Drum machines (or sequencers) non 4/4 friendly?

i love my tempest. most of the complaints about it tend to revolve around the deeply dave smith-y menu system, or the fact that it isn’t like other drum machines, the latter of which is actually a reason i love it so much. and yes, very easy to work with in odd signatures. plus the ability to change the step divisions of the x0x style sequencer, which isn’t limited to representing 16th notes, but can instead flip seamlessly between almost any note length, makes programming feel less tied to the measure.

1 Like

I loved the tempest too but there was one thing about it that was a total deal breaker and made me sell it: changing / doubling the sequence length stopped the sequencer. For any kind of improvisation I find that feature to be crucial, especial in a multitrack machine. I might come up with a one or two bar pattern, but then want to improvise four bars on top of that, and then 8 bars on top of that. I can’t necessarily predict that ahead of time so I need to be able to double the pattern at will.

This is one thing (among many) Ableton got very right with the Push.

1 Like

very, very true. hasn’t bummed me out in a live situation yet but great flaw to point out.

I just ran into it during way too many jams with other people, it made me eventually give up. It’s too bad because I really liked everything else about the machine and it was advertised as “change anything without stopping the sequencer”… well, anything but this one thing I guess.

actually makes me wonder if it isn’t an intentional or necessary hiccup but rather an oversight? could a firmware update could solve the problem? I might write to them.

I’m sure it was an oversight, but probably a deeply rooted architectural change would be required to fix it. It seems they’ve decided there’s not going to be any more firmware updates after this most recent one.

Need to check this.
Quite complex stuff.

I shall have some time during the weekend to have a go.
But I assume it would not be possible.
Chained patterns change on the beat…but you can use 32 steps in a pattern so this might work.

I will let you know

I use an LXR and you can set sequence length per track (instrument). I’m not conversant enough with this feature yet so can’t elaborate much. I believe there is an alt-firmware that provides more control here. Either way, I’m happy with mine and it didn’t require a large investment to obtain.

1 Like

Nice to know. Do you know if you can hack it to have trigger inputs for all channels ?

1 Like

Wait, what’s the trouble with Rytm? If you press Function+Page, you can bring up the Pattern length menu. If you select ADV. mode, you can select the length of each track per pattern, and have them reset based on a master pattern length.

The thing that’s “wrong” with it is if you want to make patterns in say, 3/4 time, that are more than one bar long you have to manually calculate where the 1 of each bar is. It would be nice if each page was one bar, but it is not. It’s even more confusing if you are trying to do say two bars of 13/16 or something.

1 Like

This would be a dream - I’ve not seen it done and have no technical knowledge to do this myself.

I often thought a simple trigger -> midi note function module would be a great, simple idea but I’m not aware of any compact solution for this.

If you’re not restricting yourself to hardware, the Patterning iOS app is a non-4/4 drum machine seeker’s dream. Circular interface, each track has individual step length (1-64), subdivision, rotate, direction, etc. It sends out MIDI velocity/note per track. You can import your own samples. Sound editing is pretty basic but it’s the sequencer that’s really killer. You can automate most parameters in the sequencer as well, again, per track.


Patterning is great! I do find touch interfaces always a little fiddly though, I end up triggering stuff I didn’t mean to by brushing up against thing. So I prefer to just record loops out of that stuff instead of playing it live. I wish the Buchla 252e wasn’t so expensive: https://buchla.com/product/252e-buchla-polyphonic-rythm-generator/

Also, welcome to lines @bachelard :slight_smile:

1 Like

Hey kisielk, good to see you here!

I hear you about touch interfaces. I did at one point wish to roll the circle out into a line of buttons so I don’t accidentally touch the adjacent steps. And yes, if only the Buchla…

I did check and he answer is no or better I have not found a way how to do it.

You can have a 32 step program, if you set one track lenght to assume 8 bars, you cannot change the other to 16…it will stick to the same lenght.

Unless there is a way different than this, I cannot make it work.

1 Like

on the drum machine side, has anyone played with the arturia drum brute? looks pretty non-4/4 friendly. seems to allow for isorhythms via different pattern length per instrument. but i don’t know how usable any of this is. and if it sounds any good…

i’ll try to take some time with it at a shop, but i’d be interested to know your thoughts. oh, it’s pretty cheap too!

1 Like

Eloquencer allows for varying track length, but I can’t really tell from the video how it does with odd denominators.


But I pulled the trigger, because I couldn’t resist 8 channels of CV/Gate along with all the other features. Should pair nicely with the ER-301.

1 Like

What about the Squarp Pyramid?

It seems like it’s designed for polyrhythms, polymeters, and non-4/4 time signatures.

1 Like