Squarp Instruments introduces Hapax high-end professional standalone sequencer

Squarp Instruments introduces Hapax high-end professional standalone sequencer as authentic setup centrepiece

PARIS, FRANCE: having originally designed and released Pyramid almost a decade ago as a compact, standalone 64-track hardware sequencer packed with creative tools that its music-making creators could not commercially find available elsewhere, subsequently applying that same thinking to their Hermod followup by bringing the power of MIDI to the ever- widening Eurorack modular world while inheriting some creative elements from its Pyramid precursor, Squarp Instruments is proud to introduce Hapax — duly designed from the ground up with dual-ARM processing architecture upping the computational power ante as a high-end professional standalone sequencer in a rugged, minimalist housing that deconstructs everything that the avant-garde machines-creating company already knew about sequencing to offer everything needed to compose songs in the studio and perform them onstage as an authentic centrepiece of any setup, sequencing and synchronising vintage to modern synths and modular systems, and even DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations), while maximising creativity with carefully crafted tools as the first hardware sequencer that fully supports MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression) — as of March 4…
Billed by its creators as a polychronic performance sequencer since it can clearly do many things at once, Hapax’s dual-processor architecture allows it to record and transform tremendous amounts of data in next to no time — and all without breaking into a sweat. As an around the clock performer, it can handle two separate and independent projects — each with 16 tracks and eight patterns per track — that can be played simultaneously, so users can compose or load another project while the first one is already playing, enabling endless sets and seamless transitions. The fact that Hapax is also the first hardware sequencer that fully supports MPE speaks volumes about Squarp Instruments’ intentions; it is perfectly possible to record the finest gestures, slides, and articulations of anything played, after all — and all without compromising quality.
Quality also shines forth for all to see and feel when it comes to the construction of the Hapax housing, manufactured from 2 mm machined aluminum, with a unibody ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) back panel. Put it this way: with connections for multiple midi in (DIN and TRS), midi out (3x DIN and TRS), cv in (2x -5V to +5V/16-bit), cv out (4x -5V to +5V/16-bit), gate out (4x +5V), switch (stereo pedal footswitch), USB Host (for linking to a MIDI USB controller), and USB Device (for linking to a DAW-hosting computer and associated virtual instruments), it quickly becomes apparent just how well thought through that back panel actually is in terms of conceivably communicating with everything that the music technology world might make available at this moment in time — hence Hapax ably acting as an authentic centerpiece of any setup, sequencing and synchronizing vintage to modern synths and modular systems, and even DAWs.
Digging deeper, Hapax’s adaptive workflow — with the top panel proffering hands-on access to no fewer than 128 RGB (Red Green Blue) matrix pads, 52 click pads, nine sturdy clickable encoders, and two OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) greyscale displays — is designed around four main modes: live uses those 128 pads as an isomorphic keyboard or chord generator, giving rise to harmonic capabilities aimed at anyone — regardless of their theoretical knowledge — as a synaesthetic sensory blend of hearing, vision, and touch, thanks to its colorful interface; step uses them to add or fine-tune notes (or drum events) with surgical precision; autom uses them to create MIDI (or effects) automation; and pattern enables performing in sync by using the 128 pads to set the playing pattern of each track — create sections (or groups of patterns) and chain sections to build a song. Making music might involve using a polyphonic or MPE track to take advantage of the advanced step sequencer and quickly lay down notes or edit live recordings when writing melodies, or control up to eight different instruments with a single track when creating beats using the drum sequencer that is tailored to ease rhythm writing and jamming, for instance.
It is also possible to effectively bring those connected synths to life since Hapax embeds multiple real-time, polyphonic, non-destructive MIDI effects, as well as project-wide assignable LFOs (Low Frequency Oscillators). On top of that, each parameter of those effects can be automated in the dedicated mode, and processed in the mod matrix, which provides even more ways of routing and modulating.
Hapax has so much more to offer discerning devotees of hardware sequencers, with powerful tools for offline note transformation and generation always at hand — harmonically inverting a musical motif, generating a controlled random counter-melody, slowly ramping up the velocities, emphasizing every fifth eighth note… almost anything is possible! Hitting Hapax’s red button enables recording using the encoders and matrix pads, external MIDI instruments (including MPE controllers), or any incoming analogue signal at a high resolution of 192 PPQN (Pulses Per Quarter Note). Needless to say, looper-style recording, countdown and metronome options, and punch-in mode means that there are options to suit any workflow, while each track has an elasticity value that changes its playback speed, expressed as a percentage of BPM (Beats Per Minute) — quickly double or halve the speed of a track, for example, or create subtly shifted tracks that slowly drift out of phase with each other.
Of course, hardware usage should not — in a perfect world — curb creative flow. For this reason, Hapax has a dedicated undo REDO button with extensive history to enable its users to go back in time as deemed necessary; thankfully, the button-activated snapshot function allows users to save the state of a pattern for instant recall with a single press; and dedicated copypaste, and delete buttons help Hapax on its way towards offering a complete toolbox for promptly editing tracks.
Music-making should always remain an enjoyable experience, though, which is why Squarp Instruments favored dedicated buttons over key combinations when realizing a clear-cut interface and simple architecture for Hapax. Having striven to minimize the importance of screens when performing live, however, the dual greyscale displays implemented in Hapax help with keeping track of things in a studio context.
Clearly, then, deconstructing everything that they already knew about sequencing to offer everything needed to compose songs in the studio and perform them onstage as an authentic centerpiece of any setup has paid off for Squarp Instruments, with the Hapax high-end professional standalone sequencer surely set to make its mark in the music technology world while literally living up to its polychronic performance sequencer billing when expected for delivery in June 2022. 

