Arturia Beatstep - First impressions...

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.
User avatar
Broadwave
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 406
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:50 am
Real name: Andy
Gear: Kronos 2-88, System 8, MODX6, ARP Odyssey, BroadWAVE ARP 2600EX, BroadWAVE Modular, BroadWAVE Sparta, BroadWAVE Minimoog, oh... and some guitars.
Location: Manchester UK
Contact:

Arturia Beatstep - First impressions...

Post by Broadwave » Wed Apr 16, 2014 8:30 am

It arrived yesterday :)


EDITED:

As far as the sequencer part of it goes there ARE a few issues. The lowest possible CV output from the Beatstep is 2 volts (technically speaking, it really should be 0v), so I'm having to transpose everything down 2 octaves via my modulars CV mixer.

The gate output is 7.88 volts, but that has to be amplified to trigger the 2600 which needs 10 volts + (strange… they don't seem to have to do that on their demo vid!)

I noticed that the 1v/Oct CV output was also out of kilter, so I took a risk and completely voided the warrantee by taking the back off and readjusting the scale trimmer - luckily there is one, but at least it now outputs the correct 1V/Oct and I don't have to recalibrate 15 (!!!) VCOs :)

I can confirm that the Beatstep WILL act as a basic MIDI to CV converter via USB from your DAW. As I couldn't find any mention of this on Arturia's site, that's turned out to be a nice unexpected bonus.

Apart from that, it's quite good (and fun) but it would be nice if they can sort out the 2 volt offset via an update.
Last edited by Broadwave on Wed Apr 16, 2014 9:17 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
pflosi
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 3620
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 6:14 pm
Gear: more than 150 characters...
Location: zürich
Contact:

Re: Arturia Beatstep - First impressions...

Post by pflosi » Wed Apr 16, 2014 9:02 am

Kronik wrote:As far as the sequencer part of it goes there ARE a few issues. The overall CV output is too high by 3V. I'm having to transpose everything down 3 octaves via my modulars CV mixer.
Noooooooooo :banghead: That might just be the deal breaker for me - I could live with no proper sync integration (unless you use a computer), but sequencers that are not at 0V for the minimum setting annoy the h**l out of me. Oh well, nice try Arturia. :roll:

User avatar
Broadwave
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 406
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:50 am
Real name: Andy
Gear: Kronos 2-88, System 8, MODX6, ARP Odyssey, BroadWAVE ARP 2600EX, BroadWAVE Modular, BroadWAVE Sparta, BroadWAVE Minimoog, oh... and some guitars.
Location: Manchester UK
Contact:

Re: Arturia Beatstep - First impressions...

Post by Broadwave » Wed Apr 16, 2014 9:15 am

pflosi wrote:but sequencers that are not at 0V for the minimum setting annoy the h**l out of me. Oh well, nice try Arturia. :roll:
I've been double checking everything… My mistake, it's only out by +2 volts (not 3 as in my original post :oops:) Still a bloody PITA!

I just wish manufacturers would let "real world" users try their equipment before release to clear daft things like this up first.

I've just tried it on my Minimoog (gate via an S-Trig converter), but even with the VCOs set at 32' the output from the Beatstep is too high, so you can't get "bass" from it! :roll:

User avatar
pflosi
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 3620
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 6:14 pm
Gear: more than 150 characters...
Location: zürich
Contact:

Re: Arturia Beatstep - First impressions...

Post by pflosi » Wed Apr 16, 2014 9:43 am

Kronik wrote:Still a bloody PITA!
Exactly. :cry:

User avatar
calaverasgrande
Expert Member
Expert Member
Posts: 1038
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 5:29 pm
Gear: MG1, MP201, MF101, MF102, Taurus 3, SH09, KPR-77, Streichfett, Dark Energy, X0Xb0x, Dronelab, Synsonics Drums, Machinedrum, Modular.
Band: N.S.V.
Location: New York
Contact:

Re: Arturia Beatstep - First impressions...

Post by calaverasgrande » Wed Apr 16, 2014 7:39 pm

damn, I was just about to pull the trigger on it.
The last thing I need is another piece putting out the wrong CV.
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave

User avatar
Bitexion
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 4230
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2005 7:43 pm
Gear: Alesis Andromeda A6
Roland D-50
Creamware Minimax
Yamaha DX7s
Analogue Systems modular
Ensoniq SQ-80
Waldorf Blofeld
Location: Drammen, Norway

Re: Arturia Beatstep - First impressions...

