Category Archives: Arturia

Arturia DrumBrute Initial Review

You probably know by now I don’t like reading manuals until I absolutely have to. I’d rather jump in and get a beat going. This is exactly what I did with the Arturia DrumBrute.

Out of the box, I was surprised by the light weight for something that appears to be bulky in photos. Other Arturia products, MiniBrute and KeyStep Pro, have some weight to them. The appearance of the DrumeBrute is beautiful with the gray case and wood side panels. The drum pads have a good feel to them similar to the Arturia Keystep products. The knobs look like those found on the Arturia MiniBrute but seem sturdier.

The button and knob layout is good although some might look for faders for the drum parts. Each drum part has a knob for levels. Above the drum parts, we have the step sequencer, transport control and effects to the top right. Unlike the Roland TR-8, there are separate pads for the step sequencer and performance pads.

The rear panel has MIDI in and out and clock in and out. Arturia has added individual outs for each drum part. There is a single mix output. Surprisingly, there are 3.5 and 1/4 headphone jacks. The headphone level knob is located in the rear. I would’ve preferred to see a MIDI thru port for greater flexibility.

I played the built-in patterns and went to town with tweaking the drum parts. I see a lot of potential but wish they added a Brute filter also found on their MiniBrute synthesizer. Drum sounds include the following:

Kick 1
Kick 2
Snare
Clap
Rim
Claves
Closed Hi-Hat
Open Hi-Hat
High Conga
Low Conga
High Tom
Low Tom
Cymbal
Reversed Cymbal
Maracas
Tambourine

I’m happy to report that manipulation of the drum part is significant and keeping sound quality good. I’ve experience other gear where changing manipulating the sound leads to poor sound quality or negligible change all together. Although the sound was more than acceptable, I’m immediately thinking of adding a compressor to thicken the sound.

The DrumBrute was introduced at an MSRP of $449 but now has been raised to $499. Analog gear is making a strong comeback at reasonable prices. Overall, the DrumeBrute is going to give the Roland TR-8 a run for its money and can be a mainstay in any studio.

DrumeBrute

DrumeBrute Rear Panel

Arturia Keystep: 2 Part MIDI Capable

The Arturia Keystep allows the pattern sequencer to play on a MIDI channel while the musician can play the keyboard live on a different MIDI channel.

To connect the Arturia Keystep to two MIDI devices will require a MIDI thru splitter. Another option is to have a synth with MIDI thru placed after the Keystep in the chain like the Korg MicroKorg.

  1. Set the general MIDI channel by hitting the [shift] button and the key corresponding to the channel of the first external synth.
  2. Set the keyboard play MIDI channel by hitting the [shift] button with the [keyboard play] and the key corresponding to the channel of the second external synth.
  3. Program a sequence and play it.
  4. Hit the [shift] button with [keyboard play] and start playing the keyboard to trigger the second external synth.

Arturia Keystep 2 part MIDI capable

Arturia Keystep – Review and Demo

Watch the video above for a general overview and demonstration of Arturia Keystep features.

 

Pros:

  • Low price
  • Arpeggiator (8 modes)
  • Sequencer (8 on-board memory slots)
  • Feel of keys
  • Build quality
  • Quick access to MIDI channel, gate and swing
  • Ability to queue pattern and time division change
  • MIDI, CV and USB connectivity
  • Polyphonic sequencing
  • 1 key chord feature

Cons:

  • Can not record live playing. You must program the sequence first.
  • No wall power adapter included
  • No digital display for things like BPM
  • Assignable pots or pads would complete this device

Arturia Keystep

 

Arturia Keystep has a street price of $119

The Arturia Keystep (MSRP $149) has a street price of $119 according to music gear retailers Guitar Center and Sweetwater. Guitar Center states the Arturia Keystep will be available on March 4, 2016.

Read more about the Keystep on the Arturia website.

The Arturia Keystep has a street price of $119.