Hapax unboxing photos and initial thoughts

For those of you that care about this kind of thing, here are a few still photos of Hapax, taken with my exceedingly average phone camera, along with some of my initial thoughts.

Unopened box

It’s a cardboard box. What else can I say?

Opened box

There was a protective cardboard structure over the knobs, which I removed for this photo. Note that 2 of the encoder knobs had actually come off during shipping, but I fished them out of the bottom of the box and re-attached them to the encoder shafts without issue.

What’s in the box

  • Hapax
  • English quickstart manual
  • A quick reference card
  • A few stickers
  • A TRS MIDI adapter (I didn’t check if it was A or B)
  • A 15V DC power supply with US / EU / UK / AUS plug ends (I’ve attached the US one here)

Back panel

I hadn’t found particularly good non-glamour-shot photos of the back panel, so here you go:

SD card

The SD card is completely nondescript, with no label. Should be 2GB, but I haven’t verified it yet.


Both screens are easy to see and crystal clear. Note that in these photos, the screens look more blue than they actually are. In actuality, I find the screens to be fairly neutral, if slightly cool, shades of grey. Also, there’s a little bit of banding in the photos which is totally not there in person.


Squarp definitely put a lot of care and effort into the feel of the buttons.

The side buttons (black or color background with white text) have a very positive tactile “click” feeling when pressed. It’s nice. They’re definitely some kind of rubber and not hard plastic.

The center grid buttons seem to made out of the same material as the side buttons, but don’t “click” in the same way that the side buttons do. I haven’t actually tried this thing out yet, but I have a hunch this is a good thing. These buttons feel like I’d expect them to.


The lights are nice and bright in normal room light. There’s no way a non-HDR photo can do the button lights justice. They look fantastic, in my opinion. I don’t know how visible they’d be in direct sunlight, but they’re significantly brighter than Hermod’s buttons, that’s for sure.

(FWIW, this is what is displayed when you go to Settings > Misc > Palette)

In the next two photos, I have the room lights off, but there’s a little afternoon winter light coming in the window. This is about how bright it is in my studio when I’m streaming, which is to say, not very.

Here, I’ve adjusted the ISO and shutter speed adjusted to capture the chassis and OLED screens roughly as they appear to me. Ignore the overexposed center grid buttons for now.

In this photo, I’ve adjusted the ISO and shutter speed to capture the center grid buttons as they appear to me, which is to say quite bright and extremely colorful. Imagine both this and the previous photo merged together, and that’s what Hapax looks like in low light. If only I still had my DSLR.


The encoders feel extremely sturdy, and have a very satisfying and stiff rotation feel and a good click when pushed. I don’t anticipate a lot of accidental knob turns while pressing them, and I will have to get used to the stiffer feel. The knob shape is thoughtful, with an indentation on the top and a scalloped circumference.

Here’s a photo with one of the knobs removed, revealing the D-shape encoder shaft.

And here’s what the knob looks like underneath. While the knobs fit the encoder shafts perfectly, and everything feels solid, there’s definitely a part of me that wishes the knobs felt a little heftier. That said, I really like their shape.

But how does it play?

I have no idea. I literally just unboxed it. Head over to my Twitch channel and follow me, because I’ll be using this as soon as I’ve figured it out (and have rewired everything in my studio to accommodate it).


Great writeup and photos, thanks for sharing!

I was surprised by the encoders. They are rougher than I expected. Not in a bad way, but certainly different than what you’d find in most other gear. The tolerance between detents is high, which makes me pretty confident that I wouldn’t accidentally move them.

A few other knobs for fun.

  • Left, top left Doepfer Drehbank style
  • Left, top bottom RD-9
  • Right, top left and bottom right, Davies style
  • Right, bottom left, Digitakt
  • Right, top right, Mini MXR Style


I got mine today as well. 2 of my knobs had come off and were loose in the box too. I didnt have any protective film on the screens of mine either. The sd card is indeed 2GB. I love it very much so far, although I got so distracted by live mode and trying it with some MPE controllers that I didnt get round to actually doing much sequencing with it yet.


awkwardly specific question here since you have different caps on… What size are they? I want to order some and am considering just buying Chroma Caps like I have on my Pyramid. Would the same size as I have on the Pyramid work? (yes, I could wait until mine arrives but I need to wile away the hours somehow)

Also… are there other decent options for new knobs that I should consider?

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My guess is that most 6mm D-Shaft knobs would work. I like the Davies clones from Thonk. They have a lot of colors and you can get them without a line for endless encoders.


