Vari-step - Variable Step Sequencer

Type: Module

Category: Sequencers

Updated: Feb 15, 2021

Manufacturer: M*4

Contact Manufacturer

$20.00

Vari-step is a 4-lanes CV/Gate step sequencer with variable note value and randomizer.

*Those two demo videos are older version.

Known issues

  • Variations function on Voltage Modular 2.0 doesn't work for Gate/Trig ,CV and Prob grid data on Vari-step. I will research for the issue.
  • Currently, internal clock is prone to getting out of sync. Play CV input and Main Clock CV input is functioned as a trigger for quantization. To avoid disastrous out of sync state, please inject a clock or a trigger signal from other modules like clock generator/divider or sequencer or use PPQN step mode.
  • Manually edited Gate/Trigger, CV and Probability data cannot "Redo". ("Undo" can be done.)

Updates

Build 145 new feature

  • Timing parameter is added. It makes the timing of each step slightly later or earlier.

change of implementation

  • While the sequence is running, any changes of division value for currently played beat are carried over to the end of the beat.

fix

  • In PPQN mode, quatization was applied on wrong timing on a beat having division value of "5" and "7".

Build 130 new feature

  • Some PPQN values are added to PPQN mode. Now 96, 48, 24, 12, 8, 4, 2 and 1 are available.

Build 118 new features

  • Added functions of Clock and Probability.
  • All sequences can be run at different speed by the Clock function.
  • Now Length of lanes and Starting position of sequences can be changed.
  • Division value, Gate, CV and Probability values on a lane can be scaled with the knob at once.
  • Randomizer can be little more controlled.
  • Added 96 PPQN Mode for running sequence in step mode or change tempo via "SYNC HOST" jack on VM's I/O panel.
  • Gate outputs on Step play are now length aware.

fixes

  • fixed: Gate output wasn't functioned properly on [Step] playing with Step trigger input.

Build 24

  • A bug about Save/Load is fixed. CV/gate are now properly saved and loaded.

Build 22

  • Now, "Play" button/CV just start sequences (not try to toggle Play/Pause).
  • Now, "Pause" button/CV just pause sequences. (not try to toggle Play/Pause).
  • Output signals from Gate jacks now have length instead of a sample of trigger signals. The voltage is high up during the Step button is pushed down or voltage of Step CV input is positive.
  • A switch for "Play" trigger mode is added.

Documents

Variable Step

The module treats a lane as a measure which contains 4 beats, or 4/4 in time signature. And each of the beats can be divided up to 8 divisions. (Default value is 4.) Division value of 4 means four 16th notes, 8 means eight 32th notes.

Division values to musical note values are 1 = 4th, 2 = 8th, 3 = triplet, 4 = 16th, 5 = 5-tuplet, 6 = 6-tuplet, 7 = 7-tuplet and 8 = 32th.

Every beat can own different division value.

Play Mode

There are two ways to run the sequence.

Step

Every time pushing Step button or sending any positive voltage to Step CV input, it advances a step. In this way, it does not consider any note values displayed on the grid and Gate CV output emits a gate CV signal once a step. The voltage of Gate CV output is high up until the Step button is released or gate length of the step is passed.

PPQN Mode

PPQN is Pulse-Per-Quarter-Note and default PPQN value is 96. It means that there are 96 pulses in a quarter note length. Voltage Modular's SYNC HOST jack emits these signals for modules in the instance of Voltage Modular.

In PPQN Mode, Step CV input and Clock inputs change its function to receive these pulse signals.

By sending a trigger to Step CV input, the sequence advances its position by 1/96 quarter note (= 1/96 beat of Vari-step).

Clock inputs detect bpm with this PPQN signal instead of quarter notes.

Other PPQN values

Besides the default value of 96, PPQN values can be set to 48, 24, 12, 8, 4, 2, 1.

PPQN value of 4 is same to 16th note, 2 is 8th and 1 equals to 4th note.

In many case, sequencer modules run with those musical note value clock. Much lower PPQN values (8 to 1) is convenient to sync with them.

Also, external hardwares often use these lower PPQN values instead of 96. It can add easiness to syncing with outside of computer.

To avoid unwanted tempo change at restart of sequence and clock

Especially at resetting external clock and restarting sequence, unwanted change of bpm value can happen. Also timing of sequences are messed and the sequence runs awkwardly.

