Arturia's KeyStep is pretty beloved among hardware synth enthusiasts and bedroom producers alike. It's an affordable, versatile and impeccably built MIDI controller. Honestly, the only real criticism I have of it is that, for something that's supposed to be portable, it's just a bit too big and heavy. So, Arturia decided to lean into the idea of the Keystep as a studio staple with the KeyStep Pro and just forgot about the whole portable thing.
Instead of simply adding a bunch more keys though, Arturia decided to focus on what made the KeyStep so popular in the first place. It beefed up the sequencing capabilities and added even more ports to the back for connecting gear.
The KeyStep Pro has 37 key velocity sensitive keyboard with aftertouch. But, what's really important is that you can use those keys to play through riffs, melodies and chord progressions and save them to the polyphonic sequencer. There's four independent sequencers on board, each of which can hold 16 patterns, up to 64 steps in length. Oh, and you can chain up to 16 of those patterns together to create entire songs. And track one can function as a dedicated 16-part drum sequencer. There are 16 pads across the front that make it easy to edit the steps in your sequence, and they should come in particularly handy with that drum sequencer. Not to mention there's a robust arpeggiator on board.
The KeyStep Pro also continues the tradition of including as many different types of ports as possible. Each track in the sequencer has dedicated CV (control voltage) outs for pitch, mod and gate, so that you can connect modular synths and Eurorack gear. Plus there are eight dedicated drum gate outputs for controlling drum machines. But wait, there's more: You'll also find clock in and out ports for syncing up things like Korg Volcas, a 5-pin MIDI in port, as well as two 5-pin MIDI outs, an output just for the metronome and, of course, USB. I'm fairly certain there isn't a piece of music gear made after 1983 that this thing couldn't control.
In short, the KeyStep Pro combines all the best elements of the BeatStep Pro and the KeyStep in one package. And it's surprisingly affordable too at a list price of $399. Though, we wouldn't be surprised if the actual retail price ended up being closer to $350 when it starts shipping this Spring.