Post by Bitexion » Wed Apr 16, 2014 9:36 pm

That is VERY strange. Are you sure there isn't some switch you've tripped on yours? Or some menu that says "+2V increase" or something?

Arturia can't have messed up so badly. Like if my modular's sequencer transposed everything by two octaves. (It can, but not unless I tell it to)

User avatar
meatballfulton
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 5774
Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2005 9:29 pm
Gear: Live 9, Logic Pro X

Re: Arturia Beatstep - First impressions...

Post by meatballfulton » Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:43 am

What's the maximum CV voltage?

The manual says range should be 0-7V...if it's starting at 2 V, can you get it to drive more than 7V?

Have you tried the Transpose settings to see how they affect the CV?

Took a quick look at the Arturia forums, others reporting the same pitch CV issue.
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.

User avatar
Broadwave
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 406
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:50 am
Real name: Andy
Gear: Kronos 2-88, System 8, MODX6, ARP Odyssey, BroadWAVE ARP 2600EX, BroadWAVE Modular, BroadWAVE Sparta, BroadWAVE Minimoog, oh... and some guitars.
Location: Manchester UK
Contact:

Re: Arturia Beatstep - First impressions...

Post by Broadwave » Thu Apr 17, 2014 2:00 pm

I'm sat here with my trusty multimeter, y'all ready for this…

Sequence encoder at default "centre" (yeah, it's an encoder, but you get my drift) outputs +4 Volts
Sequence encoder at minimum outputs +2 Volts (down to +1 Volt with Transpose Down - Definitely not 0V!)
Sequencer encoder an maximum outputs +6 Volts (up to +7 Volts with Transpose Up)

NB. The transpose function cannot be saved as part of the template, and there's definitely no function or switch to accidentally shift the output voltage level ;)

So there you have it - Arturia sort of messed up.

Something else I noticed… When you transpose sequences live, via a MIDI keyboard, as soon as you let the key go the sequence jumps back to default (For example: If you create a sequence in "C" and transpose it down to "A", as soon as you release the key, the sequence jumps back to "C"… no latch function :cry: )

Also, you can't externally transpose lower than MIDI C2 (again +2V).

But I've just had a thought - We're dealing with digital here, powered from 0-5V via USB. Somewhere along the line Arturia must have decided on a happy medium (literally) to decide where the central voltage is to allow the sequence to be programmed up or down (in the Beatstep's case, that's +4V). Analogue sequencer pots generally have a centre position of 0V allowing for a -Ve and +Ve voltage swing... Beatstep can't do this, although it would help a little if the lowest voltage was 0 - Maybe they couldn't do that for some reason due to the design?

I think we'll just have to live with it.

But, I've still no idea why it won't directly trigger the ARP… I shoved an LFO square wave (Attenuated to 8V) into the ARPs S/H Gate socket and it fired the EGs with no problem. The Beatstep gate out is 8V but it doesn't work - Weird!!!
Last edited by Broadwave on Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Ned Bouhalassa
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 578
Joined: Mon May 17, 2010 8:26 pm
Gear: 1 old Japanese mono-monster, an old BBC Brit, and 2 Americans: one old NY fat poly, the other, a young Californian mono/para.

Re: Arturia Beatstep - First impressions...

Post by Ned Bouhalassa » Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:03 pm

Thanks for sharing your tests! I think I'll wait for version 2.
My music: soundcloud
My analog synth videos nedonanalog
More about me: youshootiscore

User avatar
calyx93
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 448
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2005 5:48 am
Gear: PPG Wave 2.2, Waldorf μWave x3, Roland JP6+V-Synth, SCI P5+600, Ensoniq SQ-80, Kawai K-3
Location: Winston-Salem, NC

Re: Arturia Beatstep - First impressions...

Post by calyx93 » Thu Apr 17, 2014 4:19 pm

thanks for the details - gonna have to pass on this one too.
“I have stretched ropes from steeple to steeple; garlands from window to window; golden chains from star to star, and I dance.” - Rimbaud

User avatar
pflosi
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 3620
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 6:14 pm
Gear: more than 150 characters...
Location: zürich
Contact:

Re: Arturia Beatstep - First impressions...

Post by pflosi » Thu Apr 17, 2014 4:33 pm

Strange s**t... It can't be an accident with the +2V thing, I'm sure it has a reason. But it sucks still.

