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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Sep-18 > MIDI controllers

MIDI controllers

Need some extra muscle using your software? There’s a huge variety of MIDI controllers out there, so here’s a round-up of six (OK, seven) of the best ones that we’ve recently reviewed. Total control, whenever you need it…


ARTURIA KeyLab Essential £175

Contact Arturia |,

A well-priced keyboard with 49 notes (a 61-note is also available) and plenty of knobs and sliders that will be suited to any DAW and many soft synths. Not that you’ll need to use many as KeyLab Essential also comes packed with 5,000 sounds wrapped up in the latest version of Analog Lab which is a ‘best of’ of Arturia’s great software instruments.

WE SAID “With a company that has a pedigree like Arturia’s, you can guarantee that these 5,000 Analog Lab presets are mostly great, with a good variation of everything – all basses are covered; as are leads, pads and strings. KeyLab has lots of improved systems and features on both hardware and software. Essentials is a much-improved package over the original. MIDI Control Center and Analog Lab 2 are excellent and the keyboard represents superb value.”

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About MusicTech

In our cover feature this month, Alex Holmes guides you through the science and logic behind why it’s necessary to calibrate your studio and equipment, and the steps you’ll need to take to guarantee perfect, balanced sound at all times. Also this issue, Erin Barra simplifies some vital music production concepts that may have long eluded your understanding – to hopefully increase your sonic vocabulary. We speak to Kanye West’s former controllerist and cutting-edge musician Laura Escudé, UNO synth designer Erik Norlander and Emmy-winning Guus Hoevenaars. Additionally, we present our in-depth reviews of Roland Cloud, PreSonus Studio One 4, Loopcloud 2.0, Elektron Analog Four MkII and more, as well as 5 brand new tutorials to broaden your production chops.