Korg SQ1

Korg SQ1 is a sequencer. A sequencer unlike any other. And at a fraction of the price. You should grab one!

GEAR

2021-03-08 3 Min read

korg sq1

The Korg SQ1

I find it downright negligent that this web site does not have a GLOWING review for the Korg SQ-1 CV Sequencer. Love is the only four letter word that comes to mind when considering synonyms. There are many, many machines at work in my studio. None work as hard as this tiny brick-sized doo-dad.

Doo-Dad

To clarify, by Doo-dad I mean thingymajig. A what's-it-ya-call-it. One of that them there's. But, to drop the joke a moment, this tiny brick-sized item IS no joke. Despite not 'sounding' itself, it would be very inaccurate to say the Korg SQ-1 is not a musical instrument. And I know doo-dad to be the right way to explain what the SQ-1 is. This is because its genius lies in its simplicity.

How's It Work?

This sequencer has several ways of establishing a pattern before programming a note. The wheel for pattern direction to the left (Pictured below to the right) has all you could want. You can run your sequence backwards, forwards, in reverse, or even on random. Sequencer Mode, featured below that wheel, is just as important for crafting your sound. First is the gate on/off option, where your pattern is played for each of the 16 chromatic steps. The Korg  SQ1 will use empty steps as rests in this mode. Next is active step. Active step is my favorite, next to slide. Instead of resting on the notes not chosen, they are passed over. The next button lit red is the next note played, and in time. Slide glides your notes together. I'd say makes them legato, but the terminology seems a little off. Either way, it let's your sound get real weird! As I write this, I cannot for the life of me, recall what Step Jump does. I suppose I'll come back to this! Maybe ... 

Korg SQ1

Primarily 

I use my Korg SQ1 in tandem with my Korg MS20Mini. They’re a match truly made for one another! Truth be told, I’m a piss poor keyboard player. I suffer from an ailment called ‘Fat-Fingeritis’. It’s not detrimental to one’s health, really. It does mean, unfortunately, attempts to play keys are not dissimilar to slapping slices of deli cut bologna onto the keys and hoping for the best. I do, though, know music theory. Music theory is really what gets me by where my predicament causes me to fall short. Theoretically, I’m a nasty keyboard player. In reality, my little hidden black box of an SQ1 is pulling the strings of the whole set-up!

Along the top of the device you’ll notice several jacks. These ⅛” Ins and Outs are why you will love the Korg SQ1 so much. Let’s go left to right to explain each. First, you will notice something labeled Little Bits Out. This is intended to sync devices made by Korg in the Little Bits family of machines. Although I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a product by Korg named Little Bits … Hmmmm… Anyway! Following Little Bits, there’s a MIDI Sync out. This is SO handy. Presently, I use this jack as a way of controlling tempo into my Elektron Digitakt via its MIDI IN port. 

Next, there is a CV Out, followed by a Gate Out. Then! That’s freakin’ repeated! You have two sets of controls for out to synchronize multiple machines RIGHT THERE. You just need to plug something in… Correctly. 

Finally, you’ll notice a Sync In / Out to the far-right. They …  Sync. And they do it well! As of right now, I utilize the out on sync to go to the Run/Stop input on my Moog DFAM. If you don’t feel like utilizing your mother 32, there’s no need to run the M32 with the volume knob down anymore. If you use this configuration, you can cut that machine out entirely. 

For $99, there’s no beating the capacity this thing has. To run MIDI, 2 sets of Trig/Gate Outs AND possess a sync IN and OUT? If you connect a USB cord to your computer it will even be recognized as a MIDI controller by your DAW. I’m sure you can imagine the zaniness that ensues from doing that!! I love this thing and give it 47/5 stars.


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