Here's TheThing, An Affordable Max4Live Step Sequencer

Get more control over your sequences and make unusual and interesting patterns with this new and highly affordable device for Ableton Live.  

John Schoeneman has released TheThing, an advanced yet fun step sequencer for Ableton Live that will help you make better and more interesting sequences for your tracks, and it's just $5. Here's a video explaining how it works and what it can do. 

At first glance, TheThing looks like any other sixteen step sequencer.  This is not the case.

The sequencer operates off midi note input (monophonic and transport must be running).  From this input pitch, each step is transposed to that steps pitch value.

There are also controls per step for velocity, note length, and probability that the step will produce a note at all.

You can then set up four variations of the simple sequence, each containing their own play rules (Step Length, Swing, Transposition etc. etc.)  These variations can be sent to other instruments within your live set using TheThing-Receive device.  Just select the variation you wish to receive and ensure the Send OUT button is enabled for that variation in the main TheThing device.

You can also use multiple variation to control one single polyphonic device for chords and fun stuff like that!


Step Note Length - As you will see, each of the 16 steps has a parameter for note length.  This value is a percentage based off of whatever you choose for a variations step length.  So if you choose a step length of 1/16th note, and a step has a value of 50%, the note for that step will only sound for 1/32nd note duration or half of the 1/16th step. 

Play Modes -There are 5 play modes for each variation.  Description of the play modes are as follows:

1. Legato+Retrig - As notes are pressed and held down the sequence advances.  Upon release of all notes, the sequence starts over again when receiving further input.

2. Always Retrig - The sequence starts from the beginning with each new note input. 

3. Always Legato - The sequence will always advance and continue on with each note input from where it last left off when keys were released.

4. Gate - The sequence is always moving but only sounds off on each note input.

5. Always Run - In this mode, the sequence always runs.  Note input merely controls the root note for step transposition.

Step Probability - The step probability parameter is on a per variation basis.  So if you have a 50% step probability, it may sound on one variation, but not on another. 

That should cover most of the "odd" stuff about this device.  Everything else should be pretty straightforward.  If not, drop me a line with any ideas, bugs, feature request.

Price: $5


Learn more about Ableton Live in the Ask.Audio Academy:

Hollin Jones was classically trained as a piano player but found the lure of blues and jazz too much to resist. Graduating from bands to composition then production, he relishes the chance to play anything with keys. A sometime lecturer in videographics, music production and photography post production, Hollin has been a freelance w... Read More


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