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Korg Announce SQ-64 Polyphonic Hardware Sequencer

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You might have seen leaked images of this recently, but today Korg have made it official and it’s got us very excited. The SQ-64 is an exciting new polyphonic hardware sequencer with a (yep, you guessed it) 64 step pad matrix, designed to give hardware synth users intuitive hands-on control over their music creation and performance. Korg was kind enough to hook us up with a pre-release sample, so check out our quick first jam video below.

The SQ-64 has an OLED display for control over various modes and features, a sturdy aluminium body and what looks to be a pretty dam impressive range of connectivity options. There are 3 CV/GATE tracks with their own CV/gate and modulation outputs, along with a dedicated drum track with 8 individual trigger outputs to control a range of modular synths, drum machines and other hardware. Amazing connectivity with MIDI in, MIDI out (x2) plus Sync IN/OUT and a USB for controlling software synths and DAWs.

The 64-pad matrix also functions as a keyboard with different layouts and the pads can quantise to several different musical scales. There’s a built-in arpeggiator for creating new pattern ideas and 4 alternative playback modes that include Polyrhythmic and Stochastic sequencing providing some interesting performance features, all editable on the fly. The SQ-64 packs a heap of very cool features that we’ll explore more in upcoming videos – stay tuned!

More from Korg’s press release:

‘Step up to an unparalleled level of connectivity and control.
The SQ-64 is an incredibly powerful and compact Polyphonic Step Sequencer with amazing hands-on intuitive controls and deep editing options to give you all the flexibility and sequencing power needed for all your musical projects. With its 64 step pad Matrix, Crystal clear OLED display, sturdy and elegant aluminium body, a wealth of connections and a variety of modes and features, the SQ-64 will become the central piece of your music studio providing total and seamless control over all your instruments so you can focus on what matters most; your music!

Despite its compact size, the SQ-64 has unparalleled connectivity and will allow you to easily control, connect and make the most of all your analogue and digital gear. MIDI IN (x1) and OUT (x2), micro USB type B, Sync IN & OUT, 3 Melody tracks each with MODULATION, PITCH and GATE outputs and a DRUM track with 8 individual trigger outputs for controlling analogue synths, Eurorack, and drum machines.

Check out the specs

  • A MIDI/CV sequencer that can also be used as a standalone unit
  • Features 64 pads and four-parameter knobs
  • The A–C tracks are used as a sequencer with a maximum of eight notes polyphony when transmitting MIDI notes
  • The D track is used as a 16-part drum sequencer (parts 1–8 can output triggers)
  • The number of steps (polyrhythms), swing values, beat and so on can be set independently for each track to build complex melodies and rhythms
  • Up to 64 project files that include sequences and other data for each track can be saved
  • The CV mode, CV voltage and sync pulse settings can only be made on the SQ-64
  • Pads with a smooth touch surface allow users to slide their finger for continuous input
  • Features a highly readable OLED display, which can display details like sequence notes, settings for the unit and more
  • LEDs on the back of the housing indicate the control voltage status for each track
  • Stylish design features a metal chassis with a high-class feel, in a size that’s easy to carry
  • Can also be used as a USB-MIDI/CV interface
  • MIDI IN jack (mini stereo phone jack)
  • SYNC IN jack (mini mono phone jack, maximum input level: 20V) Output jack
  • MIDI OUT 1, 2 jacks (mini stereo phone jack)
  • SYNC OUT jack (mini mono phone jack, maximum output level: 10V)
  • CV GATE   OUT A, B, C jack (mini mono phone jack, maximum output level: 10V)
  • CV PITCH OUT A, B, C jack (mini mono phone jack, maximum output level: 10V)
  • CV MOD OUT A, B, C jack (mini mono phone jack, maximum output level: 10V)
  • TRIG OUT 1–8 jack (mini mono phone jack, maximum output level: 10V)

The SQ-64 ships with a bundle of software plug-ins which includes soft synths from the Korg Collections, Reason Lite, iZotope and free 3 months trial of online piano lessons from Skoove.

You may recall the SQ-1 step-sequencer – Korg’s remake of the SQ-10 sequencer that shipped with the MS-20 back in 1978, which was tonnes of fun for creating interesting musical sequences. The SQ-64 is a big step up from this, integrating into a variety of hardware/software setup’s, plus having 64 steps laid out in from of you and allowing you to see the full picture at once is a nice touch.

Stay tuned for a full review and tutorial.

Expect to pay $499, in stores January.

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