Step mode observations and questions

I’m slowly working my way through the interface, but already I can see that some of the things you can do when editing patterns in step mode are really cool.

It’s super easy to select an individual note, an arbitrary range of notes, all notes in a row or column, or all notes in the pattern, and then transpose them or adjust their length, probability, quantization, or trig locks. It’s also very easy to just select a region in the pattern to loop it, or change the play mode to be reverse, pendulum, random, etc.

Good stuff!

I have some questions about Step mode, though. Maybe someone here has some ideas:

  1. How can I edit a pattern that isn’t currently playing? I can’t figure out how.
  2. Is there any way to scroll horizontally less than 1 screen at a time? It’s really hard to edit groups of notes across the “edge” between screens.
  3. Is there a way to prevent zooming out past the full width of the screen?
  4. Can we customize how many rows up/down the main encoder moves the grid? Right now, it seems to be 6 steps, which, sure, is 1/2 an octave, but it also feels a little weird.
  5. Holding the Chance or Roll encoders don’t seem to reset those settings to their default value. Maybe a bug?
  6. Is there any way to “humanize” a group of notes? I’ve been able to quantize them, slide them forwards and backwards, but it would be great to be able to humanize timing and/or volume.
  7. Is there any way to easily transpose note(s) up or down an octave at a time?
  8. Is there any way when placing notes in “Learn” mode to transpose them as they are being placed? (Yes, you can select them afterwards and transpose them there, but it would be nice to be able to do both in one step)

If things look like they might be bugs or are just not implemented, I’ll send them over the Squarp in an email. I just want to ask here first!

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Not sure why you would edit a pattern you are not in, just would over complicate things

…In regards to the zoom does this change the behaviour? I don’t have mine yet to test

I think the scaler midi fx has transpose for easy transpose of whole patterns

no, I do agree would be nice…
but not sure how viable it is…
the issue is, for performance they will want pattern selection to be immediate (on pattern screen), so can’t see them wanting to alter than too much… but who knows :wink:

nope, I can understand why,
though, I suspect in practice, it would lead to a bit of disorientation.

No… and I actually like this … I sometimes zoom way out, so when editing things like chord progressions.
in fact, I wish we could zoom out a lot more (past /16 , which iirc is max) for this reason…

you can hold down 2nd+up/down to shift one note at a time (iirc)
again, I think, moving in blocks is partly to help orientation.

I, personally, think the right window would do with some aids to orientation e.g. I liked the piano markings on the piano…
also whilst I understand the motivation behind the window moving up/down, I kind of wished it would stay in the centre, and the notes moved in/out of it…
… but its one of those areas where you’d have to try different UIs, and see which felt best, which possibly is what Squarp did, and found this worked best.

is a press/release , not hold to reset parameters…

but we aware there are two different scenarios. (e.g. chance, but same on others)

  • note notes held
    will default back to 100%
  • selection active, so notes held
    will default back to what the current selected value.
    (so say you currently have chance at 70% for new notes, then it will return to 70%)

this may feel odd/catch you out, but once you get used to it , I find really useful!

what do you mean by humanise?
so if you select a bunch of notes, you can collectively adjust there parameters.

now one thing, I noticed and reported… and what you might be referring too…
lets say you have a bunch of notes where uTime is random + and - off…
turning the encoder where collectively increase the value or decrease…
essentially you are changing the OFFSET of the value
whereas Id like rotating the encoder to change the SCALE , so progressively move them to zero (or away from zero)
… the issue here is this is 100% what I want from uTime, but its not what you probably want for (e.g.) Math.
Automat gets around this, since it has two encoders one for scale, one for offset.

select notes, then use encoder 2

no… learn decides the notes… then pressing the grid just determines step.

whilst, I know what you mean, I cannot see how that can work nicely…
e.g. if it transposed if you pressed on anything other than the bottom row (aka selected note) , that would make it too easy to make mistake (imho)

honestly, Im happy as is, because I find the exactly where I want (in octave) on the keyboard/live pad… using octave shift if necessary, then play/learn it.
because this octave is retained per track, after doing it once… its generally in the ‘right place’ for subsequent notes.

thats just my view on whats available and not, and why I think it is as-is.
of course, send a feature request for things you think can be improved…

It’s a performance tool. When you’re doing a live set, sometimes you want to copy an existing pattern (or patterns) into a new row, make some changes to them, and once that’s done, switch to the new row with the updated groove. I do this kind of thing all the time on Force and also on my TR-8S to keep the music going while I set up the next groove.

