One of the things that sets the SL MkIII apart from the competition is its onboard eight-track/Part sequencer. Polyphonic sequences (Patterns) of up to 16 steps in length are programmed step by step or recorded live, looper style, with the pads used to select, clear and visually represent steps, and notes input via the keys. The output and MIDI channel of each Part is easily adjusted, so you could have one Part triggering, say, a hardware drum machine, another playing a Eurorack setup via CV/Gate, and the other six routed to separate plugin instruments in your DAW. A Part can comprise up to eight chainable Patterns, the keyboard can be zoned to play/sequence multiple Parts at a time, and Patterns are fully editable from the unit. As well as note data, automation of pretty much all of the SL’s controls – wheels, rotaries, sliders, etc – is recordable, too. There’s also an arpeggiator (active for only one part at a time, alas), the rhythm of which is programmed on the pads.
The SL MkIII’s sequencer is surprisingly powerful and fast to work with. Our only significant issue with it is that notes adhere rigidly to the grid at all times, quantised on the way in and un-nudgeable afterwards, which rather limits its expressiveness in terms of ‘human’ timing.
The eight-track/Part sequencer is unarguably one of the highlights of the SL MkIII