Arturia’s versatile MIDI/CV controller KeyStep Pro gets a big update with version 2.5. The release accompanies a sleek dark-gray, customizable Chroma edition but applies to all KeyStep Pro models.

The KeyStep Pro is an exceptionally useful piece of gear. It’s a 4-track sequencer, and it’s a keyboard, and it’s got a bunch of control options. The BeatStep Pro remains great, but you just get a lot more flexibility with the KeyStep Pro – whether or not you’re playing chromatic/keyboard lines on it. I find it just as useful for percussion sequencing and non-equal-tempered melodic parts. It can work as a computer controller and easily swap to standalone controller for MIDI gear, or CV/gate for analog gear and modular, or a combination, setting it apart from the usual unitasker mold. And you know the issue with unitaskers: they turn into dust collectors. Not this.

Pretty much my vibe, ideal rig-wise, pictured…

The limited edition KeyStep Pro Chroma is really a KeyStep Pro under the hood, but it’s slightly more than just a different paint job. The main feature is the dark gray finish, yes, but there are also new “great-feeling” knob caps, plus blue LEDs, and the ability to customize track colors.

You can actually get the Chroma for the same price as the original white model, and I think it’s worth it for the updated look and customization. Most retailers have the Chroma for slightly more, but I see them both priced at $449 right now at Guitar Center:

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Arturia KeyStep Pro Controller and Sequencer Black

Arturia KeyStep Pro

But If the visual refresh and customization aren’t important to you, you should feel fine just going with the OG KeyStep Pro – or upgrade the firmware of the gear you’ve already got. They are otherwise functionally identical.

Readers know I love gear that lasts, though, so I’m personally most excited about the updated firmware features:

  • Send Program Changes both per pattern and per MIDI track.
  • Transpose Latch so the Transpose button can be configured as a toggle, meaning you don’t have to hold it down. (As God intended.)
  • Shift + Track to change settings for each track.
  • Fixed Velocity option both for keys you’re pressing and notes you’re triggering, when you want it.

Version 2.5 firmware update

I’m happy with my white KeyStep, thanks – though, hey, maybe it’s time to 3D print some new knob caps for it. But the 2.5 firmware, I’m in. I need every single one of those.

And don’t forget that 2021’s v2.0 firmware was also a big one – with global transpose, global value offset, arpeggios and sequences, chord record, step listen, and other improvements. It’s worth a little review; this is one of those controllers you actually invest some time in learning:

I wrote about some other performance tips back in 2020:

And it’s great to see the amazing producer and live artist Andreas Tilliander in a profile up on Arturia’s site now. Always love your work, Andreas.