Favorite Sequencer

I do love Auria, but I’m wondering if there is a better sequencer/piano roll out there. I will have midi files to import from Notion, and I want to muck with them; assign sounds, so would need midi import, AU and IAA, and be able to tweak everything you can in midi, easily. Doesn’t have to be a full DAW, would prefer it wasn’t. Would need to be able to export either as midi, or as wav files.

If there is one thing I’m sure about on this board, there will be opinions. Would love to hear them, and why. Not much good to say, “X is great,” without saying why, as for all I know, its the only one you’d ever tried. :D

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  • 55 Comments sorted by Date Votes
  • edited March 5 Vote Up2

    I have never used Auria, primarily Cubasis. I can do all of the stuff you mentioned pretty easily, and I am sure that is your case with Auria. So rather than go on about how easy it is for me to use Cubasis or recommend you switch to another DAW, I am going to recommend that you keep using what you use if you can do all that you want in that app. Only switch if there is an app that specifically caters to and simplifies/improves the Midi workflows you regularly use. I don’t know of any apps for the stuff you mentioned, but Xequencer comes to mind. That one might be worth a closer look.

  • Auria most definitely does it. I'd just like to try something different, something that that is the main focus.

  • Don't know the answer, but this would be useful to me too...

    Import MIDI multi-channel file to multiple tracks
    Import single track MIDI file to a single track
    Retain all MIDI events and allow viewing and editing of all MIDI events
    User assign tracks to IAA and AU instruments
    Works with Audiobus, AUM...
    Well-designed Piano Roll for notes and controllers
    Export unmuted track(s) as MIDI file

    If the sequencer let you define arrangement markers and move sections around easily, that would be a bonus.

    I'm looking at Xequencer at the moment. See if it fits the bill...

  • It might not have a tempo track.

  • @lovadamusic said:
    Don't know the answer, but this would be useful to me too...

    Import MIDI multi-channel file to multiple tracks
    Import single track MIDI file to a single track
    Retain all MIDI events and allow viewing and editing of all MIDI events
    User assign tracks to IAA and AU instruments
    Works with Audiobus, AUM...
    Well-designed Piano Roll for notes and controllers
    Export unmuted track(s) as MIDI file

    If the sequencer let you define arrangement markers and move sections around easily, that would be a bonus.

    I'm looking at Xequencer at the moment. See if it fits the bill...

    Be interested to hear your conclusions...

  • edited March 5 Vote Up1

    Of all the apps I have tried, Auria and Cubasis are the best options for this.....both are variations on a theme and work in a very similar way.....I find Cubasis slighlty easier to use, but Auria has more in depth MIDI editing tools.

    I can also say that neither Gadget nor Modstep are any good for this.....where they CAN do it to an extent...the problem they both suffer from is the scenes, as when you import your midi it gets split into chunks and put into those scenes and the splits are never where you want them to be which means you are unable to easily move sections around. I would imagine ANY pattern based sequencer will suffer the same drawback.
    You could try setting the scenes up first (Not with Gadget though...import MIDI creates a new project) with the correct number of bars and then import the midi, but that really is just work for works sake.

    Out of interest, what is it about Auria that makes you want to look elsewhere ?

  • @AndyPlankton, I just wanted to try something else, really. I don't find a piano roll particularly intuitive to start with, and was wondering if another approach might be easier to understand. I come from an analog recording background, so it's all new to me.

  • Have you tried Audio Evolution Mobile?
    It's free so there's no risk to try :)
    It has a rather user-friendly piano roll, does handle MIDI files and also has an integrated sampler/rompler and its usage is one of the most straightforward of all DAWs IMHO.

  • @rs2000 said:
    Have you tried Audio Evolution Mobile?
    It's free so there's no risk to try :)
    It has a rather user-friendly piano roll, does handle MIDI files and also has an integrated sampler/rompler and its usage is one of the most straightforward of all DAWs IMHO.

    Yep. I use it. Loads of sounds to buy.

    N-Track 8 is also good.

  • @rickwaugh said:
    @AndyPlankton, I just wanted to try something else, really. I don't find a piano roll particularly intuitive to start with, and was wondering if another approach might be easier to understand. I come from an analog recording background, so it's all new to me.

    Rick
    Wow, that struck me as interesting about your reaction to the piano roll. I remember using a dos sequencer that showed each midi event as a line of raw midi in a long list, and when piano rolls appeared it was a god send! But what interested me was that the piano roll really hasn't changed that much from the late 80s - and every midi recorder in my experience uses it - and I can't think of seeing another system used....
    With the exception of Notion and its like (only tried it on the pc) which uses staves and standard notation. I believe there is an iOS version of that, if you are comfortable working that way....

