Best Compact Keyboard Arturia KeyStep 32-key Review (2022)

The Arturia KeyStep is a 32 key Compact keyboard produced by Arturia to give users the fullest satisfaction. Its portability and great design are its key features. A keyboard controller is combined with a “step sequencer functionality” which is polyphonic. This piano is able to make use of analog and digital instruments together, and the touch is so unique and amazing. 

The KeyStep controller is able to do so many things in addition to all the ones mentioned here. The keyboard action called “thin key” was made specially by Arturia and is unique to them. The keys are full-sized, together with mini-keys which are portable and tiny in the keybed. The musicality produced by these keys are so amazing and combined with the design, velocity, aftertouch, and portability, the Arturia KeyStep digital piano is one of the best.

General Overview of Arturia KeyStep 32-Key Compact Keyboard

The Arturia KeyStep is a brand-new polyphonic step sequencer from Arturia that has Eight customizable memory that you may access by turning a knob. You may quickly alter the feel of your sequenced performance by selecting gate timings and swing settings. We also gave you the option to play the piano live while simultaneously overdubbing, transposing, and recording your sequences in real time. 

You are prepared for hours of musical exploration by adding a versatile and enjoyable arpeggiator mode and chord play mode. And the opportunities KeyStep would be the greatest portable keyboard controller on the market only based on these qualities. 

Arturia Keystep
Editor Rating: 9.3/10
FeaturesRating
Performance and sounds9.3
Connectivity9.2
Build Quality9.2
Value for money9.3

Nevertheless, we go a step further by providing you with a wide range of connectivity options, including USB MIDI (of course), standard MIDI in and out, clock sync and DIN sync jacks, CV/GATE outputs, as well as separate, assignable modulation CV output that can be used with the mod wheel, velocity, or aftertouch. To say KeyStep is a fantastic tiny controller is an understatement. 

The ideal performance controller comes in a small package with Keystep. The Arturia KeyStep has always been a business that strives to be the best at producing items that may serve a variety of purposes. The drum and sequencer device from Arturia, the Beat Step Pro, is supported by a bewildering variety of configurations, including usage as a DAW’s MIDI-through or as a central hub for synthesizer modules. In a market that now looks a little too crowded, all of these aspects enabled the creation of a practical and successful product. 

This similar strategy was used by Arturia to create the KeyStep 32, a keyboard-style MIDI controller that crams a ton of capabilities into what is effectively a backup keyboard. But let’s take a closer look since there’s a lot to enjoy about this little keypad. On its white plastic shell, the Arturia Keystep provides a 2-and-a-half octave keyboard. It’s wise to be aware of this before using the keyboard because the keys are smaller than usual. 

Arturia KeyStep 430201 32-key Compact Keyboard...
  • Arturia’s own Slimkey keybed with velocity and aftertouch
  • Arpeggiator mode: Up, down, inclusive, exclusive, random, note order, double up, double down modes
  • Sequencer mode: 8 polyphonic step-sequences with Rest, Tie, and Legato note entry

Even though it was obviously made to be portable and simple to use while on the move, it still looks a little too long to tote around everywhere. We’ll talk more about it later but would have liked it if Arturia had chosen one or the other. For the most part, KeyStep’s main user interface is straightforward and easy to use. Most of the buttons are lighted for ease, and the placement of the buttons makes sense. 

The pitch bend and mod wheels are really capacitive touch sensors, not actual wheels, and a fun trick that could eventually turn some traditionalists off. Although they had an unusual and innovative design, it was discovered that their functioning was nonetheless on par with that of the genuine thing, and this brought a recommendation from the Arturia Keystep review. 

In addition to all of this, there are several “main” buttons that control features like tempo, arp mode, and more, as well as many other ones that may be assigned roles. Reviewers discovered a few interesting things regarding the keyboard as a whole throughout my playtest. One is that there are several choices for powering and connecting the Arturia KeyStep to various devices. 

Both a Conventional USB computer connection and a Micro-USB may be used to supply power. For mobility and quick live stage setup, this seems like a perfect complement. Additionally, this has the ability to link to modular synthesizers that use CVs. The correct individual might find this to be a really cool addition. There are several more connections, including several sync connectors, a sustain connection (which seems to be somewhat less helpful given the nature of the thin keyboard), and many others. 

The Arturia KeyStep has an internal clock and can sync with other devices when necessary. The controls are assigned to dip switches on the device’s back, which is a strange move from BeatStep’s better buttons. Although some reviewers of the Arturia KeyStep didn’t experiment with this function, some reviewers have reported that it got intrusive while in use. 