Hapax is available on backorder for expected delivery in June 2022 — priced at 864.00 EUR (plus VAT for individual customers in the European Union)/$979.00 USD — directly from Squarp Instruments’ online Store here: https://store.squarp.net

For more in-depth information, please visit the dedicated Hapax webpage here: https://squarp.net/hapax
Watch Squarp Instruments’ illuminating introduction to Hapax here: https://youtu.be/IdkW51BxfOA  

My Zaor Miza Jr bedroom set up

The Idea is simple… create a small bedroom set up to be able to create music, work on sample pack layouts, and have FUN with synths and samples WITHOUT my computer. I think with this set up I am off to a great start.

Everything sits atop the Zaor Studio Furniture Miza Jr desk. this helps keep the cables out of sight and the look matches the original 1960’s wall print in our bedroom. the Miza features a nice pull out tray designed for 61 key controllers and slim synths. here I have the jdxa on it which is admittedly a bit deep but, hey I just got it and wanted to feel it out. I will likely swap the Jdxa for the Deepmind 12 in the coming weeks. https://zaorstudiofurniture.com/index.php?page=miza

for monitoring I am using the Ik Multimedia iLoud micro monitors… whats great about these is that not only are they a sleek white that goes great with the wall, but they sound quite nice without being bulky or overbearing in the room. For added convenience they have bluetooth and the bluetooth MIXES with the incoming audio. so if you pair your phone to them you can still use them as monitors and a playback device. really nice!

The Arturia Minibrute 2s plus Rackbrute combo is allowing me to have a mini version of my larger modular rig for sample fodder. currently I am using the ReBach Catch vco-AB and VCF-AB along with the D-Env and TraniModule for the bulk of sound creation to add depth to the minibrute 2s sound engine. the onboard sequencer of the 2s is really quite powerful and allows me to get 3 melodic lanes of sequencing at once.

The main sequencer and overall scratch pad is the MPC live. This is a nice compact way to sample in my synth sources without having to rely on a laptop computer. Built in features like through put monitoring allow me to run all my gear through the mpc and jam in realtime. I then use the looper function to catch my sources in real time. often I like to work without midi to keep a loose human feel on the productions.

In the coming weeks I expect this set up to evolve with gear coming in and out of this set up but the goal will be for it to remain small and clean. pretty far opposite of my main studio set up.

