Limits of 4 Tracks?

hey. i don’t have an er-101 and im working through the manuals (still reading the wiki for the 301). does anyone find the 4 tracks being a little too limiting? (philosophic rants aside as to whether or not those limits are good for creativity).

I was scoping out the nerdseq which is 6 but has both trigger and cv expanders on the roadmap. I currently have an eloquencer and 1 gate/cv pair is really limiting (despite having 8 tracks). I did just start looking at the er-101 though.

im interested in how versatile a single er-101 can be when paired with the er-301 (which ive ordered). Seems like a great fit for that, but if you had more modulation sources to use against the er-301 then sequencing those would require something else right?

im also interested if anyone has gone as far as to go with 2x er-101? If so, how well do they sync to each other?

are there any plans for a track or cv/gate expander?


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I’ve certainly considered the limits of a CV and gate output. It is frustrating that every new sequencer keeps doing that. However the 101 at least has an additional CV out per track.

Also with the 101 it is about how you program in sequences that is the most compelling to me. It seems to be the most flexible with what you can actually sequence.

On top of that I’m sequencing background elements or backing tracks. All the main playing is coming from me directly and so sequencing it isn’t necessary in my use case.

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I think whether 4 tracks with 2x CV + gate is too limiting depends entirely on the sort of music you make. I think that if you’re going to use it to sequence drums and percussive sounds, you’re going to get to the limits faster. Same for very heavily polyphonic music (which I still don’t quite see as the typical use case for modular systems, even though some people certainly have large enough systems to do it). Unless all your voices have to be completely separate in rhythm as well as in pitch, you could still write up to 8 melodic lines at once with the 101. Seems like a lot to me. I know very few musical pieces that need more than that outside the classical realm and even there, it’s usually more about orchestration, i.e. distribution of parts of the melody to different voices rather than actually separate melodies - which can be done in the modular easily using buffered mults, mixers, offsets, logic modules and VCAs.

Personally, I do not feel limited at all. But then I usually don’t use more than three melodic lines at once (see above). Most of the time, I use some tracks of the 101 for sequencing things other than pitch.

I don’t own two 101s, but since the 101 is very exact about it’s syncing, I think if you run the same clock into n 101s, they’ll be perfectly in sync. I’ve certainly never had sync problems with my 101 + teletype combo.


thanks, these are helpful. I’m partly trying to gather info to make my next move, the eloquencer has been fantastic, definitely opened me up to more precise ways of sequencing. im a bit torn between the 101+102 or NerdSeq, and it’s mostly a question more holes to fill :smiley:

in the case of the 101/102 + 301 if you patched your gate/note/mod to the 301 you have 8 cv inputs left on the 301 that could be patched, and then a handful on the 102. I was hoping to avoid multiple sequencers (I was using two eloquencers) but it really seems there is no way around that at some point :/. If the 301 lives up to my hopes, it’s likely a second one will be on my list so I’m trying to plan around that.

I had not realized the er-101 used an external clock, but that works since it would be a single clock source maybe :smiley:

I owned the 101/102 combo and that was mostly because of the freedom of steps, not limited to 16 and then have to chain and use songmode like f.e. the Eloquencer.
But soon after having this set the Nerdseq was introduced and I had the privilege to spend an evening with it.
Honestly, this is one of the most powerful but underrated sequencers in the market imo.
It’s like having the 101/102 and Elektronlike functions, but with a big plus.
So much modulation options per step and now that the expanders are introduced it’s about having 64 extra outputs for triggers and modulation, programmable LFOs, …well just read the latest firmware updates because it’s just too much to mention it all.
I’ve not seen such an impressive sequencer in Euro rack before.
Ofcourse you could buy two 101/102 sets and that is indeed a very powerful set but it will cost like three times the price of a single Nerdseq with only two tracks extra.
I’ve sold the OD set and liked it, the very high built quality especially.
So no bad thing about that but it’s another type of sequencer.

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Hi, are you still liking the Nerdseq? I just bought the 101 but have my eye on this one as well.

BTW, are you aware of SonicVoltage’s very extensive walkthroughs of both the ER-101/102 and the NerdSeq? They should remove 99.9% of the guesswork of deciding which sequencer suits one’s style. :wink:



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Hi, sold the 101… fun and very good built but too steep for me.
Too little visual feedback and too much counting of what’s going on.
Loosing overview.

In the meantime I got my second Nerdseq for my live rack.

Like mentioned, in case you still have doubts … the Sonicvoltage tutorials are the best.
Don’t forget that the Nerdseq is being updated with firmware and hardware on a regular bases.
Breakout modules, midi in and out, trigger and CV add ons, …, (there a rumour about polyphonic …)

Thanks Brian, I did watch the 101-102 videos and they were great. Haven’t watched the Nerdseq yet - so many videos! Lol

Watch catarina barbieri using the er-101 as an instrument, more than just a sequencer! And like any instrument, time to learn time to control and time to master, all the time. That’s IMHO what sets the 101 apart from sequencers, it’s an instrument.