Overall, the interface has a slick, thoughtful design that is quite enjoyable. The keyboard’s adaptability is somewhat limited by the absence of deeper customization options, however, this shortcoming is made up for by its ability to sync with numerous platforms. What was tried out in the sequencer mode was really standard fare.

The Arturia KeyStep features an 8-sequence bank and a 64-note memory. When playing along with sequences, the Tap Tempo button transforms into a “rest” input, enabling some amazing musicality. Additionally, you have the option to enter Keyboard Play Mode, which enables independent keyboard play while the sequencer is playing. 

Using this mode, you will be able to create some very neat small parts. Other novelty options, such as polyphonic chordal sequencing with up to eight notes per step, an assignable “mod” output for more creative control over sounds, and more aftertouch parameters, can also be used in these modes. There is a lot to love here all in all. In the end, this is just a simple, operationally straightforward, and effective MIDI controller with a few amusing settings. 

The majority of individuals seeking something similar won’t be looking for a keyboard to replace their primary keyboard, but rather a backup for live use, or a companion to a CV module or Eurorack. This means that it wouldn’t be said to be perfect to perform pretty much anything on its own; there are undoubtedly better full-time MIDI controllers out there, and as module controllers go, this isn’t exactly ground-breaking in that aspect either, although it is quite uncommon. 

Also Read: Best Digital Pianos for Intermediate Players

Nevertheless, it is a strong contender for what it does provide, and there are a few significant distinctions between the Arturia KeyStep and its rivals that are important to note. Compared to other MIDI controllers, KeyStep. 

One example is that, despite a few small quibbles, the arpeggiator and sequencer are far more sophisticated and playable than those found on many rival devices at the same price point, and these capabilities may be quite valuable for money being requested. It will be difficult to find something more comprehensive and understandable at this price range. Although the key bed doesn’t scream exceptional build quality, it is at least as nice as using the keyboard.

Best Digital Pianos for Teachers
Arturia KeyStep 430201 32-key Compact Keyboard...
  • Arturia’s own Slimkey keybed with velocity and aftertouch
  • Arpeggiator mode: Up, down, inclusive, exclusive, random, note order, double up, double down modes
  • Sequencer mode: 8 polyphonic step-sequences with Rest, Tie, and Legato note entry

Features of Arturia KeyStep 32-Key Compact Keyboard

  • Arturia’s own Slimkey keybed with velocity and aftertouch.
  • The Arpeggiator modes are up, down, inclusive, exclusive, random, note order, double up, and double down modes.
  • Sequencer mode on the Arturia Keystep has 8 polyphonic step-sequences with Rest, Tie, and Legato note entries.
  • You can rate control and tap tempo on the Arturia Keystep using: REC, PLAY, and STOP buttons for performance control over the sequencer and arpeggiator.
  • There is Sustain Hold button on the Keystep.

Sounds

Going ahead and turning the Arturia KeyStep on since we wanted to jump in and test the playability (plugged into a MacBook Pro running Ableton Live). When the cable is inserted into the gadget, a pattern of vibrant lights appears and the device comes to life. The players are able to easily send changes through to the keyboard very immediately after getting going. We quickly figured out how the arpeggiator worked, and with a simple click of the “Play” button, it was up and running. 

arturia keystep 32

There are a total of 8 arpeggiator patterns available, and changing between them is a rather simple procedure. As well as choosing multiple time divisions up to 16th note triplets and duplets, you may also choose different gate and swing settings.

In general, we were happy with how playable the Arp mode was, although the slim-line keyboard rapidly became problematic in this situation. With fingers over the key bed, it wouldn’t be said it was impossible to play, but one would have to work harder to get the spacing right on the compressed pattern.

Specifications of Arturia KeyStep 32-Key Compact Keyboard

  • There is a custom Slimkey keybed from Arturia with velocity and aftertouch.
  • Modus arpeggiators on the Arturia Keystep are: modes of double up and double down, up and down, inclusive and exclusive, random, and note order.
  • The sequencer set has up to 8 polyphonic step-sequences with Legato note entrance, Rest, and Tie.
  • You can Tap tempo and rate control using sequencer and arpeggiator performance control through the REC, PLAY, and STOP buttons Sustain Hold button.

Pros

  • There is amazing compatibility and connection on the Arturia key step.
  • It is simple to grasp, and enjoyable to learn.
  • The built-in functionality accomplishes all of its goals.

Cons

  • The Arturia KeyStep has Inadequate design direction.
  • Clock switching is not optimal in real-world situations on the Keystep.
  • It has Skinny keys.