Great post I appreciate the detail it is nice to check out this as mine is arriving on Monday thank you so much

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True about the pad leds …

I’m still trying to find the best settings for video using my iPhone XR, even on dim setting the camera wants to really over expose them …. and shut it down too much , and everything else is black :wink:

I tried using lights to get more ambient light , but screens are so reflective… probably need a filter.

I think I’ll get there but it’s been tricky to make it look good on video.
( of course first video I didn’t even really notice till editing - arghh!)


Knobs I felt similar, when I pulled them off I felt like they were a bit light/plastic … but actually whilst using them I had no complaints at all.

It’s abit like the case, i hadn’t really noticed until it was pointed out it was hard abs … just a non issue for me.

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Yeah, after using it for an hour, the knobs seem just fine to me. It’s not something I’m going to worry about.

Agreed, I was at first worried about the plastic vs my Digitakt’s metal (similar case design). But the Hapax is indeed super sturdy and I can appreciate the compromise in materials while retaining a solid build. Simply not an issue for me.

I’ll add my initial thoughts in this thread now that I’ve had a bit of time to play with it.

To start with the summary: I like it. A lot. Feels like it was a well thought-out device that I’m finding both fun and easy to create with, though there are a few little things that I hope will get added in the next firmware.

Physical: As I’ve said elsewhere, I’m a bit disappointed in the case, but that’s more of an appearance thing and based on the price tag than any specific concerns about durability, and it’s not something that I notice in actual use, since the buttons seem great and the encoders feel like a good fit for the design (pushing down issue that others have discussed aside). The fact that the output jacks are not labeled in a contrasting way is annoying for setup, but again a minor niggle that’s a non-issue after you get things set up. I’m still getting used to the dual screen layout and what screen the encoders go to, but that’s my lack of familiarity, not a design complaint, as I think it’s a great design. LEDs and OLED displays are plenty bright. After a couple of days of playing with it, I find my hands generally go where they’re supposed to for features and I’m doing very little searching for things, which to me is a sign of a smart, intuitive design. Limited, strategic use of the 2nd button helps balance # of buttons and functionality. Amusing note: as I get more touch screen synths, I’m starting to unconsciously expect them, I have found myself tapping the OLED display more than once, much like I see my daughter do with her MacBook. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I spent some time playing with the MIDI effects and automation yesterday, and I can see there’s a lot of power there that’ll take time to fully grasp. I also appreciate that those things will offset some of the functionality limitations of some of my synths and am looking forward to making use of that. This brings up what, to me, would be the most useful thing to add to the firmware: instrument definitions, a la Pyramid. Memorizing and using a bunch of cc numbers isn’t my favorite thing.

I spent way too much time just playing with the generative algorithm and I can see using it as a starting point for compositions. One thing what would be fun is if it had a setting for a mix of mono notes and chords.

I’ve spent most of my time playing with live and step mode so far, and beyond the continued evidence of how bad my live playing is, I’ve found both working well for how I tend to create. The way one scrolls around and zooms in a pattern is something I’m still getting used to, but that’s a familiarity issue, I’d say, as the design of it makes sense to me.

Beyond doing a little live pattern switching (which seems very promising for jamming/live playing), I’ve spent little time in pattern mode, so not much to say there yet.

My blackbox and SQ-64 are definitely on their way out now. My LPP3 is staying for now, as I may use it for note entry (but, that said, the matrix buttons on the Hapax are perfectly big enough to play live on, it’s just the omission of velocity sensing that makes me hesitant to let go of the LPP as of now.)

I’m sure there’s more, but those are my thoughts so far. Hope it’s helpful for those who are contemplating a purchase or eagerly awaiting the arrival of their Hapax!


this is already promised for future firmware.
(Squarp needed to ‘update’ it from the pyramid to overcome some of the limitations it had on there… so was pushed back from v1)

I think the scope for new Algos is immense in so many areas.

I really hope Squarp push this concept, and also add more FX over the months/years to come.

note: I don’t know, but I expect initially focus will be on bugs/issues and promised features (MPE editing/instrument defs) , and workflow ‘features’ perhaps… then when it calms down algos/fx?


Screen size comparison between Hapax and Hermod, in case anyone is interested :joy:


I’m bummed that ‘every n’ didn’t make it into 1.0, but I’m assuming that’ll be coming soon since it is in the online manual. It’ll be really useful for creating certain types of sequences.

Makes sense about the focus on bugs/promised updates. Algos are a really fun bonus, and lots of potential there, but definitely not my primary reason for purchase.,

it is there… but its only in Drum Mode.
no idea why … I can see uses for ploy mode too !?

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Ooooooh, I haven’t even touched drum mode yet. Hmm, now thinking about fun ways to use drum mode for notes instead of drums… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: