MATRIXSYNTH: The last Eurorack sequencer you might ever buy: DROID Moto Kit Demo

Monday, May 13, 2024

The last Eurorack sequencer you might ever buy: DROID Moto Kit Demo

video upload by mylarmelodies

"Imagine you could buy an uber-hands-on 4-track performance sequencer with haptic motorised faders, but you could modify or totally redesign how it works - as your interests change? The "DROID Moto Kit" (running the included Motor Fader Performer Sequencer patch) is that thing. It's 'done', and powerful...AND it can be changed. In this video I'll introduce the DROID system, explain basic track creation 5:41, and then jam from 14:57 onwards.

Thanks for Der Mann mit Der Maschine for hiring me to demo the Moto Kit. Given that this was designed by someone who actually plays live, you might expect that my next step is to try this as my live case sequencer."

00:00 What is Droid & The Moto Kit?!
03:12 Sequencer Intro/Overview
05:41 Let's Make a Track!
14:57 Jams: Meet the Quartet
18:27 Electro Aceed O'Clock
20:41 Electro Variation
23:26 Forlorn Acid
26:49 Stinson Acid
33:54 Endless Noodles
35:02 AFX Bass
36:17 Accumulator Jam
39:33 Arpeggiator Explained
43:06 Compose Mode Jam
45:30 Octave Shifting Melodies
49:04 Divided and Multiplied Melodies
51:33 Reprise Funk
53:36 Kosmiche Arpeggiator Jam

Update: press release and pics follow.

Der Mann mit der Maschine | Moto Kit


Let's talk about the sequencer first! It ships in a configuration that has four independent tracks, each controlling one voice, either via CV/Gate plus extra modulation CV, or via MIDI. MIDI connectivity is provided with two DIN/TRS (mini jack) outputs and one USB port. In our free software "DROID Forge" for Windows and Mac there is a tool called "patch generator", which allows you to not only configure the MIDI routings but also decide about the feature set and even the button layout.

The modules all come prepared so that within a few minutes the sequencer is setup and ready to go. Once you are satisfied with your configuration, you can use the included stickers to label the buttons of your modules (as shown in the images – or however you like).

This DROID motor fader sequencer is unique and innovative in many ways. Most importantly the direct control with the motor faders makes it stand out. The big faders allow instant control and real "playing". In the normal mode, each fader represents one step in the sequence. With eight fingers you can change eight notes at once.

When you switch to another track or to another function within the track (e.g. to the velocity / modulation CV), all faders move to the according positions of these settings, so you can immediately see what's going on and change the values without any "pickup", as is necessary for sequencers without motorized sliders.

When you edit values that are stepped in nature - first of all the selected notes of the scale - the faders use their tiny motors to give you haptic feedback! For every note you feel a little notch. You can change by say exactly two notes by feeling the notches and don't need any display for hitting the correct note.

Musical functions

The DROID motor fader sequencer is built to improvise and play music, for being creative, finding new melodies, and everything right in the moment - a perfect tool for live performances, but also for jamming and recording in the studio and get inspired. It does this not only by its unique haptic interface but also by including lots of interesting musical features and algorithms - all of them accessible by a single button press.

Chord notes selection: Use seven buttons (of the P2B8) to select notes from the scale. Play with these buttons to alter the complexity of a melody on the fly. Or change its harmonic structure but removing the root and third and add the ninth or 13th. Since all seven notes are part of the scale, you can never go astray, however. You will always by "in tune", even without any knowledge of music theory – as long as your VCOs are properly tuned.
Diatonic transposition: Shift up and down a melody by a number of notes - within the scale and within the selected notes. One simple movement of a fader brings a great and refreshing alteration to your melody. Touch one button and you are back to normal.
Built-in arpeggiator: Press one button to switch from the sequenced melody to an algorithmically created melody - based on the same scale and selected chord notes. More than different controls change the played pattern - all of them can be combined, which creates millions of melodies - without any randomness!
Pitch accumulator: The note of one step moves up or down within the scale by one or two notes every cycle of the sequence. So with just one little setting, you can create a 32 step melody from just 8 steps.
Conditional gates: For example play a step just every second time. This doubles the length of the sequence and creates musical variations - without need of randomness.
Mini arpeggiator for repeats and ratchets: Make every repeat of a step (you can repeat each step up to 16 times) use a different note. Similar for the ratchets (ratchets divide a step into multiple faster sub-steps).
Inversion: Press just one button and lower notes get higher and higher notes get lower - like a vertical mirror of your melody.
Forms like AAAB and AABB: Split up your melody into two halfs - for example 16 steps are split into 8 and 8. The first half is called A, the second half is B. Now A is played three times, than once B. So the essential length of the melody is double, in a very musical way.
Activity: For each step select an activity level that is needed for the step to be played. Then with a global fader you select the activity. This allows you to make your melody more sparse or more complex - in a very controlled way and again without any randomness.
Auto-reset: Restart the sequence after a fixed number of clock cycles. This is done with one fader with virtual notches. Move the fader to position 3 and you trim the sequence to just three steps. The creates a powerful polymetric feeling. At any time move the fader back to zero and the melody returns to its original movement - while automatically snapping back into sync with the other tracks.
Shift steps: Again with one fader, rotate all steps. The changes the musical timing of your melody in relation to the rest of the tracks. Of course this can be undone with one flip of a fader.
Transpose by root: When this is turned on, your melody is transposed along with the root note - whenever that changes.
Other features

Besides all these musical functions, the sequencer has a lot more features, for example:

Up to 32 steps per track (which can be made virtually longer with lots of musical features).
Three presets per track with instant switching without resetting to the start, so you always keep in sync.
Select start and end step to play - making the sequence shorter
Complex movement patterns within the sequence, like two steps forward and one backward.
Auxiliary output clock with divisions that can be changed via a fader
Internal clock with precise BPM setting, but also flexible time
External clocking via CV or MIDI
MIDI output of notes and clock
Gate propability per step
Skip steps
Pitch randomization per step
Gate length per step
Glide per step
"Luck" button for automatically moving faders to new random positions
Performance menu, where you can control selected functions for each of the individual tracks without switching.
Flexible clock divisions and multiplications per tracks (also odd things like 3, 5 and 7)
Tuning mode that outputs a C in different octaves on every channel for easy tuning of your VCOs.
Octave switches: per channel and global
Chromatic mode, where all 12 notes are being used.
Contents of the Moto Kit

The Moto Kit is a selection of five DROID modules. Even if you don't need a sequencer, you get this set modules for a very good price. Or maybe your start with the sequencer but then use the free DROID Forge software to change the configuration, change some of its features and add new features. DROID is a super flexible universal CV processor that is not limited to sequencing!

The Moto Kit contains the following ingredients:

MASTER18 – brand new Master module with an amazing feature set
P2B8 controller (special Moto Kit edition with red LED in button 8)
B32 controller (special Moto Kit edition with various colored LEDs)
2x M4 motor fader controller
2x MIDI TRS-DIN adapters (type B, matching MASTER18)
USB-A to USB-C cable
All necessary ribbon cables for power and controller connection, of course.
One addition 80 cm controller cable in case you want to put the MASTER18 at a different place in your rack.
Micro SD card with standard start patch in MASTER18
Extra SD card with Motor Fader sequencer (put this into your MASTER18 to use the sequencer)
SD card reader
Folded cheat sheet for the Motor fader sequencer
3x Sticker sheet for the sequencer (three times, so you can rearrange things later if you like)
2x 1HP blind plates (if you can afford the extra space we suggest putting one after MASTER18 and one between the B32 and the M4s)

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