Arturia Beatstep

USB MIDI pad controller

  • 16 Velocity sensitive pads (illuminated)
  • 16 Encoders
  • 16 MIDI Controller Presets
  • 16 Sequence presets
  • IPad compatible (with optional Camera Connection Kit)
  • CV / Gate-Out 3.5 mm
  • Mini USB input and output
  • MIDI output 3.5 mm
  • USB Class compliant
  • For Windows 7/8 and Mac OSX 10.7 or later

Further Information

USB Yes
Bluetooth No
5-pole DIN MIDI Yes
Ethernet No
Pads 16
Diplay No
Rotary Knobs 16
Fader(s) 0
Drawbar No
Expansion No

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127 Customer Ratings
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4.4 /5
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Total
handling
features
quality
Price breakthrough, well made
Andro, 16.08.2014
You will probably find very little criticism aimed at this little thing. It actually offers three devices in one: Midi controller with pads and knobs, step sequencer and USB midi to CV converter. All that for less than 100 euros is a small miracle. And you cannot see it in the build quality, BeatStep looks and feels very well made, and really solid.

The majority of BeatStep users, including me, has been drawn by its step sequencer with CV outs. However, I can see that most of people are perhaps a bit overenthusiastic when it comes to step sequencing over CV. BeatStep is one-channel sequencer and that means you can control only one signal, either pitch or filter or amp. Lot of times this is not enough. Step sequencing often benefits greatly from "accents" which are either built into sequencer as a function (XOX style) or there is separate channel for filter CV, amp CV, or ideally, both. That is why professional CV sequencers have three channels.

You can come around this by using a couple of (ideally three) BeatSteps in parallel. Maybe not very elegant solution, but still much cheaper than any other alternative. Because, if you want to go all the way into old school step sequencing, you will need something like Doepfer MAQ 16/3, or at least Dark Time (8 steps, two channels). And for that money you can buy handful of BeatSteps.

So, if you want to start exploring old school step sequencing, or to try connecting your pre-midi synth to the midi world, BeatStep is currently the best starting point by far. But, once you would want to add some nuance by controlling either the filter or ampllifier section, you will need to upgrade. For that reason only I am giving one star less than the maximum score.
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Total
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fun on a stick
ben1210, 19.06.2014
Great bit of kit, tons of inspiration but a couple of minor issues...

Build is good for the price but one slightly wobbly encoder (#9), one pad needs a bit more of a bash to register than the rest (#16) and the grey trim on the left end panel sits slightly proud of the base leaving it prone to chipping off. Also, the scaling of the encoders in controller mode is great for fine control but takes several complete turns to go through the full range. This makes it less useful for filter sweeps etc.

All of these issues are outweighed by the sheer fun of using the device. The step sequencer in particular is the best bit of kit i have encountered for generating musical ideas. I'm really looking forward to using the Beatstep in the context of a live performance, it gives you the chance to make evolving sequences on the fly and in that respect beats a static arpeggiator hands down. If you've got and analogue synth, buy one. If you're bored of mousing things into a piano roll, buy one. The most (legal) fun you can have for less than £100!
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Good sequencer, bad controler
bogz, 15.01.2020
After some use, I discovered it has some issues.
It is very good if you want to sequence some hardware. But if you want to use the knobs for midi cc, then you shouldn't buy this.
The encoders are low resolution and it takes around 3 full turns to go from 0 to 127. There is an acceleration mechanism in the driver but that makes things imprecise.
I use it as a foot controller now or to enter drums since I don't sequence that often.
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beatstep
18.04.2016
very good build. solid and feel good. it controls one and only one device at a time. but with midi out its very usable. 16 steps and 16 rotary knobs to glide up and down semi tones as you go. 16 pre set save patches and all the buttons are easily mapped to any daw software or dj software. it can be used as an effects unit for tractor or serato by midi mapping the functions. very usable all around the studio.
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$118
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