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as I mentioned above… I think the whole right window/pads view could do with some tweaking.

BUT, when Ive thought about it more deeply, and played with it on the Hapax with longer tracks/songs.
Ive noticed its easy to get disoriented.
k, this should not be surprising… as great as the UI is, it not liking having a 27" monitor with a piano roll

… and I think in some ways, the more freedom we have for moving around the grid, the worst that becomes, hence why the ‘blocking’ does tend to make sense, even if awkward at 'boundaries"… its a compromise.

BUT, I do feel like this is something that could over time be tweaked…
as I said, personally, id like :

  • the right window was more linear… even if it means you see a bit less (it currently kind of folds notes)
  • keep the pads in the centre of the right window…
  • some kind of landmarking (e.g. piano roll on the left)
  • have ‘folding notes’ (only show notes used) ?
  • notes in scale view? (only show notes that are in scale)

all of these are kind of tweaks, that I think would help let a users build a better connection between the ‘overview’ on the display, and whats being show on the pads.

but as I said, I think its a difficult area.

note: as I mentioned elsewhere, when a scale is active, some of the shortcuts are missing… Ive reported these as bugs. e.g. 2nd+main encoder no longer moves horizontally.

Regarding zooming, I agree with you, I want to be able to zoom out to see this:

I’m just not sure how useful seeing this is, if I zoom out a step too far:

I’d like to be able to set an option so the far end of the zoom range is the max size of the pattern, so I can quickly crank the encoder to the end without thinking to see everything in my pattern quickly, without overshooting. Muscle memory.

this is absolutely what I like :slight_smile:

its not about what you can see… its about what a single pad represents.
a pad might be 1/4 notes, or 1 bar

I don’t want it to arbitrarily stop zooming out, just to keep the grid ‘full’

thats why I also said, Id really like to be able to zoom out in further…
eg. 32 bars… Id like two pages, where each pad = 1 bar
(or in this case… 18 bars, where 1 pad = 1 bar)

btw: in case you have not noticed…
there is a similar kind of ‘display’ (though controlled by ‘split bars’ option) when you use time signatures that are ‘odd’ , e.g. if you use 15/16 , it’ll chunk into pages of 15 steps.
(iirc, colouring of pads is very slightly different)

its a fantastic feature , makes working with odd time signatures, so much better.

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Regarding editing a pattern that isn’t playing

I’d argue that being able to edit a non-playing pattern is critical for Hapax to be used as a performance sequencer. I tried copying and pasting a pattern into the other project, but Hapax will still play the pattern as soon as I select it there. They could implement this by pressing the Step mode button while a pattern button is being held in Pattern mode to edit that pattern, regardless of what is playing.

Regarding scrolling the screen

For scrolling horizontally less than 1 screen at a time, I’m not asking that this be the default behavior, it’s just very difficult to edit a phrase of notes that crosses the screen boundary, and in those cases, I’d like the ability to do with horizontal scrolling what you can do with vertical scrolling, which is to scroll one unit at a time. I can understand why they added the 2nd+<> functionality that they did, and I really appreciate it, but now I’m having trouble editing patterns. Also, I agree that scrolling in blocks vertically makes sense, I’m not asking for that to change. I just feel like 6 step increments is a bit arbitrary.