To avoid this situation, please set Freeze Ext. Clock button on (lit blue).

Play

By pushing Play button or sending any positive voltage to Play CV input, it advances the step with current tempo automatically. In this way, the output voltage of Gate CV output is high up until the internal playing position reaches the end of the gate set with grid.

There are two ways to trigger this mode. One is "Trigger Mode" and with this, sequences keep running until pushing Pause button or sending signal to Pause CV input. The other is "Gate Mode." In this "Gate Mode," sequences keep running during the Play button is pushed down or the voltage of Play CV input is positive.

Sync

Play CV input and All Clock CV inputs are also functioned as sample count quantizer. If the position of sequence is near enough to a step, it quantizes the position to the step at the trigger.

Combination of Lanes

Four lanes of sequence can run separately or be combined as group by setting switches on the left hand of Lane 2, Lane 3 and Lane 4.

Possible combinations are these. The rule is "lower lanes can be combined with upper lane."

4 sequences

  • Lane 1, Lane 2, Lane 3, Lane 4

3 sequences

  • Lane 1 + Lane 2, Lane 3, Lane 4
  • Lane 1, Lane 2 + Lane 3, Lane 4
  • Lane 1, Lane 2, Lane 3 + Lane 4

2 sequences

  • Lane 1 + Lane 2, Lane 3 + Lane 4
  • Lane 1 + Lane 2 + Lane 3, Lane 4
  • Lane 1, Lane 2 + Lane 3 + Lane 4

1 sequence

  • Lane 1 + Lane 2 + Lane 3 + Lane 4

When the lane is grouped to other lane, all outputs on lanes are copied to most upper lane of the group.

Chaining Multiple modules

If you want to chaining multiple Vari-steps, you should turn the Stop at the end switch on and connect the End of Lane CV output to the Play CV input on next module. Also the Stop at the end switch on second module should be turned on.

Micro Timing

Timing of each step can be nudged before/after the grid. It can be useful for programming uneven rhythm. Change of CVs also follows the timing.

Gate length of nudged steps

Basically, nudged steps maintain their original gate length value. If the timing of a step is set to +75% (it nudges the step 75% of division value later) and the step has 25% (or higher value) of gate value, gate length of the step is overlapped into its next step and the step is played in legato manner.

Steps having 100.0% value of gate length are always connected to their next steps and played in legato manner. You should set so if you want to play "nudged earlier" steps in legato manner.

Controls and I/O

Grids

  • Gate/Trigger Grid: You can set triggers on with left-click and drag the mouse on the grid. The length of the gate on the trigger is set to the value gate knob. If the trigger on the cursor is on and the gate value is same to gate knob value, the trigger is toggled off. With right-click and drag, the triggers are always turned off.
  • CV Grid: With left-click and drag, you can set CV value of each step. Also finer change of value can be achieved with click and drag right-button. The range of CV value is 0 ~ 5v on that the CV range knob is hard-right and the CV offset is ±0.

Buttons

  • Step: Advances a step of all sequences in the module. Note length are ignored for advancing of steps. The voltage of Gate CV output is high up during the Step button is pushed down or until the gate length of the step is passed.
  • Play: Starts playing all sequences in the module. Playing speed is adapted to the internal tempo which can be set with edit control on the left side of the module manually or set from host automatically. If the sequences are pausing, it releases all sequences from paused state and starts sequences at current position. If the Step input jack is connected, it turns the Step Trigger Enabled on.
  • Pause: Pauses all sequences in the module. It does nothing if the sequences are pausing. If the Step input jack is connected, it turns the Step Trigger Enabled off.
  • Rewind: Rewinds the position of all sequences in the module.
  • Tap Tempo: Tapping the button twice or more changes internal bpm value. The interval of most recent two taps is used as quarter note to calculate bpm value.
  • Randomize Division: A small button on the left side of beat number randomizes all division values of beats on the lane.
  • Randomize Trigger: The "T" button on the left hand of gate/trigger grid randomizes the state of trigger of all steps in the lane.
  • Randomize Gate Length: The "G" button on the left hand of gate/trigger grid randomizes gate value of all steps in the lane.
  • Randomize CV/Probability: A small button is put on the left hand of CV/Probability grid. When the Grid mode button is set to CV, it randomizes CV value of all steps in the lane. When the Grid mode button is set to prob., it randomizes Probability value.
  • Shift Data Left/Right: The button labeled "<<" shifts the data of the lane a step to left. ">>" button shifts the data of the lane to right.
  • copy: Copies div, gate/trig and CV data of the lane to buffer.
  • paste: Pastes and overwrites div, gate/trig and CV data to the lane from buffer. If the beat on target lane is locked, it prevents from pasting.

