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Is the Squid still alive?

I watched several reviews of the Squid on YouTube, it looks like s great standalone sequencer, but with some huge limitations, the most critical (at least for me) are:

- lack of song/sequence/session mode, whatever we can call it

- limit of 16 tracks: the hardware can address 48 different channels (16 for each MIDI out + 16 via USB MIDI), but the software cannot go beyond 16. In most cases that would be enough, but not for the Squid (read next point)

- lack of a "dedicated" drum track type - currently the most effective way to sequence a drum machine is to allocate one track per instrument (one for the kick, one for the snare, etc.). This reduces the number of tracks for other instruments.

I believe that all these (lack of) features can be solved with new firmware. But I also notice that there's no firmware update since June or July of the last year.

I am trying to force myself to love this sequencer, but I already know that, despite some great features, the lack of some basic ones is a huge blocker. 

So my questions are:

- is the Squid still alive?

- if yes, is there a release plan? Can we expect some new big software improvements soon?

If the answer is yes to both, I could survive with the current limitations for a little bit, otherwise I should look elsewhere (namely, nothing, because there's no serious standalone MIDI sequencer like the Squid out there - the only alternative I'm considering is the Roland MC-80, but that's several decades old).

 

 

Antonio Bello

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Hi Antonio,

Your assessments about the Squid are correct.
It is a very unique and inspiring standalone sequencer.
Like you have noticed, it’s strengths do lie outside some of the conventional features of a full-fledged MIDI sequencer.

There is no song mode as of yet. Pushing a song forward is done live through the use of manually changing sets of patterns, which is done by stacking many patterns as a “Set” onto a single pad.

The Squid is still alive. It’s still being supported through this forum and the technical support area for more serious issues. I am here to collect feature suggestions and forward them to the development personnel who are responsible for updates and bug fixes.

The reality is that the development team is collecting and compiling feature/improvement suggestions but has not made any official public announcement of a next update.

I understand that that is frustrating for this users who, like you, wish for the particular features listed above. At the moment, it is a product that does what it currently does and for many, including myself, the unique features, when really understood, are powerful and inspiring in a way that is incredibly rare in a standalone, non-eurorack, MIDI sequencer.

Modern alternatives to an MC-80 would be perhaps a Squarp Pyramid which has song mode if I’m not mistaken - or a Yamaha QY series sequencer. But they don’t have the interactive nature of the Squid.

Rhythm Droid
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Yes, the SQUID is still very much alive! Unfortunately I don't have much information to provide in the way of if/when for updates, and I'll ask our resident TORAIZ specialist to address the other questions you have. Thanks for your interest.

Pulse 1 票
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Thanks for the comprehensive reply. I’ve been looking at the Squid, yes, it does have a song mode, but I don’t have a good feeling about it - I’ve also been looking at the Polyend Tracker, but its biggest limitation is the availability of one MIDI out only, which is another blocker for me.

I also have the Yamaha QY-700 (the top model of the line), which is great, but with a major drawback: there’s no pattern mode, a song must be arranged linearly from start to end, with no ability to repeat patterns, change their orders, etc.

So now I’m thinking: can I have the best from both worlds? Can the Squid change sets in response to midi messages, or is that possible only manually with the pads? If I can do it programmatically, I could set the QY-700 as the master sequencer, and use the Squid for everything that requires patterns (namely, drums, percussions, bass lines, etc.).

That would be perfect, as I love the QY-700, so being able to keep using it would be a double win :-)

Antonio Bello 0 票
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Polyend Tracker is a very different beast than Squid and it depends what kind of interactivity you want with your MIDI data. I think the Polyend is a bit more of a programmer's tool to set up really fun and complex songs, but once you release the horse from the gate, doesn't seem like you can manipulate things nearly to the same degree as Squid. Even the physical interface doesn't feel all that "performative" to me, personally.

QY-700 has no patterns? Yikes.  I used a Yamaha RS7000 for years and it kind of had the best of both worlds...some QY features and also a very nice pattern and song-based way of working. Some of it's real-time MIDI manipulation features were definitely included to the Squid.

Squid only changes patterns manually, but using alongside QY might be nice because then you can sequence some things as a song and other things can be left to jam/improvise on in real-time.

 

Rhythm Droid 1 票
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> I used a Yamaha RS7000 for years and it kind of had the best of both worlds...some QY features and also a very nice pattern and song-based way of working. Some of it's real-time MIDI manipulation features were definitely included to the Squid.

The QY-700 actually has patterns, but they are more like arranger tracks - you can include them into a song, but they are independent entities, and they are NOT saved with the song.

Are patterns different in the RS7000? The ideal for me is that they work in a similar way to the session view in Ableton lives, or even better to Maschine, where I can create clips and then arrange them. Where in Ableton to reuse the same clip I have to duplicate it, in Maschine instead I compose a song by using "pointers", so I can create a pattern per track once and reuse anywhere with no need to create a copy.

Now you might suggest me: buy a Maschine. It turns out, I have the Maschine studio, but that still requires a computer. Ok, I know, now there's a standalone Maschine, but it has one midi out only.

Antonio Bello 0 票
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If you want to sequence drums, do yourself a favour and get an SP-16. Even if you don't use it for sampling, the workflow for sequencing drums is very nice. I had a Squid for sequencing drums in my DAW and the workflow just wasn't that good so I had to sell it.

Martin Sotirov 1 票
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Thanks Martin for the suggestion. I went to a completely different path though - I bought a Squarp Pyramid and an Akai MD-232.

To be honest I seriously considered the SP-16, but then I decided to discard the idea because I found that it's not possible to load a project via midi messages (like using a program change) - as a drum machine I opted for an Alesis Strike module. It's more a drum module, but it can load samples from a SD card, and kits can be swapped with simple program changes.

Antonio Bello 0 票
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Just got shown this post on the Squid FB group and signed up to say,
it's great that it is still alive!! Many rumours had it presumed dead, which would be sad given how many features in it are really forward thinking & ahead of the curve.

I really love my squid, it's the perfect balance between performance instrument and sequencer for my needs. 

For me if there are any updates in the works - bug fixes and a few UI tweaks would be the first thing.
Sometimes when I change selected track, the currently playing track mutes or stops playing for no reason. 
Also the interpolation seems to have... issues. With switching between interpolatiing then clearing the interpolation, then interpolating again, etc. I notice some strange value mixups / hangovers.

As for feature requests.. I'd love to be able to edit transpose offsets in trigger mode. As it is, the recorded transpose information is "invisible" or uneditable. Also being able to sequence a transpose offset in the step triggers, would mean that you can do some more complex melodic / harmonic exploration without having to "remember" or input which notes you're using all the time. (saves time with chords specifically). If you wanted to make it really powerful, you could have global trigger transpose, as well as individual transpose per note on the trigger. So you could change chord types using transposes.

gavin peters 0 票
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