Forum logo
Store logo
Step mode

The  step  mode is a different way to create rhythms and melodies. Unlike the  live  mode — where you perform in real-time using the matrix keypads — the  step  mode allows you to “program” sequenced events directly into the current track.  step  mode is a great way to get the best out of your synthesizers and drum machines.

Hapax a 128 pad matrix
pads icon
to program your step-by-step rhythms and melodies effortlessly and efficiently. You are free to extend the length of your track up to 32 bars. In conjunction with extreme zooms, conditional trigs, chance, loop points, selection, scale folding, run modes, possibilities are endless!

The  step  mode also allows you to edit a previously recorded live performance, using the piano roll view.

The  step  mode, like the  live  mode, always displays events of the active track and selected pattern. Each pattern of each track has its own events.
Piano roll overview
The piano roll displays the full length of the current pattern on the right screen. The grayed out area, called viewport, displays the portion of the page that is shown on the pad matrix
pads icon

The pad matrix
pads icon
always displays the current page, depending on the current zoom and track length settings:


The lower-left pad always represents the note set in the upper-left corner of the right screen.

In case you are lost in the piano roll, a simple Press on  step  will automatically focus the pad matrix onto the closest note.
Basic operations
Press a pad of the matrix
pads icon
to add a note.

Rotate encoder ① to set the lower-left note of the pad matrix
pads icon
. You can also use the main encoder, or Hold  2ND  +  ↑  or  ↓ .

Rotate encoder ② to set the octave. You can also Press  ↑  or  ↓ .

Rotate the other encoders to change their corresponding parameters. param

Hold  track  to enter the track settings.

Press  +  to zoom in, Press  -  to zoom out.

Press  <  or  >  to navigate between pages.

Hold  2ND  +  <  or  >  to double or halve the length of the pattern.

Hold  2ND  +  +  or  -  to duplicate/divide the pattern along with its events.

Hold a pad of the matrix
pads icon
to override the global parameters with the ones contained in this pad.
Note parameters
Each note event includes its own set of 8 parameters : Note & Octave, Velocity, Length, μTime, Chance, Roll, Math.
Step parameters are visible on the left screen. Each one of them is connected to its own encoder :

To modify the parameters of a pad or a selection of pads, Hold the pad or the zone.
 PITCH + OCTAVE   C0 (0)   ...   G10 (127) 
Sets the midi note pitch & octave.
 VELOCITY   0   ...   127 
Sets the midi note velocity.
Sets the length of the note in steps. A step corresponds to a 16th note when using the default zoom. Infinite notes won't stop or be retriggered until the
stop icon
button is pressed.
 uTIME   -50%   +50% 
Time offset : slightly moves the note around its central step position. On the right (+) the note will be delayed, on the left (-) the note will play sooner.
 CHANCE   0%   100% 
Sets the probability for the note to be played.
 ROLL   1/8   1/256 
Note will throughout its length (ratcheting)
 MATH   /SYNC   SYNC, /PREV   PREV   /1ST   1ST   ... 
Conditional trigs allow you to set a condition to a note to be played. Here are some examples :
  • 1:2 — note plays the 1st time, every 2 loops
  • 2:3 — note plays the 2nd time, every 3 loops
  • FILL — note plays if the fill button is pressed
  • /FILL — note plays if the fill button is released
  • PRE — note plays if last condition of track was valid
  • SYNC — note plays if added on 1st step of a beat
  • ON=0 — plays only if no other notes are played
  • LB<5 — plays if last beat played less than 5 notes

When scrolling through the Math parameter, RGB leds are dimmed to highlight events with the same Math parameter. This visual feature also works for Roll and Chance parameters.

Hold an encoder ①...⑧ to reset a parameter to its default value. For example, Hold  all  to select all notes, and Hold the uTime encoder ⑤ to quantize all notes to their closest time position.
Note selection
You can select one, or a group of notes to edit all their parameters at the same time.


Hold a note on the pianoroll. The pad color will change and the selected note parameters will be displayed on the left screen.

Keep holding the pad and rotate one of the ①...⑧ encoders to change the corresponding parameter.

Hold a note pad momentarily to override the global parameters values with the values contained in this note.


Hold a pad on the piano roll, then Hold another pad to select multiple notes. You can now edit the parameters of all the notes contained in your selection.

