KeyLab 49 MKII by Arturia Review
With so many MIDI controllers on the market at the moment. Arturia is setting itself apart from the competition with the launch of a new MIDI keyboard. We are taking a look at the KeyLab 49 MKII Keyboard. Arturia did send a review copy with no strings attached.
Update: You are looking for the 88 Keys version? Take a look at our review of the KeyLab 88 MKII.
First announced in June 2018 KeyLab MkII supports an advanced workflow with enhancing shortcuts, support for major DAWs with dedicated studio controls; thousands upon thousands of world-class synth and keyboard sounds. Arturia’s flagship controller gives the professional music creator precisely what they need, where, and when they need it.
KeyLab MkII is a powerhouse especially designed for demanding professional producers, musicians, performers, and composers.
Arturia’s flagship controller features:
- Robust, tour-ready aluminum chassis
- Semi-weighted “Pro Feel” keybed, as found on the legendary MatrixBrute
- 16 RGB backlit, multi-function performance pads
- Nine assignable faders and rotary knobs
- Ten dedicated DAW Commands switches with magnetic overlays for popular programs
- Six universal transport controls
- Control center with LCD screen and clickable wheel for fast browsing, editing, and saving
- Category shortcuts to instantly sort your sounds. Looking for a bass sound? Hit the bass button.
Support of Other Hardware and The World of Modular
KeyLab 49 MKII supports 4 dedicated CV/Gate connections for pitch, gate, and 2 assignable connections. KeyLab MkII gives musicians access to exciting new possibilities with vintage outboard, synths, modular and Eurorack.
User Interface & Usability
The build quality is excellent, the pad can be played fine, and the support of different DAWs is well integrated with those applications. On the negative, I would point out that the next version, MKIII could give you a full-blown LCD screen as you expect modern and premium devices to support a graphical interface instead of a text-only screen.
Support DAWs as of Jan 2019 are Standard MCU, Standard HUI, Ableton Live, Logic Pro X, Pro Tools, Cubase, Studio One, and Reaper. Arturia provides matching overlay templates that you can attach to your Keyboard to easily use the DWA controls from the Keyboard.
The support of DAW is helpful, and the support and integration with the included analog lab are stellar. Using analog lab with KeyLab 49 MKII is like using a vintage synth, the combination with Arturia’s Soft Synthesizer is done excellently.
Features for the next release would be an arpeggiator and LCD full graphics screen support.
Rating: Five out Of Five Stars
I absolutely love the keys used in this MIDI Key controller reminds me very much of the key I fall in love with on my Matrixbrute. I really enjoy playing on it, it feels great. Construction quality is excellent and at the highest standard. The Keyboard is based on a long-lasting aluminum housing and is of the same superb quality key bed as my MatrixBrute.
KeyLab 49 MKII is an excellent controller that also comes with superb soft synths modeled after classic synthesizers and keyboards (Made available with Analog Lab). KeyLab 49 MKII is a charming, quality manufactured Midi Keyboard with the possibility to control your main DAW and can be used to manage vintage hardware and Modular Setup. The Keyboard support several connectivity options, including expression, sustain CV/Gate, MIDI, USB, and three assignable auxiliary pedal inputs.
That Arturia can bundle their hardware and software synths together in this lovely package is a big plus when you look at the quality of the software synthesizers that a. Arturia’s bundled in Software is much different from those free included tools that are sometimes limited when you buy other hardware. All the included sound sets are sorted by instrument type and such, and with the full support of the hardware, you can put your mouse away to manage the Analog Lab host tool.
The KeyLab 49 MKII is a ridiculously good looking MIDI keyboard controller. It comes with an excellent keybed. I do enjoy the 49 Keys, I would consider the bigger version as my central controller and would spend a bit more to get KeyLab 61 MkII or the 88 Key version when an MKII is released.