Friday 10 July 2020

16 steps is not Old School...

The Liverpool Empire theatre - a classic rock venue in the North of England (which is kind of in the middle of the UK, curiously...). The 1970s. An impressionable teenager goes to see Tangerine Dream. Dry ice, mist curtains. LOUD! Edgar Froese does a guitar solo and maybe, almost maybe, acknowledges the headbanging crowd of long-haired, bejeaned youths. The lasers are turned on the mirrorball and the audience gets the full 'spoke effect'! Oh, and there's a lot of 8-bit sequences. Yep, that was me. It was a very different world to the one we inhabit now.

Different? Well, we have 16-step sequencers now, and so it gives me great pleasure to announce the release of MIDIdifferentTWO16, which doubles the number of steps, shuffles and skips, turning the 'Old School' 8-ness into 21st Century 16-ness. Oh, and we now have DAWs, and putting a sequencer inside a DAW is allowed. Oh yes, is it allowed! Dit dit dit dit boom tizz dit dit boom tizz dit dit... (Did you know that Zang Tumb Tumb came much earlier, as well as later, as ZTT...)

16 steps to heaven...

There's a hidden difference in this dual step sequencer from version 0.07 of the 8 bit original. It now has two rotary controls to set the lengths of the sequences. The previous version used up/down nudge buttons and looked cool. I loved it (or I lived it, as my iPhone auto-corrects it to). But then I realised (sinking stomach) that it was tricky to map what Ableton call a 'control voltage' to the Step Length, because I had used the object to implement the nudginess. Rotary controls are sometimes better!

8 steps to heaven..
And yes, I do know that Ableton's MaxForLive developer guidelines do say that devices should not be wide! But my Probably sequencer is way wider than either of these...

The Advert

Hopefully, by now, this style is starting to take on a life of its own. I've made quite a lot of versions of this infographic up to now, and there are more on the way...

Getting MIDIdifferentTWO16

You can get MIDIdifferentTWO16 here:

Here are the instructions for what to do with the .amxd file that you download from

(In Live 10, you can also just double-click on the .amxd file, but this puts the device in the same folder as all of the factory devices...)

Oh, yes, and sometimes last-minute fixes do get added, which is why sometimes a blog post is behind the version number of

Modular Equivalents

In terms of basic modular equivalents, then implementing MIDIdifferentTWO16 is just two step sequencers, giving an ME of 2 if you can find 16-step sequencers, or 4 if you can only find (or afford) 8-step. It all depends on how GAS affects you, I suppose. The ability to control step values and skips may vary with the specific sequencer, but if implemented, then it is just more patch cables. As I said for the 8-step version: perhaps MEs should also include some sort of measure for the number of patch cables that are required?


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  1. Hi
    I'm looking for something like a shiftregister. As an Input I would need to be able to select midi and then feed several other midis with the shift register. Idealy something like the Copiermaschine from Ornaments & Crime where I can also select scales etc.

  2. Isn't this just the 'Note Echo' MIDI Delay? (a factory plug-in in the Max For Live folder)