Using Arturia's KeyStep with VCV Rack

For a while now, I was looking for a relatively small midi keyboard, that will work well with VCV Rack, but also with other gear, and that will fit into my live setup I’m building. Little did I know that the KeyStep from Arturia is a very powerful tool to have, super intuitive, and very friendly in a live situation.

Other than having all the “regular” features a midi keyboard has like velocity and aftertouch, it has also a cool arpeggiator with 8 play modes, and a very powerful sequencer that can interact with the user and evolve the sequence on the spot as the composition develops. It’s also very easy to use within VCV Rack, and in this video I show how to sync the KeyStep with VCV Rack, how to use it as a “normal” midi keyboard, also polyphonically with up to 16 voices, and I demonstrate how the arpeggiator and sequencer are working, including Chord mode, which is very cool by itself.


Another great tutorial Omri! You’re on a roll… Arturia sure makes some nice stuff. From the outside it seems there’s quite a bit of overlap between the keystep and the beatstep. If you could only choose one of them, which one would it be? And thanks!

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Thanks, Lars!
I don’t think they really overlap actually, each is unique in its own way. I guess that they’re both sequencers, yes, but in a very different way. The KeyStep is much more “communicative” and “on the spot” kind of sequencer, and the BSP is deeper with many more possibilities.
If I had to choose one, I would choose the BSP. It’s a beast… Of course that all depends if a keyboard is important for me (the BSP has also a “keyboard” but played on pads), and if I have other gear. If I really want a keyboard and I use it only “in the box”, then the KeyStep is more than enough, but if I have other gear as well, then the BSP is the way to go. The best is, of course, having both because they work so nicely together, combining this jamming feel of the KeyStep, with the brains and brawn, which is the BSP.

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Thank you. I am just starting out and was not aware of Audio interfaces having sync and interacting with VCV Rack. Can you point me to more info? What device are you using and how does it interfacer on the computer side (USB?) I was mainly looking at using Logi Pro with my Keystep 37 and some other keyboards, but this sort of interaction to generate music is very visceral and looks like fun. I have ordered a Minifuse 2 mainly for getting sound from my old DX11 and voice, but it does not look lue it has a sync interface for the clock.

Hi! Well, it’s not a dedicated sync input, it’s just a normal line it\out that you can use to send the clock signal through. In this video, I used the Steinberg UR242, and it worked great.

Wouldn’t the USB Midi clock be enough?

Unfortunately, it’s not stable enough.

Andrew has fixed this in the upcoming V2 of Rack, which is due to be released in November.