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Arturia Keystep User Manual

Portable usb midi controller
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  Summary of Contents for Arturia Keystep

  • Page 1 ’ ’...
  • Page 2 Information contained in this manual is subject to change without notice and does not represent a commitment on the part of Arturia. The software described in this manual is provided under the terms of a license agreement or non-disclosure agreement. The software license agreement specifies the terms and conditions for its lawful use.
  • Page 3 The Quick Start Guide for KeyStep.  Also included in the purchase of your KeyStep is a free installation of Ableton Live Lite, a remarkably full-featured recording / sequencing application. The license number will be provided to you when you register your KeyStep on the Arturia website. Then you can download the installation file from
  • Page 4 The information contained in this manual is believed to be correct at the time of printing. However, Arturia reserves the right to change or modify any of the specifications without notice or obligation to update the hardware that has been purchased.
  • Page 5: Table Of Contents

    Seq / Arp toggle switch ......................... 19 3.3.2 Seq / Arp Mode encoder ........................ 19 3.3.3 Transport section .......................... 19 3.3.4 Set the tempo ..........................20 3.3.5 Time Division ..........................20 3.3.6 Hold button ........................... 20 SHIFT FUNCTIONS ..........................21 ARTURIA – KeyStep – USER’S MANUAL...
  • Page 6 Add up to 32 notes ........................36 .......................... 37 AUSING AN ARPEGGIO SYNCHRONIZATION ..........................38 ............................38 ASTER .............................. 38 LAVE 7.2.1 Sync In/Out types .......................... 39 7.2.2 Clock connectors .......................... 39 CV/GATE/MOD FUNCTIONS ......................... 40 ARTURIA – KeyStep – USER’S MANUAL...
  • Page 7 Building a library ......................... 47 10.3.2 Revise a Template ......................... 48 While synced ............................48 Not synced ............................48 10.3.3 Send one sequence to KeyStep ...................... 49 When synced ............................49 When not synced ..........................49 10.4 ........................50 TORE ECALL The ‘Store To’...
  • Page 8 Mod CV source ............................. 68 Mod CV max voltage..........................68 Pitch Bend Range ..........................68 10.9.5 Transport settings ......................... 69 ARTURIA KEYSTEP – LEGAL INFORMATION ................70 11.1 FCC INFORMATION (USA) ....................... 70 11.2 CANADA ............................. 70 11.3 EUROPE ............................... 70...
  • Page 9: Introduction

    MIDI Control Center software allows you to configure KeyStep the way that works best for your style and system. KeyStep is very easy to use, so you’ll probably start experimenting with it right out of the box. But be sure to read this manual completely, because in addition to covering the basics we’ll also describe several ways to integrate this little powerhouse of a controller...
  • Page 10: Keystep Overview

    2 KEYSTEP OVERVIEW 2.1 Making the connections There are quite a few ways to connect KeyStep with other types of equipment, from vintage to modern. Below are some examples of potential setups: 2.1.1 …with a Computer KeyStep is a USB class-compliant controller, so at its most basic level it can be connected to any computer with a USB port and used as an input device for various applications.
  • Page 11: Cv/Mod/Gate MIDI devices Lots of mid-vintage devices have MIDI jacks but don’t have CV/Gate connectors or USB ports. KeyStep can plug directly into them and also serve as a USB MIDI converter. Clock sources/destinations The Clock input and output connectors allow KeyStep to synchronize with lots of different clock types: a single pulse per step, two pulses per step, 24 pulses per quarter note (ppqn), and 48 ppqn.
  • Page 12: Front Panel Overview

    2.2.1 Sequencer / arpeggiator KeyStep provides a sequencer and an arpeggiator. You can record eight different sequences, each with up to 64 steps. The arpeggiator generates notes based on the keys you have pressed and plays them back according to the Arp Mode setting.
  • Page 13: Seq / Arp Toggle Switch

    MIDI Machine Control. But they also can send other MIDI messages if your DAW does not respond to MMC commands. Use the MIDI Control Center to make changes. All three buttons are active in sequencer mode, while only Play/Pause and Stop are used with the arpeggiator. ARTURIA – KeyStep – USER’S MANUAL...
  • Page 14: All Notes Off

