Advanced Step Sequencer – A Max For Live MIDI Sequencer

My first little Max4Live project. A monophonic midi step sequencer.

On the surface it’s reasonably standard. It’s a grid based sequencer – notes, gate, tie, velocity and two control changes. What’s unique about it is that you can set different loop points for each of those elements, which allows for anything from simple 303-style basslines to endlessly evolving, rotating, mutating melody lines.

Advanced Step Sequencer

The other unique thing about this is that it’s designed to work solely within musical scales. The sequencer ‘grid’ adapts itself to whatever scale you choose. Choose a chromatic scale, and you get a full 12 steps to play with, but choose a pentatonic scale and the grid automatically adapts itself to show only 5 rows. You don’t need to know any music theory to get great results.

Add to all that a bunch of useful randomisation options and it becomes a really useful tool.

Anyway, this video will explain better.

Download M4L patch here

50 thoughts on “Advanced Step Sequencer – A Max For Live MIDI Sequencer

  1. this looks great, just my kind of thing.

    If you’re doing more MFL stuff i would love a version of metal mickey. Thats still a favourite of mine.

    1. Hi Martin,

      Great idea. I miss Mickey since I ditched PC like a hot potato. I just need to get my head around audio processing in Max.

      Rozzer πŸ™‚

  2. Awesome video, and this looks like a great device. I especially love the separate loop points for different attributes… I don’t think I’ve ever used a device where the length wasn’t global. Thank you!

  3. Hey Rory
    Enjoying my afternoon with the step sequencer. I’m wondering, however, how do you go about assigning parameters on Live instruments like Operator and Analog to CC numbers? That is, your CC1 and CC2 sequences can be assigned numbers. Many sequencers I’ve used in M4L allow one to just pick the instrument and assign the parameter to “filter freq” or Osc B level” or whatever, which makes it simple. There doesn’t seem to be a way to make CC #8 control something particular.
    It works with some VSTs and AUs that allow such an assignment (like Reaktor). But Live’s instruments are whacked this way.

  4. Hi Brian,

    I think you are correct, there is no way to control Ableton instruments with midi control changes. I have to admit it never occured to me to try it with the Live synths. I don’t really use them much. I wrote the sequencer primarily for sequencing outboard synths although I do use it with DCAM Synth Squad occasionally, but that has good midi capabilities.

    Rozzer πŸ™‚

  5. Thanx for this one, very usable with vsti’s.

    Btw for some reason, the tie ability is not working for me (notes continue to play from attack phase)..

    1. hi Fluc,

      There may be a bug with tie at certain tempos, however, are you sure you have legato or something similar enabled on the destination synth?

  6. Absolutely brilliant!

    If you fixed the synchronization issue, adde a remote interface
    for iPad or iPhone and made the max 4 Live part standalone (just as the author of Kapture Pad did), you would certainly make tens of thousands of dollars with this.

  7. Awesome sequencer! You make me buy max for live and sell my hardware sequencers (Doepfer Dark Time and Oberkorn) Everything I needed in a sequencer is in yours. I wish you can do an update where you can control the pitch and gate on/off with a midi controller like Behringer BCR2000. That would be awesome!

    1. charlie & Panton – Midi control would be fun. If I’m honest I don’t think I’ll have the time to take on something like that. I don’t really have a suitable midi controller either. I imagine something like a Novation Launchpad would be ideal.

  8. Badass sequencer you have there. Great piece of machinery indeed. Regarding the control of Live’s own synths, it would be easy to do that with Max for Live. But you need somebody who knows how… (that’s not me πŸ™‚

  9. Awesome sequencer …

    is possible to add an reset all to zero button ..
    also if possible to add some harmonizer option on the next update


  10. Ander – Thanks. Direct control of any parameter in Ableton already implemented in the next version. If I get a moment in the next few weeks, I’ll upload πŸ™‚

    John – Thank you. Harmonizer? Do you mean to do chords?

  11. Hi!
    Congratulations for his awesome patch! Is it me or the random buttons do not work with max 6?
    Maybe there’s a simple fix? Thanks

    1. Hi David, I haven’t got Max 6. I’m strictly a a max-4-live guy so still on version 5, random seems to be working fine there. Sorry, not much help I know…

  12. Hey, congrats, this by far the best step sequencer out there! I’m just wondering, any chance you’ll implement Launchpad functionality with it? Its been three years since Launchpad hit the market and there’s still no any decent step sequencer for it… Your ASS and Launchpad could be a perfect couple, you see.
    Just a suggestion, maybe you should talk to Novation… πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Drazen,

      Truthfully, it’s not going to happen. I don’t own a launchpad and I don’t have any plans to get one, sorry. If someone else wanted to do that I’d be happy to help anyway I can though.