Regarding holding the Chance or Roll encoders

The manual tells us we can hold the Chance and Roll encoders down to reset them to their default values, which for Chance would be 100%, and for Roll would be off. However, holding them down does nothing. Holding down uTime and Math work this way, so I don’t know why Chance and Roll would be any different. This seems to be a bug, I just wanted confirmation if it is.

from the manual

Regarding humanizing notes

This is basically the opposite of quantization. Instead of aligning things more to the grid, you align them less. However, you do it in a way that sounds “human” by varying things like timing and volume in both directions, randomly. You may be asking why you’d even want to do this if you can just record unquantized and just reduce the quantization. That’s fine, but if you’ve already quantized your notes for any reason, you can’t just un-quantize them in a way that feels human, unless you do it manually, which means going into each individual note and tweaking it just a little. Humanizing volume can be super helpful in making a groove feel more natural when programmed, or played with a controller that’s not velocity sensitive. Think 16th note hi-hats in a drum groove.

all just my views… others will have different ones, thats fine :slight_smile:

please reports issues and feature requests via the contact form

Yes, I absolutely will, but I’m also trying to have a discussion!

not if the track is muted in other project.
(similarly you can copy to a spare mute track on same project … if you have one spare)

nope, not perfect - as I said, I’d like this too, I know the use case…
but Im not sure it’s easy with the UI model. so Ive no idea if Squarp are likely to do this or not.

I explained how its supposed to work, and how it is working for me.
it is not always supposed to go to 100%… and that is very useful at times.

the manual description is inaccurate.
(its assuming you didn’t change the default on the notes screen)

humanisation can be done thru the random fx, or algos -no?
e.g. algo use curves, select random , ajdust amplitude.
basically algos are the way we are going to get ‘one off’ changes, fx are ‘on the fly’

the algos are still a work in progress, so may or may not have all the things you need.
(e.g. not sure curves can target uTime)

I haven’t tried algos yet, I’ll take a look!

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Hmmn, algos look like they’ll do exactly what I want, however they just don’t seem to work here. When I select one and click the encoder, nothing happens. I’m seeing this behavior with Generatr, Curves, etc, whether I’m selecting ranges of notes or not, whether recording is enabled or not. I have no idea how to get algos to actually do anything.

no idea why not… check my vids… you’ll see i use them all the time :wink:

no you don’t record they do their thing when you click on encoder 1. (click to apply iirc)

Yeah, that’s what I thought. Algos are just not working here at all. I figure it’s something I must be doing wrong, which is why I tried in and out of record mode, but I can’t figure it out.

Generator is pretty obvious to see working,
turn up density… then look on right window for notes.
can’t really think what you could do wrong :laughing:

oh, one thought on generator, make you have min/max note set correctly, not sure what happens if you invert them.
(remember: hold down encoder to change lower parameter)

Curves is much more subtle, since you are applying to existing notes/parameters, so to see affect you have to look at the notes…

Every N on drum mode is also obvious. (but only existing on drum tracks)

Yeah, it’s just not working here. Also, holding down the encoder is only allowing me to change some of the secondary values, not others. Weird.

iirc, not all lower values are changeable, sometimes its information … usually its obvious (probably if you know :wink: ) which ones you can/need to change, and which not.

the note min/max is one I know… as Ive argued it would be better to have the lower number as a range (semis) , so that when you move the note… the range is constant… currently I find myself having to constant change both.
(this is already submitted… not sure if its going to happen or not :wink: )

perhaps shoot a video, as Ive really no idea what can be wrong…

only yesterday, we went on a bit of a wild goose chase for another issue… but immediately when I saw a new video it was like 'ahhhhh, you need to … " :laughing:
age old problem, sometimes we do things without thinking, so its totally confusing as where the issue may be.

Ok, I’ve figured out the problem. Some of these encoders have to pushed down EXTREMELY hard to register a click, even though they are making a “click” when pressed normally. It turns out my issue with holding the Chance or Roll encoders to reset them to defaults is due to this as well.

Maybe the encoders are defective, or maybe there’s some kind of software debouncing on their click that needs to be better tuned.

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Nope, it’s the knobs. When I remove the knobs, the encoders work perfectly.

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