Noob: is the Pyramid the sequencer of my rêves?

after a lifetime of resisting midi i have finally agreed (at the urging of my grumpy son) to leverage midi for live performance…but i still utterly refuse to use a DAW.

we use all pre-1986 gear live: sci drumtraks/sixtrak, roland tr-606/mks-50/jx-3p/CR-68/tr-77, a Yamaha dx-7, maestro rhythm king, and a commodore 64 (along with various guitars, pedals, tape delays).

per midi: the idea is to translate our 1-inch and 4-track arrangements into midi sequences/patterns/chains, then as we learn more about sequencers, exploit their full capabilities to improvise within, expand, and shift the songs live.

have learned the midi ropes with an sq-64 and a keystep pro. But zut alors! these contraptions can only chain together 16 patterns max.

we require a midi sequencer with CV connectivity, the ability to sequence 5-8 minute songs, then turn the songs inside out onstage.

a couple of edm friends recommended squarp. I’ve spent a week researching your company and your marvelous creations.

Your Pyramid seems to be the entry-level solution we are looking for…i prefer live keyboard sequencing (except for drum programming)…but have a couple of midi controllers.

but some friends and my son are urging me to buy an akai 61 workstation.

but between us…i really, REALLY did not like the look of akai’s contraption.

i tested one out. i have no hate in my heart, but if i did, it would be reserved for the akai 61. it. it visually presents as an aircraft carrier. akai’s promotional photography makes everyone who plays one look like they are going through a midlife crisis.

i far prefer the internal/external elegance of your Pyramid, and the potentialities of its polyrhythmic and Euclidean leanings (the Hapax seems a little beyond me at this stage - I’m just not educated enough to comprehend all those buttons in real-time.)

per my needs, your Pyramid almost seems too good to be true. please confirm your Pyramid is what will save me from that monolithic akai.


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Hi there. This is a community forum, and while there are Squarp employees around, they’re not salesmen. Everybodys use-case and workflow are different, nobody else can tell you what is the best device for you. People would be more inclined to answer specific questions that the online manuals and previous discussions on this forum didn’t provide a clear answer to.

That said, there are several dawless users of both Pyramid and Hapax here, myself included. Freedom from the computer is the reason for my being here. Another thing I specifically like about these devices is the “do one thing, and do it well” nature: they don’t try to be 15 synths, 5 samplers and a sequencer at the same time.

I would claim that the Hapax is actually the bit easier device to get started with, the learning curve with the Pyramid can be fairly steep because of the minimalistic UI. The Hapax also has way more connectivity, and AIUI is more performance-oriented with its dual project support (I don’t perform so no personal experience on that). Both devices support full live editing/manipulation and rather arbitrary length songs (each with their own limits) but the Pyramid has many more tracks + patterns available and supports longer individual tracks. The Pyramid is a mature product at this point, whereas the Hapax is still under heavy development. If you prefer a device where the next update isn’t always just around the corner (as one might imagine from your device list - and greetings from another C64 user btw :grin: ), that’s a point for the Pyramid at this point in time. Just FWIW, I have both devices, the Pyramid since 2017 and Hapax for about a year now and still quite torn between them, one is better for a thing and the other for some other thing :sweat_smile:

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Thank you for your generous reply.

I see what you’re saying about the expanded capabilities – and how the Hapax’s expanded UI would actually make learning easier. I will dive deeper into the Hapax over the next couple of days and then decide. (But tbh, the fact that the Pyramid is “set in stone” does add appeal, with regard to my lack of experience…so maybe that makes it better for me as an entry point.)

Either way, it looks like Squarp is the answer to my wanting to go DAW-less and stay away from maximalist pieces like the AKAI 61.

Ultimately I am looking for a sequencer that can help faithfully translate the songs I’ve recorded to 1-inch and 4-track - but that’s just a starting point. I’m looking for a sequencer with a mindset to push me to explore new rhythmic mathematical possibilities – to turn the songs inside out during a live performance.

I like letting the fates – really the philosophies of other engineers/creators/designers – decide where one of my songs wants to go. Which is why I have come to really admire Squarp’s mindset in a short amount of time.

If I chopped beats, I’d have more of a reason to buy the AKAI 61. But as much as I admire those who pursue classical sampling/beatmaking, it’s not my personal style. But adding MIDI functionality to my Drumtraks, 606 (circuit-bent into a “608”), CR-68, TR-77, and Maestro Rhythm King MK2, and humbling myself into learning a sequencer such as the Hapax or Pyramid excites me.

Anyway, thank you again! I really appreciate your taking the time – and so does my 14-year-old son, who has started performing with me and has been after me for a year to take the sequencer plunge.


(Also, thank you for clarifying this is not a Squarp-employee-run environment, I was a little confused on that point…I am ancient [in my 40s], and not very experienced vis-a-vis these forums.)

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To clarify, the forum is run by Squarp. It’s just not the official contact point for them, that would be Contact us | Squarp instruments

Such practises vary a lot from vendor to vendor.

Oh and fourty is not particularly old around here, much less ancient. I got my first C64 in -84, on fourth grade :smile:

i sequence my MPC entirely from Hapax (and before that Pyramid). it’s not either/or in terms of incorporating sampling into your workflow, if you wanted to add that tool to your toolbox

yea i’m dawless pyramid too. hapax definitely has less paging around and i could see the value in working that way, it also has cool features like loading two songs at a time. Depending on how you like to work, might be better. I like the pyramid a lot, but things like ‘blending songs’ requires some unconventional thinking with the pyramid, and like i said a second ago, you have to flip around a lot - like you’re not gonna see midi for multiple tracks at a time, but rather one at a time.

there are other differences i’m sure. i quite like the pyramid workflow. you’ll likely have to invest a lot of your own time, regardless of device, to see if you like the workflows and can hook things up the way you want.

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