Arturia is known for both their controller and software range. Lately they released two iPad apps. And they just released a new keyboard controller line, the Keylab series. The keylab controller series are accompanied with their well know Analog Lab software. Today we’ll take a look at the Keylab 49 keyboard.
First of all let me say that I just like the smooth look of the controllers, the combination of the glossy finish with, blue LED’s, black button and wooden side panels just makes this a very nice controller to look at. Also the good interaction of hard and software gives this series their highly user friendly look.
Build and Hands On Usage
The Keylab has a traditional layout with your 49 key’s on the bottom. Left to them you get your pitch and modulator. In the upper left corner you’ll see the volume, parameter and value rotaries. Next to them there is a little display for easy feedback and underneath it there are the sound, multi and edit buttons for easy navigation trough your library.
Next to that you see the eight parameter rotary knobs and nine faders, below that the parameter edit section. On the right of them you’ll find the transport section for easy recording and playback. On the upper right section of the controller you have the 16 pads. Which you can use, for example, with percussion or drum programming.
The eight rotary knobs feel quite good, the response is good and they don’t feel wobbly. There is also a noticeable difference between the various knobs; for example, the parameter knobs feel smoother then the volume knob, which is nice, because of the software/hardware takeover, you can tell just by feel where your levels are at. You get 16 pads on the Keylab that feel smooth and give you a nice quick response, they are all backlit for easy feedback and you can also use them to play chords if you like. The LED screen gives you just the information you need for a quick reference.
The Key’s have a nice response to them, which I like a lot. The pitch and modulation wheel feel just right and give a good response.
The Combined Analog Lab Software gives you a variety of sounds combined with multiple effects which you control via the controls on the Keylab. The software can be used as stand alone or as a plug-in for your own digital audio workstation.
The software gives you a library of great sounding sounds and patches. For example there is the Minimoog, Jupiter 8 and Modular Moog. It works very handy. You get a layout with three windows in it. On the left side you’ll see your library, on the right you see an animated studio with synths in it. And beneath you’ll see a software version of your controller. If you hoover over any of the synths in your animated studio you will see that they light up and with it your library shows the preset content. If you press on any of them you get a window with the chosen instrument. And immediately you can start playing them on your controller.
The beauty of the Keylab series is that they are fully midi so you can use them with any kind of software you would like and with any kind of software synth so you can have full control over that sound (you want).
The sound quality of the software is just what you would expect from Arturia. The synths all sound amazingly good. They are all studio ready and the options to adjust every sound to your own preference just gives it that extra bonus. I myself am just amazed by the filters, they just sound so good without any distortion whatsoever. The bass gives you that deep sound you want and the reverb and cutoff are very clear. If you think of the synths, sound quality and options you get with the software, it’s just amzing if you consider the price of the Analog Lab software.
In my opinion the Keylab series are a complete range of hybrid controllers, given the good quality hardware and a very complete software synth, with so many great sounding, usable sounds and effects. You’ll just get your money’s worth.