Hi folks. I will soon be making a minor change in the control row of my rack that will free up 4HP. This row also contains my Metropolix and Planar2 — both currently unexpanded — so adding a Gx to one of these modules seems like a natural use of this free space. But … which module should I expand?
Adding a Gx to Planar2 seems like it would be the most fun, but adding one to Metropolix seems like it would be more useful. For some additional details, my system is clocked by a PNW with an arsenal of trigger- and gate-related utilities, so the Metropolix/Gx’s clock-based output options don’t really appeal to me, but adding gates for each stage is much more my style, and I start envisioning how I can integrate the Metropolix with the rest of my system via switches, etc. Still, using the Planar2 as a super-flexible gate sequencer seems tremendously fun.
I expect that I’ll play around with each configuration to see how they measure up, but I’d love to hear from others about their own experience with the Gx. What have you learned? What do you like best? What has awed or underwhelmed you? I’m especially interested in any surprise discoveries or use cases that you found.
My initial thought: Use Gx for ModLane Stages or Mod Clocks.
It is the main (only?) way to get ModLane state out of Metropolix and into the rest of your patch. ModLanes are so useful for getting longer, interesting and compelling melodies that IMO you will want to tie the ModLane patterns/lengths to the other effects, mixing, and modulation in your patch.
The ModLane derived gates or trigs from Gx can be used with switches, mixers, VCAs, envelope generators, to sync LFOs, drive other sequencers, and even feedback into CV inputs on Metropolix.
For example here is a recipe I have used:
Assign ModLane Stages to Gx for ModLane 1
Set a slow clock division such that each ModLane stage lasts 16 pulses
Modulate the Root or Scale, such that every 16 pulses your sequence is transposed to a different key or chord,
Patch each Gx output to fire a unique slow envelope.
That envelope can open up an effect send/VCA or dry/wet setting, etc.
OR’ing or mixing gate outputs is useful if you have less than 8 envelopes or things to modulate.
Each new transposition or chord should have a different timbre and/or effect layout. The variations to the patch will track any changes you make to the timing or play order of the ModLane.
Since Planar 2 already has a gate button/output, I didn’t get much use out of the Gx expander. I think the issue for me is I like to use the joystick to control looping X/Y outputs, and the gate outputs from Gx weren’t meaningfully related to the X/Y position and what that was modulating. It ended up being too random and unwieldy for my needs, but perhaps if your patch revolved around joystick-controlled gates and not the X/Y position, there might be some interesting things you could do.
By comparison, Gx + Metropolix is incredibly useful and I would definitely choose that. I do a lot of sequencer-focused patching. I have Pam’s New Workout and I’m often clocking Pam’s from the Gx and using Pam’s for random gates, euclidean rhythms, logic, and synced modulation. When I want a common clock division, I can grab it out of the Gx and use a Pam’s channel for something more interesting. Generally you need the Gx in one of the “transport” modes to have it be the master clock (for the 4 PPQN clock + reset outputs), but the other modes of the Gx are really interesting, so I sometimes switch things around and make Pam’s the master clock. Tons of territory to explore there. If you have some switches and logic modules, the possibilities of Metropolix + Gx + Pam’s are vast. I expect I’ll never run out of new things to try.
But that’s just my experience. Since this is modular, you should try both and decide for yourself. I’d be interested to hear if you find some cool applications for Planar 2 + Gx.