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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great integrated package of controller & sound-set
In some ways this is actually 2 different products. On the other hand, they are so tightly integrated that you can almost think of it as a hardware synth that happens to use your computer's resources. I'll talk a little about the two separate products and then how they work together.

I like the keyboard controller - it looks and works great, particularly for...
Published on December 22, 2011 by Trent P. McDonald

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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Copy protection and performance on Windows are abysmal
I'm hoping I can amend this review in the future when they work out problems with the software, because on paper I love this thing. I agree with other reviews I've read that this controller is great. Nice solid feel, nice buttons and knobs, looks very good. The software looks beautiful as well, and sounds amazing when it's working. Unfortunately the license activation...
Published on September 20, 2011 by Orion Burdick


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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great integrated package of controller & sound-set, December 22, 2011
This review is from: ARTURIA Analog Experience - The Laboratory 49 MIDI Controller (Electronics)
In some ways this is actually 2 different products. On the other hand, they are so tightly integrated that you can almost think of it as a hardware synth that happens to use your computer's resources. I'll talk a little about the two separate products and then how they work together.

I like the keyboard controller - it looks and works great, particularly for synth type sounds. It's solid and heavy, which instills confidence, and looks great, the wood sides adding a touch of class. It's actually a little smaller than I expected - I guess I was thinking big, old-school knobs - yet the knobs and sliders are big enough to give you fine control over the parameter you are working with.

The keyboard feels a little soft - it is great for synth sounds and even orchestral sounds but I would (and will) use something else for piano sounds. It responds very quickly - I was able to drum as rapidly as possible with 2 fingers on a single key and it kept up much easier than a piano.

The aftertouch is very sensitive - I have to be careful when starting a note not to go too deep and get into aftertouch territory, particularly if I am holding down notes. I do use aftertouch quite a bit so am glad it is there and works well.

My only complaint with the keyboard is with the wheels. They are much smaller than what I am used to using and seem a little cheap. I'm growing used to them but I would have liked to have seen larger wheels.

The software part is the sound set. This is a huge collection of synth sounds using various Arturia virtual analog synths. I actually just received the Artruria bundle of the full version of these syths on the same days is the control (I bought the Moog Modular back at version1 over 6 years ago and they offered me the whole package as an upgrade for quite a bit less than this control/software package).

Some of the sounds are fantastic. What is great is that you can change the sounds in real time with the keyboard - you have quite a bit of control over various parameters straight through the knobs and sliders. This gives you the possibility of doing some fine tweaking of the sounds for your uses or even larger scale changes to open new possibilities. You can't however, create new sounds from scratch or make some of the architectural type changes you can with the full version of the various instruments.

I should say something about my setup. I am using a 4 year old PC running XP. It has the fastest chip set available at that time (I believe it was 3.2 GHz Core 2 Duo) and has 4 GB RAM. Today this would be a low end music workstation/DAW. Knowing my setup will help with what follows.

I did find one slight problem - latency. When using the different Arturia products as standalone products I had so little latency it was impossible to notice (I have my sound card set at 5 ms). I found that latency is set separately in this program and defaults to a really huge number. Scaling it back to something reasonable didn't hurt the sound and helped greatly in playing.

When I first used the Moog Modular on an even older system, it quickly ate all of my resources. When using this software the largest number I saw for processor usage with a single sound was 8%. Most sounds use less, some not even registering above 0% when manually sweeping a filter on a handful of notes. Just be aware that some of the complex, beautiful sounds these virtual instruments create come at a price in resources.

The controller and software being so tightly integrated may also cause problems.

And it is tightly integrated. After solving my latency problem this feels almost like playing a hardware synth. You press a key and the sound comes out. You hit the attack slider and the attack is longer/shorter. You turn a filter knob and get a sweep - though on some sounds I heard discreet steps if I turned the knob too rapidly. In many ways this is the real value of the package - there are other keyboard controllers out there that I'm sure work fine (the one I've used felt cheap). There are also other soundsets out there that, I'm sure, are as large and flexible (not sure if they sound as good!). Where this shines is the integration of the two.

I do have to say a word about the software registration. I use Cubase so I already had a key. Another key came with the complete software package I mentioned earlier. If you don't have a key you can use the software, you just have to talk to customer support to move it to another computer. I recommend picking up a key (they're cheap). The registration process with the key was simple and painless. I've read some reviews about how awful it is to have to use a key. Not sure why - as I said, the process was simple, quick and painless. Sure beats having the company go out of business because more people use the software illegally than buy (it happens) leaving you without support.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Copy protection and performance on Windows are abysmal, September 20, 2011
By 
Orion Burdick (Sunnyvale, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: ARTURIA Analog Experience - The Laboratory 49 MIDI Controller (Electronics)
I'm hoping I can amend this review in the future when they work out problems with the software, because on paper I love this thing. I agree with other reviews I've read that this controller is great. Nice solid feel, nice buttons and knobs, looks very good. The software looks beautiful as well, and sounds amazing when it's working. Unfortunately the license activation process is a disaster. If you simply install the product and run it, it will crash and won't explain why. You have to read the manual to find out that you need to go to a website to request your key and generate your license, which takes several tedious steps. Why can't their UI walk you through this process or at least explain it? Can't they at least tell me the URL I'm supposed to go to instead of making me read the manual? As is often the case, this company has chosen a copy protection scheme that makes the paying users suffer, while illegal copies are free of the hassle and therefore offer a better user experience.

