Five12 Vector Sequencer - Interesting Things to Do

You have stumbled across a work in progress page describing commonly sought functions within the Five12 Vector.  Feel free to use what is here but please let me know if something doesn't work the way it is described.  A completed article about the Five12 Vector sequencer (which is probably what you came her for!) is here



  • E1 to E9 designates ENCODER 1 through 9.  Encoders 1 to 8 are below the OLEDs, and encoder 9 is to the left of the screens.  
  • JE - Jack Expander
  • CV Set - refers to a Pitch, Gate and Velocity set (3 jacks) on the Vector or the Jack Expander module.  There are 6 CV sets in total.

Latest Firmware and Manual

  • Go to this link on the Five12 forum
  • Jim keeps this page up to date with the current release firmware and Vector manual

How to join the Five12 forum

  • You will need to go to the Five12 page and email Jim Coker directly
  • Jim will set you up an account and email you detals - it can take a few days for this to occur
  • Why? The forum registration process is broken and a new version will soon(ish) be released

Logging Feature Requests

  • This is done by joining the Five12 forum and logging a request here

Five12 Vector Sequencer Users Group (Facebook)

  • The Facebook Users Group is here
  • I try to verify and accept users on a daily basis

Clock Configuration

Internal / Sending

  • On the GLOBAL page use E4 to select the CLOCK source (and other settings). 
  • INT refers to the Vector internal clock. 
  • If you are using INT then you may output the CLOCK to an external device via:
    • RUN and RESET CV
    • TRS MIDI
    • USB A or USB B
    • JE MIDI
    • JE Trigger Outs
  • Remember to configure any settings on your external CLOCK destination.  

Note - if you are trying to use the REC mode and want to use THRU to play an external modules, you must select INT as your clock source. REC THRU mode does not work with any other clock setting.  

External / Receiving 

  • Any Clock setting other than INT requires an external clock source to be connected via USB, MIDI or CV.
  • If you do not have a source connected, and you press RUN, then nothing will happen.
  • If you are receiving clock from another device then the Vector will listen and apply your chosen clock variable (eg RC24) to the incoming signal.
  • Clock settings are on the GLOBAL / Clock Source page.
  • When you are receiving an external clock, then RUN and CLOCK will be greyed out as they apply to INT clock only. 
  • You may configure RESET manually to ensure sequence re-starts occur at the desired time.  

Naming Parts

  • Press GLOBAL then NEXT
  • Use E1 to dial to the PART you want to name
  • Dial E9 right once to go to the naming page
  • Input the NAME using E2 to E6
  • Dial E1 to select any other PARTS you wish to name

Preset Management 

Copy and Paste Presets 

  • Go to the PRESET page  
  • Use E9 to select the row that holds the PRESET you wish to copy 
  • Select the PRESET you wish to copy by pressing the corresponding white key 
  • Hold SHIFT and press SELECT to copy the preset 
  • Move to a PRESET location ROW and COLUMN using E9 and the appropriate white key.   
  • Hold SHIFT and press SKIP to paste the preset to the selected location

Drum Parts

To create a working drum part there are two main things you must do.

  1. Change a PART to TYPE DRUM. 
  2. Routing voices from that drum part to your sound sources.

Configuring a Drum Part 

  • Only PART 5 through 8 may be configured as DRUM (or CHORD) TYPES
  • Go to the PART page, press SELECT and the white key corresponding to the PART you wish to modify
  • Press GLOBAL then NEXT once
  • Use E1 to dial to the PART you wish to modify
  • Use E6 to dial to DRUM (other options are MONO and CHORD)
  • Press SHIFT and CLEAR (white key 8)
  • Press NEXT to execute noting that this will delete any contents already held in the PART so be careful
  • The PART screen will now display TYPE DRUM above encoder 6
  • You must also map your drum voice destinations as described below.  

Mapping Drums

You must have configured a PART as TYPE DRUM for the below instructions to work.  There are many different ways you can route drum voices, and the below instructions describe a few common options  

1. Using Triggers on the Jack Expander

This is an easy way to get going and consumes only 1 TRIGGER out from the JE module per drum voice.  You can also steal a VELOCITY out from another PART if you want to program velocity.  Because there are 8 TRIGGER outs on the JE module, you could easily use this to build two DRUM parts (so, 8 voices) within your project.  

