Not Too Portable, But Pretty Much Useful
What do we want in a MIDI controller/Keyboard?
We want something lightweight, portable and easy to set up.
Arturia had just released their flagship Arturia Keylab 61.
If you’re one to play with lots of VSTs live, you would love this.
But if you’re a multi-talented player, you could forget about this (or you could try to bring it along with you too!).
A Professional Design
If there’s anything we love about this keyboard, it’s the full-sized key set. There’s plenty of assorted controls that we could use without having to go around fiddling with extenders. This is what small-sized keyboards actually lack, effective controllers.
The longer your keyboard, the greater the number of controls including
- pads and…
Which are easily seen in the front panel. Bank buttons are definitely convenient for these types of keyboards with lots of controls. Of course, you’ll be playing with different sounds and emulated keyboard models so admit it that banks are pretty much useful.
Another great thing about the Arturia KeyLab is the inclusion of a 4×4 Matrix of rubberized velocity triggers. This is useful if you’re packing some awesome sound effects, beat programming or assigning a specific number of assignable chords.
The small LCD is useful due to its “previous bank” and “previous settings” options via rotary buttons and selection buttons. This is extremely useful if you want to scroll through the banks without having to move your mouse (or you’re nailing an 8-note riff with your right hand.).
Unique Intergrated Software
Arturia’s KeyLab 61 includes the Analog Lab software.
It includes over 5,000 classic synthesizer sounds from Arturia’s own vintage analog recreations.
Let me just put it out there that Arturia is well known for its powerful V-Collection.
It includes some great patches of Moogs, the Jupiter-8 and other items from when electronic and synthesizer music was born.
To give it free with this keyboard is like having a blast with a great keyboard.
I guess it’s also a highly useful selling point, not that Arturia’s KeyLab has some poor points. The software works effectively and intuitively from the keyboard for live and recording sessions.
If you’re a solo player, I think I saw some patches for drum-trigger pads that could be useful for one-man acts with a synthesizer.
Arturia’s KeyLab is no stranger to expansion as well. You could use them with other synthesizer software such as Reason or FL Studio flawlessly.
They also work well with most DAWs, including Avid’s Pro Tools, which I tested it on.
Final Words About This Controller
It might not be the most portable and lightest of keyboards, but the KeyLab 61 holds much clout with plenty of controls and user-intuitive interfaces.
Connecting it to a laptop for a live or recording performance is a breeze using the Analog Lab.
Playing with a full 61-key set is also a liberating experience from playing with mostly 25 to 37 key sets.
With velocity triggers are accurate and all keys lifelike in trigger and sound, KeyLab 61’s price of $399 makes them one of the biggest bargains I’ve ever seen, counting the fact that you have Analog Lab in the bundle!
Arturia brings a nice crossover to the table. please share and comment