Behringer’s answer to the Keystep Pro is called Groove Key and is an upcoming multi-engine groovebox and MIDI-CV sequencer.
With the announcement of the Swing MIDI controller in 2020, Behringer caused heated discussions in the Synthesizer community. For many, the initial design of the Keystep clone was a step too far. While many were frustrated about these plans, the product was released in late 2021 with a twisted layout.
But Behringer doesn’t leave it at that. Now they make a frontal attack on the next product in the Arturia step lineup.
Behringer Groove Key
With the Groove Key, Behringer published a render photo of a larger MIDI sequencer. It is immediately noticeable that the Arturia Keystep Pro has greatly inspired the developers. Or should we talk about cloning since many parts of the design are very reminiscent to the original unit?
Good thing it’s not a 1-to-1 knockoff of the original Keystep Pro. The design is very similar, yes, you can not deny it. Behringer’s version, however, will offer significantly more in the core.
MIDI Sequencer Meets Groovebox
According to Behringer, the Groove Key will be a hardware multi-track sequencer and a groovebox in one device.
The MIDI part was taken over from the Keystep Pro feature set with 4 channels of MIDI/CV sequencing, a dedicated drum sequencer with dedicated outputs for each channel, and more. It’s very obvious. But they will probably add features from the Swing controller, like ratcheting.
Besides the MIDI sequencer, the Groove Key will also be a groove box with internal polyphonic sound engines. These engine parameters can be edited directly on the interface. On the render photo, you can see controls for cutoff, resonance, pitch, and more. There are no exact details about these at the moment.
I can imagine that Behringer will use the algorithms from the Brains (MI Plaits clone) module for this. Or they develop completely new ones for this project. Let’s see.
A release date or price is TBA. Behringer says:
We don’t have a delivery date or price yet, but as always it’ll be very affordable. While we’re still waiting for chips, our many engineering teams are working on close to 100 exciting products to come. 2023 will be a great year. Stay tuned.
With this announcement, they’ve done a lot better. Yes, it looks a lot like a Keystep Pro clone. However, there are many differences. The interface has many more controls and will be a standalone groovebox with different engines.
But the bad aftertaste remains. I wish Behringer had gone for their own design instead of copying another one from a competitor.
More information here: Behringer