The Arturia regularly pleases with the appearance of new and interesting products. At the same time, existing models do not remain without attention. At the end of last year, the popular MiniLab model was improved.
The second-generation Arturia MiniLab MKII device received an updated design and expanded package including Ableton Live Lite, virtual instruments Analog Lab Lite and UVI Grand Piano Model D.
Arturia MiniLab MKII – price. Where is the best place to buy?
The recommended retail price of the Arturia MiniLab MKII in the US is $99. At this cost, you can order it on Amazon. I would not recommend ordering anywhere else except on Amazon. Since you are less likely to find cheaper, and if you do not take into account the fact that Amazon is probably the most reliable online store, it still very often provides free shipping.
Let me recall that the MiniLab MK II is a two-octave MIDI keyboard with pads and rotary controls. The key features of the controller are compact dimensions and, at the same time, the use of a large number of controllers, including Pitch and Modulation touch strips, instead of traditional wheels.
The dimensions of the new controller Arturia MiniLab MK II changed a little. The case became a bit narrower and slightly longer than the previous model. Control buttons and Pitch Modulation strips have moved up to the general group of controllers above the keys. In this regard, rotary controls and pads are now closer to each other, but free space is still enough for their comfortable use.
In general, the device has become more compact. On the sides there are no wooden inserts, and the thickness of the case is 32 mm. The exact dimensions of the device, including the bulging regulators, are 35.5 x 22 x 5 centimeters. This is comparable to a 13 inch notebook and allows you to conveniently place the controller in a backpack, next to the laptop.
The connectors are now located on the back of the device, which is an absolute plus. This allows the controller to be placed close to any other device. The possibility of connecting the sustain pedal to the full 1/4 “TRS connector has been preserved.
As before, the MiniLab MK II uses 25 miniature keys with synthesizer mechanics and sensitivity to the speed of pressing. There are three types of velocity curves and a mode with a fixed maximum value. Similar sensitivity settings are also provided for the pads. As for the keys themselves, in MK II they are slightly different. The black keys in the MiniLab MK II are a bit longer. Also the cover has changed, now it’s not glossy, but matte and not so slippery.
In general, I have only positive impressions of using the keyboard. In spite of the fact that the device of an economy class and in it the mechanic of synthesizing type is used keys are elastic enough, do not clatter and do not hang out. It is unlikely that such a device is supposed to work with a different articulation, however, the mechanics allows you to extract sounds with different values of velocities.
Touch strips Pitch and Modulation have two modes, emulating the work of the same name hardware wheels. In the settings, you can choose to return to zero when you tear your finger from the controller or to permanently commit the value until later. By default, the controllers are responsible for the Pitch and Modulation function, but can be reassigned to any other parameter.
The pads in the Arturia MiniLab MK II slightly decreased in size, but they got a bright RGB backlight. As before, they are multifunctional and in different modes are responsible for completely different functions.
The basic mode of the pads is to play notes on chromaticity from up to a small octave. The additional mode provides switching between tabs with multimode tool settings in Analog Lab programs, as well as turning over the presets of the selected instrument and resetting the filter parameters. In addition, the pads switch between presets with global settings of the device. The MiniLab MK II provides eight such presets stored in the internal memory. Switching is carried out instantly while holding down the SHIFT button and the corresponding pad.
Non-stop controls are designed to control the displayed settings in the Analog Lab program. Curiously, the 1 and 9 regulators are pushable. With their help, you navigate through the list of tools and their presets.
Analog LAB Lite
In the kit with the controller there is a light version of the Analog LAB Lite program with the possibility of a paid upgrade to the full version of Analog LAB 2.
Analog LAB 2 is a virtual instrument that emulates the sound of famous classical analog synthesizers: Mini V, Modular V, CS-80V, ARP 2600 V, Prophet V, Prophet VS, SEM V, Jupiter-8V, Wurlitzer V, Matrix-12 V, VOX Continental V and Solina V. All these synthesizers are conveniently combined into one software shell and have a nice graphical interface. Analog LAB includes more than 6000 presets of the above synthesizers with a minimum set of variable parameters and interesting modes.
When you select a MiniLab device in the application settings, a virtual control panel corresponding to the hardware controllers becomes available. All adjustable parameters are signed and can be easily reassigned.
The virtual tool Analog Lab has two basic modes of operation. In Sound mode, one voice is played, Multi mode allows you to select two sounds at the same time. In dual layer mode, you can assign a specific zone for each of them, adjust the panorama and select one type of effects from 16 available.
The Analog Lab tool is available as RTAS, AAX and VST plug-in, and also has Stand-alone mode. Examples of Analog Lab sound can be heard on the official website of the manufacturer. In addition, a demo version of the plug-in with limited time is available for review.
UVI Grand Piano
Also, the virtual instrument UVI Grand Piano Model D is included, which is a full-fledged concert grand piano Steinway.
The library of this tool is 862 samples in wav format of 2.57 GB, recorded in 192 kHz and converted to 44.1 kHz. Examples of piano sound are available on the official product page. This tool is more demanding on computer resources. UVI Grand Piano Model D is available as RTAS, AAX and VST plug-in, and also has Stand-alone mode.
In general, the modernization of the Arturia MiniLab MK II controller turned out to be successful. Of the most important changes should be allocated a convenient location of the connectors and more practical dimensions, allowing you to use for carrying a backpack or laptop bag. It is also important that the cost of the device remains the same, only $ 99. To date, the Arturia MiniLab MK II remains one of the most affordable devices equipped with so many controllers.