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Published on Reason Experts

Extending Thor Step Sequencer

Published: 2016-10-12

As far as I know, there hasn't been a single post regarding extending the Step Sequencer the way I am about to do this. Since I have a feeling there is only one series of Rob his Reason101 series that dives in to this. Yet his approach is kind of complex and requires a lot of "programming"  skills to pull it all off. As I can remember from the days of The Sound of Reason is that the discussion kind of started there. And I did have a solution for it, yet I didn't want to share my resolution with the world since it was more or less a flawed creation. I even posted an article about it back in 2014

While I was looking at some older project files, I started to find this "beast" again. Yet while I have a different sight on Reason at the moment, I thought it would be a nice idea to give this whole thing a different look and fix the issue at hand.

The Problem

Before getting started, let me address the problem here first. The only way you are able to pass on the step sequencer to the next relates to a CV output on Thor its back called "End Of Seq Out". Eventually when the step sequencer reaches its end, it will pass on a "127" as a CV output. So in theory the easiest way out would be triggering the CV input of "Gate in (Trig)" to trigger the next step sequencer.

unlimited step sequencers using thor

Only problem here is that the "End of Seq out" apparently only works proper when using the step sequencer on "1 Shot" mode or on "Step" mode. Repeat does not respond correct to this. The paradox here is that the "repeat mode" is the only one that gets started when triggering the play button on the Transport. So the 1 shot nor the 1 step are not the ideal candidate for triggering the start point of the sequencer. Another "issue" in the realm of the "Start on Sequence out" is that it only get triggered once.

unlimited thor sequencers rear

The solution

While thinking about it in the upper context, the solution to the problem is quite simple once you think about it. In a nut shell, you need one thor step sequencer to "trigger" the sequence. Next is the different thor patches that do the sequencing bit. Tie them up as end of Seq out goes to the Gate Input. And the last one goes from end of Sequence out (merged) to the Gate input of the first one.

Now the solution I will provide DOES NOT require any programming in the modulation matrix. Since I wanted the solution to be simple as it gets. Only thing you'll need is a CV Merger to solve the "start of the loop" issue. That is almost it.

When you would look at this from a diagram point of view, it would like the following schematics:

Unlimited step sequencers thor

The paradox in this case would be using the start loop trigger and the sequence 4. What if.. they would trigger both?

The good news is that the "Start on Sequencer Out"  cv from Thor only gets triggered once when setting the play mode of the step sequencer on "Repeat". So the very first module that will be the "trigger" of everything is a single Thor Patch, using no sound at all (so the pattern does not output anything). And its only purpose is to send out that "start" signal for the whole thing to kick in.

Unlimited step sequencers

The only purpose this Thor patch will have is the "start" trigger for the complete sequence to be played. All the filters / oscillators and so on are not being used at all. Now comes the "tricky part". The start output and the complete end loop need to be merged. Since the start triggers the sequence the first time, it will also need to create a trigger once the end point of the loop is triggered (unless you want to have a one time 128 step sequencer, by all means that can be done too).

Ok, moving on to the repeating bit

The Sequence

To create the first bit of the sequence there are a few notes that are the most important parts:
- the step sequencer needs to be set on 1-shot. This allows the sequence to only trigger one time and the end trig will then pass the "ok" signal to the next
- the "End of Seq. out" goes to the gate input for the next sequence

And ... that ... is ... all ... there ... is ... to ... it...

serious... no joke. It is that simple. So just to drag this text a bit more, let me just throw in some pictures so you know what to look for:

unlimited thor sequences

The first part is the "1 shot part" and the setting needs to be on forward. To be honest I am not even sure what is going to happen with the rest of the settings. Random would be kind of cool though since it makes the complete 128 step sequencer rather random and unpredictable which thor patch is actually playing.

Next part is the routing bit from one step sequencer to the next.

Unlimited Thor Sequences

The End of the Sequence

The final thor is the most important one. Since this one needs to go back to the start point of the complete sequence. Remember I said something about "merging" the start points... it kind of looks like the following:

unlimited step sequencers

So in theory the start trigger will go through the cv merger. The cv merger output gets connected to the gate in trigger to provide the trigger. The last thor "End of Seq. out" goes in the merge CV section to provide the trigger for the loop to take place. And that is basically it.

If you think about this set up, you can easy copy paste one thor to another, change the sequence and move on to the next without having to wonder like "what did I need to program to make this work?". Since in this set up the wiring is the most important part. This basically does the rest for you. Also extending the sequence gets rather easy this way. Only thing you need to select a bunch of thor patches in a series, copy paste them and wire the first and the last.

Just to sum things up for now, I am going to present 2 reason 7 documents for the time being which utilize the above technique. Enjoy

Thor end trig

Published on Reason Experts
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Published on Reason Experts
Published: 2016-10-12

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