(Watch the video from 7:03 onward for general midi controller use)
16 user presets, with 17 endless encoders (16 small ones and a bigger one) that could be set to Absolute or Relative mode. 16 velocity-sensitive drum pads which can double as DAW function buttons. AND, a step-sequencer? Umm, yes… probably the best-value for any midi controller, period.
text below originally from www.metamicrolabs.com (2015):
Arturia’s Beatstep is a rare multi-use piece of gear that’s become one of my indispensable go-to musical tools. At first glance it may look like a simple MIDI controller, but it’s also a MIDI step sequencer and all around useful addition to any modern electronic music studio.
Generic MIDI Controller
The obvious right out the box use for Beatstep is configuring it as a MIDI controller for your preferred DAW of choice. There’s actually two ways to go about this.
In one instance you can plug Beatstep into your computer’s USB port and simply use the MIDI mapping process built into your DAW to set up all of the controls. The second option, is to use the included (by download) Arturia MIDI Control Center software to map MIDI CC numbers to each individual knob and key pad.
The advantage of using the Control Center software is having the ability to save several Beatstep controller mappings and loading up each one as needed depending on your particular needs. For example, I’ve made CC control mappings of most of my VST instruments to make it easier to create new sound patches. I find it’s much simpler to discover new sounds without a computer mouse and monitor getting in the way and just using my ears.
Stand-alone MIDI Controller & Sequencer
One of the features that sets Beatstep apart from other similar interfaces, is that it can be used to directly control MIDI hardware. As a generic controller, Beatstep is USB bus powered, but it can also be independently powered with a standard USB Type-C charger cable like those used with some mobile phones and other USB powered devices.
The Beatstep comes with a MIDI (5 pin-din) adapter to provide a MIDI out connection to control any external MIDI device containing a MIDI (5 pin-din) interface port. This is useful in my rack for connecting to external synthesizers without routing MIDI signals through a computer and allows me to use the Beatstep as an independent MIDI controller and 16-step sequencer.
What’s very cool, is that if you’d like, you can connect the Beatstep to your DAW with a USB cable, then to an external instrument with the MIDI (din) adapter and use both connections at the same time. In this case, the DAW will pass MIDI signals over USB cable to the Beatstep and then on through the MIDI (din) cable out to your external instrument.
To top all this off, you can also use Beatstep’s step sequencer to trigger the external instrument while using the DAW as your master clock source.
Let’s talk about some real world examples before this gets too confusing.
When I’m playing around with my Korg Volca Keys, I plug the Beatstep’s MIDI out directly into the Volca MIDI in. This allows me to use the Beatstep’s pads to trigger notes and to use the built-in step sequencer to compose patterns. The Beatstep allows you to configure the MIDI out channel, so this will work regardless of your MIDI instrument’s channel assignment. Tempo clock is controlled by the Beatstep in this configuration.
By connecting the USB cable from the Beatstep to my computer, I can then send sequences through the Beatstep MIDI (din) cable out to the Korg Volca Keys. In this case, the DAW is providing the master clock signal. With everything synced, I can then allow the DAW to play the Korg Volca, or I can bypass that link at the push of a button and use the Beatstep as an external controller to play the instrument live myself – it’s a best of both worlds scenario for me.
Most of the time, my rack is configured to use the Arturia Beatstep as an external trigger pad to complement my MIDI controller keyboard. It’s good for launching sample clips and playing single finger instrument chords. The knobs are typically mapped to control whatever instrument I happen to be playing for that particular song.
I’d like to point out that I’ve only covered a few general uses I’ve found for the Arturia Beatstep and can confirm that it’s been well worth the investment for such a useful and versatile interface.
text from www.metamicrolabs.com