Analog Solutions announces new desktop Synth

Analogue Solutions spreads synthBlocks series wings with tiny Treadstone true analogue mono synth
KINGSWINFORD, UK: hot on the heels of its inaugural Mr Hyde and Dr Strangelove so-called synthBlocks (launched late last year to widespread critical acclaim), British boutique electronic instruments innovator Analogue Solutions is proud to widen the self-explanatory series’ scope with Treadstone — taking the same smart, small, and affordable desktop design-driven analogue attributes of its similarly superior-sounding signal-processing siblings and applying them to a true analogue mono synth that packs a lot of (patchable) punch into a perfectly-matched, portable package — as of January 19…
Treadstone takes its intriguing name from a fictional highly-classified, heavily-guarded secret program that features in the series of books based on a fictional spy and associated feature films; it is shut down as the thrilling plot thickens, alas. As the latest addition to Analogue Solutions’ synthBlocks series — squarely aimed at laptop and audio plug-ins-focused digital musicians wishing to apply analogue, hands-on hardware sound-sculpting creativity to their sometimes sterile-sounding computer-based creations, the tiny Treadstone true analogue mono synth is far from fictional, however; hearing is believing, but it would, without question, make for a superior-sounding, space-saving desktop addition to any discerning film composer’s creative studio space — or anyone else’s, for that matter!
More meaningfully, maybe, Treadstone treads far from carefully, but boldly goes where few analogue synthesizers dare to win… with an all-analogue audio path and modulation circuits based on superior-sounding designs dating back to the mid-Seventies, so no CPU (Central Processing Unit) stabilised and quantised circuits, no DCOs (Digitally-Controlled Oscillators), and no digital EGs (Envelope Generators), as are often found on other ‘all-analogue’ affairs. Analogue as in really analogue — aside from the MIDI-to-CV circuit (which, by its very nature, must include a digital element) — in other words.
Winning analogue attributes apart (as attested to by its immediately apparent sonic strengths), this pocket-sized powerhouse packs a lot into its 134 x 125 x 52mm diminutive dimensions — including a serious single VCO (Voltage Controlled Oscillator) with square and sawtooth waveforms plus noise and an associated sub-oscillator, a reissue of the classic SSM2044 4-Pole VCF (Voltage Controlled Filter) chip (as used in many classic synths, such as the Korg Polysix and Monopoly, as well as E-mu’s Emulator and SP1200 sampling trailblazers), an analogue echo (REFLECT), and a unique LOOP SEQUENCER (to input, edit, and play up to 16 MIDI notes) — while weighing in at only 420g! Get this, though: Treadstone is designed, built, tested, and assembled in the UK using only high-quality components as is the Analogue Solutions way, with a full rugged steel/aluminium case combined with real ‘analogue’ wood side pieces perfectly reflecting its polished pedigree.
Put it this way: what’s within certainly counts in large amounts, albeit admittedly appearing at odds with those diminutive dimensions. Digging deeper, putting Treadstone through its musical and experimental paces can be as complex or uncomplicated an experience as deemed necessary; needless to say, Analogue Solutions has treated Treadstone to a diversity of creative controls and accompanying patch sockets, surely satisfying even the most ‘battle-hardened’ subtractive synthesists around — hardly surprising since Treadstone was designed by Analogue Solutions founder Tom Carpenter. As a fervent fan of electronic music and also an active electronic musician himself, he naturally knows a thing or two about programming synthesizers. So his latest creation clearly wasn’t the result of engineering design decisions alone — nor driven by a steering committee of men (or woman) in suits. So what else is ‘inside’ this small but perfectly formed box of subtractive synthesis tricks, then?
Thoughtfully, Treadstone is fully compatible with the ever-popular Eurorack small-format modular system and operates on the 1v/oct standard, so, armed with a fistful of 3.5mm mini-jacks, justifiably serious synthesists can interface it with their modular system or have it act as an exceptional external voice for another analogue synthesizer — after all, Oberheim’s Synthesizer Expander Module® (SEM) started life as an add-on synthesizer module for fattening up Minimoogs before becoming a sought-after sound in its own right (with up to eight embedded in Oberheim’s groundbreaking Seventies-vintage polysynths). Reality shows that Treadstone sounds a lot fatter than it looks!
Looks, of course, can be deceiving. Demonstrating design flare and flexibility, Treadstone can capably turn its hand — well… knobs, switches, and patching — to any number of applications. Any time anyone needs analogue sound effects, fat basses, screaming leads, bleeps, blurps, zaps, and all manner of other crazy sounds associated with subtractive synthesis… try Treadstone! Then consider that Treadstone has an AUDIO IN (input) socket, so users can feed external sounds through the onboard analogue filters for analogue processing. Producing electronic percussion sounds — such as kicks, snares, hi-hats, and cymbals — is perfectly possible in the hands of skilled synthesists. Speaking of which, while Treadstone is partially pre-patched, many of these patches can be cancelled using the switches and controls. Indeed, it has such wide-ranging modulation routing possibilities that it is almost as versatile as a full modular system and can create similar sounds — and all without the mess and confusion of cables! Cables, of course, can be used to re-patch Treadstone, thanks to an abundance of carefully chosen patch sockets, or connect externally elsewhere.
Either way, Treadstone makes for a fine addition to Analogue Solutions’ synthBlocks series, and a superior-sounding, space-saving addition to any studio or stage setup. Synth in pocket, indeed… Treadstone’s no pretender! 
UK purchase price for the Treadstone synthBlock is £499.00 GBP (including VAT), via dealers (https://analoguesolutions.com/global-distribution/) and Analogue Solutions directly.
North American availability of the Treadstone synthBlock is being handled via Voltage & Company (https://www.vcousa.com) — full-service reps of high-quality manufacturers from around the world — with a retail price of $599.00 USD, while (most) EU distribution is being handled by Sonic Sales (https://www.sonic-sales.de) — one of the largest full-service MI (Musical Instrument) distribution companies in Europe — priced at €589.00 EUR (including VAT).
For more in-depth info, visit the dedicated Treadstone webpage here: https://analoguesolutions.com/treadstone-synthblock/
Watch Analogue Solutions’ ear-tickling Treadstone teaser video here: https://youtu.be/CmLKV9_Y78g?list=PLq-KgzIcyyGFGRNp2SBlHy3YZdQq-9lb7