Toggle buttons

  • Freeze Ext. Clock: It prevents the module from unwanted change of tempo even external clock signals are injected to clock jacks. Quantization via clock input jack is not affected with the state of the button.
  • Grid Mode (CV, Prob, Timing): Changes the CV grid mode.
  • Randomize at Start - div: When the button is turned on, division values of beats are randomized at every loop of the sequence.
  • Randomize at Start - trig: When the button is turned on, the state of trigger of all steps are randomized at every loop of the sequence.
  • Randomize at Start - gate: When the button is turned on, gate lengths of all steps (set trigger on) are randomized at every loop of the sequence. Currently not triggered steps are not affected.
  • Randomize at Start - CV: When the button is turned on, CV values of all steps are randomized at every loop of the sequence.
  • Randomize at Start - Prob.: When the button is turned on, Probability values of all steps are randomized at every loop of the sequence.
  • Edit Lock: When the Edit button on a beat section is turned on, it prevents the beat from editing of value. Manual editing and is disabled on this beat section. Both of "shift" are not affected even the Edit Lock is on.
  • Randomizer Lock: When the Rnd button on a beat section is turned on, it prevents the beat from randomizing of value. Both randomizing manually with any randomizer button or by "Randomize at Start" are disabled on this beat section.
  • Mute All Outputs: During the button is turned red, every values on sequences are ignored and all outputs emit 0v even sequences are running.

Knobs

  • PPQN Number: Sets various PPQN value for PPQN Mode. 96 is defaut and it corresponds to Host Sync jack on control panel of Voltage Modular and Sync Generator module from Cherry Audio. 4 PPQN corresponds to 16th note clocks.
  • Clock Divider (for main clock): It divides or multiplies the internal bpm value set with bpm editable label, from host or by clock signal. All sequences having no clock signal will be affected. Values for the knob are "/8", "/5", "/4", "/3", "/2", "x0.75", "x1", "x1.5", "x2", "x3", "x4", "x5" and "x8".
  • Offset for Randomizer: Sets the offset value for randomizer. If the Randomize from Current Value switch is on, the value of the knob is ignored.
  • Range for Randomizer: Sets the range for the value generated by the randomizer. When the value is 100%, the range of random value is ±100% of target. e.g.) ±5v for CV, ±100% for Probability and ±100 for gate value.
  • default gate: The small knob on the left hand of Lane 1 section sets a value for manual editing of gate value. The value is applied next time you click on the gate/trigger grids. It never change existing gate value on the grid.
  • Length: Small knobs on the right side of lane number change the length of the lane.
  • Start: Small knobs next to the Length button set the starting position of the sequence. If the sequence is made up with multiple lanes, Start knob on the most upper lane controls the starting position of the sequence.
  • Clock Divider (for lanes): It divides or multiplies the internal bpm value of the lane. Internal bpm value of the lane comes from main clock of the module. Values for the knobs are "/8", "/5", "/4", "/3", "/2", "x0.75", "x1", "x1.5", "x2", "x3", "x4", "x5" and "x8". If the bpm value of main clock is 120 and main clock divider is set to x2, the internal bpm value of the lane is 240. At the time, if the clock divider on the lane is set to x2, the internal bpm value of the lane is 480. (When the clock divider on the lane is "/2", the internal bpm value of the lane is 120.) If a clock signal is injected to the lane, the bpm value of the lane comes from the signal and the bpm value of main clock is not used. When the lane is combined to upper lane by Wait 1, 2, 3 switches, those setting and clock signal are simply ignored.
  • Scale All Divisions: Scales division value of all beats on the lane.
  • Scale All Gate Length: Scales existing gate length value of all steps on the lane
  • Scale All CV/Probability/Timing: When the Grid mode button is set to CV, it scales existing CV value of all steps on the lane. When the Grid mode button is set to prob., it scales existing Probability value of all steps on the lane. When the Grid mode button is set to timing., it scales existing Timing value of all steps on the lane.
  • div: Changes division value for the beat the knob is placed. Possible values are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
  • CV offset: Sets offset voltage for CV output of the lane.
  • CV range: Adjust the range of CV output of the lane between 0 ~ 5v. Basically the CV sequencer generates 5v signal on the step which has full-filled CV meter. Then the output signals are scaled down by the setting of CV range knob. Default value of the knob is 5v and the output CV signals are intact on this value.

