A 16-track sequencer which can manipulate sequences on the fly, with connectivity for midi, CV/gate and din/sync devices. With lots of features, it blows the cheaper Beatstep Pro out of the water but there’s no Song Mode, only Pattern Sets; hopefully this will be fixed in an update.
AKAI PROFESSIONAL FORCE
The MPC is one of hip hop and house’s most revered sampler/sequencers. Akai’s follow-up is a self-contained studio environment running its own OS on a powerful multi-core processor, no laptop required. For a cheaper alternative, try the MPC Live.
ELEKTRON OCTATRACK MKII
This eight-track sampler and sequencer, FX unit and mixer is one of the most creative routes to DAW-less production out there. While its sequencer is limited next to other kit on this list, its skill with samples and midi devices has made it an industry staple.
CIRKLON SEQUENTIX 2
For artists like Villalobos or Aphex Twin, the Sequentix has long been considered a best-in-class sequencer. If you have a lot of gear to sequence, the Sequentix has multiple outputs, impeccable timing and is easy to use. There’s a basic midi-friendly one or a dearer CV/gate option.
For those who want to see what’s happening in a song, the Seq is a great (if pricey) choice. With eight tracks of 32 steps laid out on a grid, it excels at long sequences – great for live jams or those struggling to break out of a 16-step loop. There’s 8-track polyphony, 256 pattern storage, but no CV/gate IO.