Design and Hardware
The Arturia KeyLab 49 is one of the best looking MIDI controllers on the market, at least in its price range. The classy looking wood-side panels coupled with the clean white look give the controller a premium feel, making the user feel like they’re using a real masterpiece of an instrument.
On the far left of the device there is an LCD display, which displays the most recently controlled parameter, or the preset being used by default.
The keyboard features a comprehensive selection of knobs, faders and pads, enabling users to be able to accurately control their synths. There are 10 rotary dials with two “bank” buttons that essentially allow for control of 20 parameters. There are also nine faders, which, by default, control envelope parameters, but can be programmed to control other things as the user wishes. There are also 16 rubber pads, which can be used to play chords, or programmed to do other things too.
The pitch and modulation wheels are in their normal position, the bottom left of the device. While a little small, they are definitely usable.
As far as the hardware goes, the Arturia KeyLab 49 is a great MIDI controller the is useful for not only Arturia’s AnalogLab software, but with a little tweaking can be used with any synth plugin.
Analog Lab Software
The KeyLab 49 also comes with the Analog Lab software, which works both as a standalone app and as a plugin.
Upon opening up the software, users will notice the layout of it. Analog Lab is very well laid out. At the bottom of the screen, the keyboard can be seen, with a digital representation of the KeyLab’s rotary knobs and the faders. Below those controls are labels for each parameter, allowing the user to know exactly what they’re changing, when they change it. Above these controls, users will see the a list of presets on the left of the screen, as well as a some more complex parameters that can be changed on the right of the screen.
Analog Lab comes with a huge selection of presets, allowing users making any form of music to benefit. The ability to control as many parameters as can be controlled is also a great feature.
Analog Lab can be controlled by any MIDI controller, so for those who perhaps purchase the KeyLab 61 controller but have something a little smaller to take out to gigs, have no fear. Or, those interested in the Analog Lab software, but might not be as interested in the KeyLab hardware, can also take advantage of the number of sounds included in the pack.
The Arturia KeyLab 49 is a premium looking controller with a premium feel. But it doesn’t just look great. The number of controls is excellent, and allows users to easily control parameters for any soft synth. The Analog Lab software is an extensive library of sounds that can be carved into any sound that the user might be looking for. Combine, these two great products form a pack that is the combo to be beat. Currently Arturia is offering the KeyLab 49 in the “Arturia KeyLab 49 BitWig Producer Pack” which comes with the Analog Lab software, as well as the Mini V Moog simulator and BitWig studio. All this for the small price of $445.