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Arturia Keystep or Doepfer Midi to CV module?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion  
Author Arturia Keystep or Doepfer Midi to CV module?
Sonic_Rambler
Hi,

I've been running this round my head for weeks now but cant come to a decision. I want to get a keyboard connected to my small but growing system. Initially I was going to get the Doepfer A-190-1 but its to deep for my case. My budget is around £100 and i cant find a midi to cv module with clock out in that price range, so I was thinking of either going for the basic Doepfer interface or the new Arturia Keystep, The Doepfer option is sensible but takes up rack space and my midi keyboard is really to big, the Keystep is self contained, small and full of cool features. I've considered a Kenton Pro but they don't come cheap and I will still need to use my keyboard, I thought about getting a small midi keyboard but its more cost and finding one with actual midi ports is not easy. Any suggestions appreciated smile
Stides
Check the Synthrotek out. Good price to feature ratio, and not too deep.
diophantine
AFAIK no one has the Arturia KeyStep yet, nor is there a manual. But given what has been announced, it seems ideal for this sort of thing.

Self-contained small keyboard with MIDI, CV, etc. I've pre-ordered one and am looking forward to using it with my 5U modular... I don't need a full keyboard, but want something for transposing sequences, and doing other small tasks. Seems perfect.
BugBrand
Kentons do show up 2nd-hand - the Pro Solo mk2 is nice & solid + has many options (inc clock out - and, actually, you can make a cable to take extra signals from the din-sync out). True, sometimes you do want one built into a keyboard.. but then sometimes not (I tried mine driven by Nord G2 yesterday - great!).

There's something to be said for a piece of gear that only does one main thing, but does it very well. [I have tried the Arturia BSP a bit - maybe I just need to practice it more.. The keystep has vaguely been on my radar, but..]
Sonic_Rambler
Stides wrote:
Check the Synthrotek out. Good price to feature ratio, and not too deep.


I have looked into it but I could buy a Kenton for more or less the same price, I thought about the DIY kit, but as much as i trust my soldering abilities, my midi to CV converter will be a crucial bit of kit, I'd rather have a reliable/guaranteed pre built unit, especially for live performance.
dumbledog
Korg SQ-1 is an option if you don't need a mod output.
Sonic_Rambler
dumbledog wrote:
Korg SQ-1 is an option if you don't need a mod output.


Unfortunately the SQ-1 is also lacking a keyboard, lol. When I have cash however, I will be buying one, it looks like a really useful, well priced piece of kit.
HoosierGuy
I've also got the Keystep on order. Should be released within a week or two. Really low cost for a lot of features. thumbs up
pitri
i think its great for the price - especially the arp and hold feature opens up a lot of things for me. never clicked with my BSP Sequencer (great for triggers though) so i am also considering to get a keystep for instant playability Mr. Green
Zeon
By the specs and demo's I've seen so far keystep looks very promising.
elrich45
I dont own a Keystep, but I do have two Arturia Keylab controllers (a 61 and an 88.) They are both wonderful; Arturia is making really quality stuff right now. I did try the Keystep in the store and it seemed right in line with Arturia's other products.
Sonic_Rambler
Thanks for the replies peeps, I went for it and pre ordered a Keystep, I check my inbox three times a day hoping for the dispatch email! I can't wait to get some sequences/key action going. Being Pink Floyd nerd I imagine the first thing I'll sequence will be the Synthi A line from On the run... I'll make a demo video when it turns up.
Rex Coil 7
With the Keystep, did Arturia address the voltage offset issues that every single Midi/CV capable unit Arturia has offered in the past has?

They'd elected to use a different protocol than .. well .. the rest of the world when it comes to defining what "zero volts" is supposed to be. That said, a voltage offset module is required to correct the oddball 1v/oct voltage output.

I own a Beatstep, three MiniBRUTES, and I just sold the last of four MicroBRUTEs that I used to own. All seven of the 'BRUTEs have that issue. The Beatstep can be adjusted to overcome the issue, however the KEYstep is a kybd, where C1 needs to produce the same voltage as C1 on any/all of your other kybds. This is why a module capable of accurate offset is required in addition to the Arturia stuff.

If they've addressed this in the Keystep .. then YAY! If not ... WTF Arturia?

Anyone know?
av500
the Keystep is actually a MIDI to CV converter itself, if you hook up another MIDI keyboard to it, it will output that over the CV, gate and modulation jacks
Scott Willingham
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
With the Keystep, did Arturia address the voltage offset issues that every single Midi/CV capable unit Arturia has offered in the past has?

...All seven of the 'BRUTEs have that issue. The Beatstep can be adjusted to overcome the issue, however the KEYstep is a kybd, where C1 needs to produce the same voltage as C1 on any/all of your other kybds. This is why a module capable of accurate offset is required in addition to the Arturia stuff.