Also check: Best Beginner Digital Pianos & Keyboards 2022

Competition

To keep their dominant position in the market, several companies are battling with one another to surpass the competition. The keyboards for the contest are; 

Behringer Controller Keyboard 64-Step Sequencer vs Arturia Keystep 32 Key Compact Keyboard

64-Step Polyphonic Sequencing, Chord, and Arpeggiator Modes on the SWING32-Key USB MIDI Controller Keyboard. Any synthesizer or virtual instrument in your DAW is fully controllable by the Behringer Swing through USB or MIDI. With 32 small-sized keys, a 64-step sequencer, an 8-note polyphonic sequence, and pitch and modulation touch strips, you have endless options to express yourself in a small, portable box. 

The SWING’s 32 diminutive-sized keys strike the ideal mix between size and playability. The keys’ velocity and after-touch features enable you to write more complex and colorful passages. Use the Pitch and Modulation touch-strips to give your song even more personality. With the Chord Play Mode, you may create some really entrancing Trance music by playing a chord with up to 16 notes on a single key. The Swing has another nice feature which is the polyphonic sequencer that is 64-step. 

With this sequencer, one can be able to carry out the designing of any progression one likes. You can also play over it, and even produce great note series when you switch to the arpeggiator mode. These notes can be synced to the clock of any device that is connected. The style and pattern of the Sequencer are also controlled by it, and the knob of this style or pattern will allow you to select from previous programs that have been saved and are up to 8.

Behringer SWING 32-Key USB MIDI Controller Keyboard with...
  • Behringer SWING 32-Key USB MIDI Controller Keyboard - Behringer 4 Year Limited Warranty (1 Year + 3 Year with Registration)
  • 32 compact-sized keys for expressive velocity and after-touch functionality
  • 64-step sequencer featuring 8-note polyphony with rest, tie and legato note entry

Arturia Beatstep MIDI-Controller Sequencer vs Arturia Keystep 32 Key Compact Keyboard

BeatStep was created to provide you with all the control you require, regardless of whether you’re using your preferred DAW or loop triggering software, VST instrument or effect, drum software, DJ app, MIDI synth, or even analog gear with CV/Gate inputs. The options are essentially limitless. Beat Step satisfies several needs for a wide range of artists. 

It may actually change into many different things for different individuals, making it a chameleon. This amount of control and a step sequencer are features that no other tiny pad controller on the market provides at such an incredible cost.

Arturia BeatStep USB/MIDI/CV Controller and Sequencer
  • Beat Step was designed to give you the control you need, whether you're working with your favorite DAW or loop triggering software, VST instrument or effect, drum software, DJ app, MIDI synth or even analog gear with CV/Gate inputs.
  • Play with any drum software
  • Sequence Analog and Software synthesizers

Donner Keyboard Controller vs Arturia Keystep 32 Key Compact Keyboard

Donner Keyboard Controller has Variety and opportunity. There are several function buttons, such as octave and transpose to adjust the tone, program, and bank to provide you with a robust editing reserve. Emotions inspire your creative potential. Outstanding keyboard. Premium MIDI controller for beat making, virtual synthesizer control, and studio production featuring 25 expressive synth-action keys and 4 Velocity Curves Modes. Perfectly synchronized. 

The most recent type C interface is very reliable and simple to use. It works with the keyboard on your laptop or PC. However, a special adapter is required to connect your type C device to the MIDI keyboard. Custom Buttons, Portability, and Ultra-Thin Design MIDI controller with 25 miniature velocity-sensitive keys for beat-making, studio production, and controlling virtual synthesizers that are powered by USB. 

Drum beats are produced using 8 Hyper-Sensitive illuminated pads. No additional power cord is required since the USB bus is powered. Navigation & Transportation works with every piece of music-producing gear. Control Cycle, Rewind, Forward, Stop, Play, and Record using the 6 specialized transport buttons.

Sale
Donner MIDI Keyboard Controller, DMK25 Portable MIDI with 25...
  • 【Ultra-thin design and portability】USB powered MIDI controller with 25 mini MIDI keyboard velocity-sensitive keys for beat maker, studio production, virtual synthesizer control.
  • 【AIR-Touch: Touch Bar】Octave Up and Down Touch Bar let you access the full MIDI keyboard range and Pitch and modulation deliver expressive, creative control. Assignable Touch Bar, can be assigned to send Control Change message (hereinafter called the ‘CC’) or Pitch Bend Change message (hereinafter called the ‘Pitch’).
  • 【Synth-action keys】Premium MIDI controller with 25 expressive synth-action keys.8 Hyper-Sensitive backlit pads make drum beats. USB bus powered - no additional power cable needed.

Akai Professional MPK Mini-Plus vs Arturia Keystep 32 Key Compact Keyboard

Mini Plus MPK For producers, beat makers, and creatives, the MPK Mini keyboard series revolutionized portable music production. While preserving a very familiar form and a small footprint, the new MPK Mini Plus expands on that innovation by giving users additional controls for artistic expression and greater connections for broader device integration. 

