wanted…

There’s not really anything small and cheap for decent pattern-based MIDI sequencing. I looked at this in-depth about a year ago and settled on the OT in the end. You might want to investigate the following options:

  • Yamaha RM1x
  • Analogue Solutions Europa
  • MPC 1000
  • Cirklon

If small is more important than features, then might work well for you.

Fyrd Matrix?

Arturia announced something pretty similar to your request at Musikmesse this year (honorary member :wink: ) , but i think you need a computer to assign everything before you can use it as a standalone device.
Another suggestion would be an mfb sequencer or as mentioned the midibox seq

I’ve got one of these and it’s oodles of fun but out of the box it won’t do chords. Drums + 1 monophonic line or 4 x monophonic lines are the only options. Apparently it’s hackable but I have no clue how hard it it is to hack or what it would take to turn it into a polyphonic sequencer.
The original is also surprisingly big(almost as big as an Octatrack) though the latest versions look a bit smaller.

the mb seq 4 looks really interesting! but i have no programming skills and my soldering experience is limited to making my own cables. has anybody here built one ? how complicated is it ?

You mean the Beatstep? I didn’t know it could sequence chords. Can it? If it can, it might be exactly what I need, and it’s basically free.

Mpc500 is good too. Battery powered as well.

That looks quite nice actually! Any idea how much they are on the 2nd hand market? I couldn’t find one on ebay.

Another DIY sequencer project:

That looks quite nice actually! Any idea how much they are on the 2nd hand market? I couldn’t find one on ebay.[/quote]
That’s because you can’t just sell your MIDIbox box:


sorry but it’s false. you’re allowed to build/sell up to ten midibox per year. the statement on the wiki is outdated for a long time now.

what you need for building a midibox seq 4 is
lxpresso 30euros
lxp midibox board+kit around 30 euros
wilba control board kit 130 euros if you can grab one or around 150 euros i think if you have to source it
ponoko case 100 euros (if it’s your choice).

no programming skill needed. easy build… just do it… i recntly sold one on elektronaut for around 500e i think…

i think you can have a look at the lite version, even ccheaper, and can maybe suit your needs…

Oh, that’s how people have been doing the cases! I’ve been thinking about making a MIDIBox Seq for a while and I was OK with the soldering etc. etc. but I was at a loss as to how do the case, because that looked like a whole project itself. I didn’t know about Ponoko,com, what a great site. Thanks very much for providing that missing piece of the puzzle.