We were super excited about the Squarp Pyramid hardware sequencer (with real-time MIDI effects) when we first discovered it. Good new is that pre-orders are done, and it’s now in stock for the summer!
The Squaro Pyramid, 64-track standalone sequencer, is now in stock for the summer! And it’s shipping together with its powerful new firmware: PyraOS 0.86. We last wrote about the Pyrmiad back in May 2015. You can read our article here.
As Squarp tell us, “Pyramid is designed to be the perfect brain for your musical setup, from studio to stage. It brings together a powerful sequencer software, a MIDI editor, a pattern generator, an effect processor, a controller, an input/output interface and a synchronisation/router box.”
You want a polyrhythmic sequencer? Pyramid can do it. Want dynamic real-time MIDI effects? Check. Want an algorithmic euclidean sequencer engine per track? Done. And there's so much more this machine can do.
Here’s some brief info on the four different modes offered by the Squarp Pyramid:
Live mode: improvise and record notes and automations with the transposable keys, the touchpad or with an external controller on one of the 64 track. Use the smartpads to play chord progressions, scales and repeated notes. Use the Hold & Relatch tools. The maximum track length is 384 bars.
Step mode: create and arrange rhythms and melodies with the full-real-time step-by-step sequencer on one of the 64 tracks. A step can contain multiple notes, CC MIDI messages or an effect automation. Zoom to surgically edit the track with the piano roll view and the automation view. Use the euclidean graphic sequencer to easily create outstanding rhythms.
Track mode: set, manage and control up to 64 tracks. Mute/unmute tracks on the fly, change in real-time the resolution, the length, the time signature, the midi channel. Build your sequences (a set of the 64 muted/unmuted tracks).
Seq mode: launch your sequences (tracks mute state) on the fly or link them to each other to create a complete song.
Because Pyramid received regular OS updates to its firmware, it means there’s always new workflows and creative techniques you’ll be able to achieve. Here’s info on the PyrOs 0.86 that began shipping with units middle of June 2016.
Looper: a new way to capture your performance, in the style of looper pedals! A rec (from the start) will start a loop recording, that means that the track length will grow with the track player position. To activate the looper feature, enter SETTINGS>MISC>LIVE LOOPER and select the looper time quantization.
Hard record: press 2ND+PLAY to activate a hard recording. This enable you to overwrite the previously recorded notes, like an "overdub OFF" recording.
Player tracking: now, the viewed page in LIVE mode always follows the player position.
Metronome: now, you have to press 2ND+LIVE to enable or disable the metronome. This feature is improved, metronome notes are shorter.
Played notes on keyboard pads: the processed & sent notes are displayed on the 13 keyboard pads, with low luminosity.
Quick copy/paste/delete track
New features STEP mode
New Piano Roll: with 13 notes displayed instead of 8 and beautiful black & white keyboard
Step-by-step chord learn with an external keyboard: each time a note is received on midi input, the selected note in stepmode NOTE is set with this note (for example C3#). You can also perform a chord with your external keyboard.
Player tracking: the viewed page in STEP mode can follow the player position if you press 2ND+DISP.
Go to the nearest note: a long press on a step (MONO EDITION enable) auto-select the nearest note of the step.
CC message stepmode is now the last stepmode: now it's easiest to enter stepmode CC messages
Prelisten a CC message: in the stepmode CC message, press the menu encoder to listen the dotted line value.
FX and CC logos when you scroll DISP view: each time you select a new CC message or a new FX parameter in the both stepmodes, a logo popup will appear, for a better navigation.
New features TRACK mode
Instant mute/unmute: Select if tracks mute/unmute are in sync with SEQ PERFORM (inst, beat, 1bar, 2bar, ...) or always instant with SETTINGS>MISC>TRACKS MUTE
New features SEQ mode
Sequence shorter that 1 bar: you can now set a sequence in the chain to be shorter than 1 bar (e.g. 1/4 bar = 1 beat, 2/4 bar = 2 beat, ...).
New features EFFECTS
FX Scale: this effect quantizes all note pitches to a defined scale in real time, to refine your melody.
FX Delay: this midi delay creates a copy of the original notes, simulating a normal delay effect, but using the velocity midi data.
FX Equalizer: this effect increases or decreases note velocities, according to the note pitch.
FX BPM: this effect enable you to create global tempo automations.
FX Note to CC: this effect converts a note parameter value (note pitch or note velocity) to a selected CC message (or to the midi "pitch bend", "aftertouch" or " program change").
FX Chance: this effect adds a probability to play a note or not. It's a great way to add variations to drums or melodies.
Quick EFFECT MANAGER selection: in the main EFFECT MANAGER window, press encoder 1 to enter the effect in slot 1. Press 2ND + encoder 1 to enable/disable the effect in slot 1...
New features ASSIGN
Assign a CC to GLOBAL: when assigning an encoder to a CC message, a new option appears: GLOBAL. That means that the CC messages will be sent on the channel of the selected track, instead of always being sent on the same channel.
Assign touchpad to smartpads: when assigning the touchpad, a new option appears: SMARTPADS. Now you can play the touchpad X axis to send chords (if the LIVE smartpads = CHORD) or scaled notes (if the LIVE smartpads = SCALE). You can also select the smartpads octave range (1, 2, 3 or 4 octaves) and the parameter controlled on the Y axis (note velocity, aftertouch, pitch bend or modulation wheel).
Other new features
BPM elastic shift: hold 2ND+BPM and slide the touchpad X axis to temporarily shift the tempo up or down. Very handy to manually syncing Pyramid with an external sound source (for example a turntable).
BPM double/divide: hold BPM and press < or > to double or divide the BPM in a flash.
Delete projects: in the LOAD project list, press 2ND+DELETE to remove a project definitively from the SD card (note: the backup project is not removed).
Default track settings applied on empty tracks: when you change track setting in SETTINGS>MISC (DEFAULT TRACK, DEFAULT ZOOM, DEFAULT LENGTH, DEFAULT TS, DEFAULT PERFORM), new track settings are applied directly on empty tracks. You don't have to restart Pyramid anymore.
Do not send midi clock when Pyramid is paused or stopped: new setting (SETTINGS>MIDI OUT>CLOCK STOP) to not output the midi clock message when the player is stopped or paused.
More RAM memory, better CPU performances
Better led states
The Squarp Pyramid retails for 590€ / $660 (excl. tax)
Rounik is the Executive Editor for Ask.Audio & macProVideo. He's built a crack team of professional musicians and writers to create one of the most visited online resources for news, review, tutorials and interviews for modern musician and producer.
As an Apple Certified Trainer for Logic Pro Rounik has taught teachers, professional musicians and hobbyists how to get the best out of Apple's creative software. He has been a visiting lecturer at Bath Spa University's Teacher training program, facilitating workshops on using music and digital media tools in the classroom.
If you're looking for Rounik, you'll most likely find him (and his articles) on Ask.Audio & macProVideo.com.