Switches

  • PPQN mode: It switches the function of Step CV input and Clock inputs to Pulse-Per-Quarter-Note Mode. The value "off" is default.
  • Grid mode: It switches the function of CV grids for CV and for Probability.
  • Step Trigger Enabled: If the switch is turned off, signals injected to Step CV input are ignored. Step button is functioned regardless of the switch.
  • Play Trigger Mode: Selects the function of trigger to "Play" the sequences. The value of 0 is "Trigger Mode" and in this mode, sequences keep running until pushing Pause button or sending signal to Pause CV input. The value of 1 is "Gate Mode" and in this mode, sequences keep running during the Play button is pushed down or the voltage of Play CV input is positive.
  • Stop at the end: If the switch is on, each sequence will stop after the last step is played and will not return to starting point. If the sequences are run by Step trigger/button, they're not aware it and will go back to beginning.
  • Host Tempo: If the switch is on, the module get tempo from host application and bpm value cannot be changed manually.
  • Randomize from Current Value: If the switch is on, randomizer uses current value as an offset. If the switch is set to off, Offset for Randomizer knob value is used as an offset. In any case, generated random value will be offset ± random value.
  • Wait 1-, 2-, 3-: Four lanes can be combined with these switches. If Wait 1- switch is on, The Lane 2 starts after the end of Lane 1. If Wait 2- switch is on, The Lane 3 starts after the end of Lane 2. If Wait 3- switch is on, The Lane 4 starts after the end of Lane 3. Possible combinations are shown above on this document. *Changing the setting of these switches causes all sequences rewind to starting position.
  • Quantize CV: With the switch on, the voltage of CV output is quantized to half tone. Quantization is applied after the CV range knob. The indicator displayed on mouse hover on the CV grid shows the voltage as note name.

Editable Label

  • bpm: Shows the internal tempo. You can edit by double click on the control. If the number is turned red, it is Host tempo mode and cannot be changed manually.

Inputs

  • Step: A trigger/gate CV input to all sequences advance a step. It is triggered when the signal crossed 0v to any positive voltages. In 96 PPQN Mode, it advances sequences by 1/\96 beat.
  • Play: A trigger CV input to run all sequences in internal tempo. It is triggered when the signal crossed 0v to any positive voltages. If the position of sequence is near enough to a step, it quantizes the position to the step at the trigger. If the Step input jack is connected, it turns the Step Trigger Enabled on at the trigger.
  • Pause: A trigger CV input to stop all running sequences. It is triggered when the signal crossed 0v to any positive voltages. If the Step input jack is connected, it turns the Step Trigger Enabled off at the trigger.
  • Rewind: A trigger CV input to set the position of all sequences to starting position. It is triggered when the signal crossed 0v to any positive voltages.
  • Clock (main): When the input is connected, internal bpm value of the module is calculated with the clock signal. If the position of sequence is near enough to a step, it quantizes the position to the step at the trigger. If the bpm value is not matched to clock source (e.g. Source = 289bpm and detected bpm = 288.99), please wait for a while and it'll be matched after the smoothing process is done. It's likely to happen when the source bpm is much higher.
  • Clock (for lanes): When the input is connected, the lane runs at their own bpm value calculated with the clock signal and internal tempo is ignored. If the position of sequence is near enough to a step, it quantizes the position to the step at the trigger.

Outputs

  • End of Lane: Outputs 5v trigger signals when the lane finished entire length of their own. It is not the end of sequence and each lane emits End of Lane signals even it is not the last lane of sequence.
  • Gate: If the sequences are run by Play trigger/button, it outputs 5v gate signals as long as the step's gate length is finished. If the sequences are run by Step trigger/button, it emits 5v gate signals during the Step button is pushed down or voltage of Step CV input is positive.
  • CV: Outputs the CV signal set on current step. Output voltages are set by CV grids and scaled with CV range knob value then adjusted with CV offset knob value. It keeps the voltage during the entire length of the step even the gate length of the step is ended.

Title of Song

  • from-video-demo1
  • from-video-demo2