Arturia's Beatstep

Anybody has this controller?
How do you like it?
I was thinking about (getting a 2nd hand one) and using it only with iPad...(got no more hardware)
Are there any other small size midi controllers that are good for controlling CCs etc in iPad?
Less then 100 bucks...
THANKS

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Comments

  • 44 Comments sorted by Date Votes
  • It's good for that for sure. Big bonus in that price range is that it has 16 presets and of course the sequencer. Downsides are you can't program the knob CCs from the device (don't think any in the sub-$100 range can though) and it's hard to tell what note you're using when programming the sequencer.

    If you want pads and knobs, think it's hard to beat for the price. Very solid feeling unit too. Much sturdier than my similarly sized akai lpd-8 or Korg nano series stuff.

  • @syrupcore said:
    It's good for that for sure. Big bonus in that price range is that it has 16 presets and of course the sequencer. Downsides are you can't program the knob CCs from the device (don't think any in the sub-$100 range can though) and it's hard to tell what note you're using when programming the sequencer.

    Thanks for your info, I was hoping you can assign CCs...if not, doesn't it have at least "midi learn"?
    That was something I thought it has by default...
    Cheers

  • Build quality is superb. The only reservation I have is the endless encoders, you either love, hate them or just get used to them as I did. They move slow when you move slow and fast when you move fast but at times they're a bit jumpy. A lot of of stuff going on in such a small surface area.

  • I think what @Syrupcore meant was that you need PC/MAC software to change what midi messages get sent. It comes bundled with the hardware and is super quick so shouldn't be too much trouble unless you don't have a computer.

  • Yes, that, thank you. Encoders comment too!

  • I got mine b-stock from Thomann , about £70 and mint condish. My reservation is not knowing the notes pitch but i kinda knew that going in but also agree about the knobs, similar to the ones dave smith use on the mopho.

  • Thanks for all info, endless encoders I like, no prob. The rest of features that I read here and there too, ...are good

    What confuses me now is the midi bit.
    I got a PC , so what's happening there? I thought that the pots and buttons have a midi cc number and all you have to do is to do learn and wiggle, right?
    Or are you talking about specific templates for programs?
    I'd be happy just to use the pots and buttons for iPads synths etc... You know the normal stuff.
    I got a full size size Rolland midi controller , but it's too big to sit around with on the couch, I was looking for something small and solid and this thing seems to be...got an offer for 65€ delivered...( second hand)

  • Yes, midi learn will work no problem. The PC software is only needed if a particular synth requires a specific cc and with the pads it let's use choose between gate = trigger, toggle = on /off switch or transport. Just read the manual or come back here when you're stuck but go ahead and get it, the price is good. I got mine for £60 used from eBay UK. Good luck.

  • Love it but you will have absolutely sod all idea what the tempo is if you're using it as a master. and it's too easy to jog the tempo as the big knob does that. It also does transposition, but that needs you to press a shift key. IMO they should allow you to swap those around as transposition is way more useful.

  • @Duncanm said:
    Love it but you will have absolutely sod all idea what the tempo is if you're using it as a master.

    Ugh, yeah, forgot about that. Yeah, as a sequencer it's fairly meh. As 'free bonus sequencer!' on a nice pad/knob controller, it's pretty nice! I pretty much gave up using it as such though.

    To see a list of complaints people have with the beatstep, look up the beatstep pro—they pretty much gave the user base what they'd been asking for. :)

    Also, as soon as you get it be sure to download the latest firmware from their site. It corrects the encoder acceleration and adds a few sequencer features to the unit that were previously only available via the desktop software (like step gate and swing).

  • @Duncanm said:
    Love it but you will have absolutely sod all idea what the tempo is if you're using it as a master. and it's too easy to jog the tempo as the big knob does that. It also does transposition, but that needs you to press a shift key. IMO they should allow you to swap those around as transposition is way more useful.

    Exactly what i was thinking last night. Kinda wonder what they were thinking when they designed the thing, have to be careful and i wouldn't want to use it as master live but as an iPad controller it's good, also works as a drum trigger so you can use the pads for other things, i tried setting it up to trigger the actions but had some issues with it.

  • Thanks a lot everybody, sounds good for what I intend to use it for.
    cheers

  • @syrupcore said:

    Oh yeah, it's main use now is for the knobs and as a drum machine (i.e. spark)

    it's not BAD as a sequencer and you can set up different profiles for different uses! although as I found out, maybe not the best to set up midi learn on Spark as a drum machien and then use transpose later, otherwise that's it! lost everything. :D

  • Yeah, I don't mean to bash it as a sequencer. Like I said, the asking price for the knobs and pads and build makes the sequencer a freebie. Plus, CV/Gate out. Plus DIN MIDI out. Plus 20 presets. It's a beast for the price. You can't even change the MIDI channel on some similarly priced controller without a computer. Really, no complaints. Also, if I recall correctly, you can actually transpose sequences in real time via the USB connection (from the ipad or your computer).