    My current fav on the midi sequencer front is Xequence. It's got a bit of a unique way of handling how IAA/virtual midi is routed that's taken me a bit of getting used to, but (albeit piano roll) midi editing is pretty great. Specifically it's not as fiddly as I find Cubasis and Auria to be - the controls for editing placement, pitch and length are at the edge of the screen, meaning you can see what's happening without having your finger cover the note. Also includes scale view in the editor, limiting visible pitches to the selected scale.

    Best of luck!

  • Thanks, @wigglelights. I do use Notion, that’s my main composition tool, but it’s not a mixing tool, not at all. Can’t use external libraries with it, or external effects. Sounds like Xequence doesnt’ have a timeline, which is important for me. I like to change tempos in pieces. Other than that, it sounds good. Lots to think on here.

  • @rs2000 said:
    Have you tried Audio Evolution Mobile?
    It's free so there's no risk to try :)
    It has a rather user-friendly piano roll, does handle MIDI files and also has an integrated sampler/rompler and its usage is one of the most straightforward of all DAWs IMHO.

    Hmm, can’t import midi without in app purchase, unfortunately.

  • @rickwaugh said:
    Thanks, @wigglelights. I do use Notion, that’s my main composition tool, but it’s not a mixing tool, not at all. Can’t use external libraries with it, or external effects. Sounds like Xequence doesnt’ have a timeline, which is important for me. I like to change tempos in pieces. Other than that, it sounds good. Lots to think on here.

    Too funny - I recalled Notion being mentioned here and of course it was you... ok, egg on face.

    Xequence totally has a time line, as well as using the "clips" concept. In an iOS way, its close to where top midi sequencers are (to be clear, Xequence is midi only).
    I'm a linear guy as well, and the only app I have that has a tempo track is Auria. That said, as far as I can see Xequence can export midi to Auria, where tempo change could be added. Guess it depends on your workflow, but, considering dealing with a piano roll, the limitations you have with Notion you would not have in Xequence.

    And a personal mini rant - please pardon -
    It strikes me that, for me, running Auria and Xequence together would be an awesome thing. And there's really no way to sync these two up. Midi clock is slipshod on iOS hardware. Not to mention the "master clock only" state most daws need to run in. Clearly Link is a far superior sync platform, but, as evidenced by the fact that Cubasis and Auria have not implemented Link, it's a big deal to get an iOS DAW to respond to random tempo changes (Auria can because it's native - it can see it coming). If Link somehow provided a specification to "only" be a master/sender, and only a receiver - perhaps that would allow the midi clock only DAWs to implement this better and more flexible sync... rant done.

  • @wigglelights said:

    @rickwaugh said:
    Thanks, @wigglelights. I do use Notion, that’s my main composition tool, but it’s not a mixing tool, not at all. Can’t use external libraries with it, or external effects. Sounds like Xequence doesnt’ have a timeline, which is important for me. I like to change tempos in pieces. Other than that, it sounds good. Lots to think on here.

    Too funny - I recalled Notion being mentioned here and of course it was you... ok, egg on face.

    Xequence totally has a time line, as well as using the "clips" concept. In an iOS way, its close to where top midi sequencers are (to be clear, Xequence is midi only).
    I'm a linear guy as well, and the only app I have that has a tempo track is Auria. That said, as far as I can see Xequence can export midi to Auria, where tempo change could be added. Guess it depends on your workflow, but, considering dealing with a piano roll, the limitations you have with Notion you would not have in Xequence.

    And a personal mini rant - please pardon -
    It strikes me that, for me, running Auria and Xequence together would be an awesome thing. And there's really no way to sync these two up. Midi clock is slipshod on iOS hardware. Not to mention the "master clock only" state most daws need to run in. Clearly Link is a far superior sync platform, but, as evidenced by the fact that Cubasis and Auria have not implemented Link, it's a big deal to get an iOS DAW to respond to random tempo changes (Auria can because it's native - it can see it coming). If Link somehow provided a specification to "only" be a master/sender, and only a receiver - perhaps that would allow the midi clock only DAWs to implement this better and more flexible sync... rant done.

    Lol, now I’m misnaming things. I meant a tempo track. I was thinking about adding sounds in the sequencer, then exporting as wav files to Auria; I don’t think Xequence is going to have anything approaching Fabfilter plugins. Well, for now, I think I’ll stick with Auria, spend more time learning - part of my problem is a lack of knowledge about midi, and what I can do with it. I’ve at least started to muck with the tempo track in Auria, which helps some of my limitations. Will have to try more with velocity as well, I think. I don’t know much about control commands, and what they do, though I think they’re mostly for playing live.

