Korg SQ-1 Step Sequencer


2 x 8-step CV sequencer and sync box

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The Korg SQ-1 is a musically liberating 2 x 8 step sequencer that can control a wide variety of vintage and modern synths

The history of the Korg SQ-1 Step Sequencer: Back in the ’70s, monophonic keyboard synths, such as the Korg MS-20, began to gain ground in popular music, offering sounds never before heard by modern ears, which was cool in and of itself, but the real fun with mono synths was the sequencer, such as the SQ-10 step sequencer that partnered with the MS-20. Putting those unique sounds into a sequenced pattern, unplayable by human hands, formed the basis of electronic music and gave rock another unique sound to rival the electric guitar and its growing arsenal of effects. In fact, guitarist Pete Townshend’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” features the sound of a sequenced synth, which Pete performed by hand, since there was no tempo sync in those days.

Enter the Korg SQ-1, a direct descendant of the SQ-10, a compact 2 x 8 step sequencer. The SQ-1 liberates you from lifeless numerical DAW sequencing, encouraging you to employ the same levels of musicality as Townshend, performing sequences to fit the music, rather than the other way around. Plus, with its comprehensive connectivity, the SQ-1 can connect to, and control a variety of vintage analog synths or the latest compact synths. You can also switch between a variety of synthesizer modes and use the step buttons to create performances brimming with spontaneity, just like Korg’s volca synths.

Korg SQ-1 Step Sequencer in one take:

  • Connect and control the MS-20 and many other types of equipment
  • A variety of sequencer modes
  • Step edit buttons inherited from the Korg volca mini synth, provide excellent improvisational possibilities
  • Sturdy and compact body, with battery operation

Connect and control the MS-20 and many other types of equipment

As a descendant of the SQ-10, the SQ-1 supports the Hz/V standard, which provided excellent pitch stability as opposed to the V/Oct standard, enabling it to control the MS-20 or MS-20 mini. Of course, the SQ-1 also supports the V/Oct standard, plus, the voltage level of the CV output (*) and polarity of the Gate output can be specified for the appropriate device. This versatility will enable you to control a wide variety of other synthesizers as well.

The SQ-1 provides two CV/Gate Out channels, standard and USB MIDI, littleBits out (to connect to the littleBits synth kit by littleBits Electronics Inc.), plus a Sync In/Out channel that allows you to connect to the Korg volca series and Korg monotribe. Compact and complete with all the functions you need, the SQ-1 is the quintessential hardware sequencer.

* V/Oct supported for 1V, 2V, and 5V; Hz/V supported for 8V

Versatile sequencer modes

The two 8-step channels of SQ-1 can operate consecutively, or in a variety of other modes. For example, you can run channels A and B following each other to create a 16-step sequencer; play the steps play randomly out of sequence, or use A and B to control different parameters in parallel. From simple sequences to complex changes, you can choose from a variety of modes to suit your needs. The sequence step resolution is selectable as quarter notes, eighth notes, or 16th notes. Additionally you can specify the way the step knobs control pitch, either directly, or the closest note in a major, minor, or chromatic scale.

Step buttons provide excellent improvisational possibilities

Typically, the 2 x 8 step buttons turn notes on and off, but you can also use the Mode button to change their function, opening up powerful possibilities such as letting you “perform” the sequence itself, as on a volca unit. Other capabilities derived from the volca includes “Active Step,” which lets you skip steps mid-way through a sequence, and “Step Jump,” which lets you instantly play just the step that you press, producing irregular rhythms or effects that are reminiscent of short loops. “Slide” produces a legato effect that connects the steps smoothly. Using Slide to control a synth bass is an easy way for anyone to generate an acid sound.

Sturdy and compact body, with battery operation

The SQ-1 features a compact and very sturdy sheet-metal body. When used in tandem with the MS-20 series, you’ll notice a sense of solidity that gives the impression they were manufactured in the same era. The Korg SQ-1 can operate either on two AA batteries or USB bus power.

If you’ve been looking for a more musical way to bring the sound analog sequencing into your music, the Korg SQ-1 is the answer. For more information, call or chat with your Westlake Pro sales consultant today.

Korg SQ-1 Step Sequencer specifications:

Sequencer Mode: Alternate, Order, Parallel Turn, Parallel Order, CV/Duty, CV/Slide, CV/Duty Radom, Random

Step Mode: Gate On/Off, Active Step, Slide, Step Jump

Sequence Step Resolution: quarter notes, eighth notes, sixteenth notes

CV Out Pitch: Linear, Minor, Major, Chromatic

CV Out Voltage: 1V, 2V, 5V (Oct) 8V (Hz/V)

Gate Out Polarity: + (positive polarity), – (negative polarity)

Sync In/Out Polarity: + (rise), – (fall)


– littleBits Out jack (mini monaural phone jack)

– OUT (MIDI Out) jack (mini stereo phone jack)

– CV – A Out – Gate jack (mini monaural phone jack, CV Out: Output Level 1V, 2V, 5V, 8[Hz/V], Gate Out: output level 10V)

– CV – B Out – Gate jack (mini monaural phone jack, CV Out: Output Level 1V, 2V, 5V, 8[Hz/V], Gate Out: Output Level 10V)

– In – Sync – Out jack (mini monaural phone jack, SYNC IN: Max Input Level 20V, Sync Out: Output Level 5V)

– USB jack (type B, USB MIDI)

Power Supply: Two AA batteries (alkaline batteries recommended), or USB power

Battery Life: Approximately 5 hours (when using alkaline batteries)

Dimensions (W x D x H): 7-8/16″ x 3-5/16″ × 2-7/16″ (193 x 84 x 63 mm)

Weight: 1.41 lb. (641 g)

Korg SQ-1 Step Sequencer Included Items:

  • Two AA batteries for checking operation
  • mini plug – DIN cable

Additional information

Weight 2 lbs
Dimensions 4 x 8 x 3 in
MIDI/USB or Both




Number of Voices

16 steps

Analog or Digital


Attribute: Manufacturer Part Number


MIDI Sequencer





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