    I'm just saying the sequencer can be hard to use. I'm happy with the analog sequencer style but an analog sequencer uses knobs or sliders instead of encoders which means you at least have a relative sense of pitch and tempo—even if they're unlabeled. The Beatstep is just a guessing game. Guess I should just make part of the fun. Also wish you could use the rather handy predefined scales outside of sequence mode.

  • ^I think the only alternative is the SQ1 but i think that's aimed more at hardware, don't think those knobs are assignable are they? Oh yeah by actions i meant on Thesys, tried to use the beatstep to control it rather than the edge of my little finger lol.

  • @soundklinik said:
    Anybody has this controller?
    How do you like it?
    I was thinking about (getting a 2nd hand one) and using it only with iPad...(got no more hardware)
    Are there any other small size midi controllers that are good for controlling CCs etc in iPad?
    Less then 100 bucks...
    THANKS

    $100 and under----------

    Craigs list has many MIDI controllers for that price.

    http://baltimore.craigslist.org/msg/4930278519.html

    Personally, you can get a new Launchkey mini or Aurturia for like $110 new

  • that one isn't remotely comparable though. But yes, you can get other controllers cheaper.

  • @Duncanm said:
    that one isn't remotely comparable though. But yes, you can get other controllers cheaper.

    Obviously.

    But yes, the point was plenty of cheap gear if you look.

  • @musikmachine said:
    ^I think the only alternative is the SQ1 but i think that's aimed more at hardware, don't think those knobs are assignable are they?

    No, knobs aren't assignable. The SQ1 has a lot of the same as-a-consequence-of-being-compact-and-affordable problems the Beatstep does. http://createdigitalmusic.com/2015/02/heres-korgs-99-sq1-sequencer-can-cant/

  • I saw a preview of the new Beatstep Pro and it looks like the bees knees, especially if you got hardware synths and drum machines. Which also makes me think...Should we ever buy anything that doesn't have the word "Pro" after it's name cause you know there is eventually going to be a much superior "Pro" version coming out.

  • Well, depends on how much you wanna spend; the pro is £189. Does it power off the iPad? I think it's good for what is, can do a fair amount with it but it's got it's limitations.

  • hi everyone! sorry to bump this thread, but I just got a beatstep and went from excited to dissapointed in a little while... not the Beatstep's fault I presume, but this is my scenario:

    first, what I need: I'm beta-testing an iPad app wich has 3 sound engines - each with identical controls (2xOSC, Amp envelope, filter, fx, etc.).
    my idea was to map (some of those) parameters to different templates, so I could be able to use template 1 (MIDI CH1) to control SYNTH 1, template 2 (MIDI CH2) to control SYNTH 2, and so on.

    So... I configured a few encoders from template 1 to ch 1, and a few from template 2 to ch 2.
    The problem is, if I keep the encoder modes to "absolute" the encoders still jump (and they share a value, from 1 to 127, regardless of the template)

    the relative modes doesn't seem to work, as they go 0-127 (in 1 step) or 63-65, or 0-1.... I thought they were meant for something else - to do increments and decrements thru the whole 0-127 range...

    so, I'm wondering... is this something that should be adressed from the developer's side? are ther any solutions?

  • @soundklinik said:
    Thanks for all info, endless encoders I like, no prob. The rest of features that I read here and there too, ...are good

    What confuses me now is the midi bit.
    I got a PC , so what's happening there? I thought that the pots and buttons have a midi cc number and all you have to do is to do learn and wiggle, right?
    Or are you talking about specific templates for programs?
    I'd be happy just to use the pots and buttons for iPads synths etc... You know the normal stuff.
    I got a full size size Rolland midi controller , but it's too big to sit around with on the couch, I was looking for something small and solid and this thing seems to be...got an offer for 65€ delivered...( second hand)

    I've got Beatstep, and Nanokontrol2, build quality between the two is incomparable, Beatstep feels solid and weighty, nanokontrol horrible and plasticy
    Pads are nice and having the sequencer is definitely a plus.
    Still getting used to the acceleration mode on the encoders though.

  • unfortunately there's nothing I can do :(

    "Relative mode must be supported by the receiving MIDI target, in this case, by the iPad instrument app. If it doesn't understand the MIDI Relative Inc/Dec protocol(s) then there's no workaround from the controller side."