  • @rickwaugh said:
    Lol, now I’m misnaming things. I meant a tempo track. I was thinking about adding sounds in the sequencer, then exporting as wav files to Auria; I don’t think Xequence is going to have anything approaching Fabfilter plugins.

    Xequence cannot directly host Fabfilter plugins... however, it is very straightforward to use Auria to host all your instruments, plugins and effects, and then use Xequence as the sequencer. Let me know if you need any help on that. (the only problem will be that you won't be able to sync up any Audio tracks you might be using in Auria, as Auria doesn't support neither MIDI clock slaving nor Ableton Link.)

  • Modstep. I know I’m alone on this but I love it to bits.

  • @gonekrazy3000 said:
    Modstep. I know I’m alone on this but I love it to bits.

    Right there with you brother. <3

  • Let me know if you need any help on that. (the only problem will be that you won't be able to sync up any Audio tracks you might be using in Auria, as Auria doesn't support neither MIDI clock slaving nor Ableton Link.)

    Unless you use Midi Link Sync

  • @echoopera said:

    @gonekrazy3000 said:
    Modstep. I know I’m alone on this but I love it to bits.

    Right there with you brother. <3

    I've had Modstep in the 'once the fellas get it 95% settled down I'm going to go over there and have a real plunge' bucket. Would you say it's time I put on my rubber ring (Nurse)?

  • @rickwaugh said:
    I do love Auria, but I’m wondering if there is a better sequencer/piano roll out there. I will have midi files to import from Notion, and I want to muck with them; assign sounds, so would need midi import, AU and IAA, and be able to tweak everything you can in midi, easily. Doesn’t have to be a full DAW, would prefer it wasn’t. Would need to be able to export either as midi, or as wav files.

    If there is one thing I’m sure about on this board, there will be opinions. Would love to hear them, and why. Not much good to say, “X is great,” without saying why, as for all I know, its the only one you’d ever tried. :D

    GENOME is my all time favorite for sequencing synth apps.

    I use MODSTEP for AU and Drums.

    I like INFINITE but I don't have the flow for moving things around on it but it is what I use on iPHONE

    I use the new X equence app in an attempt to learn it. Still gaining basic knowledge but didn't get IAPs.

    Thats just me.

  • I enjoy BM3 for sequencing

  • Modstep is cool, but I use Rozeta for MIDI sequencing (via AUM) these days. Not sure about MIDI export, but think Brambos mentioned adding it at some point.

    Does the job for me.

  • Modstep and Quantum are both great for jamming/improv. I like Modstep for creating loops and playing around with early arrangements. Particularly if you do the techno thing of have a basic loop and then start jamming on filters/whatever. Quantum is just great for evolving melodic ideas.

    Timeline sequencers. Xsequencer is the best sequencer, but BM3 has so many other advantages that I'm always torn between the two... Maybe I should find a way to combine AUM, BM3 and Xsequencer...

  • @JohnnyGoodyear said:

    @lovadamusic said:
    Don't know the answer, but this would be useful to me too...

    Import MIDI multi-channel file to multiple tracks
    Import single track MIDI file to a single track
    Retain all MIDI events and allow viewing and editing of all MIDI events
    User assign tracks to IAA and AU instruments
    Works with Audiobus, AUM...
    Well-designed Piano Roll for notes and controllers
    Export unmuted track(s) as MIDI file

    If the sequencer let you define arrangement markers and move sections around easily, that would be a bonus.

    I'm looking at Xequencer at the moment. See if it fits the bill...

    Be interested to hear your conclusions...

    I read the manual, and it looks like a very capable sequencer. With MIDI files, it will import as a new project, but not into an existing project. Importing a multi-track MIDI file includes all the data, and will even separate controller data onto its own tracks. If you have music saved where each individual track is a separate file, it seems you must import one file at a time, then copy and paste to assemble into a master project.

    I want to import a Gadget project into Xequence and see how that works and what’s involved. It’s not a pressing concern at the moment but, after I get to it, I’ll report what I find.

  • @lovadamusic said:

    @JohnnyGoodyear said:

    @lovadamusic said:
    Don't know the answer, but this would be useful to me too...

    Import MIDI multi-channel file to multiple tracks
    Import single track MIDI file to a single track
    Retain all MIDI events and allow viewing and editing of all MIDI events
    User assign tracks to IAA and AU instruments
    Works with Audiobus, AUM...
    Well-designed Piano Roll for notes and controllers
    Export unmuted track(s) as MIDI file

    If the sequencer let you define arrangement markers and move sections around easily, that would be a bonus.

