PreSonus ATOM SQ: A Flexible Keyboard-Sequencer Hybrid

PreSonus recently unveiled the PreSonus ATOM SQ, a unique new hybrid sequencer, keyboard, and performance pad controller. This lightweight but powerful device takes a distinct design, as its 32 velocity- and pressure-sensitive, RGB LED pads sit in a two-row, staggered arrangement. The ATOM SQ’s unique design provides great flexibility to the producer, who can move quickly from programming drums and samples to playing instruments.

Overview of the PreSonus ATOM SQ

The PreSonus ATOM SQ is an incredibly tactile device. Its 32 staggered pads work both as a TR-style drum machine and an instrument keyboard. The device offers transport control, has a built-in arpeggiator, and scale constraint options. The ATOM SQ also includes a configurable touch strip, an LCD screen with a dynamic button system for adjusting key parameters, and 8 endless rotary knob encoders, which can be easily configured to control almost any software parameter.

Combined with deep integration for both Studio One Artist and Ableton Live Lite, these features make the PreSonus Atom SQ incredibly powerful. Downloads for these digital audio workstations come included with the hardware, and purchasing the ATOM SQ also gets you two bonus loop packs. These include custom kits for Studio One’s virtual drum sampler, the Impact XT.

Like the 16-pad ATOM Controller released back in 2018, the ATOM SQ offers portability as a relatively small, USB-bus powered device. In fact, the single USB-C port on the back of the device is its only input. Sustain, therefore, is controlled with a button, rather than an attachable pedal. It should also be mentioned that there is no MIDI IN or OUT. Thus, if you wanted to control hardware synths that have no USB MIDI host port, you will need a USB MIDI host to do so.

Although you lose the familiar feel of piano keys with this controller, the 32 pads hold exciting musical opportunities. You can, for instance, pack many potential octaves into your keyboard using the constrain-to-scale features, which eliminate keys outside a chosen scale. This also makes playing that much easier.

Integration Features

Studio One

Studio One is a powerful DAW developed by PreSonus, which you can use with the PreSonus ATOM SQ to develop step sequences.

  • Automatically detected by Studio One, no setup required
  • Deep integration with Studio One’s Pattern editor for intuitive step sequencer programming
  • Navigate and choose instruments and effects from Browser
  • Change presets on virtual instruments and effects
  • Create a new track
  • Activate metronome and change song tempo
  • Set looping points in timeline
  • Navigate the timeline
  • Zoom in and out on the timeline or events
  • Directly edit MIDI events and also apply Quantization or Humanization commands
  • Transport control (stop, play, record)
  • Studio One dynamically switches ATOM between Keyboard and Drum modes depending on the selected instrument
  • Requires Studio One v5 or later for full integration support

Ableton Live 10

The ATOM SQ also integrates deeply with Ableton Live 10, though step sequences remain exclusive to Studio One.

  • Use ATOM SQ’s Constrain to Scale mode and Arpeggiator to perform live
  • Change session Tempo, navigate the timeline, open/close windows, and display which windows are open or closed
  • Control track Volume, Panning, send level, and Solo/Mute/Arm status
  • Select a Device and edit its parameters
  • Navigate Clips and Scenes
  • Launch or stop Clips and Scenes
  • Control Live’s crossfader with ATOM SQ’s touch strip
  • Transport control (stop, play, record) plus “Capture MIDI”
  • User mode for custom assignments
  • Requires Ableton Live v 10.1.15 or later for full integration support

PreSonus ATOM SQ Pricing

The PreSonus ATOM SQ is priced at $249.95 USD and now available for pre-order. We encourage you to read more about this truly unique controller from PreSonus!

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Sam Proctor

I'm a recent Arizona State University graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Culture (Music). I am an aspiring musician and immersive media developer, and am deeply fascinated and inspired by experimental, interactive, and spatial sound. I love to produce house and techno, as well as ambient and downtempo music.