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Arturia Analog Experience The Laboratory - 49 Keys Reviews

4.0 stars based on 9 customer reviews
  • Marko B.
    from Santa Barbara, CA May 4, 2011Music Background:
    Indie Musician, Recording Engineer and Producer

    I'll keep it short... Buy It

    I've had experience with Arturia's software in the past, and I was always quite impressed. When I decided to downsize to a 49-key controller, I was completely overwhelmed by the combination of so many strong contenders and the lack of a "real" piano feel in anything smaller than a 76-key device. I'll be honest, after trying out everything I could find at local shops and even that shiny big-box music store in Ventura, I ultimately purchased this package for two reasons: 1 - I knew the software would be worth the expense even if the controller wasn't up to par and 2 - It's easier to deal with a return/exchange from Sweetwater than anywhere else in the business.

    To keep it brief, I couldn't be happier. The fit and finish of the device is leagues beyond the price point (think high-end Kurz-like construction) and the key feel is "more" than on any other semi-weighted controller I tried. Combined with Kontakt, I am able to coax extremely subtle nuances from my sampled grand pianos by simply playing the way I would a traditional 88-key hammer-action device. Essentially, it seems as though the same attention to detail, consideration for intended users and uses and ultimately pride went into this hardware as I know Arturia puts into their software and have always heard they put into their premier hardware systems.

    I honestly haven't taken time to map all the knobs and sliders in my daw or plugins yet, but they are handy and "real" when working with the bundled synth software. I'm sure they will only add to the already considerable value. If you are going to get a controller, this should be a no-brainer. If you're considering a workstation for less than $2000, I'd seriously suggest this and a macbook loaded with Kontakt - all of which would be less than $2000 and compete with workstations worth twice that.

    If you're looking at this page... Buy It. You won't be sorry.

  • Tim
    from Seattle, WA USA October 9, 2012Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Pro Musician

    Even as a stand alone.... get this!

    If you buy this for no other reason than having a stand alone midi controller, it is 100% worth it. It is so solid, it feels good. It's something that you will still be able to rely on 10 years down the road. The construction will blow you away.

    That being said, the software can be tricky to get used to. It is not very intuitive during set-up. And it tends to be a bit of a cpu hog (at least on logic.)

    But let me reiterate one more time, even if this did not include the additional software, it is a must have!

  • ~skygod~
    from NJ/NYMA March 13, 2011Music Background:
    Recording/Live Sound Engineer, Pro Musician, Film/Theater

    Arturia Laboratory Initial Assessment

    It arrived Friday and I got back off the road Sat and unpacked it and set it up. It seems very sturdy, solid, and well made. The rear requires a USB power to a computer or a standalone 6VDC 0.5 amp power supply that IS NOT included in the box. These are not available in the stores so if you need one get one from your local Radio Shack.

    It comes with a booklet in several languages separated by language chapters, and your authorization card is in the front cover that has your serial number and unlock code. Keep this safe somewhere. The Authorization was seamless. I created an Arturia account, entered the serial and unlock code and rec'd an email in seconds with the unlock code, then pasted it in and the Steinberg e-Licenser on your hard drive captured it and the program was authorized ready for use. You also have to option of dong this to dongle for multiple systems. I don't use dongles except for Reason record and one is enough.

    After you authorize open the sound/midi tab and make sure to check the box that says LAB or else it wont sync with the porgram. It drove me crazy for 10 minutes until I figured it out as the manual, instead of starting with basic setup quirks, jumps right into the history of Moog and Arturia and although that in itself is interesting one would think setup is actually more important huh? ~fuggedaboudit!~

    Also make sure when you plug in your USB cable that you hit the on/off power switch to ‘on.’ That's another thing that drove me crazy as I am accustomed to USB powered devices such as the Zoom G21NU and the B21U to power on immediately regardless of where the power switch is when USB is plugged in. Oh well, I guess I'm an idiot so there you have it.

    I initially had it loaded on XP and after playing with it for half an hour realized direct to DAW and MIDI file playback that the LAB program overhead on a 2 GB laptop is too intensive. I loaded a 2 min midi file in Reaper and cloned it to see how many iterations of the LAB I could run simultaneously on X32 w/ 2 GB RAM. It crashed at six. Using basic ASIO @ 128 was too low and 258 was still not right and at 512 was ok.

    So I deactivated it from the XP and loaded it on a WIN7 x64 12GB RAM system but the authorization would not work as it can only be used once. So I deactivated the initial auth at the website, requested another one that I rec'd in less than a minute, and reauthorized on the WIN7 system in less than 5 mins. Then I jBridged it and now can use the software in x64 mode using all available ram.

