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Arturia MiniLab Reviews

3.0 stars based on 19 customer reviews
  • Steve G
    from Southern California January 1, 2016Music Background:
    Musician and Studio Ownder

    Mini Lab in ProTools 10 Has Been Buggy

    When I first got the MiniLab a few years ago, I LOVED all the sounds!
    I STILL love the sounds, but there are some problems I had with it from day 1 as a plugin.

    First, it would never save it's settings between various sessions. No matter what I tried.
    So, I just got in the habit of putting a note in the comment section of the instrument so that I could bring up the sound I last used.

    Second, after a recent update, it now freezes my entire computer when trying to open it within ProTools.
    This makes me very sad.

    I don't really use it as a standalone program, though I have once or twice.
    The SOUNDS are truly amazing and inspiring, but the bugs that have presented in the last year or so have made it almost unusable.

    This is on a fresh install of Windows and Pro Tools.

  • Customer
    from July 6, 2015

    So much problem

    Knob is dither and mess around, update is useless, try the absolute mode not work
    Key is too hard to push, nice look, bad use

  • Aaron
    from Los Angeles June 25, 2015Music Background:
    Post production audio

    Underwhelming

    The touch sensors for pitch and modulation hardly work well in Arturia's software much less others'. The Analog Lab software sounds great, but lacks customization. There is an AAX plugin, but you have to talk it down on Arturia's site, and there are no instructions telling you how to do so. It also frequently crashes Pro Tools.

  • Bradlii
    from Detroit June 3, 2015

    MiniLab is a portable tool providing fantastic value...

    I give it a 4.5 only because the software has crashed on me a few times.

    That said, the keyboard (placed back into its box) comes right in at around 15 inches wide, which is perfect for throwing into any backpack with one's laptop.

    For a $100 keyboard that includes an input for a sustain pedal, it really is pretty awesome.

    Add to this the fact that it includes a $90 software (Analog Lab) FOR FREE, and you've got a ridiculous amount of inspirational synth models based on some classics. With a little manipulation and decapitating in ProTools or whatever your DAW, I am pretty confident that these synths can fool most people, and the bottom line is, for $100 dollars, you've gotten a super portable midi controller that maps to 5,000+ sounds in Analog Lab as a stand alone or plug in softsynth that sounds pretty d*mn good.

    Heck... Analog Lab works in ProTools, Logic, AND GarageBand AND stand alone mode.

    What else do you want for a $100 bucks?

    I'd recommend an i7 or faster to handle the soft synths, btw. They can build up a processing load quickly when stacked, but the sounds are worth it.

    For anyone ranking this lower than a 4, you're out of your mind, sorry. This thing is great, and I'm very impressed with Arturia so far.

  • Bruin
    from So. California, USA February 23, 2015Music Background:
    ex-pro keyboardist, composer, arranger

    $99 for a well-built mini MIDI controller & 5,000+ Vintage Analog Synths

    Just got my Arturia MiniLab, although I also own an Arturia Experience, the Laboratory 61; V-Collection 3.0; and, all their iPad soft synths available to date. If you miss the wonderful, lush, fat, warm sounds of the 1980's analog synths, and you want to access NINE of them via a very well constructed and handsome 25-key mini MIDI controller with great feel, and a "suite" or "pallette" (best way I can describe this) in which you can scroll through all of these sounds by synth and type of path, plus layer or split 2 programs at a time, this set-up is for you. And, the $99 price tag is just ridiculous. Now I can compose music at work during my breaks with my MacBook Pro, Logic Pro X, and Arturia MiniLab, on top of all the other soft synths that I have access to.

    Crazy-great deal, lots of fun, and a very powerful tool for a pittance.

  • Alec D
    from UT, USA September 4, 2014Music Background:
    Musician

    really pretty great

    initially this thing took me awhile to set up with ableton, but once i got it going and had the analog lab installed i've been making a lot more music than usual. it's easy to use once you figure it out and it makes things a lot easier than just having nothing.

    i would recommend this if you're on a budget or just starting out, especially for the price. but research it with what DAW you use and how it runs with it.

    only complaint i have is the manual wasn't specific enough and the support system of arturia didn't help me, ended up just messing around with it until it worked.

