Live MIDI Sequencing Using Pyramid from Squarp

Pyramid at Work

Last July I wrote an article titled, How Do You Do Your Live MIDI Sequencing? In the article I expressed my frustration with the ubiquity of step sequencers and lack of modern hardware sequencers that handle live recording and polyphony. In December, 2015 I became one of the lucky few to own a Pyramid sequencer by Squarp. Pyramid is an amazing instrument that does everything that has been lacking from most modern sequencers, plus an ever widening array of advanced features available as MIDI effects. It’s hard to contain my excitement about this machine! Squarp has been extremely communicative with their customers through email and their online forum. New releases have been frequent during its life cycle, and I expect many fantastic new features and advancements in the near future. Here’s a few of Pyramid’s current capabilities that I find exciting:

1. Live recording of polyphonic notes with velocity, pitch bend, channel pressure, mod wheel, and continuous controllers. Notes are recorded without quantization unless the Quantizer MIDI effect is applied to the track. What makes this exciting is that although polyphonic and un-quantized recording is common in software it’s rare in new hardware sequencers.

2. Simultaneous track lengths and time signatures are independent of each other. The track lengths are not limited to bars, but can be adjusted down to individual steps. For example, a five bar and three step phrase is possible. This feature allows for polyrhythmic sequencing which I’m very excited about.

3. Pyramid projects are saved on a standard removable SD card as a collection of MIDI files. Although there are plenty of editing features in Pyramid, if you need to for any reason, the files can be edited on a computer in your favorite DAW. You can also create or import MIDI files from elsewhere into a Pyramid project!

I’ll share some of the music I’ve been creating with this beast soon. I could (and will in future posts) go on about euclidean rhythms, step editing, sequencing tracks, chaining sequences, and CV/GATE i/o – all capabilities that Pyramid has, but for now take a look at this collection of tutorial videos that Squarp shared just yesterday:

4 thoughts on “Live MIDI Sequencing Using Pyramid from Squarp

  1. Hi !
    Cool article, but there’s something I have to notice : even though Pyramid looks like a great sequencer from many points, I think you forgot the Octatrack in your article. This baby can do almost everything you said no other hardware sequencer can !

    So I think when it comes to midi sequencing, OT and Pyra could be a tie, but when it comes to CV/gate sequencing I would say Pyramid hands down ;)

  2. @Lucas that’s a good point. The Octotrack is an amazing instrument from Elektron. The reason it’s not mentioned here is because it’s much more than a hardware sequencer. As you know the Octotrack is also a powerful sampler and processing device. This article focuses on a dedicated hardware sequencer.

  3. Octatrack only has 64 steps per track and only 8 tracks. Pyramid has unlimited (or whatever the memory allows for, which is a lot) steps per track and 64 tracks.

  4. @Josh Also good points. Not to mention that Pyramid is also polyrhythmic (tracks can be any length and any time signature). However, I don’t see Pyramid and Octatrack as competitors. They are very different from each other and serve different purposes. If you’re after a standalone MIDI sequencer Pyramid is it, but if you want sampling, processing, and sequencing rolled into one the Octatrack is the way to go.

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