Video: MIDI Sequencers, Past and Present

Distilled down to the basics, the job of a MIDI sequencer is to listen to the notes you play through your controller, record them, and play them back exactly as inputted. As Reverb's Justin DeLay notes in the video above, it can get more complicated and specific than that as you dig into playing styles and methodologies, but its job serving as a note-recorder is the core idea.

Toraiz Squid Multitrack Sequencer
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Now, as Justin also explains, the DAW software that you're using has a powerful and mature MIDI sequencer that can definitely serve those most basic functions outlined above (and more). But today, we're going to be focusing specifically on hardware sequencers.

Kicking off with what most people know for being a powerful sampler, Justin demonstrates the sequencing capabilities of an early model from the Akai MPC series. He then digs into how sequencing has evolved into more modern choices, like that of the Prophet-6 synth and Make Noise Rene V2 modular synth.

As this music-making technology is constantly evolving and changing, Justin also spends some time with the Pioneer Toraiz Squid—an instrument that he sees as the future of MIDI sequencing. And his reason for feeling this way is because, with this piece of gear, Pioneer (which is primarily a DJ gear brand) has built an instrument with familiar and welcoming MPC-esque design elements—like the pad grid and knobs—that's packed with cutting-edge key features allowing players to "play" their sequences more like they would a traditional instrument.

Be sure to check out the video above to see hands-on examples of the Pioneer Toraiz Squid in action, and click here to find your very own right here on Reverb.

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