  • linda
    from NJ August 6, 2014Music Background:
    traditional and ipad music creation

    stiff keys, 3 to 1 ratio knobs, decent software

    It works but it has a few issues. the miniLab software says you can choose the knob speed, but all the speeds are the same slow in reality. for any program outside analog lab, you have to turn the knobs up to 3 full rotations to get one rotation on screen. this sounds small but it takes the natural way of working out of your performance. then there is this thing where if you turn a physical knob really fast, the knob on screen jumps forward a bit on its own.. which is a feature of the minilab controller but doesnt help when you are trying to get a nice even turn through 3 long rotations. also the keys are way more stiff than you would expect but work fine.
    ultimately you are getting knobs, keys and pads for cheap (with some software) so i didnt expect it to be a great controller, but i wasnt aware that the knobs had this known issue and Arturia has not yet updated with a fix. (this is as of the mar. 19, 2014 build). You can read more about it in Arturia's forum.
    the pitch and mod wheel strips leave a bit to be desired but are useable. it does work with ipad. also remember to put it in the right mode every time to get it running correctly with non-analog lab software (also tedious). i would not recommend it to a friend, but i would not call it junk either. ymmv

  • virgil nelson
    from burnsville, MN. July 22, 2014Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Good Value

    Very handy and easy to use. Has more options than I use now. Will explore more as time goes on. Can't beat the price.

  • Jonathan
    from Santa Rosa, CA June 12, 2014Music Background:
    Beats, Noise, Production

    Arturia MiniLab controller/teaser

    Depending on your set up, this can be really easy to integrate or a bit of a hassle. Eventually you will get it to work as a controller but the real bummer for me was the inability to use the analog lab sounds in Live8.
    The analog lab has some really powerful synth sounds on its own - a real tease, unfortunately if you use a mac w/Live 8 you'll have some issues. Overall it works as a controller for existing Ableton sounds, has octave shift and pads for beats, mod and pitch wheels return to center on their own. Great controller, just wished analog lab was more than a stand alone. -Save yourself time if you run into trouble, check the forums, youtube or google for solutions

  • Mud Bucker
    from Boston, MA March 14, 2014Music Background:
    part-time professional

    Yes, there is a demo

    Marc M. wrote that no demo is available for Analog Lab. He is mistaken! I downloaded it a while ago and have been using it...it times out after about 20 minutes but is otherwise functional.

  • Marc M.
    from Tulsa, OK March 5, 2014Music Background:
    Singer, Songwriter, Producer

    It's... so, so.

    My Minilab, came NEW, in the box, with BOTH feaux wood ends unglued, detached from the unit and rustling around in the box. Pretty poor quality when you can't keep a decorative feature simply glued to the product.

    On the other hand, there is no need for these stupid imitation "wood" ends on the device and they only serve to ad about an inch to the entire width of the device, so I've left them off. If it wasn't for the black plastic nibs that stick out of the unit and are intended to go into two partial holes on the backside of the "wood" end caps, the unit looks sleeker, and better without them.

    I personally am NOT a fan of the "wood" ended look that Arturia seems to be so proud of. I think it looks like a dumb, unaesthetic amalgam of modern and old. It reminds me of when super high tech, MODERN luxury cars put a traditional, round, ANALOG clock in the dash for an "upscale old timey" look. I think it looks stupid.

    The rotary encoders and pads feel nice, and connection to my Mac was instant and hassle free and I think I might actually prefer touch strips to the traditional mod and pitch wheels. Good going there!

    For $100 though, I feel like I'm really just buying the software with a bonus controller thrown in, so I won't be too hard on it.

    As for the software... the sounds haven't impressed me much, but I'm not sure this is Arturia's fault. Maybe I was just expecting too much, or something different from these "analog classics". Arturia REALLY should offer a DEMO of Analog Lab, but for some reason, they don't. Red flag?

    The fidelity isn't bad, but the tones seem... canned and lifeless to me. I really like the chord feature of the software panel where you can easily hear how a certain patch sounds as a chord. That one feature alone bumps this package up another star.

    Perhaps I haven't spent enough time with it, but at the moment, I don't think Analog Lab is going to end up being the defacto sounds workhorse that I was hoping it would be. I don't foresee myself reaching for this plugin as much as I was hoping to. Then again... perhaps these tones are indeed very good simulations of their respective hardware. I wouldn't know, and perhaps I had misconceived notions about these "classic sounds".

    Lately, I find myself drawn to very modern sounding, digital, additive and fm synthesis, so maybe these tones are just not appealing to what my ears are in the mood for at the moment.

    All in all... I don't hate or love it yet. It's just kind of... there. One more thing. Arturia's licensing/registration process, EVEN OF THEIR DEMO PRODUCTS is a nightmarish, confusing, error message laden performance of of hoop jumping! For THIS reason alone, I would be hard pressed to even consider another Arturia product. I'll give another review in about a year and see if any of my opinions have changed.

