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Rating and Reviews: Arturia The Laboratory 61

This 61-key controller from Arturia is perfect for those looking for a quality controller with a longer keyboard.

User Ratings
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Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
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"Love and Hate" submitted June 28, 2012

By Luis R in Gap, PA
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Musical Background: 25 years - church
Music Style: Christian
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Overall: The Arturia Laboratory 61 keyboard replaces an M-Audio and Roland small based 61 key keyboard controller. I purchased it for the controller and not the 3,500 patches worth of sounds. The software works great. I had no problems with the installation/authorization on a Dell laptop. The instructions were right on. I have no intentions of using the software but I did install it and I've spent some hours to go through MANY of the sounds and editing capabilities. The software is "fun", and although not useful for my purposes, sounds VERY good. It's fairly intuitive if you're familiar with the concepts. Again the reason I purchased this package was for the keyboard controller. I'm a heavy Native Instruments B4 II, Kotakt (Vintage Organs) and GSi VB3 user. The primary purpose for me is to use this in church for Hammond Organ type use. Unlike the Roland and M-Audio keyboards this one replaces, it has substance (weight) for its small size. The keys (although in the very beginning, I did not like) I've grown to like A LOT. It just feels right. The placement of the knobs, mod and pitch-bend wheel is great in my opinion. The rotary controllers and sliders work great (although the slider caps keep coming off - and I've lost one already!!!). Touch sensitivity and aftertouch work great (although aftertouch is a little sensitive until you get used to it, particularly on the white keys). Now the bad!!!! The firmware on this keyboard is HORRIBLE. As good as the instructions were for the software, the instructions for the keyboard are really bad. There are "Octave" up/down buttons that when you press you will see it also displays an option for "Semi" Transpose in the LCD screen. Nothing in the documentation and internet (including Arturia forum) could answer the mystery of how to move the cursor to the "Semi" to transpose chromatically. A question to technical support went unanswered until I sent an email to sales. Then I got the answer via email - which is - press both Octave up and down buttons at the same time and it toggles between the two modes!!! Then there is an upper and lower button, each of which can be assigned a tx channel. Good luck figuring out how to set those TX channels in regular/performance mode. You can do it in "global" mode, but then there's the whole issue with the keyboard not responding to mod, expression, sustain/pedal, etc. when you're in global mode. The editor software is fairly nice in that you can easily assign midi CC number to each of the controllers but the "global" parameters, including split (so you can use lower/upper) do absolutely nothing. There's a glitch in the LCD when you go into the global mode and then come out, where the LCD retains the "current" page when you, for example go into the transpose screen. All that appears is the value -2, -1, -, +1, etc. overlaid on top of the screen that was there from the previous operation. I think with a nice firmware update and some good instructions, this is a great keyboard. I'm really frustrated with the issues though!!! Does a good job controlling the organ VSTs though. My rating is going to be PURELY based on the keyboard! Can't recommend it until they fix the basics. If you want the synths - then it's great!!!
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"ANALOG HEAVEN" submitted July 17, 2012

By E. Smith in Chicago, IL
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Musical Background: A beginner keyboardist, but a guitarist for over 25 years. I own several different guitars & a Roland synthesizer.
Music Style: R&B; funk; hip-hop; blues; rock; metal & progressive rock.
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Sound: I'm in analog heaven! The sounds of The Laboratory are excellent. The Laboratory is a close as gets to the real thing, without having to spend hundreds of thousand dollars. Feature: The Laboratory offers some many great features, I don't know where to begin. You have over 3500 sounds of some of the greatest synths ever. It's a MIDI controller which enables you to sync with most DAWs. You can split & layer the sounds of two synths together. You can tweak the sounds and set up arpeggiation melodies. Ease of Use: It's very easy to get great sounds out of the Laboratory. They come already packaged. You have a filter section to control cutoff and resonance; an LFO section for rate and amount; a chorus and delay mix; and 2 ADSR envelopes with sliders. You can save your favorite sounds to a row of preset buttons. Quality: The Laboratory is made out of aluminium and wood. The control knobs & sliders feel pretty good. This thing could probably survive a "nuke". Arturia paid great attention to detail. The only gripe that I have (although minor), the keys feel flimsy and very springy. Overall, The Laboratory beats the cheap plastic most manufacturers use today. Value: The Laboratory is a steal for $499! I would've paid twice the amount that I paid (almost what I paid for the Roland Juno Gi)! Once word spreads about how good the sounds are, I guarantee the price will go up. Ten years from now, this will be considered a classic! Manufacturer Support: The only interaction that I've had with Arturia was during registration. I've read a lot problems people are having on the websites blog & other blogs. Hopefully, I won't have some of the same problems & have to deal with them on a consistent basis. The Wow Factor: The Laboratory is very sleek and sexy. This is a well designed and built machine, like an armored car. It's not too bulky or heavy, so it won't take up a lot of space in your rig. Overall: I was skeptical at first about purchasing The Laboratory. I doubted that a "hybrid synthesizer" with plug-in software could truly emulate the analog sounds of several classic synths. Boy, was I wrong! It's Christmas in July! I'm like a little kid who just opened his present! This is the toy I've been waiting for all my life! I could never afford any of the classic analog synths; until now. I don't work for Arturia and they haven't paid me to endorse their products. But, you better get one of these because you probably won't find anything as good as this for the same price.
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"You CAN'T return this, so don't buy it" submitted November 15, 2012

By Dan Kimura in Dayton, OH
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Overall: I purchased this product with the idea that I could edit the sounds. There are minor tweaks you can do, but full on editing is not possible. They keyboard is nice, but not necessary for my use. It appear that zZounds has updated their product description to address my issues, but they will not accept a return despite my desire to purchase the V-Collection in its stead. Their is no phone support for Arturia unless you want to call France. I'm stuck with this. zZounds will not back up the product nor are they willing to work with the manufacturer on my behalf. Seriously, who would buy something without using it first if they knew they couldn't return it?
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"Just short of a bullseye." submitted November 29, 2011

By a customer from comcast.net
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Musical Background: 30 years, Drums,Synthesizers, Hobbyist
Music Style: All
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Sound: I almost returned this item but decided to keep it on second inspection. While the board is heavy and sturdy the key bed is not that great. Loose and the keys feel "thin". Why they skimped on the keybed I have no idea but the buttons, sliders and overall buld is good. As for the software its ok. Some sounds are great and replicate well and others are far from it. Feature: MIDI Controller. Ease of Use: Like I said above. Some sounds are ok but overall lacking. Quality: Yes for the most part. The keybed could be improved. Value: Almost! Manufacturer Support: N/A The Wow Factor: Initially it looked great. Overall: A while.
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