Behringer Groove Key, a Keystep Pro inspired groovebox and MIDI CV sequencer

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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

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.

Behringer Groove Key Keystep Pro

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.

Behringer Groove Key

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 

Hardware Audio MIDI News

Hardware Groovebox News


    • Hey Jean Philippe, the article says that it’s inspired and not a 1-to-1 ripoff, knockoff, or whatever. I wrote that it’s not a clone but that the look and layout are strongly reminiscent on the KPro and would thus indicate a clone. But it’s not as written in the article. There is no hate. Why should I spread hate, I have Behringer devices myself in the studio.
      Unfortunately, a lot of the design is taken over from the Keystep Pro. The form, the layout, etc. Check out other sequencers on the market. Everyone has their own design. This not, sorry.

      • The Deepmind was one of those few of their devices which wasn’t a clone of anything. It wasn’t totally original either, that said you find few synths that dont have some filter of some other company. In the end everyone implements some stuff that someone else did before. And if Roland starts coming with their own clones/vist in a box, why shouldn’t someone else too. With the Corksniffer and with the legal aggressive actions from Behringer to those critical on forums, Behringer companies leadership shown just to be extremely poor, a bad taste which no amount of philanthropism will rinse away.

        But that Deepmind and the many clones, the original companies have been milking that cow to long anyways. Maybe all that cloning of old machines makes other companies try something new again. If then Behringer immediately starts cloning, then someday their ass is grass.

        • I’m almost certain they’ll use the same cheap sound module found in the Akai MPK play (90s GM sounds quality-wise). The Reverb and Chorus knobs suggest that.

      • Fair enough. But the tone always with B stuff is immediate suspicion. Far more obnoxious for me are companies like Moog who shamelessly milk customers for every cent they think they can extract while pretending to be enlightened and egalitarian.

        • Moog and other companies have their own ideas and designs and do not have to use other companies’ designs constantly. Axel Hartmann designed the Keystep range just as information. I’m honest with every company. And if it’s the case, I’ll write it. And with Uli and his team, it rarely happens that a design is 100% original. It won’t kill anyone but it’s obvious and worth mentioning.

        • Hi Jean Philiipe. I shoot dirt at Behringer any day of week with pleasure. The tone against them isn’t harsh enough, it should be at least 100 times more than it is now!

          But of course there are always greedy people around who only think about themselves and think it’s ok to just steal whatever just so they can buy it cheap.

    • Like your car, microwave, refrigerator, flat screen tv, oscillating fan, cell phone, living room recliner, dishwasher, flashlight, car battery, and, and, and Lincoln Park Trixie ain’t all clones.

  1. Who comes to a Behringer post complaining about the word “clone”? Where have you been and how are your eyes treating you. Its pretty clear what thay’ve created so there no need to play internt higher-than-though for the use of a pretty spot on descriptive word for a product that looks and has almost the same functionality of another. Think about it like this, if no one were buying their products, would they be able to keep making these clones? FYI, my 2600 clone is awesome! Not every industry needs activist, just make music. Dam.

  2. For me, the most important shortcomings of Beatstep Pro were the lack of real mod/pitch wheels and 64-step limit. Doesn’t look like Behringer’s contender fixes that.

  3. «Internal polyphonic sound engines» – Now that’s an significant upgrade of the obvious – let’s say- inspiration. If it means sticking a headphone in and just play and compose untethered, that’s def a sweet and also valid selling point. I will get this as long as it doesn’t turn of to be of flimsy quality / erroneous software.

    NB: I thoroughly recommend refraining from any online bickering. I wish more people did. It’s so simple yet so effective for staying more positive in life and generally a better mental health.
    Stay away from the black holes (unless it’s a fantastic new reverb algorithm) and have a Happy Festivus 🎄

  4. Hate it or not, cloning isn’t cool, but it is cool.
    Lemme explain 🙂
    People always want the good stuff but the good stuff is expensive. Cloning or doing a remake of that expensive stuff and bring it less expensive on the market is a big big win for most of the Musicians. In terms of moral, it isn’t cool.
    If the Behringer Keystep Pro costs under 300€ i will definitely go for it instead of the Original Keystep Pro.

    Im really exited about upcoming Products in 2023 ^^

  5. This was improved from the original design in significant ways. The inclusion of a sound engine (still to be heard) is great plus this has more knobs and functions compared to the original so it’ll function as a better midi controller if the software works as expected and Behriger gets to support it like Arturia has supported the Keystep Pro.

    Looks good and it’ll be a wait and see for this Behrinstep Pro ™ just like their other 250 products yet to be released.

  6. I would just like to say that Moog isn’t mass producing their stuff in China, it’s made in the states buy people who are hopefully making a living wage(I realize the are issues on that note), and I can get aDFAM for $700 is pretty amazing. The company is also 49% employee owned. Most corporations can tear each other to shreds as far as I’m concerned. Moog deserves our support. That being said, the workers deserve our support. First things first. That’s all. Capitolism sucks

  7. Yeah ,We love Behringer for making those machine accessible to everyone with low price point! Arturia make huge profit by selling their stuff too expensive!and Arturia forgot that they become famous by cloning all roland softare at a time….. hahahhaha

  8. I’d be lying if I said I was 100% happy with my Keystep Pro but it’s a solid piece of equipment. I don’t really trust the quality of B stuff long term and this “added sound engine” sounds like an afterthought. “Ooh look it’s not a direct copy we tacked something else on.”

  9. Cloning is a technique scientists use to make exact genetic copies of living things (the same part for part). behringer isn’t doing that. remanufacturing something using currently available components isnt cloning but if you are going to rework or reproduce / remanufacture its best to you modernise the design / product by expanding whilst adding more additional functionalities, memories, processing power, a better interface… it’s the lack of doing this by behringer that is the problem imo. matching up components to rebuild old circuits is a wonderful thing (and not as easy as one might think). I hope that with time they will retread (the same grounds) everybody’s (other manufacturers) R&D to come up with something new unique other manufacturers (may have) missed. then again, having said that it’s behringer who’s motto is cheap dirty and fast… oh, sorry. i meant we’re a disruptor company all about cost efficiency and affordability for all.

  10. I use my keystep pro for sequencing my eurorack drum modules. I will probably replace it with the behringer because it has more triggers and also accent outputs. I hope it will turn out good!

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