Thursday, 5 February 2015

kORG SQ-1 sequencer - First impressions & tests

This (the Korg SQ-1) just arrived yesterday so I'd though it would be fun to test with a few of my Korgs.
I was surprised by just how small it is when compared with its older brother, the SQ-10

Barely the size of a Korg Volca. And it runs on batteries. First a test with the MS-20 mini.No Midi used here. All old school CV/trigger


A comparison of the controls of the SQ-10 and the SQ-1 above.

One interesting observation I made regarding the clock speed of both sequencers.
was that if I connected the multiple pulse out of the SQ-10 into the sync in of the SQ-1,
 the SQ-1 ran at twice the speed of the SQ-10.

Korg equipment (eg KPR-77, DDM-110 & DDM-220) uses 48 pulses per quarter note. I guess the SQ-10 is the same. But it seems that the SQ-1 runs at the Roland standard of 24 pulses per quarter note (PPQN for short)..... thus the doubling of its speed when clocked by the SQ-10.

The SQ-10 is a S-trig sequencer.

The SQ-1 can be both a S-trig & V trig sequencer..
Re Gate out polarity of the SQ-1.
When the Mode button is unlit, -ve polarity (volatge fall) is selected - This is the S-trig.
When the Mode button is lit, +ve polarity (volatge rise) is selected - This is a V-trig.
The Gates output level are 10V.
The Sync Out jack outputs a 5V pulse (15ms long)
A brief summary of  Sequencers & Sequencing Resolution - PPQN

You will often see the letters PPQN or PPq used in reference to old drum machines & sequencers.

What does it all mean and how does this help one to clock a Roland drum machine to a Korg SQ-10 sequencer? Early sequencers and drum machines had resolutions in the order of 24 or 48 pulses or 'ticks' per quarter note (ppqn).

A sequencers resolution is defined as its ability to divide the beat of a quarter note into
a pulses. The more pulses, the more accurate a sequencer is.

Common divisions used by sequencers are :
24 parts - 24 ppqn
48 pulses - 48 ppqn
96 parts - 96 ppq
192 ppqn, etc etc etc

MIDI clock = 24 pulses, so called "ticks" per quarter note
Roland equipment (606,707.727,808.909) use 24 pulses per quarter note (PPQN for short), known as DIN Sync24.
A notable Roland exception is the CR-78 which uses 12ppqn.

Korg equipment (eg KPR-77, DDM-110 & DDM-220) uses 48 pulses per quarter note.
Oberheim (DMX) & Linn is 96ppqn.
The SCI Drumtraks handles 24, 48, and 96 ppqn
EMU drumulator - 24ppqn - needs a din to 1/4 Y cable,

(To be continued)
If there are any mistakes or omissions, please write to me.


  1. Thanks for this. Please would you tell me if I can slave the SQ-1 to a drum machine trigger pulse or ppqn clock, i.e. thru the minijack in, *without using the USB/MIDI connection at all*. for instance TR606 Trig out, just running both on batteries?. Seems to be some queeries about this online, only possible answered in languages I don't speak... Thans in advance, best wishes, PEACE

  2. Hello GBP, I've just tested my SQ-1 with a Roland 606. (trigger out from the roland to sync in on the SQ1. Yes, they do sync. The timing isnt perfect though the roland isnt sending timing pulses as such - rather the sounds of the H Tom and Low tom.
    Still its not too bad.