The Arturia Keylab Essential 49 really is one of the best looking, best value MIDI controller keyboards on the market, offering all the features that any electronic music producer is going to need, with a layout designed to be very simple and inspiring to use. The keyboard itself features 49 full sized velocity sensitive keys which are very responsive to capture every little nuance of your performance.
There’s 8 dynamically responsive backlit percussion pads which can also double up as navigation buttons, a total of 18 control knobs and sliders, which can be used to control parameters such as filters, LFOs, panning, volume and attack and decay times within your chosen software, and a comprehensive DAW command centre allowing you quick access to transport, metronome, punch in and out, undo and save functions with recording software such as Logic and Ableton.
There’s a nice bright blue screen display parameter changes, a large push button navigation knob, octave shift buttons, pitch and modulation wheels and a few other handy features such easy access to MIDI channel selection and an intelligent chord feature, allowing you to quickly create full arrangements.
The versatility extends to the keyboard’s connectivity, which features a sustain pedal input, a standard 5-pin MIDI output to connect to none USB devices, a USB port for your computer and an external power supply input if you didn’t want to use the USB bus power.
The Keylab Essential 49 looks fantastic with its white finish, faux wooden sides and backlit buttons, but more importantly, it feels really high quality and durable, whilst also remaining pretty compact and lightweight despite it’s feature packed layout. Add to this the Analog Lab sound engine software that it comes bundled with, and it definitely makes the Arturia Keylab Essentials 49 one of the best MIDI controller keyboards out there.