  13. Great sequencer…, quick and easy with all needed functions.

    Would like a VST version of your advanced sequencer, please !


  14. HI, thanks for this. Question, I did not see a way to make notes overlap. When controlling my MSSIAH Bassline (303 style) to get the slide/glide/legato effect I need to do this. Looking for a step sequencer than can make my commodore 64 sound like a real 303 (but a little better in my humble opinion)

  15. I was LOVING the sequencer yesterday, my new favorite. So good. I couldn’t figure the Tie out though. There isn’t a manual I’m missing by chance?

  16. When you enable a Tie step it should simply elongate the note to overlap the next note. You need to make sure that Legato, Portamento or Glide settings are appropriate in the synth you are controlling.

  17. If by synth, you mean an ancient Commodore 64 computer then yes, I will make sure it’s even possible πŸ™‚

    Thanks again for my favorite sequencer.

  18. Great Sequencer, I really like it a lot! One suggestion – it would be great if you could also implement a play order control, so that you switch the pattern to play forwards, backwards, back and fore and randomly.. I’ve seen this on a couple other max 4 live step sequencers and if it was used in conjunction with this one too, it would have pretty much everything.. regardless I still love all the options that it gives me with the different looping of each control. great work!

  19. This looks great – nice and simple, most of what I want from a step sequencer. My only wish – that it can do groove adjustments, and move steps around in time.
    This might be a good excuse to get into M4L programming… πŸ™‚

  20. Quick question, why isn’t the Step Sequencer made available in the Max For Live Window in Live 9? I have to manually open it from a remote place like my desktop. Is there a way to do that?

  21. Hey Rozzer.

    I’d used your M4L Rozzer.
    I’m one of the fun of Rozzer.
    Recently I updated to Ableton9 (M4L 6).

    After the updating, I can’t use rozzer anymore.

    Do you have plan to update Rozzer?

    Many Thanks.
    Keep going!

  22. Hi Rozzer, thatΒ΄s awesome that you fixed the sequencer for 9 ! I bought Live 8 immediately after I ran over it. After updating to 9 I was sad loosing this simple yet great tool – and didn’t find a replacement ever since. Now itΒ΄s back and I surely can say it instantly brings back some sequencing mojo. Thank you so much. Cheers.

  23. Hello Rozzer,

    I really like the concept of your nice step sequencer.
    It generates very organic, never self repeating patterns, which suit perfectly for my needs.

    The only thing IΒ΄m actually missing, is the ability to Transpose a running sequence via an external Midi Note (Keyboard, Hostsequencer, etc.).
    Or am I doing something wrong, and just canΒ΄t find this option?

    But anyway: Thank you very much for your good work on this.

    Sincerely, Tonvater Jan

    1. Hi Jan,

      I do remember trying to implement midi transpose a while back. For some reason I couldn’t complete it without a major rewrite being involved. It was a long time ago though so I forget.

      Truth is, I’ve no plans to work on the sequencer in the near future. My current music making endeavours don’t involve Max or Live so my concentration is elsewhere.


    2. Hello, thanks for this great device. But I also really need the sequence to be shifted up or down according to the incoming midi notes. Could you help implementing this? Or maybe is their a complementary device that can bring this feature?

      1. Hi,

        That’s not a feature I ever implemented. I do remember trying to get it working, but there were problems. To be honest, it’s been 5 years since I made the device and I haven’t done much Max work since, so I suspect the way it is now is the way it will stay. Sorry.

        – Rory

  24. hey rozzer,
    at first i want to thank you for your genius und simple step sequencer. i just bought live suite 9 two weeks ago and one of the first things i get was your step sequencer.
    i am new so maybe its very easy to know how, but how can i record the pattern a make in the sequecer, i didnt workd straight, either by the rec button or the loop butten.


    1. Hi T,

      If you want to record the pattern as MIDI, just make another MIDI track and set the input to the track containing ASS. Then you can record the output of the sequencer into Live clips.


  25. Hi man!!! My name is alfredo and im from argentina. I dont speak english so im sorry for the poor language and errors. First thanks for this great sequencer. I wanted to know if it works with a midi controller called icon i-stage. Its a kind of launchpad. Thanks again. See you!!!

  26. I have seen the question asked about how the Tie function works and am having similar issues. Can anyone explain to me what the Legato/Portamento/Glide settings need to be for tie to work with one of the built in Ableton synths? I am having no luck at all… Thanks!

    1. The Tie function simply extends the length of a note to overlap the next note. In order to hear it you’ll need to have a synth with glide/portamento/legato enabled (easy to test, just press a note on your midi keyboard and press another whilst holding the first). The result should be a note which glides from the fist note to the second. It is of course possible that the step sequencer is broken. It hasn’t had an update in a while and occasionally Max/Live updates do break things.

      – Rory πŸ™‚

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