    The sounds are ok to amazing depending on synth selected. But the entire analog synth history is covered here in a single program. You can setup by Sound or By Scene. The keyboard is very good non weighted and as a stand alone 49 key controller is worth the price of admission alone. So for anybody considering a DAW MIDI controller get the entire Italian sausage with onions and peppez and the works and don't settle for just a boiled hotdog on a bun with mustard. Huh? ~fuggedaboudit!~

    Now then, closing the LAB and activating several other soft synths was a breeze. All including my entire NI Komplete enchilada all others worked like magic. Of course you don't have control over every parameter on the other apps as you would with the LAB proper app, but that is moot to me as I am not a synth geek Youtube ‘producer’ and don’t have to turn a faaking knob or push a slider every second to give the illusion that one is actually making real music as is the norm on the planet now. It seems that synth dvvches have become like guitar tremolo arm wankers that have to wank the trem arm every other note or finger tap something and can't even read a note of music nor have a clue about music theory, but gosh golly can play a phrygian scale within 200 beats per minute drum loop at 300mph along over their detuned garbage riff. Hey but dat's another discussion for death metal guitar hip hop rap producer eurometal gear dvvchebag central forums.

    As a controller it gets the job done very well. Make sure your latencies are set at unity for you processor and available RAM and you will be just fine.

    It also has MIDI IN/OUT so I connected my Yamaha 88 key workhorse KX88 to that has 88 weighted keys to run thru the USB to Reason/Record and dual out to my external hardware synths direct to tape or back to DAW via outboard multi preamps via USB, Firewire, or PCIe.

    Well in summary I love it. My first venture into Arturia world and Good job Arturia! I am not disappointed They could have done a better job on the manual but nobody is perfect but actually very easy setup and authorization is a breeze.

    And most importantly Heartfelt prayers and sympathies to the great people of Japan and Hawaii and elsewhere in the Pacific who experienced insurmountable horror and tradgic loss of life and property in the past 48 hours. God bless all of you and yours -

    ~skygod~

  • Pete Buchwald
    from Denver March 11, 2011Music Background:
    Producer and Songwriter

    This is a no brainer!

    This product has great sounds, easy to sort through the sounds, easy to bookmark your favorites. The controller is sleek and looks great in the studio.

    I posted a video intro and review on YouTube as well, that you can find with a search for: "analog laboratory review".

  • J. Hopkins
    from Georgia, USA May 29, 2012Music Background:
    Keyboard fanatic

    Bridging the hardware/software gap

    The housing: Solid construction. Bright LCD. Does not feel cheap. USB bus powered and has a big power switch (thanks Arturia/CME)!

    The keybed: Very light, springy synth action. Keys have some side-to-side wobble when at rest (not depressed). Nice aftertouch response. May not be your cup of tea but fine for synth work.

    The controls: really solid. Lots of 'em. Ten knobs, not the usual eight, and they're endless rotary. Pitch and mod wheels smaller than a standard synth but absolutely usable and very smooth. Drum pads offer decent response. I haven't figure out whether the preset/category knobs can send program/bank changes, which would be helpful.

    The manual: not good. Lots of parameters left unexplained or under-explained. I'm sure I'll either figure it out or fall on the mercy of Arturia's forums. Pity.

    The software: included Laboratory software responds well to the hardware (which is, of course, the whole point). This makes sound tweaking a heck of a lot more fun and immediate, without having to map controls. Nice to have feedback from the LCD. I was familiar with the sounds already, having had the Factory software. Lots of good stuff to choose from, even if it's not the face-meltingly "real" emulation. Despite not having full sound editing, most of the parameter mappings are useful enough for getting "new" sounds. Only one minor bug encountered so far, but overall pretty stable on my Mac (10.6.8).

    In brief, I think it makes a decent controller for synths (hence the 4 stars) but far less so for anything that needs really controlled dynamic response (EP/piano).

  • Shawn
    from Providence, RI February 9, 2012Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Guitar Player, Keyboard and Vocalist

    Great for the price

    I'm really impressed with the sounds and the construction of the keyboard. The control parts feel good, the modulation and pitch feel stiff but I am hoping it just needs to be broken in. The key bed feels good for $349.00.

    I'm looking forward to writing with it in the studio.

  • Customer
    from October 19, 2011

    Love it - Very fun.

    Really enjoy messing around with all of the sounds. Can take some time to find what you are looking for, but once you get familiar with everything, it gets easier. The keyboard is pretty nice, no complaints.

    The reason I gave it 4 stars is the software can be a bit glitchy. Sometimes it won't play any patches from a specific synth -- Have reinstalled the software and it fixed the issue, but it popped up again on another synth later.