Could you please explain why the 101 feels more like an instrument than a sequencer to you? I had the same idea in mind when buying the ER-101/102, but after working with this combo for about seven months now I’m still not sure. There are some restrictions (like no general undo) that make it less playable than I imagined it would be.

Speaking of Caterina Barbieri: I really like her music – and her performances are impressive, but after watching some of her performance videos my impression is that she mostly recalls preprogrammed patterns on stage – so not exactly what I would call “playing a sequencer like an instrument”.

I don’t want to badmouth the ER-101102. It certainly has a unique concept and some features I really like. I’m just still undecided if it’s for me or not, so I’m interested in other opinions.

What does undo have to do with playability? :thinking: I can imagine someone doing some creative stuff with undo but it is not a common feature on instruments as far as I know…it is a common feature in DAW and software sequencers though.

AFAIK, she does not use the ER-102, so she can’t be recalling patterns at least not in her performances of the “Patterns of Consciousness” album. I’m not sure of course, but what I think she does is have pre-programmed material to start with but then she edits it heavily during a performance, returning to the original state every once in awhile via a quantized snapshot load. She also plays extensively with the loop points. I think she also “plays” the entries in the voltage tables (redefining pitches of specific scale degrees on the fly).

Really though, Barbieri could probably turn any sequencer into an instrument. :laughing:

I’ve been watching your posts on the ER-101…I sense that you want to like it but in the end it is perhaps not matching your style? I would say trust your own intuition!


7 months is a long time I agree. But having control and understanding of an instrument takes practice. Took me three years to blow a saxophone mouthpiece, applying subtle control through the reed. What I see in the 101/102 is an instrument that beyond an arrangement player, becomes a mouthpiece of expression through the control and understanding of its rich feature set and how these functions can capture and reflect the expression of your emotion.

Early days for me, however, whenever I’m off in the clouds of performance all those subtle changes, modifications and controls encourage expression. Playing an instrument is all about expression, flair and improvisation and the er offers that in so many unusual ways that take time to grasp and understand.

To me the ER-101/102 offers so many possibilites to create happy accidents – like selecting random steps or an Eucledian mask and a random complex Maths transformation. Sometimes I like the result and want to keep it. Other times I don’t – and always having the option to just undo the last operation would give me more freedom to “play”.

You’re right, she doesn’t use the ER-102. I meant she’s skipping through lots of pre-programmed “Parts” (not “Patterns”). Your description of her process is way more precise, so I agree that this can and should be called “playing” the ER-101.

Oh no, I’m under surveillance! :wink:

I hope my many questions and suggestions don’t just feel like criticism. In fact I don’t want to give up too early because it feels like the ER-101/102 is very close to what I want, if it just would have a few more features like general Undo or a Math operation for moving boundary between steps

On the other hand I understand that your instruments can only be so unique (I have an ER-301 too) because you have a clear vision of which features you want and don’t want to implement – and just fulfilling every user’s whishes would dilute their concept and character.

Maybe I’d need something like an “ER-301 for sequencing”. But it’s always easy to blame the tools. It’s good to trust one’s intuition, but sometimes it just needs more work, practicing and experimenting.

Long story short: You won’t get rid of me that easily. :slight_smile:

Let’s not forget, you have the option of destructive and none distractive transforms!

I bought a 101 & 102 at the same time. Initially, I used the 101 only. Four tracks never struck me as a limitation. New vistas opened with each foray.

If you’re of a listening/thinking mind, check out the last 4 tracks, which are my first four done with an ER-101.


Haha. I guess the last part of my reply could sound like that. I definitely do not mean it that way. :wink: One thing I have learned about myself, as a manufacturer, is that the worse outcome is not that someone doesn’t like my product, it is that someone likes the product, struggles with it for years, but in the end finally gives up, only to find that they would have been much happier with something else all along. Nightmare scenario! :cry:


I think trying out different modules and approaches to music making is just a crucial part of modular synthesis.

My first module was Morphagene. I thought it would be exactly what I was looking for. In the end I didn’t like the sonic results (too fuzzy imo), sold it, had more fun with a Mungo g0.

I was very sceptical about the ER-301, because in general I don’t like menu diving modules. But after I finally decided to give it a try and invested some time exploring the workflow, units and bespoke units I’m loving it!.

You have to invest money and time to find out if something is for you. Even if it ends with selling a module, you’ve learned something on the way: about your own preferences, about different concepts and sound estethics. So you shouldn’t feel bad about “nightmare scenarios”. :slight_smile:


Smashing, will have a listen this evening. :+1:

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