    The Stop button has an additional function. If for some reason you end up with a stuck note, just press the Stop button quickly three times in a row. KeyStep will then send an All Notes Off command over MIDI.
  • Page 15: Pitch / Mod Touch Strips

    2.3.1 USB/DC IN This jack provides the power and data connections to a computer. It can also be used with a standard USB mobile phone charger, allowing you to use KeyStep even without a computer present. 2.3.2 9V DC IN (with optional adapter) KeyStep can be used as a stand-alone device without a computer or tablet present.
  • Page 16: Sustain Pedal Input

    Connect a momentary footswitch (optional) to this input. It is best to connect the pedal before supplying power to the KeyStep so it can sense the pedal’s polarity. Be sure to keep your foot off the pedal when first making the connection or could work backward. If this happens, disconnect KeyStep from the power source and start over.
  • Page 17: Basic Operations

    Control Center. See chapter 10 for details. 3.1.2 Keyboard MIDI channel If you need to match the KeyStep MIDI channel to the external device, this is easily done. Simply hold the Shift button and press the key that corresponds to the desired MIDI channel.
  • Page 18: Sustain Pedal

    To reset the keyboard octave range back to center, press both buttons at the same time. 3.1.7 Factory reset The Octave buttons are also used to reset all features of your KeyStep back to the factory specifications. To do this: ...
  • Page 19: Transport Section

    32 notes to an arpeggio; chapter 6 will show you how. Press the Play/Pause button again to pause the arpeggio pattern, and another time to resume playback from where you stopped. ARTURIA – KeyStep – USER’S MANUAL...
  • Page 20: Set The Tempo

    Rate knob will respond when it is turned. See chapter 10 for more information. Remember: Tap tempo and the Rate knob will not function when KeyStep is set to one of the external sync sources.
  • Page 21: Shift Functions

    For a complete chart of all the Shift functions, see section 4.4. 4.1 Chord Mode KeyStep has the ability to memorize a chord. You can then play an entire chord by pressing a single key on the keyboard. The chord will transpose automatically as you play different notes.
  • Page 22: Seq Recording And Chord Mode

    MIDI channel. When the MIDI channel is changed the Kbd Play MIDI channel will change to match it. To select an independent channel for Kbd Play mode, see section ARTURIA – KeyStep – USER’S MANUAL...
  • Page 23: Seq / Arp Playback Functions

    ‘shuffled’ 1/8 notes. Here’s a graphic showing the minimum and maximum Swing values in musical notation: Each sequence can have its own Swing setting. Arp mode has an independent Swing setting also. ARTURIA – KeyStep – USER’S MANUAL...
  • Page 24: Transpose / Kbd Play

    4.3.5 Skip selections: Time Division KeyStep is able to jump over one or more Time Division values without having them affect the rhythm of your sequence or arpeggio. So if you’d like to switch Time Div from 1/4 to 1/16 for a few beats without hearing the 1/8 value, there’s a way to...
  • Page 25: Restart Seq / Arp From Beginning

    Clear last step of the sequence (only in Seq mode) Shift + Play Restart the playback to the first step of the Seq/Arp Shift + Encoder The new position of the encoder will become active when the Shift button is released ARTURIA – KeyStep – USER’S MANUAL...
  • Page 26: Creating Sequences

    5 CREATING SEQUENCES KeyStep holds a total of 8 sequences, and each sequence can be up to 64 steps in length. The sequencer is polyphonic, capable of stacking up to 8 notes per step. In this chapter we will cover the front panel features, but there are more parameters available in the MIDI Control Center.
  • Page 27: Step-Time Recording

    Entering rests The spaces that sometimes happen between notes are called “rests”. If you want to add rests while creating a sequence, KeyStep provides an easy way to do it. Take a look at the Tap button: You’ll notice the words “Rest / Tie” underneath the button. You will use this button to enter rests, and also to tie notes together (more about that later).
  • Page 28: Tie Notes

