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Automated Variation for the Behringer Crave

Updated: Sep 23, 2022

For this month's Patchworks let's take a look at a cool way to automate your Behringer Crave's sequencer using the Korg SQ-1 or any other sequencer that outputs control voltage (CV).

I found it interesting the way the Bastl Softpop SP2 allows you to tweak the pitch of the sequencer with the pitch slider in real-time. I guess it is similar to the way an arpeggiator follows the notes you are playing. I decided to try my own experiment with the Crave and the SQ-1 to see if I could create a patch that would act in a similar way.

Right away I discovered that the Crave will transpose the pattern it is playing in the sequencer. You simply press a key on the keyboard and the sequence transposes to that root note. It works very well for applying chord changes to your sequence and if that is all you want to do then you don't need to connect the SQ-1. However, if you program a separate sequence on the SQ-1 and connect the CV output to the OSC CV input on the Crave, you can create many variations to your sequence on the Crave and with the SQ-1 playing through the sequence for you, it frees you up to play a different instrument or tweak parameters in real-time.

Start by programming a sequence on the Crave. Once you have something you like, connect one of the CV outputs of the SQ-1 to the OSC CV input on the Crave. You can also connect the sync out of the SQ-1 to the Tempo input of the Crave to sync the tempo.

Next, choose a scale on the SQ-1, either major, minor, chroma, or linear, and dial in some notes. These notes will transpose the sequence that is playing on the Crave as it cycles through them. At first, this may not sound that great because the sequence will be changing with every step. However, if you switch to Gate mode on the SQ-1 and turn a few steps off you will hear some variations start to happen in your sequence. If you turn off all the steps except one it will play the sequence in that root note, and you can change the root note by turning that step off while turning another one on. When you start adding one or two more steps to the SQ-1 the pattern constantly changes.

Another option is to use one line of the SQ-1 for transposing your Crave and the other for controlling a parameter, like Filter Cutoff. To do this, connect the CV B output of SQ-1 to the VCF CUTOFF input on the Crave and dial in some values. This will automate the amount of filter cutoff on the Crave for more variation.

Finally, I like to add the grungy delay effect of the Korg Monotron Delay to my jam session and get some grooves going.

No matter how you use the SQ-1 it is a real workhorse of a step sequencer. With some creative connections to the Crave, you can get some amazing results that would be much harder to achieve with the Crave alone.

I hope this patch will spark some new ideas for you and your musical journey!

Until next time, happy tweaking!

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