My Arturia MiniLab Mk II Synthesizer Review
Founded in Grenoble, France, in 1999, Arturia specialises in the development of music software and hardware for professional and amateur musicians.
They create original and different instruments, imagine new experiences and reinvent products.
My Initial Thoughts
It features all of the most important elements that you would need to have on hand in a live performance situation, at a price that is well suited for those not ready to make a large investment yet.
In this review, we will go over all the most important features of this MIDI controller, starting from the more basic first, before making our way toward the more advanced.
With that in mind, let's get started.
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Feel, Specifications, Dimensions, and Integrations
This MIDI controller features a keyboard with 25 high quality slim piano keys.
These are velocity sensitive, so as to allow for maximum control and expression from the user.
In order to mimic traditional piano sounds more closely, an optional sustain pedal is available, which has its own dedicated jack at the back of the device.
Above the piano keys, there is an array of various controls.
The first of these is an impressive array of 16 potentiometers or knobs, which can be programmed to control any parameter available in the software you happen to be using.
That means you can control the way your tracks fade in or out, their pitch, but also any effects you’ve applied to the track as well.
Below these potentiometers, there are also 8 pads which allow the user to launch a sample, or a track at one press.
These are also velocity-sensitive, which is an especially important feature to consider if you want to use these for creating drum beats.
They are backlit, so as to increase their visibility in the dingy atmosphere of a typical night club.
Advanced Features and Performance
Most of the more advanced features of this controller have to do with the software options available to the user.
It connects to a PC or laptop using a standard USB cable, and it is even powered by the USB, so there is no need to worry about any extra power cables or adaptors.
There are also two capacitive touch sensors available on the device. One is for pitch bend, and the other is for modulation.
There are octave control keys just beneath these touch sensors, which allow you to shift the range of the keyboard to your desired pitch.
The controller also offers 8 user preset slots for anything ranging from effects to samples, and this is quite a neat feature to have at your fingertips for the sounds you use most often.
It is also important to point out that this controller works on any type of computer, with no extra drivers necessary.
Pros & Cons of MiniLab Mk II
Great functionality in its class
Pots not backlit
Keys too slim for me
Too few sound banks
My Final Thoughts
The Arturia MiniLab Mk II is a fantastic MIDI controller for beginners who want to try their hand at live performance, but aren’t ready to sink a ton of money into the venture just yet.
It offers all off the most important features for any live performance, with high quality keys and knobs.
It also allows the user to express themselves fully, seeing as though all the controls are velocity-sensitive.
All in all, a great product at a great price.