Is there a standard for voltages that correspond to specific pitches? I've studied synths for 40 years and have never read any reference about 0V corresponding to any particular oscillator pitch or keyboard's key. Only that a change of 1.0V maps to an interval of one octave.
av500
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
...The Beatstep can be adjusted to overcome the issue, however the KEYstep is a kybd, where C1 needs to produce the same voltage as C1 on any/all of your other kybds. This is why a module capable of accurate offset is required in addition to the Arturia stuff.

If they've addressed this in the Keystep .. then YAY! If not ... WTF Arturia?

Anyone know?


with the Keystep, the 0V note can be adjusted between C-2 and G8
hawkfuzz
I'd suggest the Arturia based on what you want and price point. You can control several different MIDI channels and CV/GATE/MOD. It's pretty amazing.

Not sure about the offset thing. I've tuned my oscillators and rolled.
airfrankenstein
I got one yesterday as i'd understood it allowed you to play the keyboard over an already recorded sequence. Well it does, but only over midi. So now, I'm debating whether to get a midi to cv convertor or send the key step back. Note correction/adjustment seems quite haphazard and messy for the moment unless you just want to undo the last note recorded. The beat step might be better for that as it has a rotary encoder for each step.
av500
how would you play over a sequence using a single cv out? CV pitch and gate are driven by the sequence notes, no?
hawkfuzz
Right, you'd need several CV outs for that to work...

If you want to use multiple sequences MIDI to CV is the way.
Sonic_Rambler
I'm still waiting for my Keystep to turn up from Absolute Music, its getting kind of ridiculous now... I've contemplated getting a midi to cv converter and/or SQ1 just to get some musical pitch control into my modest system. I think I've patched every combination of sockets I possibly can. There is only so much you can do with an lfo, vco, vca, vcf and adsr. I wish my bank account was bigger!
TheDegenerateElite
I went through this same debate recently.

Given my experience with the rather crap CV and really high Gate voltage on the Arturia MicroBrute, I ruled out the Keystep right off the bat.

I wanted a MIDI board with one button octave shifting and didn't want pads and stuff.

Went with a Synthrotek MIDI to CV and the Roland A 49 board.

Full 0-127 with dedicated octave buttons. Synthro runs 0 to 8 volts for CV output. Plus you grab an expander board that adds arp and other goodies. Super cheap to build yourself.

Controls the M32 weird, but that because of the weird -5 to +5 CV range on that thing.
Sonic_Rambler
TheDegenerateElite wrote:
I went through this same debate recently.

Given my experience with the rather crap CV and really high Gate voltage on the Arturia MicroBrute, I ruled out the Keystep right off the bat.

I wanted a MIDI board with one button octave shifting and didn't want pads and stuff.

Went with a Synthrotek MIDI to CV and the Roland A 49 board.

Full 0-127 with dedicated octave buttons. Synthro runs 0 to 8 volts for CV output. Plus you grab an expander board that adds arp and other goodies. Super cheap to build yourself.

Controls the M32 weird, but that because of the weird -5 to +5 CV range on that thing.


I was considering a similar option but my funds are limited. I emailed Absolute Music yesterday they said they should be receiving the shipment from Arturia on 27th, I'll report back when it turns up. So far I've heard good reviews.
Sonic_Rambler
It finally turned up! Kudos to Absolute Music, as soon it turned up at there warehouse it was out the door next day delivery, I only paid standard shipping.
What can I say, for £99 its brilliant, the keyboard plays nice and tracks well, the modulation slider is really useful and the sequencer quantizes really easily. I've yet to get to grips with the rest of the features and have not played with the MIDI and USB connectivity yet so cant pass comment.
My only gripe is the octave buttons, the lower/higher you go the faster they flash, which is really annoying, a static colour change would be better, also, the clock selector switches are a bit flimsy, that said the rest of the build quality is great, for the price you cant ask for much more!

Willowhaus
I just got one yesterday myself. Love the CV outs so far, but I've also ordered some long patch cables to get it away from the case a bit. Also had a play with the USB, which seems to work great as well.

Had to restart their MIDI Manager software to do the firmware update (I think it's better to start the software first & then connect it...either that or it just needs the restart to kick it in the @ss...) but after that bit of futzing it updated fine. I also have KeyLab, and the software recognized the keyboard right away & reacted as you'd expect.

As said before, the build quality seems really solid - much stronger feel than the KeyLab, IMHO. Nice that you can save off & reload the sequencer banks - haven't programmed anything yet myself, but I will get to that I'm sure. The arpeggiator is really fun - would like to see a few more mode options, but at this price I can't complain a bit.
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