Octatrack vs Make Noise René for Euro


I own a small Eurorack Setup. Just A 0 Coast and a few Add on Modules. I´m constantly thinking about Sequencing that little beast. Of Course I could always use the Octatrack via Midi but I like to concentrate on one piece of gear, so a Euro Hardware sequencer could be great.

Now there is Make Noise Rene which seems to be pretty cool but also pretty expensive. And I can not find out if you can control the Gate length to pull Notes over serveral Steps. All I´m seeing is 16th step bleeps.

Can someone elaborate why he or she choose an Eurorack sequencer or Rene specific over sequencing with the Octatrack or Ableton. Why and what do you gain for benefits?

There are a couple of different sequencer concepts for the Eurorack:

  • Traditional step sequencers providing 4 to 64 steps, or even more (like Eloquencer, Hermod, Metropolis, Circadian Rhythms)
  • Tracker (like the NerdSeq)
  • West-Coast inspired sequencers with special concepts (like René or USTA)

Unfortunately they all don’t come cheap.

I use traditional and west-coast inspired sequencers for different reasons.

I use the René when I want to get more experimental. The René allows for 16 steps to be used in various playing modes, which can be modulated in very creative ways and additionally it is a performance sequencer as well.

It’s hard for me to explain this in short terms … but I wouldn’t use René to built a standard pattern of notes, but to generate a complex and creative use of the 16 steps in a live performance, or by applying CV modulation to walk all those steps in a crisscross manner, if this makes sense.

A combination of the Glide and Seek/Sleep modes should do this.

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So you would always go for multiple sequencers for different purposes? So using Octa for traditional sequencing and combining it with say something like the rene?

since rene is following the gate length on the input Clock if i am not mistaken it should also be possible to clock rene from a Octatrack midi sequence with different gate length and it should follow just fine?

Yes … but don’t get me wrong … the Elektron sequencers are very deep and give us much more then other traditional n-step sequencers. But the Elektrons follow always the sequence step after step, where René can “jump around”, run in circles, or snakes, follow a CV modulation.

Interesting are also sequencers on the basis of a Buchla 250e (Arbitrary Function Generator), which seems to be the inspiration for the USTA for Eurorack. The steps are “events” and can have their lenght and flow per step. There is even an option to have subpatterns, which may loop some events and after a given number of turnarounds continue with the other events. That’s what a traditional linear working step-sequencer will not do.

It’s all about the purpose and the musical intention, which call for the different functionalities … :wink:

BTW … if you really like to go nuts with a great sequencer for modular systems, check out the Komplex Sequencer by Koma Elektronik. It provides four single “tracks” (sequencers), which can even be nested and control each other. That`s sequencing mayhem :smiley:

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Also cool are sequencer like the Roland M158 from the System 100m. You have stages, that can be set to different lengths and the sequence runs through those stages.
Only after a stage is completed, the seq progresses to the next one unlike a traditional step seq, that progresses through the sequence with a constant tempo.

Intellijel has one for euro, the Metropolis.


The metropolis looks like one of the most fun/handson sequencers available.
I wish it could sequence more than one voice. And it seems quite expansive compared to other sequencers that can do a lot more.
Would love to try it though. It seems very popular, I really wonder why there is no midi alternative for a broader market. Companies could even take this concept and build it into standalone synths.

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Faderfox SC4 :content:

There are also a few Max4Live M158 style sequencers. Not very hands on ofc, but fun nonetheless.
This one or this one for example.

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There are loads of Eurorack sequencers which in my mind are nothing more than something that can spit out a few notes in loop. Rene included. Many of them will need other sequencers and other modules to make anything useful of them. Renes UI is also abysmal. I sold mine.

If you want something that can actually make proper tracks, your options are much more limited. I use the Nerdseq with success for this.

Thanks. Will look into that.

Tried them all, but as you mentioned, the handson part is missing :slight_smile:

To OP:
It really depends on what you want from a sequencer.
There are so many choices in eurorack, that differ vastly.
I would only get a Rene if I was exactly after the features it offers.
You have to make sure what style of sequencing you want, and then check what available Eurorack sequencers offer. Otherwise the OT might be fine. Its p-lockable and lfo modulatable Arp is quite powerful, and gives you generative sequencing as well, if you are after that.
You would save quite a lot of cost and space when using the OT and a good midi to cv module. There are great options available.
It’s also important to know how many voices you want to sequence (sorry if I missed that).
If I would build a system right now, I would get the Five12 Vector Sequencer. Looks super handson and extremely powerful. People also praise the Nerdseq, which has a tracker interface. I haven’t looked into that.

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But there’s something about a sequencer, you can actually perform with, no matter how limited in features compared to others it may be.
Especially if you already have a good sequencing eco system with which you ‘arrange’ your tracks.

You seem to have missed the function and logic pages of the René :wink:

Even an applied LFO or envelope can create various paths through the steps. Then we can have different quantized pitches. If those are changed during a performance, the walk through the steps can create very different tunes.

TBH … I am guilty of reading the manual and practicing for some time to get my head around this sequencer :wink:

To me control would be the most useful thing. Rene seems to fun, but i would not gain much from mixing the pattern up by just taking a different route through the notes. What I would make the most use of is retrigger for gates, different gate length and a few parameters per step to say modulate decay and attack of envelopes. Also midi would not be my first choice there seems not that much in euro that can do that simple. Maybe the varigates, but their interface dosen‘t seem like that much fun.

Sadly midi retrigs on octatrack are just possible through arp :frowning:

they are also available without arp

have i missed something?

you find trig counts in the microsteps menu

This makes sense.

There is another method I use live. Setting the pitches to be quantized values, I just twiddle the knobs and change the logic functions. We can activate and deactivate steps on the fly, which gives us many creative variations to perform on a René.

Something very differrent: the sequencer of the Circuit Monostation: Yes, it’s not modular, but it can be used to sequence CV with it’s third track. It’s very hands on for selecting start/end points of a pattern, speed and direction etc. which make it very playable. I use it a lot with my 0-coast. And not expensive :wink:

Are there retrigs on Rene?

OT arp will blow your mind. Not as tactile as euro but still very cool

I use the Octatrack with CV OCD as a midi/cv/gate converter and a Rene v1. It’s a great combo. One thing I like doing is using the Octatrack to sequence Rene by sending gates to Rene’s X and Y inputs. Lots of fun. Also a Rene v1 can be had for around $200 these days which is a steal.