Pioneer have just announced a new addition to their Toraiz line called SQUID, which is (apparently) short for SeQUencer Inspirational Device. Name aside, the unit is an incredibly powerful looking stand-alone sequencer, aimed at music producers who either don’t want to use a computer to sequence their MIDI or CV devices, or want an additional unit for inspiration.
Of all the companies to come out with a dedicated standalone sequencer unit in 2019, I bet you wouldn’t have expected it to be Pioneer. The DJ equipment giant has made moves into the production and performance gear market in recent years with their previous Toraiz series units, the SP-16 Sampler and AS-1 Mono Synth/Sequencer, but this is the first time they’ve really pushed a product that’s tipped the see-saw to hardware msuic production, without the slightly awkward DJ side-angle.
The sequencer features a classic 16-pad MPC style layout, but offers a whole lot more sequencing power than any MPC ever did. Features we’ve seen on other controllers (ie Ableton Push and NI Maschine) like scale, note repeat and arpeggiator make an appearance to assist you programming in phrases, drum loops and melodies. But then there’s some more interesting and unusual features, like random functions that re-arrange you melody in key, harmonise functions, polyrhythms capabilities, 48 different running directions and, perhaps most interesting, their speed modulation and something Pioneer are calling Groove Bend.
Groove Bend sounds really interesting — it looks to be a slider controlled swing controller that you can use to make your own grooves on the fly. To quote them: ” the first-ever function on a sequencer to change trigger timing in real time via a slider. Manipulate the slider to delay, accelerate and develop grooves as if you’re playing a musical instrument.”
Check out the walkthrough below for the full rundown. Website with all the info here.