How is the Arturia MiniLab ?
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Old 16-01-2014, 02:25 AM   #1
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Icon5 How is the Arturia MiniLab ?

Does anybody have any experience with the Arturia MiniLab as a MIDI Controller? I'm not really interested in the quality of the bundled VSTi; I just want to know how well it might integrate into the rest of my DAW as a controller.

How good is it?
Are the pitch and mod controllers useable?
How is the key sensitivity?

Can the pads be reassigned to different keys with latching turned off?

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Old 16-01-2014, 05:09 AM   #2
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Re: How is the Arturia MiniLab ?

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Originally Posted by DfiledVegan View Post
Does anybody have any experience with the Arturia MiniLab as a MIDI Controller? I'm not really interested in the quality of the bundled VSTi; I just want to know how well it might integrate into the rest of my DAW as a controller.

How good is it?
Are the pitch and mod controllers useable?
How is the key sensitivity?

Can the pads be reassigned to different keys with latching turned off?

I have one..and in good conscience I wouldn't recommend it. Before I bought mine I'd read about this unit having issues, but I thought the soft synths bundled with it were worth the price..and they really are, if you are into your analog sound.

Since then I'm on my second unit..having had to get the first one replaced when it started sending out ghost modulation signals to every track in my DAW..and screwing up my mixes. I sent the unit back and got a replacement..that was about two months ago..and now this second unit it starting to play up just like the first one did.

There have also been some on-going issues with the controller knobs, which tend to over-shoot the mark when you use it live, but they are still pretty usable.

All in all, if you are not interested in the bundled software, then I'd give it a skip and go with something else like one of the cheaper Korg units pictured below..


I don't have any of them, but from what I've read they seems pretty OK and I intend picking one up real soon.

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Old 16-01-2014, 05:51 AM   #3
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Re: How is the Arturia MiniLab ?

That sucks actually... =/

From the last two times I've read about the hybrid on here, it seems to be a fail. But having a dedicated controller for all of the Moog VSTs, if I were to constantly buy them, seemed awesome. But it seems like the controller(which could be made a controller for other things) has problems. Which if I were buying something to control things/software, is a problem.

But the VSTs, are awesome. At least the one free version I DL'd was. It sounded amazing. However, investing much beyond that seems like a pain. I don't want to map controllers forever.

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Old 16-01-2014, 06:39 PM   #4
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Re: How is the Arturia MiniLab ?

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Originally Posted by bbb View Post
That sucks actually... =/

From the last two times I've read about the hybrid on here, it seems to be a fail. But having a dedicated controller for all of the Moog VSTs, if I were to constantly buy them, seemed awesome. But it seems like the controller(which could be made a controller for other things) has problems. Which if I were buying something to control things/software, is a problem.

But the VSTs, are awesome. At least the one free version I DL'd was. It sounded amazing. However, investing much beyond that seems like a pain. I don't want to map controllers forever.
Yeah, I know what you mean, B. It's a real shame they didn't or don't sort this baby out, cause if they did it would be the only controller you'd ever need to buy..it IS that good..when it works. The real shame is they know about the issues with it, but don't seem to be bothered to do anything about it..no public statement..poor or near no customer support on it..and it doesn't look like things are going to change anytime soon.

TBH, I wouldn't touch any other hardware product made by them in future..but, like you said, their software synths ROCK..and the price of the minilab was well worth it for the synths that came bundled with it.

Still, having used the minilab, I can say the idea is a great one and they very nearly made it a reality with this thing..it's a shame though they didn't spend some more time working on it before they brought it to the market, as there is clearly something wrong somewhere with it.

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Old 16-01-2014, 11:40 PM   #5
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Icon13 Re: How is the Arturia MiniLab ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AMechanics View Post
I have one..and in good conscience I wouldn't recommend it. Before I bought mine I'd read about this unit having issues, but I thought the soft synths bundled with it were worth the price..and they really are, if you are into your analog sound.

