OR-1m – new advanced sixteen-step sequencer
Orwell Digital has released the OR-1m Advanced Step Sequencer. The OR-1m is a sixteen-step sequencer with per-step controls for note pitch, duration and velocity. In addition, each step features four knobs for generating MIDI continuous controller data of the user’s choosing when each step is called.
The OR-1m also features MIDI remote control of all significant front panel controls via MIDI Controllers. Bi-directional MIDI control is also provided, allowing for MIDI control surfaces Behringer to update their displays when parameters on the OR-1m’s control panel are changed via mouse or preset recall. This allows users to experience the flexibility and performance of a computer-based sequencing solution while retaining the immediacy and feel of a hardware control surface.
The new Bias Channel allows users to easily offset the values of outgoing MIDI data without changing the settings of the individual steps. With a turn of the Bias Channel’s Pitch knob, all notes being generated by the OR-1m can be transposed up or down by single steps, or radically shifted over several octaves. Thanks to the OR-1m’s Force To Scale module, the resulting note output can remaining firmly in key. Similar controls on this channel allow for other MIDI output to be offset as well, including note duration, velocity and the four-per-step MIDI continuous controllers.
The Random Module allows all of the OR-1m’s step and loop parameters to have their values randomly generated within user-specified ranges, either individually or with all parameters as a group. Notes can be generated over a span of a just few pitches, or the entire multi-octave range allowed by the MIDI specification. Likewise, MIDI controller data can be limited in the values randomly assigned, which can be useful when a user needs to restrict the maximum resonance setting of a filter or similar parameter.
The OR-1m also introduces the concept of Random Locks. Present on each sequencer step and sequence loop, when activated they prevent their associated area from both having its parameters changed by the Random Module, as well as protecting from value alterations due to Global Channel changes. Another purpose for this function could be found when using the Random Module to repeatedly generate new note data, while periodically “locking” the steps which the user wishes to retain and protect.
The Loop section of the OR-1m features four loops, each of which has separate settings for the highest and lowest steps that will sound when the loop is played. Loop settings also include controls for section transposition and playback direction, including forward, reverse, alternating and random playback modes.
Any of the four loops can be selected for playback individually. In addition, all four loops can be played in sequence, allowing for the generation of extremely complex melodic lines and rhythmic patterns. When per-loop parameters such transposition and loop start step and end step are randomized, this loop-chaining feature can lead to very unexpected and often inspiring results.
The OR-1m also supports note-triggered sequence playback and direct-step triggering via MIDI Notes. Note triggering allows for the OR-1m’s sequencer to play its next step when a particular MIDI note is received. This allows for sequencers and MIDI instruments to control the OR-1m using a pattern of MIDI notes which could be quantized, to trigger the OR-1m with whatever “feel” the user prefers, or played live, allowing for all manner of realtime creative interaction.
Direct Step Triggering allows any of the OR-1m’s sixteen steps to be triggered when specific MIDI notes are received. This provides intense flexibility in playback order and allows users to intermix sequential playback with steps called out of their pre-defined sequence order.
The Common Channel on the far right of the OR-1m’s control panel allows for assignable MIDI controllers to be sent independently of the internal step sequencer. These controllers can be used to set the volume, effect mix or any other MIDI-controllable parameter of the unit or software receiving the OR-1m’s MIDI output.
The Force To Scale module allows users to make every note sent from the OR-1m conform to any of a wide variety of provided scales. Key can also be specified.
The OR-1m also provides extensive patch storage capability, with over 1024 patch locations available per bank. Banks can be easily saved to and loaded from disk.
Price: $40 via digital download.