Arturia MiniLab MKII: Portable, Affordable & Handy

Feb 04 2017 | Sound Check | Words : Puneesh Suri
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What is it?
Arturia MiniLab MKII is a portable, and affordable, 25-key midi controller that provides a host of essential features and music production tools right out of the box. In comparison to its predecessor (MiniLab), the MKII is a huge step-up with respect to the build quality, and overall design scheme.

Who is it for?
Considering its size, build quality and included features, I’d say that this controller can come in handy in various situations. If you’re a traveling producer/performer looking for a small and sturdy controller that can fit inside your backpack, or a beginner looking for an affordable yet efficient midi controller that provides some essential features such as trigger pads, rotary encoder (knobs) and a 2 octave keyboard; MiniLab MKII might be a good option for you.

Style:
As mentioned earlier, the MiniLab MKII has a decent build quality and the design scheme is more edgy and geometric in comparison to the older version. The 25 slim-keys keybed, features medium sized keys which are relatively easy to play in comparison with some other portable MIDI keyboards with really tiny keybeds. Along with that, it features 16 knobs, 8 backlit pads and touch sensitive pitch bend and modulation controls. And all of this is packed in a sleek white casing that looks great.

Usability:
The Arturia MiniLab MKII MIDI controller, like many others in this price range, is designed to provide some basic but essential tools and features that are used in music production. Right out of the box, it gives you access to three amazing softwares (Arturia Analog Lab, Ableton Live Lite and UVI Grand Piano Model D) that will help you set up your virtual recording studio right away!

Analog Lab Lite, from Arturia’s award winning V-Collection, features over 500 presets from 17 iconic instruments including emulations of some renowned analog synthesizers, organs, string machines and pianos. About the UVI Grand Piano Model D, it is a very precise recreation of Steinway Model D Piano which can easily be found in some of the world’s finest concert halls and recording studios. Lastly, you also get a free copy of Ableton Live Lite, which in my opinion is the most relevant digital audio workstation of our time.

As far as usage is concerned, this device is class compliant, which means that no additional drivers need to be installed. It seamlessly integrates with the softwares mentioned earlier. The device houses 25 velocity sensitive slim keys, which are slightly bigger than some of the other similar MIDI devices available in this range. It has 16 fully-mappable rotary encoders, out of which 2 are clickable and are useful while navigating through presets on Analog Lab. There are two banks of 8 pressure sensitive pads, that can be used to trigger drums or even launch clips while performing on Ableton Live. The touch sensitive pitchbend and modwheel are very responsive and easy to perform with. A unique feature included in this device is the sustain pedal/footswitch jack that can send midi notes and CC data. Apart from these, you have the usual octave up/down buttons and a shift key to change the MIDI output channel.

All in all, the core essentials that you need for production are right here, and available at a very fair price!

Upside:
Portable, Affordable, Good build quality, Intuitive interface, Includes an amazing software bundle (Arturia Analog Lab, Ableton Live Lite & UVI Grand Piano Model D)

Downside:
The pads are not as responsive as I’d want them to be.

What’s in the Box Tech Specs
• MiniLab MKII Keyboard
• USB Cable
• Serial Numbers for included software
• 25 velocity sensitive slim keys
• 2 banks of 8 RGB backlit pads
• 16 rotary encoders (2 of them are clickable)
• 2 capacitive touch sensors for pitch bend and modulation
• 8 user presets
• Sustain pedal jack
• USB powered
• Size: 14 x 8.7 x 2 inches
• Weight: 3.3 lbs. (1.5 Kg)
Approximate Price: INR 9,300/- Approx.  

Final Call
It’s a great MIDI device, delivers what it promises and looks great for the price!

Buy now : theinventory.in

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Puneesh Suri
Production Faculty at I Love Music Academy


Puneesh Suri laid the foundation for his musical career at the age of 17, when he first began to learn the guitar professionally. He holds an acknowledgment from the Trinity Guildhall for his technical prowess over the instrument. He then forayed into the realm of audio engineering while studying at the Institute of Audio Research in New York. During his 3-year stint in the U.S., Puneesh gained invaluable exposure in music production while working for the hip hop giant Bad Boy Records. Other work experience included Sweetfire Studios and Way Over Budget productions. Puneesh currently teaches Audio Engineering at I Love Music Academy. He also works as a freelance recording, mixing, and mastering engineer at his very own Ology Studio in New Delhi. His musical alias includes a collaboration with G ‘Force’ Arjun under the name of else if

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