Basically, it’s the scaled-down version of the KeyLab series. They all work with the Analog Lab software for a hybrid software hardware experience.
Actually Arturia were one of if not the first to actually create a fully integrated hardware controller with dedicated software…which seems to be the standard these days.
As usual, it comes with a version of Analog Lab, but it also includes a grand piano from UVI and the customary copy of Ableton Live Lite…aka…the “get you hooked on Live version”.
- hardware: 25 note slim keyboard, 16 rotary knobs, 8 RGB pads, USB, sustain pedal input. Pitch and Mod strips, Octave up/down buttons
- software: Analog Lab Lite, Ableton Live Lite, UVI Grand Piano Model D
- format: VST, AU, AAX
- price: $129
- product page: https://www.arturia.com/minilab-mkii/overview
So what’s the bottom line?
The Minilab is a great portable controller, the 16 knobs make it super useful in such a small package.
The fact that it works with both desktop and iOS applications makes for a versatile travel companion.
I give the Minilab MKII 4 out of 5 subs, it’s compact, portable, and has plenty of options for input with the keys, pads, AND knobs.
I really dig the keybed, compared to other “mobile” keybeds, it has a nice feel. I tend to shy away from most mobile keyboards because the keys are generally stiff, not a lot of travel, so they don’t feel like a traditional keyboard.
The keys here have plenty of travel, so I wouldn’t feel limited in that respect if this was my travel controller. I also dig the fact that you get all of those knobs, the pads are velocity sensitive, which is cool, but I still wish they were more customizable. I’m very picky with my pad response and I wish you can go a little deeper than just the various preset velocity curves.
Overall, this controller along with the software you get is a good deal. Some may notice the inclusion of Analog Lab Lite as opposed to the full version of Analog Lab that usually comes with the Arturia keyboards. I’ll admit, I don’t know the exact number of sounds that come with Lite, I heard 500 but I could totally be wrong. I already had Analog Lab 2 installed so that’s what I tried this with.
Direct control over the Analog Lab software works without a hitch, throw in the fact that you get a lite version of Ableton Live along with a pretty nice grand piano from UVI, and I think you have a decent package for mobile production or even a first dive into music creation.
You can learn more about the software and the controller on the Arturia site: https://www.arturia.com/minilab-mkii/overview
Let me know what you think!