    Here’s another example. This time we’ll build a chord that sustains through 3 counts:  Set Time Div to 1/4  Press the Record button  Press and hold the Tap button until the end of this example  Play a C, then release it ARTURIA – KeyStep – USER’S MANUAL...
  • Page 29: Real-Time Record/Replace

    5.2.2 Real-time record/replace KeyStep also allows you to record or replace the notes in a sequence while the sequencer is looping. Here are a few things to keep in mind:  Real-time recording won’t extend a sequence; you must record within the framework of an existing sequence.
  • Page 30: Restart A note about velocity KeyStep will capture the velocity of each note the way it was played by default. But there’s an option in the MIDI Control Center to make sure every recorded note has the same velocity value. You can also specify exactly what that value will be.
  • Page 31: What It Does Not Record

    See chapter 10 for more information about these features. 5.2.4 What it does not record Here are the types of data not captured by the KeyStep sequencer:  The duration (gate time) of the note. However, a note will be tied into the next step if you hold it down long enough.
  • Page 32: Clear Last

    5.4 Saving sequences KeyStep allows you to carry 8 sequences with you at all times. But you can store an unlimited number of sequences using the MIDI Control Center. So be sure to back up your hard work to your computer often.
  • Page 33: The Arpeggiator

    An arpeggiator, then, is a form of music technology that will take a group of notes played simultaneously on a keyboard and turn them into an arpeggio. 6.2 Arpeggiator features The KeyStep arpeggiator provides lots of different ways to arpeggiate the notes you play on the keyboard. These features we’ve covered previously: ...
  • Page 34: Arpeggiator Modes

    Arp mode: Inclusive With the Arp mode encoder set to Inc the arpeggiator will play the held notes in order from low to high, then from high to low, repeating the high note and low note. ARTURIA – KeyStep – USER’S MANUAL...
  • Page 35: Arp Mode: Exclusive

    With the Arp mode encoder set to Up x2 the arpeggiator will play the held notes in order from the bottom to the top. But unlike the Up mode it will play each note twice before the next note plays. ARTURIA – KeyStep – USER’S MANUAL...
  • Page 36: Arp Mode: Down X2

    You can keep adding notes to the arpeggio for quite a while: the limit is 32 notes. When you are done adding notes, you may release all keys. The multi-octave arpeggio will continue until you press another key or stop the arpeggiator. ARTURIA – KeyStep – USER’S MANUAL...
  • Page 37: Pausing An Arpeggio

    Hold/Sustain On: You let go of all keys and play a new note  You press the Stop button. Remember, if you want to force the arpeggio pattern to start again from the beginning, hold the Shift button and press Play/Pause. ARTURIA – KeyStep – USER’S MANUAL...
  • Page 38: Synchronization

    7 SYNCHRONIZATION KeyStep can be the master clock for a wide range of musical devices, or it can serve as a slave to any one of several sources. See section 2.1 for connection diagrams. The Sync options are selected using different combinations of the rear panel switches.
  • Page 39: Sync In/Out Types

    MIDI and USB outputs. 7.2.1 Sync In/Out types The MIDI Control Center can be used to configure the KeyStep to send and receive one of the following types of clock signals at the Sync input and output connectors: ...
  • Page 40: Cv/Gate/Mod Functions

    Can my DAW send CV/Gate signals? It’s possible to send note data from a MIDI track on your DAW to the KeyStep CV/Gate jacks. Just match the MIDI channel on the DAW track to that of the KeyStep to make it happen.
  • Page 41: Modulation (Mod) Output

    We’ve designed KeyStep to be as flexible as possible, though: the MIDI Control Center allows you to configure the response of the CV/Gate and Mod jacks in a number of ways. Here are the ranges of electrical signals that can be sent by the KeyStep CV, Gate, and Mod jacks: ...
  • Page 42  The Mod output has eight options ranging from 0-12 volts. See chapter 10 for a description of the related MIDI Control Center parameters. ARTURIA – KeyStep – USER’S MANUAL...
  • Page 43: Midi Control Center Basics