You can Hold  all  to select all events, or Hold a  row  to select a single row of events across the pattern.Hold more than one  row  to select a range.

While selecting steps :

Press  <  or  >  to move your selection left/right
Press Up or Down to move your selection up or down
Press  +  or  -  to rotate your selection in selection boundaries
Press  mute  to mute/unmute your selection

By default, a multiple selection will select all notes on the vertical axis inside your selection. Hold  2ND  while making your selection to constrain your selection to the selected notes.

Press  2ND  during an  all  or  row  selection to toggle between single-page and all-pages selection.
Track zoom, pattern length and navigation


Each of the 8 patterns of each track can have a different lengths. The track length can be set between 1 and 32 bars.

To set it, Hold a  track  and use encoder ⑥. You can Hold + Rotate encoder ⑥ to increment the length in steps.

Quick length modifiers :

Hold  2ND  +  +  to double pattern length
Hold  2ND  +  -  to halve pattern length
Hold  2ND  +  >  to double pattern length and copy events
Hold  2ND  +  <  to halve pattern length and delete events


Press  +  or  -  to zoom in or out.
Press  +  and  -  at the same time to Toggle between binary and ternary zooms.


A page is what you can see on the matrix pads
pads icon
, represented by the grayed out area on the pianoroll screen, called viewport.
When increasing the track length or zoom values, the viewport will exceed one page. The pianoroll screen will always display the entire pattern with all its pages.

Press  <  or  >  to navigate to previous or next page.
Loop points
Loop points allow you to set up in real-time where your pattern begins and ends. Only the pattern inside your loop points will be played. You can set different loop points for every pattern within every track.

When composing, it is a great way to loop a small part you want to focus on. When performing, you can play with track positions and create interesting effects like beat repeats or polymeters.
Modmatrix gif

Hold  <  and Press one of the 1...16  track  buttons to set your loop point start.
Hold  >  and Press one of the 1...16  track  buttons to set your loop point end.

Press both  <   >  to remove the loop points.
Project scale (pScale)
Hold  proA  or  proB  to enter the project settings.
Rotate pScale param to ON to enable pScale on this project.
When a global pScale is enabled, the matrix pads only show the notes of the selected scale:

There are never more than 8 notes in a scale, so the 8 rows will always show the same note. For example, if the key note of the scale is F, the bottom row will always display the F note of the selected octave.
Once pScale is enabled, only in-scale notes can be added with the matrix pads. The vertical navigation in the pianoroll is now octave by octave. This simpler interface garantees that no out-of-scale note can be added anymore.

After setting the project pScale, you can enable it for individual tracks in their secondary setting window.
Note learn
All notes and chords played on an external controller or using the live mode keypads are captured in step mode and displayed on the left screen under LEARN. Those learned notes can be added with a single press of a pad in  step  mode.

Click encoder ② to enable the LEARN edit:

To exit the LEARN edit, click encoder ① or ②.

Press  2ND  +  settings  and Rotate encoder ① to completely disable midi LEARN.
Math (conditional trigs)
Also known as "Conditional Trigs" in the sequencing vocabulary, the math operations are conditions that you can add to individual events to modify their behavior.

A "/" before a condition means "NOT". For example /FILL has the opposite behavior of FILL.
  • FILL: note plays only when  fill  is held.
  • /FILL: note plays only when  fill  is not held.
  • 1st: note plays on first pattern playback.
  • /1st: note does not play on first pattern playback.
  • PREV: note plays if last confition of track was valid.
  • /PREV: note plays if last confition of track was not valid.
  • SYNC: note plays if added on 1st step of a beat.
  • /SYNC: note plays if not added on 1st step of a beat.
  • ON=0: note plays only if no other notes are played.
  • ON<2: note plays if less than 2 notes are played.
  • ON<3: note plays if less than 3 notes are played.
  • ON<4: note plays if less than 4 notes are played.
  • ON<5: note plays if less than 5 notes are played.
  • LS=0: note plays if last step played zero notes.
  • LS<2: note plays if last step played less than 2 notes.
  • LS<3: note plays if last step played less than 3 notes.
  • LS<4: note plays if last step played less than 4 notes.
  • LS<5: note plays if last step played less than 5 notes.
  • LB=0: note plays if last beat played zero notes.
  • LB<2: note plays if last beat played less than 2 notes.
  • LB<3: note plays if last beat played less than 3 notes.
  • LB<4: note plays if last beat played less than 4 notes.
  • LB<5: note plays if last beat played less than 5 notes.
 ONE IN... 
  • 1:2… x:y …1:16 : play the note x time each y loops

