4ms Catalyst series: new 8-channel sequencer and macro controller

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NAMM 2024: 4ms has announced two new 8-channel modules in the Catalyst series: a creative step sequencer and a macro controller. 

Until a few years ago, NAMM was the hotspot for Eurorack news. This has been different for several years. This year, the hotspot will be in Berlin again at Andreas Schneiders’s super synth event, Superbooth.

Nevertheless, we will also see new modules in Anaheim over the next four days. The big storm of news is, however, not expected until begin of May. 4ms is doing it at NAMM 2024 and shows two new upcoming releases in the Catalyst series. 

4ms Catalyst Sequencer Catalyst Controller

According to 4ms, they are based on the original Catalyst modules from Emblematic Systems and use a new DSP platform, allowing you to switch the module into another one with a simple button combination. That’s very clever, so purchase one module and get two functions. 

4ms Catalyst Sequencer

Catalyst Sequencer is a new 8-channel module combining traditional clocked step and unique phase-based sequencing. Eight precision CV sequencer channels can be simultaneously driven by a clock, a phase CV, or scrubbed manually with the crossfader.

Each of the eight channels has its own sequencer parameters: length (1-64 steps), quantizer, transposition, clock, divider, randomization, voltage range (max -5V to +10V), and selectable CV (16-bit resolution) or gate mode.

Exciting here is the unusual phase-based sequencer. 4ms says it’s an advanced form of sequencing where each step is selected by CV. The Catalyst sequencer has a smooth, responsive crossfader that scrubs the sequence, playing it forward or backward to track your motions. It also works with CV signals. 

Use a ramp-up CV to play the sequence forwards; a ramp-down plays it backward, a triangle ping-pong and complex waveforms generate wilder rhythmic and melodic patterns.

The module has hardware knobs for all important parameters, thus operation is very hands-on. Plus, you get various buttons for changing sequencer pages and a slider for using the phase scrub functionality.

4ms Catalyst Controller

4ms Catalyst Controller

Everyone who buys the Catalyst Sequencer also has the Catalyst Controller and vice versa. One button combo is enough to switch. 

On the other side, the Catalyst Controller is a macro controller module with eight precision CV outputs and a responsive crossfader to morph between scenes. The latter is a basically modular preset with up to eight CV outputs.

You can arrange pathways of up to 64 scenes and traverse them using the crossfader or an external CV signal, or immediately jump using the scene buttons.

That sounds like a lot of fun. Great for creating evolving patches. That’s not all. You can also record CV and slider movements and play them back via a button or external trigger.

Further, each output has a sub-millivolt precision and a maximum range of -5V to +10V. Channels also have an adjustable morphing curve, scale quantization, and more.

The Catalyst Controller is one module but has many faces: it can be a CV preset manager, transition generator, CV recorder, chord sequencer, and more.

First Impression

Two very exciting Eurorack modules or should I say one. Your purchase always includes both firmware versions. The macro controller, in particular, looks very tempting for making movements in modular. 

4ms Catalyst Sequencer and Catalyst Controller will be available soon for $395 each. 

More information here: 4ms

Eurorack News

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