When I decided to upgrade my production rig, I wanted a controller keyboard that could handle a wide range of functions, so I went withan Arturia KeyLab. In addition to the well-balanced semi-weighted keyboard, I have a whole set of controllers and pads right in front of me, and everything interface easily with any DAW I use. I'm also impressed by the include theAnalog Lab 2 soft synth, which includes high-quality sounds I can use in any genre.
I purchased a "Demo" model, not knowing that meant it could be a "Customer Return", which means the software is not included, and prior registration of the product makes it invalid to register thru the manufacturer. That being said, With Sweetwaters help the manufacturer was contacted and I was emailed a new code and was able to register it, and download the software. I've ordered from Sweetwater in the past, and will definitely continue to do so in the future. Thanks to Mark Stein and their top notch tech support everything turned out good. I can honestly say, if it'd been any other music store, this transaction probably wouldn't have ended well. Thankyou Mark and all the others at Sweetwater, You've set the customer service bar pretty high!
works with everything i have all at the same time! I can use the usb to computer with the analog lab stand alone one one monitor, with my virtual studio on another monitor plus have my old trustworthy sequencer hooked up thru midi. Complete bliss. Thank you!!!
fake wood sides peeling...
Only bad thing...fake wood sides!. plastic with laments. mine is peeling.....and I am not happy. I will try to replace with real wood. Other then that, this is the BEST controller and synth sounds I have used.
My thoughs on the Keylab49
The list of controls and sounds (5,000) that are editable gives you a good Idea or what to expect. The experience for me was a quick and relatively easy setup. The sounds quickly inspire the user to start using the faders and knob controls. The software has a clean user friendly interface. The construction (metal and wood) is the most solid I've ever had from ether Yamaha or Korg but I have no complaints about any of their keyboards. I am still setting up my DAW and other peripherals but so far this is the best experience I've had right from the start. The semi-weighted keys have a feel that is just right for me. Quality at an excellent price. That is 5 star material in my book.
With 5000 different sounds it's easy to be creative with. A user friendly interface makes it easy to operate. Setup was easy after receiving the registration code "as I posted in my first review". All and all, this is a great midi keyboard that's built VERY solid with easy to use controls. With the way the knobs and sliders are laid out, it feels and plays like a real synthesizer.
I have this and an Akai MPK 49. Those are the only two controllers I've tried. The Akai is junk I won't even get into that. Having owned many other keyboards this strikes me as just OK. Certainly not built like a tank, just OK but it's fairly cheap so what can you expect. The Keys have a soft feel to them and are pretty good with low velocities. You have to hit them pretty hard to get 127 to register.
The software is pretty good sounding that comes with it. You get a bunch of usable sounds and probably a lot stronger sound than any 350.00 keyboard you could ever buy (provided you already have a computer, but you probably wouldn't be buying a controller if you didn't)
If I had to do again I would skip these cheap controllers and just get a good feeling keyboard/synth that had a good feeling keyboard and sliders and knobs that I could just assign to use as a controller. Seems like for 350.00 you aren't going to get a good feeling keyboard. I guess that makes sense you get what you pay for.
Very poor quality keybed
This could be a great controller, but they sourced an extremely cheap keybed. The main issue that I've seen in mine and others is sticky keys. The begin to stick after about 30-60 seconds. When you play a note the key is launched (because it requires more force to depress) and it sends a high velocity MIDI message.
It's super annoying when you're trying to play keys, perhaps acceptable for some, but definitely a defect that they need to address.
