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  ASQ10 At a Glance
Click for larger view arrowReleased: 1988  Specifications
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Brent Haeseker (Jetboy4000@aol.com) writes:
The ASQ10 is the probably the best hardware sequencer to ever be put on the market. An incredible machine, the ASQ10 was the sequencer-only spin off of the equally powerful MPC60 (Midi Production Center: Sequencer, Sampler, Drum Machine). Still unrivaled against today�s new products (except the new MPC3000 - but not the MPC2000). It is also the easiest sequencer I have ever laid hands on, including software sequencers. Actually, software sequencers are clumsy compared to the elegant layout of the ASQ10. The ASQ10 is very transparent to the creative process. Sure, software sequencers can claim unlimited tracks compared to the ASQ10�s 99 tracks, but how many times has anyone used more than 50! I personally have used Performer (which I have on my Mac), Vision, Mastertracks,etc. plus other hardware sequencers and I have yet to find one that gives me a better working environment.

Being released in 1988, one would think the ASQ10 is outdated. But that is far from the truth. Check out these features:

1. 60,000 note capacity 2. 99 tracks, 99 sequences, 20 songs(made up of 256 sequences/steps) 3. Assign 1 or 2 midi channels to each track 4. Built in SMPTE generator, 7 sync modes 5. Powerful looping abilities in play and record mode 6. Step edit mode and step entry recording 7. Flexible and powerful editing, quantize, and transposing abilities 8. Built in disk drive and SCSI port! 9. Auto punching 10. Time displayed in both real time and SMPTE time 11. 2 midi ins, 4 midi outs (64 midi channels at once!) 12. A huge display, even by todays standards 13. Can play two sequences at once 14. 2 foot switch inputs, 1 metronome out for it�s built in metronome, sync in and out 15. The list continues...

And did I tell you this thing is built like a tank? A few years ago I was carrying my setup to a studio gig in my station wagon (the ASQ10 has been everywhere with me - and without a case!). It was in the back next to a stack of Anvil case enclosed synths. Upon turning a sharp left the top synth slid off and onto the ASQ10. My heart sank as I heard the crashing - how could I be so stupid to have packed the ASQ10 like that. I pulled over and opened the tailgate to find the Anvil case on top of the ASQ10, the metal corner right on the display! But guess what? Not a scratch, no damage what so ever. However, since then it has rode in the front seat with me. It�s even been thrown in a box and survived many UPS shipments. After all these years the only physical blemish on it is a slight amount of wear around the data entry wheel. One tough cookie!

My only gripe about it is the ppq resolution is low, only 96 ppq, and the processor is a bit slow when processing data. I can live with the slow processor (it�s really not that bad, my PowerPC Mac feels slower) but the 96 ppq makes it hard to get a live groove. Since I have Adats, I simply record any live groove stuff to them, and use the ASQ10 for songwriting and all the other stuff. This brings me to other point: The ASQ10 is the best sequencer for songwriting. I have already discussed it�s extreme ease of use, but the ASQ10 really is the easiest way to get your ideas out. Software sequencers with their mouse oriented environment and non-existent dedicated buttons bog down the creative process. Get a hardware sequencer! Get an ASQ10!

Ok, ok, software sequencers are pretty cool, I admit. Like I said I�ve got Performer and I love it�s ability to transcribe my music into sheet music, but I rarely use it. The ASQ10 has been the heart and soul of my setup since I bought it, and I can�t foresee that changing any time soon. You should be able to get one for good price if anyone is willing to sell theirs. I bought mine in 1989 for $500. It was a showroom demo, which explains the price (they list around $2000 at that time). I would still gladly pay that much for one now. If you got the extra money get a MPC3000 and get your world rocked! It has everything the ASQ10 has plus an S3000 sampler in it,16 drum pad drum machine and a much higher ppq resolution and processor speed. Whoa Momma!

Comments About the Sounds:

(Thanks to Brent Haeseker for this info.)
and www.retrosynth.com for the pic

Links for the Akai ASQ10
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x Retrosynth ASQ-10 page
x www.Route66studios.com ASQ 10 NEW replacement Floppy drives

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