Pulse Tips Episode #5 delves into the wonderful world of the simple but powerful Korg SQ-1 sequencer, and the often overlooked LittleBits Out port. This tiny tabletop device is cheap but built like a tank. Behind it’s unassuming facade, the SQ-1 plays many roles, as a Modular Synth sequencer, a USB MIDI to CV interface between your system and computer, even as MIDI controller for your DAW.
The SQ-1 is a 16 step sequencer with a number of accessible features, including CV range selection (1, 2 or 5 Volts per Octave or Hz per Volt for Korg synthesizers) and scale quantization (major, minor or chromatic scales or linear, unquantized CV) of the sequences. The two dedicated CV/Gate A and B outputs send either identical 16 step sequences or separate 8 step sequences, with input and output Sync using the Korg standard of a pulse for every other step.
Another output on the device, the LittleBits Out jack, mirrors the CV A output. Following the same range and scale settings for that channel, the LittleBits Out has a 0 to 5 Volt range and can be used as third sequence source for a Eurorack system. However, the LittleBits CV signal works a bit differently than CV A output and what we normally expect from a stepped CV sequencer.
Normal CV sequencers and stored voltage modules will send a direct current for each step, maintaining that voltage until the next step is triggered. LittleBits attempt to include both CV and Gate in each step, rising to the stored step voltage when triggerd, but then dropping back to 0 Volts when the Gate would normally switch off. While the Duty knob controls Gate length from the A and B Gate outputs, it also sets the length of the high period of each step from the LittleBits Out, which returns to 0 Volts when the Gate goes low. This method of using the rising voltages as a gate on is not necessarily new, but certainly generates unique results when routed to an oscillator.
Of course, this extra signal source can be routed anywhere in your system, perhaps a sensible option for key tracking your sequence with a low pass filter cutoff…
How are you using the SQ-1? Let us know in the comments!