Not worth it
Coming up on two years with the KeyLab. First off, Arturia makes excellent software SOUNDS. Their hardware is cheaply manufactured in China, and it shows. For the most part, everything on my KeyLab works the way it is supposed to. When I first got it from sweetwater two summers ago, I had nothing but problems getting it to recognize keys being pressed. Sweetwater being amazing as they always are, sent another out right away. The second one had tons of broken pieces and things I didn't want to deal with. So I cracked open the first one hoping there would be something obvious to fix. THE CABLE CONNECTING THE KEYBED WASN'T PLUGGED IN. Seriously? That's embarrassing for Arturia. Other than that, it has worked fine. A couple of broken parts but nothing major. This thing is NOT built for the road so don't even try it. The sounds in Analog Lab are amazing. Worth the money for the software license alone... IF you can get it to work properly. Right now, if you're running Logic X or any newer software, you can pretty much forget about getting Analog Lab to work inside it. It will run in standalone no problem, but that's not how I want to use it. I recently was forced to upgrade OS for a certain software, which forced me to upgrade from logic 9 to X. I reinstalled Analog Lab and now it is of no use to me because the company (Arturia) will not release the proper updates to work with Logic X. Their technical support is of no help, and they give a generic "solution" for any problem, delete all traces of the software and reinstall. It's a cop out. They don't know how to fix the problems and they're not spending to money to figure it out. This is a company out to make a quick buck. That's all. I won't be buying anything of theirs again.
Buggy Software & Poor Support
Yes, it's a beautiful keyboard. (Fake) wood paneling, nice white finish, illuminated drum pads, cool faders. The thing is pretty fun to look at. But beyond that, it's kind of a nightmare. I was stoked on the 5,000 included sounds and the native mapping, but right from the get-go, this thing gave me nothing but trouble. Even attempting to launch Analog Lab (the included synth software) would cause my computer and Logic to bug out and eventually crash. I'm running Logic Pro X on a Macbook Pro (with OSX Yosemite installed), and I figured this thing would work great right outta the box. But in the words of our favorite country star turned pop princess, it was nothing but trouble, trouble, trouble (when it walked in).
I attempted to contact Arturia support, but like another reviewer has already mentioned, they simply told me to "install updates" and the thing should work. I updated literally everything possible (firmware, Analog Lab software, Logic, OSX) but alas, no luck.
So I'm sad (but also relieved) to say that I'll be selling my beautiful but practically unusable KeyLab 49 on Craigslist today. It was fun to look at, but really no fun at all to use. C'mon Arturia, figure it out guys!
great software, but terrible keybed
I'm a huge fan of Arturia's virtual instrument software...I can highly recommend it. BUT...I can't recommend their controllers to anyone.The keys on my Keylab 49 are really cheap feeling and sticky and don't feel anywhere near as good as the keys on my ancient Roland XP 60 keyboard. One of the keys broke, and to me it's not even worth paying to get it repaired. I went on Arturia's own forum and found out problems with the keybed are way more common than I would've guessed. I plan to trash mine and hope for better luck with another brand.
HORRIBLE PRODUCT :(
If there was such a thing as a no star,i WOULD GIVE IT TO THEM. they've done everything wrong...first instead of having a nice and firm key-bed FOR THE QUALITY PURPOSE , they have a very light and cheap one, instead the actual body is all metal...lol like people going to go to road trip and concert with them.then they do not even send you the Ac adapter in the box (BECAUSE THEY DO NOT EVEN MAKE THEM) WOWWWWWW,you gotta buy them at the third party online store or somewhere hopefully it'll work with it and not blowing it up....
the worth part is:[ THERE IS NO CUSTOMER SERVICE TELEPHONE LINE TO TALK TO THE HUMAN ] YOU NEED TO SEND THEM AN ONLINE MESSAGE AND I'VE DONE THAT 3 DAYS AGO AND SO FAR NOBODY EVEN BOTHERED TO REPLY!!!!!!!!!! NOT EVEN AUTOMATIC CONFORMATION THAT :HEY WE GOT YOUR MESSAGE AND WE'LL GET TO YOU WHEN WE CAN....I MEAN WHY THESE KINDA COMPANIES ARE EVEN IN BUSINESS, wasting our time and money and nerve....
guys please do not even think to buy it, I just waist my money and lots of time trying to figure out their **** which not working correctly and I had no help so far....
The midi Key board works just fine. But the reason I got it was for the Keyboard software it came with. All the sounds I could ever need in one program. Problem is... The software crashes all the time! I'm using Pro Tools 10 on a Imac 27" running OS X 10.9.5. I can't even open some sessions that have this software used at all.
The reason for the one star is the costumer support. Tried to get in touch with this company but never got through to anyone. When I finally got an email back all it said was update the software. I replied I had already, then I never heard back.
Just get a cheaper midi key board.