midiSequencer update – Anthony Saunders adds new features to his step sequencer app

Download from iTunes App Storemidisequencer logoI reviewed Anthony Saunders’ midiSequencer app back in January 2014 just after it was first released. If you are in the market for a step-based iOS MIDI sequencer – and are not quite sure you want to tackle the beast that is Thesys by Sugar Bytes – then midiSequencer, with its retro looks based upon analog sequencers of old might be what you are looking for.

The original app provided a step-based sequencing environment, with 16-steps where you can adjust pitch, velocity, gate, MIDI channel and a couple of MIDI parameters, all controlled using some very retro-looking virtual faders. You also get tempo control (the app can also work with MIDI Clock as master or slave), transpose functions, the ability to change the way a pattern steps through the sequence (there are some very flexible options here), add ornamentation and, of course, send your MIDI sequence out to a suitable synth app.

What’s new?

The v.1.5 release, which appeared on the iTunes App Store a few days ago, includes the usual slew of minor tweaks and bug fixes. However, Anthony has also added some significant new features. Top of the list are some changes under the hood; the app’s engine has been completely rewritten to make use of the MidiBus library (check out the review of MidiBus here is you are not familiar with this technology) and this should ensure much tighter MIDI Clock performance and more accurate passing of other MIDI data to/from midiSequencer.

midiSequencer's main screen - and note that you now have the options of four MIDI CC number to control via your sequence.

midiSequencer’s main screen – and note that you now have the options of four MIDI CC number to control via your sequence.

A further useful addition is that, aside from being able to program pitch, velocity, gate and MIDI channel for each step of your sequence, you now also get up to four MIDI CC numbers as opposed to just two. This is great for those that like to build control of their synth’s sounds into their sequence and adds some further useful creative options.

You can set the MIDI CC numbers via the XXX panel.

You can set the MIDI CC numbers via the Options panel.

Amongst a whole raft of other minor improvements, the app now also features better graphical performance (meaning less CPU load), a device panel for configuring settings including MIDI connections and clock, the ability to confine notes to a specific key/scale combination (very useful if not using an external keyboard to program pitch changes), the ability to draw controls by swiping or double tapping (these ones have to be activated under midiSequencer sections of the general iOS Settings app) and the ability to share banks of sequences either via email of iTunes File Sharing.

If you want to see midiSequencer in action, then Anthony has provided me with a link to the following video demo….

midiSequencer is a cool little app and seems to work well with other iOS music apps that accept MIDI data and I had no problems using it to drive a number of my favourite synths. If you want to explore what step-based sequencer might have to offer, this is a very straightforward introduction to the format but there are also plenty of options within the app to keep you interested. For a limited time, midiSequencer is priced at UK£3.99 and is well worth checking out.


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    1. Good developer – he’s responsive to questions/suggestions on the forums. I picked up his app when I heard about the update adding keys – I should note that it’s only in chromatic and major/minor keys right now, but he plans to add more later. I still have largely no idea what I’m doing with the app musically, but it’s a great tool and I’ll get better with it. No problem whatsoever getting it to work with synths and other Virtual Midi apps.

      • tony saunders says:

        maj+min pentatonic & wholetone (C,Db) added to scales. Still want to add a custom editor soon though to save me coding so much!

        Just added to v1.6 (to hit itunes in about a week) is audiobus integration (with controls to reset to step1, play/stop, disable midi in/out).
        Also just added is ability to load snapshots remotely by using midi CC32 (Bank Select LSB). So you could use control surfaces such as launchpad to load in a snapshot without going to the midiSequencer app screen.

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