Exploring the Endless Possibilities of the Five12 Vector Sequencer: A Comprehensive Review

The Five12 Vector Sequencer is a powerful digital sequencer that offers endless sequencing and modulation possibilities in the Eurorack modular format. This advanced module features eight independent parts with sixteen sub-sequencers per part for internal modulation, chance-based operations, and presets with a playlist function. The Vector Sequencer is not only a digital monophonic sequencer, but parts 5-8 can be reformatted as 4-voice chord or drum modes.

The built-in outputs on the unit support various CV and MIDI connections. You can use two sets of analog outputs with Pitch, Gate and Velocity signals, two MIDI outputs on 3.5mm TRS jacks, and both USB A and B connectors for MIDI over USB. Besides, the Three bi-directional trigger I/O connections for sync, clock and trigger functions, and two CV inputs for external modulation offer flexibility in creating unique sequences.

If you want to add more analog voices, the Jack Expander module comes to your support by adding support for four more analog voices (Pitch, Gate, Velocity), eight more trigger outputs, MIDI in and out on DIN jacks, and dedicated jacks for DIN Sync (in and out). All outputs are freely assignable to any of the internal parts.

The UI for the Vector Sequencer is intuitive and user-friendly, with two sharp and contrasty OLED displays with a resolution of 256 x 64 pixels. The panel has eight encoders used for editing parameters. There are also buttons at the top of the display for switching between edit pages for Sequence Recording, Pitch, Gate Time, Velocity, Step Length, Ratchet, Chance Operations, Modulation, Sequence Controls, and Presets.

The Vector Sequencer's per-step chance operations make it easy to add a variety of generative behaviors to each sequence. For each step, you can set the chance operation and the probability that it will occur. Chance operations include Mute, Un-mute, Skip, Un-skip, Select, Un-select, Jump Forward, Jump Backward, Jump Any Direction, Accent Low, Accent Medium, Accent High, Gate Shorter, Gate Longer, Gate Tie, Ratchet X 2, Ratchet X 3, Ratchet X 4, Repeat X 2, Repeat X 3, Repeat X 4, Randomize Pitch (+/- 12 semitones), Randomize Pitch Up, Randomize Pitch Down. Additionally, you can randomize pitch to any semitone +/- an octave and Random Jump to any of 16 steps.

The Vector Sequencer also features a micro-SD card installed on the back of the unit for saving projects. The module ensures that your projects are always safe by including default options for background auto-saving of projects and auto-loading the most recent project on startup.

In conclusion, the Five12 Vector Sequencer is one of the most powerful digital sequencers on the market, offering comprehensive sequencing options and endless modulation possibilities. The chance operations function is an impressive feature as it allows you to add generative behaviors to each sequence, creating unique sounds like never before. The Vector Sequencer is equipped with everything you need to unleash your creativity and take your electronic music to the next level.

Example Usage

For novice users, the Five12 Vector Sequencer offers a simple way to create and save sequencing patterns. You can start by selecting one of the eight Parts to work on and use the keyboard buttons to input a melody. You can then use the Pitch, Gate, and Velocity buttons located at the top of the displays to adjust the parameters of each step. The Vector Sequencer also allows you to create variation in your pattern using the Chance Operations feature, which can add random elements to your sequence. Once you've created a sequence that you like, you can save it as a preset and easily recall it in the future.

An intermediate-level usage example for the Five12 Vector Sequencer could be setting up a polyrhythmic sequence using the sub-sequencers. Start by selecting a part and then the sub-sequencer page for that part. Set the sub-sequencer length to a value that is different from the part's main sequence length. For instance, if the main sequence is 8 steps long, set the sub-sequencer length to 5 steps. Now, program in a different sequence on the sub-sequencer page. You can also use the chance operations to make some steps more or less likely to occur in the sub-sequence. When you play back the part, the sub-sequencer will run independently of the main sequence, resulting in a polyrhythmic pattern. Repeat the process for the other parts as desired.

Further Thoughts

With the Five12 Vector Sequencer, the possibilities for generative sequencing are truly endless. One expert-level utilization of this module is by utilizing the per-step chance operations to create evolving and unpredictable musical patterns. For instance, you could assign a probability of 50% for a step to randomly pitch up or down by a semitone, creating an unpredictable melody. Then, assign a gate-tie chance operation to the next step, with a low probability of occurrence, and watch how each iteration of the sequence evolves and creates novel musical phrases. This all makes for an incredibly exciting and engaging performance or studio tool for the creative producer.