  • Make sure you have already configured a DRUM PART per the above instructions.  
  • Go to the GLOBAL page and use E9 to move to the J-EXP TRIGS page (5/10)
  • Decide which TRIGs you wish to use (for example TRIG 1 to 4 , or TRIG 5 to 8)
  • Use the SHIFT KEY and the appropriate ENCODER (in this example, E5 through E8) to scroll through your options.
  • You will see all the possible TRIG settings that may be applied.  You want to scroll right to the end.  
  • To assign a TRIG to a PART you must select DX.Y where X = the PART number, and Y = the DRUM Voice (from 1 to 4)
  • So, D8.1 means PART 8, Drum voice 1.  D5.3 means PART 5, Drum voice 3
  • For this example we woud select D8.1, D8.2, D8.3 and D8.5 for TRIG 5 through 8

Note - take care as you dial through the list.  If you dial too fast you can confuse the Vector.  The SHIFT key helps greatly with this as it increments in larger steps through the available options.  

Applying Velocity to Triggered Voices

The limitation of using Trigger outs is that you are sending an ON/OFF gate per step which does not provide the capability for dynamic volumes.  If you have a VELOCITY out free from another PART, then you might want to canibalise that and use it to apply volume for a triggered drum voice.  For example, if you are using a synthesiser voice that does not have a velocity input you could easily use the VELOCITY jack from that PART to control a drum voice.  

2. Using Gate and Velocity outs on the Vector or JE

This will consume the Gate and Velocity outs of a CV set for each drum voice you wish to configure.  It will enable you to apply different volume settings per voice, per step, which is pretty cool.  

  • Go to the GLOBAL page
  • Use E9 to move to the correct CV OUT page (eg CV out 5-6)
  • Use the encoder underneath the GATE you wish to configure (eg E2 or E6 depending on the CV set)
  • Dial to the PART you have created as a TYPE DRUM
  • You will see NAME V1 for a DRUM enabled PART
  • Use SHIFT and the same encoder to select NAME V1 through NAME V4 where Vx corresponds to the VOICE within the DRUM PART
  • Do the same for the VELOCITY configuration useing E3 or E7 (depending on the CV set)
  • You will need to do this for every DRUM VOICE you wish to enable remembering that you will be assigning various NAME Vx attributes to different CV sets. 
  • Example CV set 1 may be NAME V1, and CV set 2 may be NAME V2, and CV set 3 may be NAME V3, and so it goes
  • In cases where you do not wish to control velocity via the Vector, consider using trigger outs instead if you have any free

3. To Midi Outputs

  • Go to GLOBAL then NEXT to ROUTE page 1/10
  • Scroll using E9 to find the correct MIDI OUTPUT which might be the TRS MIDI, JE MIDI or USB MIDI connections
  • Change the white block text for CHANNEL using SHIFT and E1 to E8 to match the MIDI IN channel of the connected device
  • Select the PART which will be routed to the MIDI destination using E1 to E8
  • Select the DRUM PART and press CONTROL to go to SEQ CTL
  • Use E9 to dial to the SEQ CTL - DRUM MAP page 
  • Use E1 to select the drum voice being 1 through 4 and assign appropriate variables
  • Use E2 to select the MIDI note which will be sent to your connected MIDI device 
  • You can use E3 and E4 to name the voice with a 2 character abbreviation 

Chord Parts

Setting up a Chord Part


Chord Types

  • Unison
  • Interval
  • Pre-configured Chords
  • Custom Chords

How do Rests work between Chord Steps?


Custom Chord Quick Configuration 

  • You must have already created a PART as TYPE CHORD. 
  • Go to the PITCH page or a PRESET in your CHORD PART.
  • Use E9 to select either the base note (left side) or the offset interval (right side). 
  • Use E1-8 to select the offset interval, or keep dialing to select a pre-configured chord type (eg. C minor). 
  • Change the chord type for the selected step to be a CUSTOM CHORD by pressing EDIT and the specific E1-8 encoder. 
  • The Vector will change the chord on that step to be a CUSTOM CHORD
  • The Vector will fill in the offset intervals to be the notes in the pre-configured C minor chord.  
  • You may then change each interval individually within the CUSTOM CHORD

Scales and Chords

Scale Abbreviations

CHR - Chromatic O1 - Octatonic 1, 2
MAJ - Major O2 - Octatonic 2, 1
MIN - Minor PT - Pentatonic Major
DOR - Dorian PTM - Pentatonic Minor
PHY - Phrygian M7 - Major 7th Chord
LYD - Lydian D7 - Dominant 7th Chord
MIX - Mixolydian HM - Harmonic Minor
LOC -  Locrian WT - Whole Tone

