Nick Batt from Sonic State reviews the new Arturia KeyStep 37. The original KeyStep has been a popular choice for a mini MIDI controller to pair with iOS devices!
At $400 for the 37-key variant it is priced like a cross between their $260 BeatStep Pro and the original $130 KeyStep, but that's not really the deal here. This is much more keyboard focused; sporting features like a new chord function with strum. Nick reveals all in this video!
Correction: Arturia have too many things called the same thing! This is not the $400 37-key KeyStep I linked too originally. Because that is Pro and this is not-Pro. This Arturia 37-key KeyStep not-Pro is only $170.
We're looking at the latest MIDI controller from Arturia, which takes the concept of the original and wildly successful Keystep and adds extra keys and extra features. New are 5 extra keys, making it a little more playable - it features the same small keys and the same velocity and aftertouch - but also adds tri-colour LEDs above each key for showing currently playing notes (green) /keyboard notes (yellow) and settings (blue) while in shift mode - very handy.
Also new are 4 , assignable MIDI control knobs (over 4 banks), giving up to 16 knobs - assignable CC number and MIDI channel. FInally we get a two character LED which really helps with step programming and other status messages.
There’s also a new Chord function which has a strum speed and direction, divisible by master tempo- this in practice is a nice feature and can be combined with the sequencer to “perform” extra note movements.
Another new feature is the ability to channelise the 64 step Sequencer (same 8 sequence memory) separately from the keyboard, so when in play mode, you can play a separate external MIDI channel from the main sequence - this is pretty neat actually, though I would have liked to have seen a separate port for the CV/Gate via USB.
Speaking of USB, the Keystep 37 can be powered from external 12v 1.5 supply (included) or via USB - which many will be pleased to hear is of the larger more robust connection type - those mini USB are handy but not very tough. You also get the earth de-coupling splitter doo-da for simultaneous power and data over USB - to remove the potential ground loop when connecting MIDI and CV to the same computer.