Monday, December 21, 2009

Steppy! A Step Sequencer for Launchpad+Live

(also works with Akai APC40)
I had some articles lined up but its very unlikely I'll get anything done until after New Year's.

In the meantime, though I came up with Steppy! (not the most original name I know) I just wanted a basic step sequencer I could control with my Launchpad or APC40, so I made one! Consider it a late Hanukkah/Early Xmas present, maybe its better than a lump of coal.

Steppy is an 8x8 monophonic step sequencer for Live. It was designed around Launchpad but works great with APC40 too. It's quite basic, I wanted something that would let me rearrange cut-up breaks on the fly, using Drum Racks and it was tested with Ableton's 808 preset for that. Steppy is simply an Ableton Live set. There are no midi effects (or effects @ all) and it doesn't need MAX for Live or anything. Works straight away with Launchpad in Session mode. It *does* need Live 8 to run, LiveLite 8.06 for Launchpad will work, that's what came w/my Launchpad. LiveLite 8.09 for Launchpad will not as Steppy uses 9 midi tracks. (I don't know about Mac versions) Am working on an 8-track version that will run on any LiveLite 7 or higher.

Download here:

See how it works... it's a massive kludge but it didn't take very long...

Operating it should be pretty obvious, 8 steps that progress from left to right, go up and down to select the note for each step.

Each cell contains a midi clip containing a single note...

...As cells "move up" so do the notes in them. As they move right, the notes are delayed by a step. To ensure all steps are synched, I set Ableton's global quantization to 1 bar. Hey, I *said* it was a kludge! Set the quantization higher - or maybe I mean lower - down towards 1/32 for some interesting rhythms.

Yeah, unfortunately since Launchpad lacks clip stop buttons, you have to go to Launchpad's Mixer view to turn off steps, but that's not such a big deal...

...Tracks 1-8 send midi to Track 9, which contains a single Drum Rack. It can play the Rack or record to a new midi clip on Track 9, I guess thats kinda obvious. Since the range of notes are mapped to the lower range of Drum Racks, you may need a Pitch midi effect on track 9 to pitch it up an octave or two to get it in the range of Impulse (or VSTi, whatever) I think it sounds great with monosynths!

I think it would be cool to get some analog sequencer-type stuff happening on this and its totes doable by putting Pitch,Velocity, etc midi effects on each track 1-8. And this may go great with some extra knob controls like nanoKontrol (or just APC40) Right now though I was just playing around with putting the effects on track 9, stuff like Random, Arpeggiator, Chord, for all kinds of good stuff.


I hope somebody gets some value out of it! If anyone actually does anything with it, plz let me know.

To do in the future: 8-track Lite version just using Impulse on each track. (Impulse also being a lot less processor-heavy than Drum Racks) Also maybe a version built around APC40, maybe one with some effects. But this seems a good starting point.

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