Arturia has announced availability of BeatStep, a space-saving portable pad controller-cum-step sequencer.
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 MiniBrute Analog Synthesizer or other manufacturers' models — vintage classics or more modern contemporaries alike.
When working in CONTRL (MIDI controller mode) users can use BeatStep's 16 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 on-stage operation and also assisting with making studio-based beat-making an equally easy on the eye experience.
Switch to SEQ (step sequencer mode) and those LEDs light the way still, but backlit in blue to reflect the mode change. 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 heart's content. Save up to 16 sequence patterns for instant recall.
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 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 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); use an Apple iPad and Camera Connection Kit combo and BeatStep becomes a flexible iOS controller; add Arturia's MIDI Control Center utility software and a wide range of MIDI commands can be assigned to BeatStep's pads and encoders.
Watch Arturia's official BeatStep trailer here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiqnOTJ4BJU
Watch Arturia Vice President of Product Management Glen Darcy's BeatStep tutorial video here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=70Laq13BxS0