As a producer, you are always trying to find new and more efficient ways to create. My journey started with using Protools as my main DAW to produce instrumentals. As many of you know Protools is an incredible tool for tracking, mixing and editing but leaves something to be desired when it comes to its MIDI interface. The experience is not very user-friendly and the tracking part of recording MIDI is clunky and outdated. So, in turn, I searched far and wide for something to alleviate this problem and that’s when I stumbled upon my tool of choice while interfacing with Protools and Ableton Live. The Arturia Minilab Controller.
It is an all in one software synth that can modulate into almost any sound
The Arturia Minilab offers seamless integration with any DAW of your choosing and has been my daily driver for a few years now. I will show you why the Minilab is a must-have for anyone that needs a portable MIDI controller and software synth library on a budget.
Minilab’s Key Features
There are countless Arturia Products out there and they all function well. In fact, Arturia’s name is synonymous with high-quality products at a low cost. The Minlab is one of the best, most affordable products in the Arturia line. Not only does the Minilab function as a highly portable MIDI controller that can fit in almost any type of backpack/tech bag but it also comes with a free download of Arturia’s Analog Lab, which offers classic synth emulations such as the Roland Jupiter and Sequential Prophet.
The Minilab offers 8 pressure-sensitive programmable pads that work with two banks, which bring the total of pads to 16. Although the pads are not quite up to par with Akai’s line of MPC pads they do hold their own. I have used this unit for over 3 years and the pads work as good, as the first day I bought the unit. In fact, like the MPC the Minlab’s pads have adjustable velocity curves. The Pads also offer a nice color-backlit style that can be mapped with different sounds and functions.
The Minilab also offers keys that are a pleasure to play on with adjustable velocity. It also has touch-sensitive pitch control and mod wheels that function surprisingly well. I had a blast using the two touch-sensitive pads and found them to have less wear and tear on my hands and fingers than an analog wheel. In addition to the touch-sensitive wheels, there are 16 programmable pan pots that offer an amazing slight resistance to the touch that feels professional and very comfortable. As an added bonus Arturia has put a ¼” input for an expression or sustain pedal to get that “natural” sounding bliss out of your pieces.
While performing on the Minlab there is little to no lag issues with the various presets that are included. In fact, the Minlab performs just as well with third-party and proprietary software of Protools and Ableton Live. It is clear the Minlab was made with a multi-tasking producer/engineer of today who is always on the move. Setup of the Minlab is as easy as a single connection with the included USB adaptor, which is not a new concept, but it is the size and button layout that make the unit seem like it integrates with any setup perfectly.
The Minlab is the ultimate portable MIDI controller with a well functioning 25 keys. At 14 inches wide and 9 inches deep the Minlab will fit into any standard backpack/carrying case. I have had times while traveling with this bad boy packed up and forgot I had it in my backpack.
And with just a simple plug into your laptop, you are ready to work. The Controller is also lightweight to the tune of 3.2lbs, which is the weight of most laptops so you won’t be bogged down with this beauty. that is definitely going to boost the overall score or this Arturia Minilab controller review.
Arturia Analog Lab
Now comes the real value in this package. Arturia is known for its high-quality products but what I think is often overlooked in its product line is its software emulations. The Analog Lab, offered with the Minlab, is a free download that can expand your synth library greatly. Offering over 5000 preloaded sounds that are adjustable, create a situation where you are never limited to having “the same ole” sounds when creating.
In fact, the analog lab’s sound quality and vast selection allowed me so much flexibility, I find myself working exclusively with this plug-in. It is an all in one software synth that can modulate into almost any sound, from classic to new age, to contemporary, the Minlab is a powerhouse with a small price.
In this review we showed you why the Arturia’s Minlab is a powerhouse with a small price. It is diverse and adaptable so you can apply its use to any situation. The look and feels of the keys are comfortable to the touch and the unit is also durable. What makes this unit stand out is not only the physical midi controller performance but also the downloadable Analog Lab that can be used with any genre when producing.
I highly recommend Arturia’s Minlab not only to people on a budget but professional musicians and producers alike. The Minlab is versatile enough to keep up with any type of recording environment and the Analog Lab software sound is warm and adaptable to any type of recording. If you have yet to try this product, it is a must-add to anyone that loves to record music.
If your looking for more information on classic minilab, Here is an in-depth tutorial of the blessed thing.
So what are your thoughts? Lets us know in the comments below. If you enjoyed this post you can find all our posts here. Below are some of our recommended products related to this post. Thanks for reading and never stop making music.