When  fill  is held, all programmed or recorded events are forced with Math = FILL.
MPE Tracks

MPE, or Midi Polyphonic Expression, is a recent specification of musical instruments data exchanges, based on MIDI.
It allows to play a synthesizer in an expressive, articulated way, that approaches the sound and feel of acoustic instruments. Hapax can record MPE controllers, with which you can simultaneously modulate several parameters on distinct notes, like timbre, tonality, pressure or volume.

In HapaxOS V1.0, the MPE and poly track types are very similar.
Recording and editing
Recording a track using an MPE controler is the same process as described in the "Record your performance" Live section of this manual.

To edit an MPE track, you can use the same basic operations, parameter editing and note selection techniques that are described on this page. The MPE per-note expression controls can't yet be visualized and edited, but they are contained in the note pads of Hapax. This means you can move notes around, use copy,paste and every other tool at your disposal for editing your MPE recordings.

HapaxOS is evolving and will soon allow editing on expressive parameters for each note of an MPE track.
Drum Tracks

The drum track type is particularly suited for drum machines, grooveboxes and samplers.

Once in step mode, Hold  step  and Rotate the menu encoder to set the track type to drum, and enter the drum step mode.
In drum step mode, each percussive element, along with its events, corresponds to a drum lane.

There are 8 lanes in total :


This step mode shares basic operations, selection & editing, copy/ paste, mute and loop points with the poly and MPE step modes.

A drum note as the same parameters as any other note: Velocity, Length, µTime, Chance, Roll and Math.

The principal difference is that instead of pitch & octave parameters, a drum note has a midi note and a midi channel, defining which drum element the lane will trig.
Select/Rename a lane
In drum tracks, events are organised in drum lanes. There are 8 drum lanes, named by default as follows:
  1. Kick
  2. Snare
  3. Closed HH
  4. Open HH
  5. Low Tom
  6. Hi Tom
  7. Hand Clap
  8. Cowbell
To select a drum lane, you can either:
  • Rotate the main encoder
  • Press the  row  button corresponding to the lane
To rename a lane, start by selecting it, then Press the menu encoder.

To quickly mute an entire lane, Hold a  row  button and press  mute . You can repeat this operation to unmute the lane.
Drum lane MIDI routing
A lane is characterized by its corresponding note. This means that events in a drum lane will always trig the same note. This is ideal for working with drum machines, which usually expect a given note for a given drum element.

Each lane can have its own particular pair of note/channel. It is also possible to have a lane triggering a gate output : you can mix and match multiple machines to create your drums ensemble.

To change the midi note & channel output of a lane, Hold a  row  to select the lane, then rotate encoders ① and ② :
 note   0   ...   127 
Sets the note played by this lane.

By default, this parameter sets both the note that will be outputed by the lane and the note that the lane will listen to (the trigger note).

To set a different trig note, Press + Rotate encoder ①. The input channel of the trig note can be set in the track settings.

Example: Note = 48 and Trig Note = 23.
If you play note 23 on an external controller, this lane will be trigged, and will output note 48.
 channel   1   ...   16   Gate 1   ...   Gate 4   Cv 1   ...   Cv 4   Cv/Gate 1   ...   Cv/Gate 4 
Sets the channel of the lane (each lane can have a different MIDI channel).

A lane can also trig its drum events on a selected Gate output or a Cv output (a Cv output will act like a gate, with 0/5V trig levels).

You can even use the "Cv/Gate" output to perform with drum accents (the gate will trig the event, the Cv will output the drum velocity).

Hold one or multiple  row  buttons and Rotate encoder ① or ② in order to change all selected lanes parameters at once.

On drum tracks, the midi output channel defined in the track settings does not affect the lanes outputs, although it will be used for midi automation output.
Velocity view
To enter velocity view mode, Hold  2ND  and Press a  row  to select the lane you want to edit.

In this submode of DRUM, the matrix pads show the note velocities of the selected drum lane. Press a pad to change the velocity of an existing note.


To exit velocity view, simply press  step .