Extra Space to Play With its 37 keys and Gen 2 dynamic keybed, the MPK Mini Plus allows for more melodic and harmonic composition. More space for two-handed chords, arpeggiator, and setting down solos or soundscapes is provided by 3 full octaves. The Gen 2 dynamic keybed offers our most playable keys yet and a broader velocity range, providing note dynamics and responsiveness that rival the best in the world. 

Complete Control Eight velocity-sensitive drum pads on the MPK Mini Plus provide a wealth of settings that make it ideal for performing rhythms. Use the 8 assignable 360-rotary knobs to adjust effects for filters, automation, pan controls, and other features. 

Akai Professional MPK Mini Plus - USB MIDI Keyboard...
  • Full Creative Control - A dynamic 37-Key MPK Mini keybed for 3 full octaves of melodic and harmonic performance. Easily connect to your DAW or studio equipment with the USB-powered MIDI Controller
  • Advanced Connectivity - Connect to different sound sources with CV/Gate and MIDI I/O. Control modular gear, sound modules, synthesizers, and more to bring new sound sources into your music production
  • Record and Compose Without a Computer - Connect to your production station and use the built-in 64-step sequencer featuring one track for drums and one for melodies or chords, with up to 8 notes each

Conclusion on Arturia KeyStep 32-Key Compact Keyboard

Reviewers thoroughly loved experimenting with the KeyStep digital MIDI controller’s many features and playing with it as a whole. It was discovered that getting familiar with the device’s inner workings and learning how to use its many modes and settings was far simpler than with many rival devices and user interfaces. The connection and adaptability of the gadget are quite astounding, and the construction and layout are excellent overall. 

Having said that, there were a lot of aspects of the Keystep that was not liked. One significant issue was the design of the gadget; it was not sure if Arturia KeyStep intended this to be a portable controller for usage on the go or an assist for at-home studio work. Due to the wide range and length of the body, the thin keys appear entirely unneeded, and it is believed that the Arturia KeyStep’s design team overlooked a very huge sweet spot.

In addition, the key bed seems somewhat fragile and uninspired while the body’s manufacturing quality is adequate. This is really a minor quibble, especially in light of the price. While not the greatest inexpensive MIDI keyboard available, for the majority of users wishing to use this as a secondary keyboard or workstation, this will probably perform fairly well overall. 

The Arturia KeyStep nearly seems like a risk-free buy at the amount being sought. If you can get beyond a few of the small drawbacks listed above, this may be a really excellent, dependable controller that is packed with a lot of useful capabilities. This is a gadget that, if the keys, lack of customization depth, and peculiar physical factor don’t turn you off, should last you for a number of years. The Arturia Pro review may provide a better alternative if the Arturia Keystep is not adequate for you.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What Does Arturia Keystep Do?

KeyStep is a brand-new type of portable musical instrument that combines keyboard control and polyphonic step sequencing capabilities to operate both analog and digital devices. Up to eight notes may also be stacked in one step. The KeyStep 37 has the feature of allowing the MIDI Control Center to transfer sequences to and from your computer. Even better, you can transfer sequences you’ve created on your computer to your KeyStep 37.

2. Why the Arturia Keystep Sequencer is Amazing?

It combines analog and digital in an elegant way. The KeyStep may be linked to your computer and integrated with your preferred DAW, much like the majority of controllers. Once connected, you may play individual notes, switch to the sequencer mode for you know what, or set it to the arpeggiation mode.

3. Is Arturia Keystep Worth It?

The finest MIDI controller I’ve used thus far is the Keystep 32. Large amounts of connection to other equipment and simple setup. The build quality is excellent, and the sequencer is fantastic. The KeyStep Pro is a flexible toolset with eight trigger outs, four voices of Pitch/Gate/Mod, and a Clock. 

4. How Many Synths Can Keystep Control?

You have everything you need to swiftly and effortlessly operate up to four devices (virtual instruments, hardware synthesizers, modular synthesizers, or drum machines) with the help of this amazing keyboard controller. Use a standard phone charger or any other USB power adapter. I always power my Keystep in this manner.

5. Does the Arturia Keystep Have an Arpeggiator?

The Arturia KeyStep is a fully featured USB MIDI keyboard controller with a polyphonic sequencer, arpeggiator, and a robust set of MIDI and C/V connections, and equipped with our new Slimkey keyboard for maximum playability in the smallest possible space. This manual covers the features and operation of the KeyStep.

Being in love with music, Larry started this website to help piano lovers get the most detailed and accurate information with his 5 Years of experience of working in a music store.

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