Last Updated on April 5, 2017 by Andrew Culture
Arturia Keylab Essential keyboards to provide everything you need to start creating and recording music in one neat package
French hardware and software creators Arturia have announced two new models for their popular KeyLab range of MIDI keyboards. The two new controllers (49 and 61 notes respectively) have been developed with budget-concious musician in mind. So all musicians.
The new range, named ‘KeyLab Essential’ is positively dripping with the type of performance controls that have made other hardware devices in the Arturia range popular with stage performers and studio geniuses alike. Hardware features include the pads, pitch bend / modulation wheels and velocity sensitive keys that we would expect to see, but also include faders and rotary controllers.
The Keylab Essential controllers also include a ‘DAW Command Centre’ and a couple of interesting memory functions. One memory function is DAW assigned, including mapping for the knobs and faders to the DAW’s level and pan controls, as well as transport controls. The other memory is an Analog Lab-assigned memory, allowing the user to control parameters in Arturia instruments which are mapped to the hardware knobs and faders on the keyboard.
Arturia KeyLab Essentials – more than just hardware
In addition to the pretty buttons and rugged appearance that (common across the entire Arturia hardware range) these two new controllers come packaged with some decent software. Anyone buying a KeyLab Essential keyboard will find the following three chunks of software ‘in the box’.
The KeyLab Essentials software package
Analog Lab 2
A collection of over 5,000 keyboard presets taken from the award-winning V Collection, powered by Arturia’s exclusive TAE® technology. Featuring every type of sound you can imagine, from analog monosynths to lush pianos, organs to digital powerhouses and everything in between, and all accessible through an easy to navigate, tag-based browser.
Ableton Live Lite
An introduction to the world of Ableton Live, a high-powered software suite used by top producers, DJs, performers, and remixers all around the world. Live Lite lets you record your ideas, layer tracks, warp audio, and release your productions.
UVI Grand Piano Model D
Straight from the world’s greatest concert halls and recording studios. KeyLab Essential also includes UVI’s recreation of the Steinway Model D grand piano, sampled in exquisite detail, ready for you to play, and free of charge.
Arturia KeyLab Essential Series – the specifications
- 49 / 61-note velocity sensitive keyboard
- Pitch bend & modulation wheels
- Transposition by semitones & octaves
- MCU / HUI compliant for comprehensive DAW integration
- 8 RGB back-lit, multi-purpose performance pads
- 9 faders & rotary encoders
- DAW Command Center & transport section
- 1 DAW-assigned memory (mapping for knobs & faders to control panning and level of tracks)
- 1 Analog Lab-assigned memory (mapping for knobs & faders to control essential parameters in Arturia instruments)
- 6 fully-customizable user memories
- “Chord play” mode
- Twin-line LCD screen
- Class-compliant USB, enabling use with iOS and Android devices
- Comprehensive music software bundle included
- Optional sustain pedal and DC power supply
So the features look great and the software package potentially goes beyond being useful to anyone wanting to dip their toes in computer music. But how much will these ‘low-cost’ MIDI controllers cost? How often does hardware in the world of making music actually manage to be as low-cost as it claims? Well that’s a question for another time, because the good news is that both the new KeyLab Controllers have price tags that made them very appealing indeed.
At the time of writing the 49 key version will retail at €199 / US$249 / £170. The 61 key version will retail at €249 / US$299 / £212. Prices are of course subject to adjustment by market forces, the exchange rate, Brexit etc etc etc.
Arturia KeyLab Essential gallery