If you miss the wonderful, lush, fat, warm sounds of the 1980’s analog synths, then you should get this handsome 25-key mini MIDI controller. For real, what you get for the price is just ridiculous.
Arturia MiniLab Review – Features
Arturia is known for making excellent products at an affordable price. They are a great value, and the Minilab is no different. The keyboard is very well built, knobs and pads are spot on. The keys obviously aren’t the weighted keys you’d find on an expensive synthesizer but they feel just right. The keyboard is small, light, and pretty. It feels good to play and is very responsive. I read some comments about the keys having a delay, and trying to understand why I figured that it happens if you don’t use ASIO. It may seem like obvious, but apparently someone didn’t know that. The control knobs are a pure joy to use, either when coupled with Arturia’s Analog Lab software, or with any DAW. Likewise the assignable pads, which can be used as triggers, or set as latched switches for background sequences.
Some of the knobs seemed to not work, or be slow one direction and fast the other. After a short search I found a video that explains the 2 modes of control: absolute and relative. With the press of 2 buttons, you can configure them as you prefer. The only black mark for me were the touch strips instead of the expression wheels for the pitch and the modulation. They tried to change things up a bit, but they ended up complicating it. Weighing only 2.27 pounds, the Minilab is small and light to carry around. It also doesn’t reach 15 inches so it can easily be put away in a bag.
Arturia MiniLab Review – Analog Lab
This controller comes with software that is worth more than a hundred bucks by itself, the Analog Lab. Actually, it doesn’t come with it, but you’ll find in the package all the instructions needed on how to register and download all the software from their site for free. Combined with the Analog Lab software, you get a real hybrid synthesizer that comes with a collection of more than 5000 sounds from the Modular V, CS-80V, Mini V, Arp 2600V, Jupiter 8V, Prophet V, Oberheim SEM V, and Wurlitzer V. With thousands to choose from, and with 16 knobs to adjust them, they become endlessly variable. Visit the Arturia website for even more free VST downloads and driver templates for instant loading of this Keyboard to your DAW.
Arturia MiniLab Review – Specs
- 25-note velocity sensitive mini keyboard
- User-selectable velocity curves
- 16 assignable knobs and 8 pads
- Individual MIDI channel selection
- Minimum and maximum range settings
- Pitchbend/Modulation touch strip
- A footswitch input
- Play, stop, rewind, fast forward and record buttons
- Recessed full sized Type-B USB jack
- Bus powered
- Class compliant (no drivers required)
Arturia MiniLab Review – Final Words
We know it, and you know it too, a 100$ controller can’t be perfect. But the Arturia MiniLab is really great, both for beginners and pros. We love the combination of a cheap portable MIDI controller and a huge software part, and we highly recommend it.