New squarp pyramid user needs help/advice on (dawless) setup: running out of midi channels?

Hi everyone!

I recently acquired the squarp pyramid MK3 and want to use it as brain/sequencer for my setup with:

  1. Moog Matriarch
  2. Vermona Perfourmer
  3. Analog Rytm
  4. Elektron Octatrack
  5. Novation Peak
  6. DSI Prophet 6 (keys)
  7. Nord drum 2
  8. Conductive Labs NDLR
  9. with some fx pedals also receiving midi din clock

I have a kenton midi thru 12 box, and a kenton midi merge 8 box.

Main goals are:

  • To keep everything clocksynced, with pyramid (or octatrack) as master clock, which ever is best.
  • To be able to do live recording (like mr tuna haha) of the midi (i think its called omni mode?)
  • I’d love to be able to drum in my drums ‘live’ using the nord drum 2, and have the pyramid ‘live sequence’ it immediately thereafter.

My concerns/questions:

  1. what would the best master clock be (squarp or octatrack)
  2. what would the best midi cabling/routing option be?
  3. latency: will this be an issue?
  4. midi channels: if the vermona already uses 4 channels, and the nord drum can use 6, and looking at the rest of my synths, I fear I will run out of midi channels, and will have problems with echo-ing or multiple synths being triggered at times I don’t want them to.

Curious to hear your thoughts, i’m quite a newbie, so any advice on the optimal setup and how to prevent above described problems are very welcome, thanks for your time!

Greetings from Amsterdam!

To begin with I’d group your gear like this:

Voice section midi out bank A:

  1. Moog Matriarch
  2. Vermona Perfourmer
  3. Novation Peak
  4. DSI Prophet 6 (keys)

Rhythm - samples section out bank B:
3. Analog Rytm
4. Elektron Octatrack
7. Nord drum 2

Midi in:

  1. Conductive Labs NDLR

Clock out:

  1. with some fx pedals also receiving midi din clock

My opinion (I hope you don’t mind):
If you are just starting I’d also recommend first to separate Elektron from pyramid. Just the clock for now. It will do your life easier ATM.

Better to be a fully fledged oktatrack, rytm, Perfourmer player/artist one by one, slowly instead of getting lost in translation. Less is more. All your instruments need to go deep before you combine and all are good enough even just standalone, IMHO.

All the best and let us know

Thank you, new here but already love the forum.

And thank you for the advice, sounds wise haha!

What do you mean with separate elektron from pyramid? you mean leave out the octatrack? and first just sequence all the rest with pyramid? You are probably right, I plan on starting that way.

And thanks for pointing the Bank option out, this means that when using separate banks I can use those midi channels two times? or is it just to have a better overview/sorting over the tracks.

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Yes, each output line has their own channels, so this gives you 32 channels with DIN MIDI and if you add USB into the picture you can have 48 channels total.

Exactly that. 2 x 16 MIDI channels A B + one bank for CV C + one bank for USB D.

OKTATRACK is fine alone // you not sending midi stuff there from pyramid, just clock// I’d connect it with rytm to stay pure Elektron. Plenty to perform, really.

Pyramid would be your brain for the synths. Samplers, drum machines work well alone.

Pyramid or any Elektron would be your clock (preferably pyramid because you use Kenton merge).

That’s it.

I would even go further and separate the speakers for Elektron from the rest of gear. Simple reason: at the end you will (if not today then in three years :slight_smile: ) have separated audio outs from drums. That’s 8 tracks from rytm only. So your problem will be, some day later, the mixer and how not to block the frequencies you need for both, bass/drum and deep sounds synths/ambient. I use 32 tracks digital mix with single track recording, separé 4 groups of ensembles, a small “jazz combo”, analogue synth section, modular/sample section and the already recorded ones. All those need different mixing.

It is just my recipe, you’ll find your cup of tea soon.

If any question, no problem

I think that if you want to jam like Tuna you will only have 16 channels at your disposable.

I was afraid of that, you probably can’t ‘live’ switch between banks right

That’s right.

The way I’m setup is I only get my pyramid to sync start stop to my rytm and Digitone, I create patterns on them. It saves a lot of midi channels and headaches. The rest of the gear is recorded on the pyramid.

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I wouldn’t hook up everything at once. I started with two devices then slowly added more to my template.

If you’re out of channels maybe give up some parts if you can disable them on things. 32 is a lot of programs, especially if any of those are key-mapped to multiple samples/sounds.

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yeah I am probably going to do the same. Sequence my synths with/on the pyramid, and use the sequencers on the octatrack/rytm separately (pyramid just sends start/stop + clock)

I’ve found that unless you’re okay with one pattern on your Elektron stuff throughout the whole song, switching patterns is cumbersome since you have to send the PC message early. Navigating the song then becomes a big hassle because you don’t have those early PC messages happening. Forced to manually change patterns before pressing play.

If you work improvisationally though, ignore me.

thanks for the comment, but yes, i will probably just manually change (mute/unmute) the patterns on the elektrons and keep it simple :wink:

theres a few topics on using the OT with the Pyramid that would be worth reviewing…

initially, I tried to make the OT slaved to the Pyramid, with patterns and such like.
(and then tried flipping it round, to have the OT as master)

but after a while, I ended up feeling like I was crippling the versatility of the OT.
it almost felt like I was doing just because I could… rather than because I needed it.

for my needs, I ended up using the two pretty much independently, just simply slaving the clock.

which should be master?
unfortunately, no right answer, both can work - and often the answer is , which ever you are using the most :wink:

for me conceptually the Pyramid felt like it should be master (and it was for a long time).
however, in the end I switched over to using the OT as master, because the OT as a few issues (things like pickup machines) when its slaved.
that said, its so quick to switch them around (or even slave them both to a daw) , I change it up depending which device Im more focused on in that session/track … not ideal, but as they say ‘perfection is the enemy of good enough’

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This sounds like great advice, thank you, we are on the same page here!!!
I think I will end up the same way as you, thats why I love the forum here.
Might end up selling the octatrack, although they all have their own perks / benefits.

what I like about the pyramid is the fact that there is no 64 step limit and how it deals with polyphony and ‘live recording’ , which is mainly ideal for chord progressions on my matriarch and prophet 6 (keys). However, its no sampler like the octatrack, and I like the step sequencer of the elektrons better for some purposes (and the arpeggiatior is pretty great too).

yeah, Im sometimes unsure about having both the OT and Pyramid due to overlap.

but the OT is exceptional for live audio processing, so thats not going anywhere :wink:

on the flip side, Pyramid is a more midi powerful sequencer.
that said, I like conditional trigs on the OT, and also its simplicity is nice at times.
… so, I do use it for midi sequencing over the pyramid occasioinally.
(esp, for eurorack, where I dont need the polyphony)

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