    I'm looking at Xequencer at the moment. See if it fits the bill...

    Be interested to hear your conclusions...

    I read the manual, and it looks like a very capable sequencer. With MIDI files, it will import as a new project, but not into an existing project. Importing a multi-track MIDI file includes all the data, and will even separate controller data onto its own tracks. If you have music saved where each individual track is a separate file, it seems you must import one file at a time, then copy and paste to assemble into a master project.

    Oh.
    After reading that, I checked Xequence again:

    I always thought, that it cannot yet import MIDI files and was waiting for this feature.

    And it is true that you cannot send MIDI to Xequence by "share" or "open in"!

    You need to move the file to the Xequence folder within the Files App!

    This is greatly confusing and strange.

  • @RUST( i )K said:

    @rickwaugh said:
    I do love Auria, but I’m wondering if there is a better sequencer/piano roll out there. I will have midi files to import from Notion, and I want to muck with them; assign sounds, so would need midi import, AU and IAA, and be able to tweak everything you can in midi, easily. Doesn’t have to be a full DAW, would prefer it wasn’t. Would need to be able to export either as midi, or as wav files.

    If there is one thing I’m sure about on this board, there will be opinions. Would love to hear them, and why. Not much good to say, “X is great,” without saying why, as for all I know, its the only one you’d ever tried. :D

    GENOME is my all time favorite for sequencing synth apps.

    I use MODSTEP for AU and Drums.

    I like INFINITE but I don't have the flow for moving things around on it but it is what I use on iPHONE

    I use the new X equence app in an attempt to learn it. Still gaining basic knowledge but didn't get IAPs.

    Thats just me.

    Is Genome compatible with most midi synths? I quite fancy it but the list of compatible apps is pretty small on the official website- is it maybe just out of date?

  • @tja said:
    And it is true that you cannot send MIDI to Xequence by "share" or "open in"!
    You need to move the file to the Xequence folder within the Files App!
    This is greatly confusing and strange.

    To be honest, this was the easiest and quickest to implement. I really want to concentrate on "music" features in the app, and not add a lot of code that only works for a single platform (iOS). The rest of Xequence is completely cross-platform and runs on anything from a toaster to a spaceship ;) that's why I try to do everything as generic as possible...

  • @SevenSystems, can you export as individual wav files per track, and, and is there a tempo track, or some other way to vary the tempo mid track? I don’t suppose there is a way to change the target sample source mid track, so I can point at my legato violin sample source, then for one note, point at the staccato violin sample source?

  • edited March 9 Vote Up0

    @rickwaugh Xequence currently is a pure MIDI sequencer, i.e. it doesn't do audio at all. You would have to host your audio plugins in a host app, like for example AUM, Cubasis or Auria. I think all of those offer a way to record each track to a separate file, so all you'd need to do is start recording in one of those apps after arming all tracks, then hit Play in Xequence, and the host app will write out separate files per track.

    There's no tempo track unfortunately. However, you can of course change the instrument you're using mid-track by just creating two separate instruments and tracks in Xequence, and at the point where you want the instrument to change, just start putting the parts / clips on the other track. Alternatively, Xequence also supports multiple program changes per track, so you could just place those as desired if your target app supports them.

  • @SevenSystems said:
    @rickwaugh Xequence currently is a pure MIDI sequencer, i.e. it doesn't do audio at all. You would have to host your audio plugins in a host app, like for example AUM, Cubasis or Auria. I think all of those offer a way to record each track to a separate file, so all you'd need to do is start recording in one of those apps after arming all tracks, then hit Play in Xequence, and the host app will write out separate files per track.

    There's no tempo track unfortunately. However, you can of course change the instrument you're using mid-track by just creating two separate instruments and tracks in Xequence, and at the point where you want the instrument to change, just start putting the parts / clips on the other track. Alternatively, Xequence also supports multiple program changes per track, so you could just place those as desired if your target app supports them.

    I was thinking more of being able to export TO a set of audio files, using xequence as the sequencer, against my external samples. So it’s really only for playback?

    I could make multiple tracks, but this is the same problem as in all other iOS sequencers, and it’s a major short coming. You can’t get realistic acoustic orchestral sounds, as in real life the players are constantly changing stroke types, from staccato, to legato, to pizzicato, etc. On more mature platforms, you can switch, using key switches. Trying to do it on multiple tracks, for multiple instruments, is enough to make one stop dead right there. Don’t know enough about midi at this point to figure out whether the program changes would work.

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