About triggering the ARP, maybe the Beatstep gate is too short...?

User avatar
calaverasgrande
Expert Member
Expert Member
Posts: 1038
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 5:29 pm
Gear: MG1, MP201, MF101, MF102, Taurus 3, SH09, KPR-77, Streichfett, Dark Energy, X0Xb0x, Dronelab, Synsonics Drums, Machinedrum, Modular.
Band: N.S.V.
Location: New York
Contact:

Re: Arturia Beatstep - First impressions...

Post by calaverasgrande » Thu Apr 17, 2014 5:04 pm

Kronik wrote: But, I've still no idea why it won't directly trigger the ARP… I shoved an LFO square wave (Attenuated to 8V) into the ARPs S/H Gate socket and it fired the EGs with no problem. The Beatstep gate out is 8V but it doesn't work - Weird!!!
correct me if I am wrong but isnt the CV and gate brought out on a TRS to TSx2 pigtail?
Could this not be some issue with sharing a common ground?
Does the gate work when the kb CV isn't connected to the Arp?
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave

smcumber
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:55 am

Re: Arturia Beatstep - First impressions...

Post by smcumber » Thu Apr 17, 2014 6:13 pm

This seemed cool at first, but for some reason I didn't process that the knobs are encoders and there's no visual feedback at all. Eh, that sucks.

User avatar
Broadwave
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 406
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:50 am
Real name: Andy
Gear: Kronos 2-88, System 8, MODX6, ARP Odyssey, BroadWAVE ARP 2600EX, BroadWAVE Modular, BroadWAVE Sparta, BroadWAVE Minimoog, oh... and some guitars.
Location: Manchester UK
Contact:

Re: Arturia Beatstep - First impressions...

Post by Broadwave » Thu Apr 17, 2014 6:31 pm

calaverasgrande wrote: correct me if I am wrong but isnt the CV and gate brought out on a TRS to TSx2 pigtail?
Could this not be some issue with sharing a common ground?
Does the gate work when the kb CV isn't connected to the Arp?
OK, I'll correct you ;)

The CV and Gate are on separate 3.5 jack outputs, MIDI is via a 3.5 jack to DIN converter (supplied). Gate still not triggering if the CV is removed.

@pflosi - I've tried lengthening the gate time from the default 50% up to 99% (via the supplied software) makes no difference either - I've resorted to building a small op-amp booster on a piece of stripboard to put into the ARP (just after the S/H Gate jack). It should do the trick and hopefully not interfere with the pre patched S&H clock pulse - I'd love to know how they did it in their Promo Video… Witchery, probably ;)

User avatar
calaverasgrande
Expert Member
Expert Member
Posts: 1038
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 5:29 pm
Gear: MG1, MP201, MF101, MF102, Taurus 3, SH09, KPR-77, Streichfett, Dark Energy, X0Xb0x, Dronelab, Synsonics Drums, Machinedrum, Modular.
Band: N.S.V.
Location: New York
Contact:

Re: Arturia Beatstep - First impressions...

Post by calaverasgrande » Thu Apr 17, 2014 6:40 pm

Kronik wrote:
calaverasgrande wrote: correct me if I am wrong but isnt the CV and gate brought out on a TRS to TSx2 pigtail?
Could this not be some issue with sharing a common ground?
Does the gate work when the kb CV isn't connected to the Arp?
OK, I'll correct you ;)

The CV and Gate are on separate 3.5 jack outputs, MIDI is via a 3.5 jack to DIN converter (supplied). Gate still not triggering if the CV is removed.

@pflosi - I've tried lengthening the gate time from the default 50% up to 99% (via the supplied software) makes no difference either - I've resorted to building a small op-amp booster on a piece of stripboard to put into the ARP (just after the S/H Gate jack). It should do the trick and hopefully not interfere with the pre patched S&H clock pulse - I'd love to know how they did it in their Promo Video… Witchery, probably ;)
Okay I must have conflated two different products. I know there was some recent new gadget that did use pigtails for the CV/Gate. Maybe it was one of the Elektrons?

I wonder if their video was done on a prototype that differed from the shipping version?
Wouldn't be the first time a company has done that.
I can't say I am super disapointed. I rank this more as a fun gadget like the Volcas than as real tool.
Still, it would have been nice to add to an order from Sweetwater. :roll:
I'm still going for the Minibrute SE.
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave

Post Reply