M7 and D7 are four note chords which are useful as scale types though they are not actually scales. You can think of them in this case like four note scales (only one fewer than a Pentatonic, for example).  The above list was copied from here

Chord Abbreviations

Unison Dyads (2 notes) Triads (3 Notes) Sevenths (4 notes)

U - Unison

Single Note

m2 - minor M - Major M7 - Major 7th
M2 - Major 2nd m - minor D7 - Domintant 7th
m3 - minor 3rd A - augmented m7 - minor 7th
M3 - Major 3rd D - diminshed h7 - half diminished 7th
P4 - Perfect 4th S2 - suspended 2nd d7 - diminished 7th
TT - Tritone (dim 5th) S4 - suspended 4th  
P5 - Perfect 5th    
m6 - minor 6th    
6 - Major 6th    
m7 - minor 7th    
M7 - Major 7th    
P8 - Octave    

This list was taken from here

MIDI over TRS 

Vector 3.5mm TRS MIDI IN and OUT jacks are Type B and present as listed below.  This means that if you are pairing it with another Type B device you can just use a standard 3.5 mm TRS cable to connect the two together.  Otherwise, use the supplied midi converters that came with your Vector sequencer. 

  • Tip = MIDI DIN pin 4 
  • Ring = MIDI DIN pin 5 
  • Sleeve = MIDI DIN pin 2 (shield)

Step Timing Options

This is a biiiiig topic for the Vector so I will chip away at it as logically as possible.  


  • Most of what you need is in the SEQ CTL page.
  • Select the PART you want then press CONTROL once to get to SEQ CTL.
  • START refers to the step at which a PRESET (when active) will begin.  Your PRESET will usually start on step one.  But there is no reason it has to.
  • LEN is the length of your PRESET in step quantity.  If it exceeds the configured steps of your preset you will get silence.  
  • DIR is direction.  Pretty obvious.  See the manual. 
  • RESET is the count of beats at which the PRESET will be forced back to the START step (usually one, but maybe not).
  • RATE is the division of a step timing based on the MODE type.  Most of the time you will probably work with Musical Divisions in whole notes, quarters etc.
  • MODE is where you set the way in which each step duration is calculated.  There are many interesting options here - see the manual.  I will go into more detail for the ones I really like below.  
  • OCT is your pitched note octave.  Default is ZERO.  Changing this will add or subtract an octave to/from any active pitched note.
  • TRANS is transposition.  You use it to pitch shift per semi tone.  EG TRANS 3 is 3 semitones or a minor third.  


The below instructions lead you through setting up 2 PARTS and work through how to vary them to create polyrhythms.  

  • Set up two PARTS to trigger one percussion voice each. 
  • Make sure they are short notes so you can hear the spaces between everything.  
  • Configure PRESETS in the two PARTS as follows:
    • Configure PART 1 as eight notes with hit one per step, and a LEN of 4.  
    • Configure PART 2 as eight notes with hit one per step, and a LEN of 8. 
  • Go to PART 1 and make sure MODE is MDV and dial RATE to 1/4 (default is 1/16th)
  • Go to PART 2 and scroll MODE all the way to the right until you reach /1 and leave RATE as 1
  • Hit RUN and you should hear sounds for each PART simultaneously. 
  • You have created two parts that achieve the same output as a basis to create a polyrhythm.  

What are we hearing?

  • In PART 1 which is set to MDV 1/4, each pulse (a single BPM count) is heard as a quarter note, so four notes make up one beat.
  • In PART 2 each sound you hear is 1 step fraction of 1 pulse (where pulse is a BPM increment).  So, 1 step/1 pulse
  • The point of the above was to show two different ways to configure the same thing and how they relate

Evolving what we have built

  • We have created a 1/1 fraction for PART TWO
  • The points of interest here right now are RESET, RATE and MODE.
    • RESET is the beat count at which a RESET to STEP 1 will occur (assuming your START is 1) 
    • RATE is step quantity you are using, and is the below the line variable in your fraction (eg RATE is Y in a fraction that looks like X/Y). 
    • MODE is the number after the slash (eg MODE is X in the X/Y fraction). 
    • So you have X/Y, MODE/RATE, 1/1
  • Let's double time it by changing Y to 2 so change MODE to /2.  Now you are hearing MODE 2 over RATE 1 so 2/1
  • Now change RATE to 2 and what you are hearing is 2/2 and it is back in sync with the PART ONE trigger again.  
  • You are hearing 2 notes played as equal halves of 2 pulses, so that would be 1 hit per pulse, sounding identical to 1/1.

