Arturia’s cut-price creation combines step sequencing with keyboard control.
It’s not so long ago that Arturia dipped a toe into the hardware sequencer market with the Beatstep, quickly following it up with the more assured Beatstep Pro. With its balanced set of features for MIDI control and sequencing, plus a generous dose of CV/Gate outputs, this was — and is — a worthy addition to setups ranging from monster Eurorack systems to totally in-the-box environments. And yet, flexible though it is, the BSP’s pads and encoders don’t cover every aspect of step sequencing, hence the arrival of the Keystep.
Reminiscent of the step sequencer that graced Roland’s JX3P, this keyboard-based design offers polyphonic sequencing to the masses, kindly bundling in an arpeggiator and chord memory too. Arturia have avoided the primary shortcoming of the original Beatstep by including all the essential synchronisation options from the word go, along with the increasingly sought-after CV/Gate sockets. It might be the performance keyboard and sequencer many have been waiting for; at the very least, it promises to be a step in the right direction. Let’s take a look...
First impressions are good; the Keystep is a solid marriage of metal base and creamy plastic shell. The first touch of its 32-note ‘Slimkey’ keyboard is equally promising, and the experience gets better when you learn it is equipped with velocity and aftertouch transmission. Compact and portable (at just 482 x 145 mm), it’s easy to imagine the Keystep at the heart of a live sequencing and performance rig.
In place of a regular pitch-bender and mod wheel are two ribbons, the former having a ‘snap...
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