    The MIDI Control Center is an application that allows you to configure the MIDI settings of your KeyStep. It works with most of Arturia’s devices, so if you have an earlier version of the software you’ll want to download the KeyStep version. It will work with the other Arturia products as well.
  • Page 44: Back Up Your Sequences

    9.4 Back up your sequences If you want to make a quick backup of your KeyStep sequences, click the Sync button: This will grab whatever is in the sequence memory and pull it into your computer. MIDI Control Center will give this file the current date/time stamp for a name, but you can name it something else if you like.
  • Page 45: Using Midi Control Center

     perform other MCC functions such as sequence editing, file management and Template creation, among other things. Note: The MCC will do all of these things when the MCC and KeyStep are synced also. ARTURIA – KeyStep – USER’S MANUAL...
  • Page 46: Device Projects

    10.2 Device Projects 10.2.1 The Working Project When the MCC and KeyStep are in sync, the Working Project is the internal memory of the KeyStep. Edits made to sequences inside the MCC are made simultaneously to the KeyStep. When they are not in sync the Working Project functions as a sort of ‘target’ onto which Templates or sequences can be dragged and then transmitted to the KeyStep memory.
  • Page 47: Project Browser

    Center (MCC). They have been stored on your computer. These are divided into two main groups of Templates: Factory and User. The User Templates are the ones you have recalled from your KeyStep with the MCC. See section 10.4 to learn how to do this.
  • Page 48: Revise A Template

    Seq Editor window. They will also be transmitted to the KeyStep internal memory. As long as KeyStep and the MCC are in sync, any changes made to the sequences inside the MCC will also be made in the KeyStep. You can actually have the sequence running inside the KeyStep while you make edits with the MCC, and then hear the edited sequence on a connected device.
  • Page 49: Send One Sequence To Keystep

    Important: The following process will send a single sequence to KeyStep and will overwrite the sequence in the target memory location. There are two ways to send a single sequence to the KeyStep when it is synced to the MIDI Control Center.
  • Page 50: Store To/Recall From

    If KeyStep and the MCC have been synced, all eight sequences from the Template will be transmitted to your KeyStep as soon as you select the Template. But if KeyStep and the MCC have not been synced, you will need to use the Store To button to transmit the Template.
  • Page 51: Recall Edited Sequences From Keystep

    This process will store all eight sequences from the selected Template into the KeyStep. 10.4.2 Recall edited sequences from KeyStep If you changed any sequences inside the KeyStep you need to pull those sequences into the MIDI Control Center to back them up. To do that, click the Recall From button. A new file containing all eight sequences will appear in the Project Browser with the current time/date stamp for a name.
  • Page 52: Import Device Settings

    10.6.2 Selecting the tabs The middle window of the MIDI Control Center has two main tabs: Seq and Device Settings. Seq contains all 8 sequences from the KeyStep memory, and Device Settings has all of the parameters for the various KeyStep functions.
  • Page 53: Seq Tab

    The sequence window also has a note window with a piano-style keyboard along the left side. To the right of this keyboard is a grid with horizontal rows for note placement that correspond to the virtual keys. The vertical columns represent the steps within the sequence. ARTURIA – KeyStep – USER’S MANUAL...
  • Page 54: Navigation

    To zoom in and out of the vertical view, place the cursor over the keyboard graphic first. Then press Command (Mac) or Control (Windows) and use the scroll wheel to zoom in and out. 10.7.2 Per-sequence parameters ARTURIA – KeyStep – USER’S MANUAL...
  • Page 55: Seq Length

    But inside the MIDI Control Center you can select any number between 50% and 75%. Same thing here: to change the swing % value, click on the knob and turn it, or click in the field and enter a value between 50 and 75. ARTURIA – KeyStep – USER’S MANUAL...
  • Page 56: Seq Gate Length

    Then press the Delete key on your computer keyboard. Remember, KeyStep has a polyphonic sequencer. The four orange bars stacked on top of each other in the next graphic mean that the first step will play four notes at the same time.
  • Page 57: Copy/Paste Notes

    Drag the cursor left and right to change the gate time of that note. There are only two possible values: the Gate Length you selected for the entire sequence (10, 25, 50, 75, or 90%) or a value of TIE. ARTURIA – KeyStep – USER’S MANUAL...
  • Page 58: Tie A Note