Since then I'm on my second unit..having had to get the first one replaced when it started sending out ghost modulation signals to every track in my DAW..and screwing up my mixes. I sent the unit back and got a replacement..that was about two months ago..and now this second unit it starting to play up just like the first one did.

There have also been some on-going issues with the controller knobs, which tend to over-shoot the mark when you use it live, but they are still pretty usable.

All in all, if you are not interested in the bundled software, then I'd give it a skip and go with something else like one of the cheaper Korg units pictured below..


I don't have any of them, but from what I've read they seems pretty OK and I intend picking one up real soon.

Thanks so much AMechanics, for your realistic and honest reasoning and explaination. I feel like you are saving me a ton of heartbreak. And I must say in good conscience, DONT BUY THE KORG NANOKEY! I have the NanoKEY25 and I really don't like it much at all. That's why I was looking at the Arturia. But I think instead I'll get the Korg MicroKey37.

The problems with the NanoKEY25:

1) not enough keys. I really need 3 octaves for some bass riffs with highlights or just to play some melodies. It wouldn't be so bad if it actually had a pitch wheel!

2) pitch and mod keys suck. They aren't configurable and they just aren't as accurate and fun as the real things. These are just buttons. Buttons are not and never will be large torque dials!

3) the keys are just barely velocity sensitive
4) the keys make too much tapping acoustical noise
5) the keys are too small to feel natural.

It's really not a keyboard at all. it's just a slate full of hard plastic buttons.
They could've done better if they'd encased it in soft rubber to mute the tapping noises and make it softer on the fingers. 25 drum machine pads woulda been better.

That being said, the NanoKontrol might be alright, but that's not a keyboard at all. And that probably explains it!

Anyways, thanks again for your help.

P.S.-Be careful what you buy, I'm seeing reports that some of the good MIDI keyboards work with XP but not with Vista or Windows 7 or Windows 8 because the manufacturers still haven't made drivers. (Alesis and M-Audio in particular).

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Old 17-01-2014, 02:07 AM   #6
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Re: How is the Arturia MiniLab ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DfiledVegan View Post
Thanks so much AMechanics, for your realistic and honest reasoning and explaination. I feel like you are saving me a ton of heartbreak. And I must say in good conscience, DONT BUY THE KORG NANOKEY! I have the NanoKEY25 and I really don't like it much at all. That's why I was looking at the Arturia. But I think instead I'll get the Korg MicroKey37.

The problems with the NanoKEY25:

1) not enough keys. I really need 3 octaves for some bass riffs with highlights or just to play some melodies. It wouldn't be so bad if it actually had a pitch wheel!

2) pitch and mod keys suck. They aren't configurable and they just aren't as accurate and fun as the real things. These are just buttons. Buttons are not and never will be large torque dials!

3) the keys are just barely velocity sensitive
4) the keys make too much tapping acoustical noise
5) the keys are too small to feel natural.

It's really not a keyboard at all. it's just a slate full of hard plastic buttons.
They could've done better if they'd encased it in soft rubber to mute the tapping noises and make it softer on the fingers. 25 drum machine pads woulda been better.

That being said, the NanoKontrol might be alright, but that's not a keyboard at all. And that probably explains it!

Anyways, thanks again for your help.

P.S.-Be careful what you buy, I'm seeing reports that some of the good MIDI keyboards work with XP but not with Vista or Windows 7 or Windows 8 because the manufacturers still haven't made drivers. (Alesis and M-Audio in particular).
I hear ya, DV..no worries.

I was going to go with the NanoKontrol, as I'm pretty sure you can assign modulation and pitch to two of the knobs on that thing..and, man, I could really do with those 8 faders!