  • Customer
    from NY January 2, 2014Music Background:
    Musician, Producer

    Below Average

    This keyboard was just "eh" for me.The keys are too small and don't react very well (they're pretty stiff and unresponsive). I didn't like the feel of the pads either. The synths are alright, but the minilab software take up a lot of CPU and frequently causes my DAW to crash. Also the firmware installation was very annoying to deal with.

    It is very light and transportable but it leaves too much to be desired for me.

  • les farrington
    from Dallas Texas December 16, 2013Music Background:
    professional musician stage and studio

    incredible value

    the size of the keys are its only weakness. the sound is hard to beat. it comes with enough electronica to keep you satisfied for a lifetime. INCREDIBLE value and perfect operation.

  • PA
    from NYC November 8, 2013

    Broke

    One of the keys didn't work when it arrived. Firmware was issue too.

  • Mark "Abishai" Brooks
    from Bronx, New York October 13, 2013Music Background:
    Bassist, Composer, Song Writer, Arranger, Engineer

    Arturia MiniLab

    Great for writing new material. When I need to bang out new ideas it small size allows it to be in front of me at all time without interfering with my reach to the rest of my gear.

  • Joey Ortiz
    from Bridgeport CT July 27, 2013Music Background:
    producer, film audio

    Really fun software decent portable controller

    The analog lab software is so fun, to be able to hear the sounds of vintage synths coming out of your speakers and be able to incorporate them into your music is great. I'm sure the actual synths blow this software away but for the price this is great. The controller works well for my needs and is portable, I used it for scoring a short film recently and analog lab definitely set the tone. Garageband has absolutely terrible MIDI support so I'm willing to forgive this controller for some bugs...pads feel great and are pretty responsive and the knobs are sturdy... Also this looks amazing... Only thing I honestly dislike is the pitch and mod touch pads.... They can be pretty inaccurate and awkward, but for the price this is a pretty good portable controller and awesome software

  • Kenneth Liddle
    from Tulsa, OK July 17, 2013Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    Better off with the Akai MPC

    I have purchased the Arturia SparkLE and the mini lab. Here is a brief review regarding the products.
    Build Quality:
    SparkLE: The SparkLE has a nice construction and good response from the pads and knobs.
    MiniLab: The minilab is a bit˙ more flimsy and seems a little less solid than the SparkLE.

    Both software packages come with a wide array of sounds, albeit cheesy. Both software packages are prone to crash or just stop working altogether. I have witnessed the minilab stop responding from the software, and the SparkLE pads stop lighting up.
    You can correct this by disconnecting the controllers and reconnecting, but it happens too much to get through a performance with them. I have also noticed an issue˙ with the knobs not tracking on the minilab. The controller will disable sound if you turn it up to 10, but if you keep it below 10 it stabilizes.

    When turning the knob up, I have witnessed it moving in˙ the opposite direction, or just not functioning at all. The SparkLE software seems to work better with the controller than the minilab.
    When everything is working, it is a lot of fun but hardly stable. You never know when the software is going to crash, or the controllers are going to malfunction. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone because of the buggy software and controllers.

  • James
    from New York City June 25, 2013Music Background:
    Musician, Engineer

    Just ok. Don't expect any support from Arturia

    I recently purchased one of these to use on my PT / Mac rig. Installation was NOT a breeze. I'm definitely not impressed with their software. You get a card with the item with simple instructions for downloading the software and manuals (which is conceptually fine) but there were no manuals to be downloaded and the software packages (two of them) were troublesome. In fact, I simply got lucky in so far as on my 3rd or 4th reboot all of a sudden the Arturia midi software finally started to recognize the Minilab. This was not the case initially.

    I tried to contact Arturia. No phone numbers on the site. I emailed them notifying them of my problem. No response. Emailed them again. No response.

    I was on the fence about returning this to sweetwater. But as It did finally work and it was only $100, what the hell. I will say that the Analog Lab software instrument it comes with is very cool and does work with PT as a plug-in instrument. Plenty of sounds to explore there.

    If this every goes south on me, I'll be helpless though as there's no documentation and Arturia has made themselves un-reachable.

    If I could do it all over again, I'd go with a different brand.

  • Casey Schultheis
    from Santa Cruz June 3, 2013Music Background:
    25+ years of Recording, Live Sound, Musician, Hobbyist & Student

    Clean & Sexy

    I have used this for a few weeks now and really like it. Works well with iOS iPad apps and great with Apple Logic on a Mac. I have not dove to deep into the Analog Lab software but I am very happy with my first impressions. if you are looking for a small portable USB Midi keyboard I would highly recommend you giving this one a try.

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