Metropolix + Steppy ideas for structured songs

Lately I’ve been trying to play structured songs live on my modular with intros, contrasting A and B sections, etc. Metropolix is my sequencing “brain” and I’ve been using preset queuing and preset chaining to build up song structures. It works great!

I’m also doing drum sequencing with Steppy. For a structured song I might utilize 8 presets in Metropolix of a certain color, and all 8 presets in Steppy. Steppy can queue up a preset changes too, so as long as I set the lengths of my patterns on Metropolix and Steppy appropriately and queue the Steppy preset change at the right time. It’s definitely workable, but after spending time with it and making plenty of mistakes, I have some ideas / feature requests.

Some of this is surely not possible with the current iteration of Steppy, but maybe Steppy mk2 (“Steppier”?) could do it. Anyway, here are some things I wish I could do:

  • Basic preset chaining with Steppy. Without a screen like Metropolix, this will probably be difficult to implement in a usable way, but if there were some new button combos we could use maybe we could setup a sequence of consecutive presets to play in a loop (like preset 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, …).

    • The basic idea here is to allow for 128-, 192-, 256-, etc step patterns to play along with longer Metropolix patterns. Even without being able to set preset repetitions in the chain, this would be pretty useful IMO.
    • With this setup, preset queuing should perhaps respect the chain length. That way I can setup a e.g. 256-step pattern in both Steppy and Metropolix and queue the next presets any time during that pattern and they would both move to the next preset at the same time. As things stand, I’ll often have a 128+ step pattern in Metropolix and try to queue up a 64-step preset change in Steppy and that’s where the mistakes start happening. It’s easy enough if you are focusing on it, but I’m often distracted manipulating other modules and miss my window to change the Steppy preset (I suppose I need to practice more…)
  • CV-controlled preset changes for both Steppy and Metropolix: Let us use another sequencer/whatever to send CV to Steppy/Metropolix to make them change presets in sync with each other and the rest of the modular. Or it could be used to have Metropolix’s A/B outputs control Steppy’s preset changes. Then we could sequence Steppy patterns with a mod lane.

    • Steppy would need another CV input though, so I don’t see how it’s possible with the current hardware.
    • In the meantime, I would love to see this feature in a Metropolix firmware update.
    • I was going to request full-fledged preset chaining similar to Metropolix in Steppy mk2, but if we had CV control of presets that would be even more flexible.
    • I also had the crazy idea that Steppy could be connected to Metropolix in the back panel like an expansion, and then we could control its preset changes from Metropolix directly. I’m guessing the modules were not designed for anything like this though.

While I’m here, here’s some other related ideas I’ve had:

  • I wish I could pause a Metropolix preset chain so it stays on the current preset while I jam over top of it for a while, and then resume the chain when I’m ready to move on. I think the closest thing I can do currently is decide ahead of time where I want to pause, and set that part of the chain to repeat a lot, like 64 times, and when I’m ready to move on, edit the chain and decrease the repetitions until it proceeds.

  • When building up 64-step Steppy patterns, I often start with 16 steps, and then want to extend the pattern to 32 or 64 steps by copying page 1 to 2/3/4. I often do this with all 4 tracks. It’s a fair amount of button pushes to copy all the patterns and then I have to go change the all the track lengths too, and track lengths have to be changed at the right time during playback to avoid the tracks getting out of sync (which is hard and I usually end up having to reset all my sequencers). I suspect this may be a common way to build up patterns, so maybe a shortcut could be added to extend a 16-step pattern to 32 or 64 steps on either the current track or for all 4 tracks.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading.

1 Like

The preset chain pause seems a great idea !