And now... A polyrhthym

  • Change MODE to /3 and keep RATE at 2
  • You should now be hearing notes that are divisioins of two pulses into three equal steps
  • So, you are hearing 3 steps over 2 pulses where MODE is /3, Rate is 2 and X/Y is 3/2

Armed with these basics (and preferably your significant feline), you are ready to experiment with the RATE, MODE and RESET variables.  Don't forget about PART 1 though - have a play with the MDV settings there as well as change it to fractional rates just to get a feel for how it all works.  

Using RESET correctly

If you are doing this and the pulse is not occuring as you would predict it could be due to the RESET variable.  It can mess up your polyrhtym, but at times will do it in very musical ways.  The best way to avoid RESET screwing you over is make sure the RESET value is the same as your RATE value.  You could set it as ANYTHING else but unless it is a factor of your RATE value you will get occasional RESET commands executed which are in less predictable places and will create a cool kind of offset for your rhythm.  It can be used in a very musical way if you get it right. 

External Trigger Input to Control Step Movement within a Preset

We are going to build a MONO preset melody and then use an external source to tell the Vector when to increment through each step.  Hours of fun.  

Routing Overview

The routing for triggers works like this at a conceptual level: 

  • Vector sends CLOCK to external module. 
  • External module receives the CLOCK and does whatever magic it does (eg resolves it down to 16th notes).
  • External module sends pulses or triggers back to the Vector. 
  • Whatever the function of the device is has turned the CLOCK into pulses, and triggers back to the Vector.
  • The Vector increments the steps of your PRESET in accordance with the incoming pulses.
  • This creates a step based part where the steps will ONLY increment when the external module tells them to do so.   

Example Scenario

I am going to use the Vector, Jack Expander (JE), Pamela's New Workout (PNW) and a Turing Machine (TM) in the below workflow.  

1. Create a PART and PRESET of the type you want (eg. a MONO melody part of 8 steps) and fill in some PITCH and GATE content.  

2. Go to ROUTE (Run, Clock, Reset) on the Vector and ensure your CLOCK OUT settings match the external module you will be using.  

For PNW I am using RUN, S24, W as my settings.  I am running a clock out from the Vector (CLOCK/RUN) to PNW, and then a PNW output with a x4 multiplier to the CLOCK input of my Turing Machine. 

3. Patch from your external moduleto one of the Trigger jacks on your Five12 Jack Expander (JE).  

You can only use JE Triggers 1 to 6 for this purpose! Let's use T1 for this example.  

4. Go to GLOBAL then ROUTE and J-EXP TRIGS page and adjust the TRIG you have patched to the external module to be EXT (external) and is at the very end of the available settings.  

Take care doing this, and either dial the encoder slowly, or use SHIFT and the encoder to get to EXT which is the far right, after 8.4.   Press the encoder to select your choice.  It will switch from greyed out to white.  

5. Select your PART and go to the SEQ CTL screen by pressing CONTROL once. 

6. Change MODE to the appropriate JE Trigger (T1 through T6).  You can also change the RATE here.  Default is /16 but you can make it whatever you like.  

7. Hit PLAY.  The Vector will send clock to the PNW, then to the TM, and the TM will send triggers back to the JE T1 input which you have set to external.  

8.  Your PRESET should increment steps whenever the external module sends a trigger. 

9.  You can also change the RESET variable within the PRESET if you want the sequence to always start from STEP 1 at a certain point, or leave it free running.     

Vector and DAW operation

Whatever DAW you are using there are some basics you need to get right to make it work with the Vector.  At a minimum you will need:

  • Physical connecting between the DAW and your Vector.
  • There are two main ways people do this, being:
    • MIDI via USB or DIN, and
    • CV Clock from your DAW (eg. via Expert Sleepers SW SYNC or Ableton CV Tools)
  • Configure your Vector CLOCK as described Clock Configuration section of this document. 
  • Configure the DAW application to send CLOCK and START signals to the Vector.  

I will include a few links to some useful resources but ultimately you will need to consult your DAW manual or support community, or ask for help in the Five12 Vector Users facebook group if you are experiencing problems. 

Ableton and MIDI configuration 

Go here. It’s important to set Ableton to MIDI clock type “Pattern”. 

Cubase and MIDI configuration 


SW Sync by Expert Sleepers


Bitwig - version 3.1.2

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