    If you would like to make several sequences based on a common musical phrase, you can take one sequence and copy it to one or more of the other tabs in the Seq window. If the MCC and KeyStep have been synced this process will overwrite the target sequences in the KeyStep internal memory.
  • Page 59: Drag/Drop Onto A Tab

    Click and drag to copy Seq 1 to the Seq 5 location. 10.8.2 Drag/drop onto a tab It’s possible to build a ‘Greatest Hits’ group of sequences inside your KeyStep using sequences from different Templates. If the MCC and KeyStep have been synced this process will overwrite the target sequences in the KeyStep internal memory.
  • Page 60: Working With Device Settings

    The “User” setting allows you to change the MIDI channel of this parameter when you change the MIDI channel of the keyboard. So for each assignable parameter you can choose whether they will be locked to a particular MIDI channel or will ‘float’ with the keyboard MIDI channel. ARTURIA – KeyStep – USER’S MANUAL...
  • Page 61: Midi Controller Settings

    Assign MIDI CC # Pitch Bend MIDI Ch 1-16, User Fixed/follow User channel Velocity curve Log, Lin, AntiLog Personalized response Aftertouch curve Log, Lin, AntiLog Personalized response Now let’s go through the parameters one at a time. ARTURIA – KeyStep – USER’S MANUAL...
  • Page 62: User Channel

    These MIDI messages can either arrive via USB or the MIDI Input connector. MIDI Thru This parameter will turn the KeyStep MIDI Output into a MIDI Thru. Incoming MIDI data will be routed directly to the Output instead of being used to transpose sequences, etc.
  • Page 63: Sustain Message Cc

    Three velocity curves are available so you can choose the one that best matches your playing style. Aftertouch curve Three aftertouch curves are provided so you can choose the one that seems the most responsive to you. ARTURIA – KeyStep – USER’S MANUAL...
  • Page 64: Sequence Settings

    Fixed Velocity value 0-127 Set the preferred value Tempo knob mode Jump, pickup Tempo can jump to knob position or wait for passthru Tap Tempo average 2, 3, or 4 taps Number of taps to respond ARTURIA – KeyStep – USER’S MANUAL...
  • Page 65: Sync Clock In/Out Settings

    Next we’ll go through those parameters one-by-one. Sync Clock In/Out settings KeyStep is endowed with the ability to transmit or receive clocking signals from a huge range of vintage devices. Here’s a brief look at each setting:  1step (Gate): Interprets the rising edge of the voltage as a Note On command and the falling edge as a Note Off.
  • Page 66: Transpose Center Pitch

    This parameter also affects the way the KeyStep responds to incoming MIDI notes on the Transposition Input channel. Transpose Center Pitch The Center pitch decides which incoming note means “don’t transpose”. The default value is MIDI note #60, or middle C [C3].
  • Page 67: Cv/Gate Settings

    ‘Voltage/positive’ triggers. Now we’ll take a look at each of those parameters. Pitch CV Output The various models of vintage gear respond differently to electricity. KeyStep works well with the most common types.  1Volt per octave – This is the standard used on most Eurorack modules and on our very own Mini- and MicroBrute synthesizers.
  • Page 68: Gate Cv Output

    And even some mono synths prefer one or the other of the three choices KeyStep gives you: Low note priority, High note priority, or Last note priority.
  • Page 69: Transport Settings

    Fixed channel or linked to keyboard channel Play Channel 1-16, user Fixed channel or linked to keyboard channel Stop CC 0-127 Full MIDI range Rec CC 0-127 Full MIDI range Play CC 0-127 Full MIDI range ARTURIA – KeyStep – USER’S MANUAL...
  • Page 70: Arturia Keystep - Legal Information

    Important notice: DO NOT MODIFY THE UNIT! This product, when installed as indicate in the instructions contained in this manual, meets FCC requirement. Modifications not expressly approved by Arturia may avoid your authority, granted by the FCC, to use the product.
  • Page 71 ARTURIA – KeyStep – USER’S MANUAL...