Thor’s Step Sequencer is a further development of the step sequencers which were often present in vintage analog modular systems. It can be used for programming arpeggios or short melody sequences. Alternatively, it can be used purely as a modulation source.
You can have up to 16 steps, and each step can be programmed with various values such as Note pitch, Velocity, Step Duration etc.
The main parameters and functions are as follows:
- The row of 16 buttons are used to program each step’s on or off status.
A lit button means that the step is active, and a dark button means that the step will be a rest (silent).
- Each step button has two knobs above it that are used to set note values (top row) and modulation (bottom row) for the corresponding step.
- The buttons above the Run button determines what parameter you set the values for with the lower row of step knobs.
The available parameters are: Velocity, Gate length, Step duration and Curve 1 and 2.
- The Run button starts/stops the step sequencer.
What exactly happens when you press Run depends on the Run mode - see below.
Setting the Run mode
The Run mode is set with the lever to the right of the Run button. The set mode governs how the step sequencer is played back when you press Run. The options are as follows:
- Seq Off - the Step Sequencer is inactive.
- Step mode - the Run button steps the sequencer forward one step at a time.
- 1 Shot mode - this will play the sequence once then automatically stop.
- Repeat mode - this will repeat the sequence continuously.
Tap the Run button again to stop.
Setting the direction
The Direction parameter is used to set the direction of the step sequence. The following options are available:
- Forward - plays the sequence from the first step to the last.
- Reverse - plays the sequence from the last step to the first.
- Pendulum 1 - plays the sequence from the first step to the last, then from the last step to the first.
I.e. the last and first step is played twice when the sequencer reverses direction.
- Pendulum 2 - plays the sequence from the first step to the last, then from the second last step to the first, i.e. without repeating the last/first step when reversing direction.
- Random - plays the steps in a random order.
Programming step note pitch
To program step note pitch, you proceed as follows:
- Make sure that the Step Seq Trigger button is on the Controller panel is activated.
- Set the Run mode to “Repeat”.
You don’t have to use Repeat mode but it makes it easier to follow the following steps.
- Make sure all Step buttons are activated (lit).
- Start the step sequencer by pressing the Run button.
You should now hear a sequence of repeated notes, each with the same pitch (C3). The current step is indicated by a yellow LED above the upper row of knobs.
- Touch and swipe one of the Note knobs above one of the steps.
A tooltip above the knob shows you the current note pitch the knob is set to, and when the sequencer repeats you should be able to hear the change in pitch for that step. Swipe upwards to raise the pitch in semitone increments. Swipe downwards to lower the pitch.
- Remember that swiping sideways before setting the Note values increases the precision.
- You can either program steps “on the fly” (with the Step sequencer running) or step by step (Step mode).
In Step mode, you press Run to forward the step number one position so you can set step parameters for one step at a time.
By using this general method you can continue to enter note pitch for other steps.
To make step sequences more rhythmically interesting, you can program rests for steps.
- This is simply done by tapping one or several step buttons so they go dark.
Dark steps will be rests.
- Note that the Step Duration value still “counts” for rests.
Setting the number of steps
- You can set how many steps a sequence should have before starting over using the Steps knob at the lower right on the panel.
Up to 16 steps can be used. The lit LEDs above each Note knob show the number of steps currently used.
Setting the Rate
The Rate knob determines the rate of the step sequence.
- You can either use “free running” rates (i.e. not synced to the main Tempo) or synced to the Tempo.
This is set with the Sync button. If Sync is active you can set the tempo in various beat resolutions relative to the set Tempo (see “The Settings menu”).
Setting other values for the steps
For each step you can also program other parameters with the step value knobs below the Note knobs. Tap one of the following buttons to select what you want to edit:
- Velocity - if this is selected, you can set a Velocity value for each step.
Default value is 100, range is 0-127.
- Gate Length - if this is selected, you can set a Gate Length value for each step.
Default is 75%. Gate Length determines the length of the note played for that step.
- Step Duration - if this is selected, you can set a Step Duration value for each step.
This parameter determines the total length of the step, which is a factor related to the sequencer rate. Range is 1/4 to 4. E.g. if Rate is 1/16, “1” means a 1/16-note will be played, a “4” means a 1/4-note will be played, and so on.
- The Curves 1 and 2 allow you to set values for each step that can be sent to control parameters of your choice.
This is done in the Modulation Bus routing section, where these two independent Curves are selectable as Source controllers, see “Modulation Bus routing section”.
The Function button
Tap the Function button to bring up a list of the following step sequencer functions:
|Shift Pattern Left/Right||The Shift Pattern functions move the pattern one step to the left or right. All parameters (rests, note pitch, velocity etc.) are shifted one step.|
|Randomize Notes||The Randomize Notes function creates a random Note value for each of the steps.|
|Randomize Selected Lane||The Randomize Selected Lane function creates random values for the currently selected parameter (Velocity, Gate Length, Step Duration, Curve 1 or Curve 2). The function only randomizes the selected parameter (e.g. if set to Velocity, only the velocity values are randomized, not gate lengths, step durations, etc.).|
|Reset Sequencer||The “Reset Sequencer” function resets all step sequencer values to their defaults.|