I don't really mind not having the extra keys myself..I'm currently using an old ESi 49 key controller keyboard that I got secondhand and it works just fine. The modulation wheel on it is screwed and doesn't work, but there's ways around that.
It lets you up and down the octave, which is usual I guess for most keyboards and it doesn't really sport any special features at all..basically your standard entry-level workhorse midi keyboard

But like I said, I could do with a few "out of the box" faders when mixing, as trying to fade more than one with a mouse if a bit of pain..meaning you have to set your automation on different tracks, whereas I much prefer to do it in real time while recording..feels more like you are actually performing the piece, than building it bit by bit, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, if you do get your hands on the MicroKey37..or settle on something else in the near future, do post back here letting us know how you get on..the feedback would be very much appreciated. I'll do likewise..when and if I do go with the NanoKontrol.

[EDIT] Speaking of the ESi KeyControl above, you might want to take a look at the latest model..then [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
. You can't still get the exact same version I have..they don't make em anymore..might pick one up on eBay real cheap though..though the new XT model you can get new for under €90 online.

Last edited by A.M; 17-01-2014 at 02:23 AM..

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Old 17-01-2014, 02:15 AM   #7
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Re: How is the Arturia MiniLab ?

If you are looking for a good, cheap set of keys the Korg MicroKeys series may interest you. Comes with awesome freebies. Like really awesome. The keys are probably short for a real piano player, but for noodling around in a small space. Perfect.

The Akai L (laptop) series is pretty good for micro controllers. I really liked the LPD8 whenI had it.

Just pair tha with Diva and you are golden for vintage analog sound ;p

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Old 17-01-2014, 02:18 AM   #8
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Re: How is the Arturia MiniLab ?

Eh, thanks bro. I just found out that the Alesis Q49 (which is often the same price as the MicroKey 37) would probably work on my system. I am running Windows 7 SP1 32-bit Home and I saw a lot of people on the interwebs complaining that there weren't any Windows 7 drivers for the Q49 yet.

But I just noticed on the website a few moments ago that the Alesis is "USB Class Compliant" which means that it is true plug n play and runs about 10 seconds after it's plugged into any modern Windows or Mac system.

EDIT: USB Class Compliant means... NO NEED TO INSTALL DRIVERS (the OS already has em)

This is really good news because my USB Monitors are from Alesis and the latency is better than on my Zoom R8 and they really really did work 10 seconds after plugging them in just about. (Except for having to do the windows Control Panel > Sound. ) So I have confidence in Alesis.

This is a relief, because I grew up playing the piano. And less than 49 keys always feels like a stretch. Heck, I used to have 61 keys (on an Alesis QuadraSynth 6.2) and even that felt like a loss to lose.

Hopefully it will be OK. I have heard some people say that the sustain pedal sticks on those, but who knows. I discovered this website too:

[Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]


They provide the USB Audio Class Drivers at the bottom of the page! So i'm set if my OS drivers are corrupted.

I don't need multiclient support:

[Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]


Life is good again!

I think I might get a PadKONTROL later on too. I used to have an M-Audio X-Session that was alot like that, and it was good!

Last edited by Nystagmus; 17-01-2014 at 02:38 AM.. Reason: Don't want to mislead people into installing USB drivers they don't need

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Old 17-01-2014, 02:40 AM   #9
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Re: How is the Arturia MiniLab ?

Thanks for the tip about the ESI KeyControl. That looks pretty nice in terms of combination of features. i will check that out too!

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Old 20-07-2015, 12:11 PM   #10
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Re: How is the Arturia MiniLab ?

Hello everyone!
I have a rather specific question: In Ableton 9 Live, does anyone know how I can map the pitch bend "wheel" (strip) of the Arturia Minilab to Massive? It works in some of the presets and I somehow (probably by accident) even created a sound where it works, but I can't find how to activate it or change its parameters, i.e. how many semitones the pitch should be.
The same goes for any of the knobs. I somehow cannot activate the knobs.
Can anyone help?
By the way, this is the first time I ever used a forum, so I don't know the unwritten rules
Thanks a lot!
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Old 20-07-2015, 04:59 PM   #11
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Re: How is the Arturia MiniLab ?

