After its launch at NAMM, Arturia has now announced availability of BeatStep, which they describe a space-saving portable pad controller-cum-step sequencer. Here's how they describe it in their own words...
Chameleon-like in its many control options, BeatStep is designed to work with DAWs, loop triggering software, VST instruments or effects, MIDI hardware, or even CV/Gate-equipped analogue instruments like Arturia's own award-winning MiniBrute Analog Synthesizer or other manufacturers' models -- vintage classics or more modern contemporaries alike. Try triggering audio clips within powerful, flexible software environments such as Ableton Live or playing drum parts in conjunction with the likes of FXpansion BFD or Toontrack EZdrummer... it's as easy as exercising your trigger fingers!
When working in CONTRL (MIDI controller mode) users can comfortably use BeatStep's 16 sensibly-spaced, ultra-sensitive (velocity- and pressure-sensitive) pads to create dynamic percussion performances. Pads are brightly backlit with red LEDs, lending a helping hand with overcoming far from ideal lighting conditions that are typically associated with onstage operation and also assisting with making studio-based beat-making an equally easy on the eye experience.
Easily switch to SEQ (step sequencer mode) and those LEDs light the way still, but backlit in blue to reflect the mode change. Cool colour change notwithstanding, the pads themselves now perform a different function with each one representing a single step in a 16-step sequence -- simply pressing a pad enables or disables the current sequence step -- while adjusting the encoders provides pitch information. Creating and changing patterns on the fly is equally easy: repeatedly press (pads) and turn (encoders) to your musical heart's content. Couldn't be simpler, surely? Save up to 16 sequence patterns for instant recall -- an added bonus when it comes to both performance and recording.
Even better, both modes are available simultaneously, so it's perfectly feasible, for instance, to step sequence a MiniBrute (courtesy of BeatStep's built-in Gate Out and CV Out connections), keep that sequence running, then switch to CONTRL mode and use the pads to launch clips in Ableton Live while using the encoders to manipulate Arturia's latest SEM V soft synth (running on a computer connected via USB). All in sync. All at the same time. Or any combination of devices that well-connected BeatStep users can come up with when making the most of its Gate Out, CV Out, MIDI, and USB connectivity. Controlling the MMC transports in Apple Logic is as simple as letting BeatStep do the talking (using its transport buttons); bring an Apple iPad and Camera Connection Kit combo along for the musical ride and BeatStep becomes one of the most flexible iOS controllers around -- all the more so when working with Arturia's award-winning apps like iMini and iSEM; add Arturia's MIDI Control Center utility software into the musical mix and a wide range of MIDI commands can be assigned to BeatStep's pads and encoders. Almost anything is possible.
Put simply, never has step sequencing and MIDI control been so flexible, fun, and affordable for so many! To witness a BeatStep in action is to truly want one -- which is exactly why Arturia has seen fit to include a Kensington Lock to keep it secure from prying eyes (and hands)!
Pricing and Availability:
BeatStep is available to purchase from the Arturia online store or any authorised dealer for €99.00 EUR/$129.00 USD (MSRP).