The heart of Chris Hein - OCTA is its powerful Sequencer.
8 independent sequencer channels provide endless possibilities to create stunning movements.
Select the sequence page in the Top menu and activate the sequencer by clicking the green light.
Clicking the green light at the bottom of each channel, activates or de-activates the sequencer for each channel individually.
This way you can play some channels and have other channels playing the programmed sequence on top.
On the top left, we have some global controls for the sequence.
„Chord Time“ sets the time in milliseconds, to recognise the incoming notes as a chord.
Its hard to play all notes of a chord exactly at the same time,
that’s why the sequencer waits 20 milliseconds for incoming notes to recognise them as a chord.
20ms is usually enough time for chord recognition but you may need to adiust this.
„Start“ and „End“ sets the time when the sequence begins and stops.
- Instant plays the sequence immediately when a note is pressed.
- Beat, 1/2 bar or bar starts or ends the sequence on the next beat or bar.
With these settings you are always in time with DAW tempo and the sequencer will always play to the end of the beat or bar. However you can prolong sequencer playback with a sustain pedal!
„Swing“ lets you shuffle the groove up to 50%
„Dynamic“ offers three modes:
„Fixed“, plays the velocities exactly as programmed in the sequencer.
„Velocity“ plays the dynamics depending on the keyboard velocity, relative to the programmed dynamic.
„X-Fade“ controls the dynamic via CC1, the modwheel.
On the right side, we also have some global controls for the sequence.
Each sequence can have up to 12 variations.
You can select the variations from the drop down menu at the right side of the interface.
Or you simply press the variation keys, displayed in green on the keyboard.
„Var. Keys“ sets the position of the variation keys.
Variation keys work like key switches to select a specific variation,
but you can even change the variation while a sequence is playing
and the variation changes instantly.
You can copy and paste variations from one to the other.
On the right hand sight of the interface are also some global controls for each sequencer channel.
„1/16“ You can change the Note division from 16th notes to triplets.
„64“ A Sequence can have up to 64 steps. Set the amount of steps from one to 64.
„Speed“ The Sequence can be played at half time, normal or double time.
Select double time for example to enable 32th notes.
„Copy Paste Init “You can copy and paste all channel settings from one channel to any other.
Or clear the whole channel by clicking „init“.
„Page“ Each page contains 16 steps. You can have up to 4 pages of steps.
Select the page you want to edit.
Click again to loop the page you are working on, so you can focus on just this page
Don’t forget to turn off loop, when you are ready.
Copy, paste and initialize single pages.
Now, to the actual sequence:
Each channel has its own sequence.
Select a channel to edit its sequence.
The orange fields in the top bar show the active steps.
Click on a field to activate a step. Click again to set the set to „tie“ The field turns blue.
Tie glues the steps together and extends the length of the active step, for longer notes.
The little plus on the left side activates all steps, the x deletes all steps.
In other functions, the plus or minus increases or decrease the value of all steps,
the x sets all values to zero.
„Velocity“ here you set the keyboard velocity for each step.
„Volume“ lets you change the volume, independently from the volume fader in the mixer.
„Panorama“ spreads the steps in the stereo field.
„Transpose“ works in a range of 36 semitones up and down, that’s a range of 6 octaves
„Tune“ changes the tuning. Use shift click on all functions for fine editing.
„Length“ lets you change the duration of each step.
Usually you will use the bar graph to draw the values with the mouse,
but you can also type in a certain value by double clicking in the corresponding field.
„Notes“ Here you decide which notes of a chord you want to hear.
This section is complex but is indeed the reason why I named it "Sequencer" rather than arpeggiator!
I designed the Sequencer to encourage the adventurous musical spirit whereby you can play in any chords or single notes and it will follow your playing without any need to think about scales, major or minor.
It's a great tool for arriving at pleasing harmonies and surprising sonic textures!
„Last Note“ simply plays the last note you pressed.
„Up“ „Down“ „Up/Down“ acts like a traditional arpeggiator playing the single notes of a chord you play from low to high or from high to low. If you play a single note, this note will be repeated.
„Chord“ plays exactly the chord you have played.
„Inversion1“ „Inversion2“ plays the first or second harmonic inversion of the chord or note you play.
Lets say you play C2-E2-G2 the first inversion will shift the lowest note one octave higher,
so that you hear E2-G2-C3 the second inversion would be G2-C3-E3
The inversions are a fantastic feature, because they work not only for chords, but for all other playing methods.
„Interval“ plays a straight interval from the lowest note you play.
Both intervals A and B play together and will be added to the note you play.
This is the only playing method, which may result in disharmony with the chords you play. But maybe you want that!
„highest note“„1st note“ „2nd note“ „3rd note“„4st note“ act like guitar strings.
They play the single notes of the chord you play.
Multiple notes can be selected and added together.
Keep in mind, if you assign a step to a second note,
but play only one note, no sound will be audible on this step.
„Filter“ lets you animate the filter by drawing a line for CutOff and resonance of the filter,
if the filter is activated in the Effects page.
You can switch to the Effects page with the button „Filterpage“
to make your adjustments there, and you can switch back to the Sequencer
with the corresponding button on the Effects page.
You can choose a filter curve from sine, square and triangle.
Adjust the amplitude of the curve and change the frequency of the filter curve.
And of course you can draw the curve for CutOff and resonance manually.
„Pad“ lets you design the animation of the OCTA-Pad.
You can draw the Pad movements manually with the X and Y controller,
or you can record the PAD automation by clicking the record button,
play a note and move the cursor in the XY-Pad with your mouse.
The length of the recording depends on the amount of pages you have assigned on the right side.
The XY-Pad can also be automated independent from the Sequencer on the Settings Page.
„Send FX“ lets you automate the Effects, selected in the Effects page as send effects.
Activate a send effect to prepare it for automation, and draw the send level, (intensity) of the effect.
A great function, if for example you want a reverb only on the snare sound of a groove,
or a delay only on certain notes of a sequence, the possibilities are endless.
„Drum Groups“ are a little bit different, because, of cause ,they don’t follow the chords you play.
In the sequence page, clicking on „key 1“opens up the menu of drum articulations available.
Click on a name to assign a drum articulation to a step.
Click and move the mouse to hear and adjust the actual velocity
Click „No Sound“ to clear a step
You can assign up to 4 drum layers together on a single channel.
Click „Edit Keys“ to select a drum sample by playing notes on your keyboard.
Close the window by click „Close“ or press the actual step again.