Arturia KeyLab 61 MK2

I didn’t see a dedicated thread for this controller line, so I just created one :slight_smile:

In my quest for the best midi controller for my setup, the Arturia Keylab MK2 is the next one up (61 key version). Mine should arrive this Friday, so I’ll post an update on how it goes.

The midi controllers I’ve tested so far are:

  1. Novation Launchkey 61
    Great lightweight controller (esp for the price). The feel of the keybed was simply too different from the keybeds on my synths. When I switched between them, I realized it wasn’t something I was getting used to.

  2. Novation 61 SL MK3
    Really great controller. The keybed felt nice, and it has oodles of features. I realized with the DT as my main sequencer, I wouldn’t leverage that part of the SL much. When I could not get the transport controls to work in my setup how I liked, I decided to keep looking.

  3. Arturia Keylab 61 MK2 (black)
    Hopefully 3rd times a charm. It will be here soon, so I’ll find out :slight_smile:

My thinking on the Arturia is that I want programmable sliders/knobs, and a good keybed - this seems where Arturia spent a good share of their product budget.
I don’t plan on moving it around, so heavier is just fine.
I fretted about the white or black edition, because the white model may work better in low light situations due to the buttons being more visible. However, all my current setup is black, so I ended up going for that. It’s just a bit cooler I guess :slight_smile:

if anyone has a keylab and wants to comment on it, please feel free.

Best regards,

Gino

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Adding a quick update, as I LOVE this controller so far. (KeyLab 61 MK2 - Black)

Bitwig had a script for it, so getting transport controls to work was automatic.

The user modes and Midi Control Center software works well to fine tune every knob and fader.

The keybed is high quality. A bit lighter than I expected, but it plays very nice.
The build quality is very high, and the metal chassis really makes it feel substantial. That’s a pro for a studio keyboard, and could be a con for taking it on the road.

Anyway, really digging it so far, and if anyone is like me and looking for a 61 key midi controller, I highly recommend checking out the keylab.

I have not done a lot with Analog Lab V yet, but from what I have tried it’s a really nice addition.

Gino

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Thanks for posting this.

I’m currently looking for a 61 key master keyboard and this is probably the one I plan to go with. I can’t test it in person unfortunately.

I considered the SL MK3 but I really don’t want another plastic shell keyboard that looks like a toy. Tact switch buttons vs squishy silicon that will turn yellow years from now is also preferred.

I also know that the external sequencer stuff won’t get used much since I prefer the power of a DAW anyway. I just want a solid classy looking keyboard that might last me a while.

Feature wise the Keylab MKII is exactly what I want.

My biggest concern is that the keys will feel too light compared to something like the fatar beds (which I really like).

What’s your thoughts on the keybed after having it for a while?

Oddly enough I started working in Bitwig recently too so you’re basically rocking exactly the setup I’d be using (even the Black one :joy:)

No problem, glad it was useful. The keybed is very good. It’s not quite Fatar, but also not cheap feeling. It’s held up great actually, and is a key part of my setup (bad pun intended).

When you use it with Bitwig, it’s very nice IMO. It just works.

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Thanks for the response! I think I’ll give it a go.

I’m not excessively picky, but I would like it to be something I can stick with.

Some of the cheaper things like impulse or launch key (for example) just feel way too light and plasticky for me. Response and playability are probably more important. Though nice “feeling” keys are more inviting to play too.

Encoders and faders I can “upgrade”(swap out for higher quality ones) if need be.

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I just received mine today. When I first touched the keys they felt a little lighter than expected (like most people say).

Once I started playing them though I didn’t notice anymore, they feel very very nice to play!

In fact part of me almost likes them better than the Fatar keys I have. They are softer and easier to play but equally expressive if not more so IMHO.

It’s a keeper regardless! Thanks again for talking to yourself :sweat_smile: and posting this anyway. You helped save me from buying and returning multiple keyboards. :wink:

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Nice! Glad you like it. Exactly right on the keys, they are very smooth to play. I really enjoy them. I have fatar keys as well, and it’s not a problem going between them.

Fatar keys are heavier and a bit wider, but the action on the keylab is a bit smoother to play, but I’m not much of a keyboardist so take that with a grain of salt :slight_smile:

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I agree with you on these things.

Ran into some deal breakers with Bitwig so I’m back to my usual Live / Cubase combo.

Luckily the integration is good with both of those as well. The shortcut magnet for Live just happens to have Cubase on the flip side too :+1:t2: