With its Toraiz range, Pioneer DJ has spent the last few years moving beyond its traditional club-centric remit with a run of products aimed at studio producers and live musicians.
So far, Toriaz products have included a sampler, the SP-16, as well as the Dave Smith-powered AS-1 monosynth. Now Pioneer DJ is adding one more product to the range - a standalone hardware sequencer named SQUID (derived from SeQUencer Inspirational Device).
This latest tool is a 16-track polyphonic step sequencer, capable of outputting MIDI, CV, clock triggers and DIN sync. Its interface is focused around a grid of 16 backlit pads that can be played live or used to input sequencer steps.
Each of the 16 tracks can be programmed with up to 64 patterns, each with a maximum of 64 steps. If your ideas exceed that inbuilt memory, there’s a desktop manager app for PC/Mac that will allow users to import/export SQUID patterns, as well as import MIDI sequences created within a DAW.
Alongside these core sequencing tools, SQUID also packs a number of creative features that should give the device its own unique character.
First up is an Interpolation mode, which lets users input parameter data such as pitch, velocity and gate for the beginning, end and middle of a sequencer and effectively let SQUID fill in the gaps to flesh out your phrase. There’s a Harmonizer chord mode, too, which allows users to experiment with chord shapes and patterns around root notes assigned to each sequencer pad.
The most interesting tools, however, come from SQUID’s Phrase Arrangement section. Here, we get a Running Direction control, for setting the order in which the sequence moves through the device’s pad grid.
There are six direction options here, including esoteric ones like Zig-Zag and Clockwise, all of which can be played forwards, backwards or in ‘flip’ mode to achieve a total of 48 playback directions.
In this section, SQUID also features a Speed Modulation function, which allows for LFO-style modulation of a pattern’s playback speed to create grooves that speed up and slow down on their own. This comes coupled with a Groove Bend function that uses a slider for realtime adjustment of trigger delays, for adding extra groove and swing to patterns on the fly.
Finally, SQUID packs an intriguing Time Warp tool, which allows users to recall and save the previously played sequence. The idea here appears a little like a hardware version of Ableton Live’s Capture tool, letting users experiment and without worrying about constantly recording.
On the all-important I/O front, SQUID comes with plenty of options, packing MIDI In, Out, and thru/out 2 ports, a USB connection, two CV and two gate outputs, clock trigger in and out, and DIN sync in and out.
Combined with the intriguing feature set and - by the looks of it - plenty of hands-on control, SQUID looks like one impressively powerful sequencer. Colour us excited!
SQUID is available now priced at $599. Find out more on the Pioneer DJ website.