New gear

Peter Korsten peter at
Mon Dec 28 15:12:46 CET 2020

Yes, really. About time, too.

Some of you may already have seen it on Facebook. For Christmas, I got 
myself an Arturia KeyLab 61 mkII. I got it in pristine white.

This is quite an interesting keyboard. It has 61 keys, obviously. It's 
semi-weighted and has a nice feel to it. But the case is made of metal, 
and even the mod and pitch bend wheels, which look like they're plastic 
sprayed to look like metal, are, in fact, metal. The sides appear to be 
made of wood inlay, unless they made plastic with a grain.

It has 9 knobs, with 9 faders underneath, and 9 buttons underneath that. 
It has a small backlit screen, a big pressable knob and four buttons for 
patch selection. It has six buttons for things like record, play, 
rewind, etc, plus 10 buttons that can be used by a DAW. You get thee 
flexible overlay templates for Reaper, Studio One, Ableton Live, Cubase, 
Pro Tools and Logic. They're magnetic, so they stay in place and don't 
get lost. There are some more buttons to change the mode (Analog Lab, 
DAW, user) and for octave up and down.All buttons are backlit, although 
most of them without the text. Finally, there are 16 pressure-sensitive 
MPC-style pads with multicoloured LEDs.

On the back, you'll find plenty of connections. It's normally used via a 
single USB cable, but you can also power it via a 9V adapter, it has 
MIDI in and out (no thru), you can connect a volume pedal and four other 
pedals for things like sustain, and it even has CV inputs and outputs 
for analogue/modular gear.

It comes with some software, including a Lite version of Live, and had 
–obviously– integration with other Arturia products such as the V 
Collection and Pigments.

It's hard to overstate how much you get for €500. I bought it locally, 
for the same price as it is listed on the Arturia site. You can get it 
for €485 at Thomann, but good luck shipping this metal box for less then 
€14. It's a lovely piece of kit, still quite compact, and very well built.

Now, don't expect my musical output to explode. It's going to be a long 
haul, this entire process, but I'm seeing this as a first step. Who knows.

- Peter

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