  • @_latinoise said:
    unfortunately there's nothing I can do :(

    "Relative mode must be supported by the receiving MIDI target, in this case, by the iPad instrument app. If it doesn't understand the MIDI Relative Inc/Dec protocol(s) then there's no workaround from the controller side."

    Very soon, I'll be programming (and sharing) a Midiflow template for converting the Beatstep's relative CC signals (I have two Beatsteps hooked up as my primary controllers; they're #$%&ing great) to absolute ones to solve the very problem that you're having -- it's a problem that I have, too. I wish that I could give you an exact date, but, to be clear, this is a problem that an application like Midiflow is capable of resolving, with a little bit of programming on the user's end.

    What you'd want to do is hook the Beatstep up to Midiflow, which would read the 'relative' signals and use them to internally increment a variable for that CC's value. Midiflow would save this variable internally and then pass that variable along to whatever app you're using the Beatstep with. At the end of your session, you could even save or export all of those absolute values and then reload them the next time that you want to play.

    So, basically, I think that what you want is what I want: to use Midiflow to convert Arturia's relative encoder CC's to an internally-saved absolute value, which the encoders would increment or decrement, before passing that absolute value on to an app. That way, you could jump between Beatstep presets and the CC values would still be saved in Midiflow for when you jump BACK and want to increment those values again.

  • Also, this is an old thread, but no one seems to have mentioned one of the use-cases that I think makes the Beatstep the most valuable, especially for the iPad: it forwards any MIDI signals that it gets from its USB port (say, from an iPad sequencer) to its hardware MIDI Out port -- so I'm using my Beatsteps as MIDI interfaces for my iPad to sequence my MPC and Volca Keys from the iPad.

    This way, I can use the Beatsteps for recording patterns INTO a sequencer, and then I can visibly see what patterns are being sent FROM the sequencer because the Beatsteps' pads light up when they receive their respective signals (which they then send out through the MIDI Out port). The visual feedback is a big help, and, again, my set-up would be impossible without the Beatsteps unless I wanted to buy a USB-to-MIDI adapter (which is what the Beatsteps basically are, on top of being some of the best controllers money can buy and stand-alone sequencers for software AND hardware, including ANALOG hardware which takes CV and Gate).

    Basically, I can't say enough good things about the Beatsteps, and it's unbelievable to me that you can get them on clearance, now, for the prices that you can. Please buy some, whoever is reading this -- not just one, but as many as you can fit onto your desk and as your budget permits. I've got two stacked on top of each other, which gives me 32 pads and 34 encoders in about the same surface area as my MPC, and they have backlit pads, two independent sequencers, and two unique USB-MIDI interfaces that my iPad can send through to communicate with hardware that only takes MIDI (or CV/Gate) input.

    Give me a break, Arturia... you #$%&ing killed it. I also love my Minilab, which I bought because I loved the Beatsteps so much, and they've all given me a very good impression of Arturia as a manufacturer.

  • Yep. BeatSteps offer a pretty absurd price:value ratio at this point.

    The other CC mode that would be wonderful to see more apps support is 'pick up' mode. You can have a regular 0-127 hardware control but the app doesn't start to adjust the targeted control until the knob sweeps past it. So if Filter Cutoff is currently at 80, you'd spin your associated knob and nothing would happen until it sent "80" and then the control would pick up in either direction. Alas, yes, this is something that target needs to implement, not the controller.

  • Actually I ended up buying the BeatStep Pro, which has 3 sequencers in one as you know and works great with iPad.

    I find the MIDI controller part pretty weak, because you need a computer to do anything, buttons have only on/off no increments it doesn't remember midi channels etc....

    But besides that it's a great little sequencer...

  • @lieslavish said:

    @_latinoise said:
    unfortunately there's nothing I can do :(

    "Relative mode must be supported by the receiving MIDI target, in this case, by the iPad instrument app. If it doesn't understand the MIDI Relative Inc/Dec protocol(s) then there's no workaround from the controller side."

    Very soon, I'll be programming (and sharing) a Midiflow template for converting the Beatstep's relative CC signals (I have two Beatsteps hooked up as my primary controllers; they're #$%&ing great) to absolute ones to solve the very problem that you're having -- it's a problem that I have, too. I wish that I could give you an exact date, but, to be clear, this is a problem that an application like Midiflow is capable of resolving, with a little bit of programming on the user's end.

    Since the new version of midiflow came out I had another go at making a relative to absolute patch for the Beatstep but ran into problems. Did you manage to get this working?

  • @lieslavish and @Richtowns did either of you get a relative-to-absolute solution working? If not, any tips or suggestions? I'm about to undertake the same quest.

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