Cyber Sequencer Review
Cyber Sequencer may very well be DUBTurbo’s biggest rival!
This is mainly because of it’s price tag since CySeq lacks DT’s popularity among the crowd. However, features and performance are virtually of the same level. The only difference is Cyber Sequencer’s lower cost. Because of this, I wondered why this beat maker isn’t as popular as DT and the only answer I could find is that it isn’t promoted as much. Maybe my review will even up this balance a bit. You can check out the beat maker comparison page for my final verdict and an overview of features.
Throughout my review, you’ll find phrases in this color again to indicate they open up screenshots if clicked.
Cyber Sequencer is a powerful music production tool that’s well-suited for novices who want to get up and running quickly and professionals who long for a simple interface that streamlines the production process. Although some musicians might not be used to sequencers that aren’t packed to the brim with features, that’s one of Cyber Sequencer’s best qualities: its simplicity helps you stop tinkering endlessly, so you can get down to business.
One thing that sets Cyber Sequencer apart from its competitors is its accessibility. You can download and install it on a Mac or PC, or access it online by logging into your account. The downloadable version responds quickly to your actions, which is key when you’re laying down beats or synth progressions. Although the online version relies on Flash, it’s surprisingly responsive and fast, even if you’re using an antiquated MacBook Pro that’s running Tiger and Safari 4, like i did. The response time improves on a more up-to-date machine, however, and your Internet speed has a direct impact on the online version, so it might be a little slow if you live with a heavy downloader. What I love more than anything about the online access is that I don’t have to take my computer everywhere to make music — I can log into my account on any computer and make music.
In terms of musical diversity, you can create any type of electronic music using Cyber Sequencer. From dubstep to hip hop, or IDM to drum and bass, the sample library has got you covered. There are tons of CD-quality (44.1 kHz, 16-bit) samples to choose from, including drum, ethnic and classic synth sounds. The samples are well-produced and far from amateur. I was surprised by how well some of the bass sounds worked in my dubstep tracks!
The overall audio quality is good. Cyber Sequencer consistently uses CD-quality audio for playback and exporting tracks. Live playback and exported tracks sound clear and full. Of course, the sound you hear also depends on the sound card and speakers you’re using. If you’re taking the audio directly from the computer’s audio output, you’ll get the most of Cyber Sequencer by using a good pair of headphones.
Cyber Sequencer comes with just enough features to get you going, and since it isn’t overflowing with features, it offers a very low learning curve for newbies. Anyone can launch Cyber Sequencer and start making music, or sounds anyway, with just a few clicks. There’s nothing intimidating about the interface — it’s all clearly laid out and organized logically, so you don’t have to worry about searching for hidden features. And, if you do get stuck, Cyber Sequencer offers some easy-to-follow video tutorials online or consult the integrated help feature.
The top panel of Cyber Sequencer contains the transport controls — Play, Stop, Record and Loop — as well as controls for setting the tempo, starting the metronome, selecting tools, and opening and saving Cyber Sequencer projects. The tools at the top of the panel include an arrow for moving bars and notes, a brush for drawing bars and notes, and an eraser for erasing bars and notes. Each function and tool in the top panel is clearly labeled and does exactly what you’d expect it to do.
The left panel in Cyber Sequencer lists the tracks and their currently loaded presets. You select the track type, either drum pads or keyboard, by clicking the “V,” and toggle between the main panel and the edit panel by clicking the “E.” If you want to change the preset in a track, simply click the track and use the drum or keyboard jogger to change it. The presets load quickly, so you can listen to your changes before you forget what the previous preset sounded like.
Running out of tracks in Cyber Sequencer is a challenge. It offers 16 tracks, and you can use as many as you want as KEY or DRUM tracks. KEY tracks utilize a four-octave keyboard, while DRUM tracks offer 10 drum pads per track. If you were to set every track in the sequencer to a DRUM track, you’d have 160 samples in a single project! Even with audio loaded in every track, Cyber Sequencer works quickly.
Adding notes or drum sequences to a track is easy: select the brush tool in the top panel, draw at least one bar in the track, and then click the edit button. If you’re editing a drum track, you’ll be greeted by the drum panel, and if you’re editing a keyboard track, you’ll see a vertically-aligned keyboard. Both panels provide a full list of drum kits or samples to choose from in a column, making it quick and easy to select and preview presets. Additionally, you can preview a sound by clicking a key on the keyboard or a drum pad in the drum panel.
The drum and keyboard panels use a grid-based sequencer divided into quantized 1/16 notes. To add a note, draw it in the desired location with the brush. You can then preview what you’ve done by pressing Play, and start mastering the audio by dragging the faders to change each sample’s levels.
In addition to clicking and drawing notes in the sequencer, you can also trigger notes and record your keystrokes — a useful function for anyone who likes to tap out a beat or detests the mouse. Simply hit any key from 0 to 10 when you’re editing a drum track or any of the keys displayed on the keyboard when you’re editing a keyboard track. To record what you’re playing, press Record and then Play, and you’ll see your keystrokes in the sequencer immediately.
Although Cyber Sequencer doesn’t work as a VST plugin, you can export the tracks you make as WAV files and edit them in any DAW. You have the option to export a mixed stereo track or individual tracks by soloing each track one at a time before exporting. Exporting individual tracks is a good option if you want to add effects to and master tracks individually. You can also record the audio in real time by using an audio driver that allows you to record the computer’s internal audio. Soundflower, which is free, works on the Mac, while Windows machines come with a built-in driver that’s usually called Microsoft Wave Mapper.
Overall, Cyber Sequencer is a good entry-level sequencer for beginners and seasoned musicians who need to compose without getting bogged down with tweaking every little detail. It provides CD-quality audio, tons of samples and an intuitive interface at a price I simply can’t argue with. If you’ve never made music before, Cyber Sequencer will hold your hand and usher you into the world of audio production, and if you’ve been making music for years like me, you’ll be relieved by its simplicity.