Arturia first introduced the KeyStep at the NAMM show in January (click here for our original article about it). At the time the release was promised for the spring. Here we are in the middle of summer and it is finally shipping.
KeyStep – ugly is only skin deep
The Arturia KeyStep is a rubbish-looking controller with an awful lot of very cool functionality. It may look like a pre-millennium plastic controller but in fact it’s a sequencer and controller for MIDI, USB and CV/Gate. The keys may look like crappy mini keys but in fact it’s a specially designed “Slimkey keybed” with velocity and after-touch. Inside is an arpeggiator mode, a sequencer mode with 8 polyphonic step-sequences, rate and tap tempo. Out the back there’s USB, MIDI, sync i/o ports, CV/Gate outputs and sustain pedal jacks.
Whatever your setup, whether you are doing it all in the computer, using a synthesizer or have gone totally modular then KeyStep can handle all that. It’s really interesting how music production and performance is increasingly pulling things out of software. KeyStep feeds into that idea of computer freedom. I’m not in love with the hardware but I do think the functionality is very interesting and a lot of fun. It’s priced at only £99 which is a bit of steal for the feature set – and it helps me forgive the looks.
Below is a video of a live performance featuring three KeySteps used in different ways and it gives a good indication of what’s possible. It’s also good to see an AudioFuse audio interface out in the wild because there’s still no release date on these. Maybe now the KeyStep has finally made it to market Arturia can get stuck into finishing the AudioFuse.
More information can be found on the Arturia KeyStep product page.