After all that, the software requires so much CPU that my 64bit quad core machine with 8GB of RAM can't play most of the sounds cleanly unless I bump my sound card buffer size way up, which causes too much latency. And the plugin crashes in Cubase 6 quite often, requiring me to reboot my machine. Essentially I'm left with a product I'm afraid to use.

Pros
- The great controller alone is possibly worth the price of this package
- Software UI looks very nice
- Sound quality varies from good to amazing (depending on the preset)
- 3,500 presets, many of which are quite useful and varied
- Having hardware controls for navigating and manipulating sounds is much nicer than using a mouse
- Tremendous value (if you can get it to work well for you)

Cons
- Licensing process makes you dislike the product immediately
- Crashes regularly for me (64bit Windows 7 + Cubase 6 + M-Audio Firewire Lightpipe Interface)
- Huge resource hog
- Auditioning the 3,500 sounds can be tedious because there's no button for switching to the next/previous preset. You have to turn a rotary control and then press it to switch presets, but if you don't look at your computer screen while doing this you often skip some.

[UPDATE on 1/21/2013]
I now use a MacBook Pro with Retina Display (running Mountain Lion) for all my audio recording, and this product works MUCH better on Mac. Not sure if the PC drivers have improved because I don't use Windows for audio anymore, but I am increasing my rating from 2/5 to 3/5 to reflect my improved experience on Mac.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Compatible with my Mac -- This is NOT A PLUG & PLAY DEVICE, December 17, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: ARTURIA Analog Experience - The Laboratory 49 MIDI Controller (Electronics)
I'm running Mac X 10.8.5 on my MacBook Pro. I purchased this midi, installed the software, then updated the software with an on-line download from Arturia. My mac recognized the software and saw the device, but I could not use the midi in Logic or in stand-alone mode. Arturia requires you to register the product and then get an authorization code and then download a special e-licensing program to grant a key to then enter and give permission to my Mac to recognize the device.

I kept receiving the same error code when entering the key they provided, "this serial is not unique". Arturia's tech support offered solutions, many of which involved adding code to Terminal in order for my Mac to recognize Arturia's "special licensing requirements", but in the end, I could never get a unique key and therefore I could not use the midi with my mac or in stand-alone mode. I was even told by a customer support specialist that "they couldn't keep up with Mac's many system update requirements" and that "there were many bugs" and that "you cannot use the item in stand-alone mode unless you receive the proper licensing from us." WTF??? In many of the forums on Arturia's own website, I read of similar situations with no fixes. I am returning this item and never purchasing an Arturia product again.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Controller, October 10, 2012
This review is from: ARTURIA Analog Experience - The Laboratory 49 MIDI Controller (Electronics)
This controller is a very solid one. It is built from high quality parts and feels very sturdy - and heavy! It is responsive in Ableton Live 8, and has a lot of flexibility when performing or writing in the studio.

The software sounds pretty good too. However, there is no way to actually build a synth sound from scratch - you can only edit the presets. The presets are flexible, but sometimes I would prefer to get "under the hood" and design my own sounds from scratch. According to the manual, Arturia has an analog VST that can be used with The Laboratory software, but it costs money that I don't have or care to spend. The software does crash from time to time.