    Overall, awesome sounds. I would recommend this synth package to anyone! Very Very cool.

  • mrkr
    from huntsville, al usa March 23, 2011Music Background:
    experienced musician / recording engineer

    Incredible Value

    Good News:

    As a Keyboard Controller for your DAW, this is an incredible value! Extremely well-constructed (wood/metal enclosure). 49 touch-sensitive keys with aftertouch--they feel pretty good. Encoders (knobs) are continuous, which is vital for live performances. Compare to other key controllers available at this price point. Like the guy says below, "It's a no-brainer."

    As a software instrument, Analog Experience has outstanding analog synth models (the best I've heard thus far-Youtube vids available DO NOT do them justice). 3,500 presets! I would estimate conservatively 85% of which have usable potential. Sampling rates / audio buffer sizes are adjustable (sound quality/latency). Lots of tweaker bells and whistles that are useful depending upon application.

    Bad News/Warnings:

    Ships with outdated software. Mine shipped with 1.1.0. It is essential to download the most current version (1.2.0 at the time of this review (461MB)). Without updating, Software AU will neither load, nor 'validate' Plug-in inside Logic Studio 9.1.3.

    Ships WITHOUT Power Supply. MacBook Pro cannot supply enough USB power for the keyboard controller. Order or have on-hand the prescribed 12V DC 500mA Power Supply.

    Using Logic Studio 9.1.3, which runs natively in 64-bit. Must switch to 32-bit mode, Since Analog Experience AU is 32-bit only.

    To Be Resolved:

    Currently trying to sync Analog Experience AU to Midi Clock in Logic Studio 9. (for arpeggiator and effects, etc.) information seems scant.

    Arturia seems to be a young, small company. I've heard technical support is unresponsive. However, I haven't had to use them yet.

    Conclusion:

    In my opinion, you can't get a better keyboard controller at this price point --period!

    Software analog models are ADDED VALUE. While 3,500 presets aren't fully editable like Arturia's synth modules, encoders are assigned appropriately to enhance real-time live and recorded performances. Fully-editable synth modules can be purchased separately and added to the arsenal at any time.

    I am very glad I purchased this product.

  • Dave M
    from Northern California May 17, 2012Music Background:
    Recording/ Musician

    The Good-The Bad-The Ugly

    I really wanted to like The Analog Laboratory. I spent hours researching, watching demo vids, listening to samples. I was very excited to order and greatly anticipated the newcomer to my project studio. I had a little trepidation due to some of the negative comments in the Arturia forums and various websites I visited but listening to the demos and needing a MIDI, I dived in.

    The Good:

    When working properly The Laboratory produces lush, scrumptious, delectable sounds with 3500 presets, that you'll spend hours digging into and sampling. Ancient, Classic, Modern analog sounds modeled from legendary Synths. I run mine through JBL LSR monitors via an Impact Twin in stand alone or through Studio One V2 as a VST. I love the sounds, like butter!!!! Note: The Laboratory is a 32 bit VST so you'll need to bridge as a VST in a 64 bit DAW (if not supported).

    The Bad:

    Upon download, setup, registration Arturia is suppose to issue an activation code to authorize software via an e-licenser or use your own dongle. They never issued me a code and it took three days to resolve. So there it sat, brand new for three days! In the future I will try to avoid these e-licenser products if possible. Arturia tech support requests are very slow with no phone number to resolve urgent issues.

    The Ugly:

    I feel Arturia probably rushed this product out into the market because my Lab software/hardware combo hybrid is very glitchy . One wrong move and you lose control over many parameters, with nowhere to turn except the hundred or so other lost souls wandering the forlorn Arturia forum. To name a few issues : I have to set the buffers to nearly highest latency to avoid pops and clicks that nearly took my head off. Software will randomly freeze in VST or Standalone. My drum pads on the keyboard did not sync with the software, so I adjusted the button controls in the Labs MCC (MIDI Control Center). I was able to sync drum pads but lost all control over , Level, Control buttons trading a small problem for a huge one. This is a known issue once you scour the forums, making adjustments in the MCC resets the keyboard and screws up the sync, if you don't reboot the keyboard controller after changing the MCC, Once the keyboard controller is dysfunctional there doesn't seem to be a clear path to reset the default settings, that actually works. Condensed version, I've spent more time trying to get this unit to operate correctly than playing it and creating with it. I still have an open tech request I put in 8 days ago, no answer. Several times The Laboratory almost took a dirt nap against my wall, but my kinder, gentler, money conscious side prevailed.

    Conclusion: If I knew then what I know now, I would have went another direction, however, when functioning right it sounds sooooo damn good!!!

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