Best sequencers of 2020
2020 was a difficult year, but it also blessed us with some outstanding new studio equipment releases. As we prepare for 2021, we take a look back at some of the best releases of the last 12 months, picking out our favourites.
Third place: Arturia KeyStep Pro
Arturia have cornered the market for good value sequencers in recent years, with the KeyStep and BeatStep series both winning lots of fans. This year’s addition of the KeyStep Pro expanded the range further. Somewhere between a controller and a sequencer, the Pro’s extensive MIDI and CV/gate options make it suitable for controlling just about any hardware or software you can think of. The cleverly integrated arpeggiator and drum sequencing options make it even more versatile. Another winner in the Step range.
Runner-up: Vermona Melodicer
Randomness can be a very good thing in music. Or at least controllable pseudo-randomness. That’s exactly what Vermona’s Melodicer sets out to achieve. Dial in a selection of notes or a scale, then let the stochastic pattern generator come up with melodic sequences which you can tweak and manipulate in real time. It’s a neatly executed concept that works well for sparking track ideas or as a live performance tool, allowing for quick and easy improvisation within a controlled set of parameters.
Winner: Make Noise 0-Ctrl
Fans of Make Noise know that the North Carolina brand’s track record is ultra-consistent. This is a brand that somehow manages to find new ways to innovate, maintaining a commitment to creativity and originality. The 0-Ctrl is an unusual sequencer in a few ways. It looks like a standard eight-step sequencer but with three rows of knobs, allowing you to control pitch, strength and time for each step. Rather than the typical modes you’d find on most step sequencers, it uses patch points to change direction and reset, with individual gate outputs on each step. In practice this means that it’s easy to create sequences you wouldn’t be able to achieve with most sequencers. That’s before you even get to the touch pads below each step, which allow you to play it like a keyboard or interact with your sequences in real time. Fun, creative and inspiring.