Overall- I'm satisfied. Great controller, well worth the price, just wish there was more synthesis capabilities in the software.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Feelings, July 2, 2012
By 
Andi (Toronto, CAN) - See all my reviews
This review is from: ARTURIA Analog Experience - The Laboratory 49 MIDI Controller (Electronics)
I have originally been looking for a MIDI controller to complement my songwriting setup for my MacBook, which I wanted to keep portable but nevertheless professional. As such any controller needs to seamlessly work with the standard tools, PT, Logic, Kontakt etc and also convince with its construction. The Arturia package seemed to have a little edge over the competition in regards to build quality (metal case, wood), features (dials, sliders, display, pads etc), optics and price point. Slightly more then the average plastic keyboards you find out there, but not much, considering there's more in the box anyway. So any software is a bonus and this is a good one if you look to work with analog and retro synth sounds. The Laboratory translates to about 3,500 patches which are quite useful. In addition, after registration you are entitled to download two more full synth products of your choice which you'd normally have to pay for otherwise. Not a bad deal at all. So why so cautious with the stars. Simply trying to get this product going is not straight forward. First there's no power adapter included and it's not obvious that the unit is fully USB powered. Trial and error, and even if hooked up via USB the power switch needs to be turned on. Second, out of the box none of the dials work properly and are stuck in middle position, most noticeable with the volume control. This is a software bug and new MIDI control software needs to be downloaded. This is also not quite obvious and searching the Arturia website finally granted success. A new MIDI setup needs to be downloaded to the controller which fixes the issue. Finally the software bundle. After install it crashes with a license error. The manual explains that an activation code is needed, which can be obtained online during product registration. In my case, the successful registration did not automatically generate an activation code and I had to take the support path to obtain one. Finally, after activation, software needs to be updated again. Licenses don't seem portable between machines, so be careful that your first install is on the machine you intend to use for your work. Once up and running you'll be rewarded with a great sonic experience, lot's of control of analog synth sounds etc. Although in my case I will likely not use it a lot of it since I primarily work with Kontakt samples. Bottom line, great controller justifies the price alone, the software is a great asset but requires a determined individual to make it work, after all that it's hard to pass though.

Update: I hardly ever go back to change reviews let alone adjust a rating but in this case I felt I had to take a star away. I started using The Laboratory increasingly as a plugin in Logic productions and the software showed its poor behaviour by crashing the project on simple tasks such as switching patches. That is quite painful especially if you are not used to saving your projects every other second. Support is not very helpful, out of three tracks only two got answered, one of them in the tone of 'you should have read the manual'. Out of three eligible synth add-on I only ever got two, support does not respond to inquiries what ever happened to the third. I ended up buying NI's Retro Machines MkII for about 30 bucks, which is great collection of retro synths for your day to day project use, never any issues with that software. Leaves me with just the controller from this package, good enough I suppose. Not sure why Arturia packages such a sloppy bundle, with a bit more attention to quality this could be a blast of a product. And I'm convinced they could do it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars love this!, August 10, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: ARTURIA Analog Experience - The Laboratory 49 MIDI Controller (Electronics)
I love this controller so much I bought the 25 key one as well. The sounds of the software are great! filters are only ok. It depends on the sound and synth you are controlling. there is a fair amount of stair-stepping and the cutoff and freq don't always filter the way you want them to. That being said I do love this. The first one I bought was defective. after talking to Arturia and doing some helpful trouble shooting they told me it was defective. Amazon could not have made the return more easy. With in minutes or dropping the defective one off at a ups store I had an email telling me amazon was processing my refund. Truly amazing. Now as has been said this is really two different products. The software Analog Laboratory and the hardware controller. Neither is perfect but both are a joy to play. I am a keyboard player not just a producer so playability means allot to me and this is a joy to play. Arturia has released a new product called Analog Lab. They have tweaked both the controllers and the software. I like both and this controller will work with the new software but the new software differs quite a bit. It is not a direct upgrade and assigns chords to the pads instead of triggering .rex files for drums. I look at them as separate instruments. Analog Lab is more focused on layering sounds like a straight forward performance keyboard, whereas analog laboratory is set up a little more like a workstation. This is a great buy and a tight package. definitely worth the money.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Garbage software, Garbage tech support, February 7, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: ARTURIA Analog Experience - The Laboratory 49 MIDI Controller (Electronics)
This software is NOT compatible with Ableton Live. It shut down my macbook completely. 100 crashes later, 40 wasted days in studio, and 20 correspondences later with EMAIL ONLY tech support, I've sent the thing back.

Arturia officially goes down in the books as one of the worst companies ever. Thanks for wasting my time.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Value!!!!!!, August 15, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: ARTURIA Analog Experience - The Laboratory 49 MIDI Controller (Electronics)
Pros:
Fist of all..Design....definitly best controller construction ever..even over maudio axions. Alluminium and Wood. The best thing of it.: "Keys" what a great sensation to play. I Own several expensive Workstation and none but this key feeling!!! Great look, Great Action, and Great Emulation. A must Have!! Totaly Satisfied.-
Cons:
No one
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sounds are FANTASTIC, several quirks with controller, October 8, 2013
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This review is from: ARTURIA Analog Experience - The Laboratory 49 MIDI Controller (Electronics)
Love the tones Arturia has packaged with this. The controller is high quality as well, keys and pads feel good. Wheels are not as good, and sometimes have issues getting it to play nice with Ableton Live. But overall well worth the money, in stand alone mode it is flawless. Make sure you have plenty of CPU and RAM, all that tone and polyphony eat up system resources quick.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great combination of software/hardware, July 26, 2013
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This review is from: ARTURIA Analog Experience - The Laboratory 49 MIDI Controller (Electronics)
This is just what I was looking for, all the vintage sounds in one package, great variety of sounds, great product.
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