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Originally Posted by Münchhausen View Post
Hello everyone!
I have a rather specific question: In Ableton 9 Live, does anyone know how I can map the pitch bend "wheel" (strip) of the Arturia Minilab to Massive? It works in some of the presets and I somehow (probably by accident) even created a sound where it works, but I can't find how to activate it or change its parameters, i.e. how many semitones the pitch should be.
The same goes for any of the knobs. I somehow cannot activate the knobs.
Can anyone help?
By the way, this is the first time I ever used a forum, so I don't know the unwritten rules
Thanks a lot!
Hi and welcome to IDMf.

First off..if I remember correctly..there's a software program / editor that lets you manage setting up things like what you've asked about. I'm guessing you might have issues if you're using that as well as any similar midi management feature in Live (Sorry..don't have Live so I don't know for sure..). In other words, I think you need to use the MiniLab software to set up what does what..but check any features in Live that set up incoming midi, to see that they don't cause a conflict.

Sorry..maybe not much help help to you I know, but I no longer use the MiniLab and I've used Live..a NI Komplete Kontrol guy here.

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Old 21-07-2015, 12:53 PM   #12
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Re: How is the Arturia MiniLab ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Münchhausen View Post
Hello everyone!
I have a rather specific question: In Ableton 9 Live, does anyone know how I can map the pitch bend "wheel" (strip) of the Arturia Minilab to Massive? It works in some of the presets and I somehow (probably by accident) even created a sound where it works, but I can't find how to activate it or change its parameters, i.e. how many semitones the pitch should be.
The same goes for any of the knobs. I somehow cannot activate the knobs.
Can anyone help?
By the way, this is the first time I ever used a forum, so I don't know the unwritten rules
Thanks a lot!
Its probably one of two things;

Determined by some software editor for the controller itself, or its the synth.

I kinda had this problem and the thing is, by default, NI Massive's pitchbend range is 2 semitones up and down, so wiggling on a pitch wheel gives a wierd, not-really-working-but-kind-of-is result.

To change NI Massive's bitchbend range;
  1. Open Massive
  2. Start a new sound
  3. You should see a collection of tabs right above where the envelope & LFO parameters are normally messed with.
  4. The should read, from right to left (in English) OSC, KTR OSC, KTR FLT, VOICING, ROUTING, GLOBAL
  5. Click OSC; the very first tab
  6. From left to right you will see parameters for Glide, Pitchbend, Oscillator Phases, Vibrato, and Internal Envelope
  7. Look at the pitchbend parameter, you'll notice two drag-able (bad description, sorry) boxes labeled Up and Down. Up should read '2.00' and down should read '-2.00'
  8. Adjust these values as you see fit by clicking and dragging up or down
  9. Their maximum range is 24.00 to -24.00

That might help, maybe? It worked for my old keyboard I had thought had a broken pitchwheel :3 I might just be a dummy though.
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Old 22-07-2015, 09:44 AM   #13
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Re: How is the Arturia MiniLab ?

Thanks to both of you! Just yesterday I found the pitch bend parameters on the OSC-tab. So happy D
Well, that leaves the knobs, but the pitch wheel was really the most important thing for me. Thanks a lot!
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Old 22-07-2015, 11:31 PM   #14
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Re: How is the Arturia MiniLab ?

There is always this bad boy:
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Now I haven't got one myself, but I am looking at picking one up in the future for my "traveling" keyboard.
Might not be your thing given some of the limited functionality.
Either way it is an alternative to some of the small midi controller options that have small keys.

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Old 23-07-2015, 02:12 AM   #15
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Re: How is the Arturia MiniLab ?

This is probably my favorite budget midi controller ever. My knobs have varying degrees of flexibility though, due to some heavy twisting.

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