Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 vs Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61: A Detailed Comparison and Review

You're ready to make a big purchase, but you're having trouble deciding between these two powerhouses, the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 and the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61.

Trust me, I know how difficult that decision is… especially if you have no plans on whipping out that dreaded return postage label!

I've got you covered.

I've broken down the good, the bad and the ugly of these babies, so providing you have a clear idea of exactly what you plan on doing with it, you will have a clear idea on which one is best for you, by the end of this article.

Let get into it…

At A Glance:

Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2


Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61

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Key Differences Between The Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 And The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61

Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 vs Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61

The main differences between Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 and Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 are their unique features, build quality, and the specific needs they cater to in music production.

The Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 is known for its velocity-sensitive keys with aftertouch. It has 16 illuminated performance pads which is critical for live performers or those who like hands-on control over their music. Its numerous knobs and sliders offer a more tactile experience during music production.

A standout feature of the KeyLab is its ability to combine two instruments from Analog Lab, allowing you to split or layer them directly from the hardware.

The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61, though similar in key range, differs in terms of key quality – which some users may prefer. This MIDI controller also offers deep integration with the Native Instruments software ecosystem.

Its high-resolution full-color displays help with precision browsing, tweaking, mixing, etc., enhancing workflow efficiency. The keyboard comes equipped with a light-guide system providing visual cues throughout your session and it's compatible with MASCHINE software.

Some notable differences include:

  • Build Quality: Both keyboards are well-built but have different structures – Arturia Keylab has a metal case while NI’s Komplete Kontrol uses a different material.
  • Workflow Preference: If you prioritize better integration and software ecosystem compatibility then NI's Komplete Kontrol might be more suited to you; but if hands-on controls align more with your preferences then Arturia’s Keylab could be the ideal choice.
  • Key Feel & Quality: If key-feel and quality are paramount in your decision-making process then NI’s Komplete Kontrol could hold an edge over Arturia’s offering.

It all boils down to personal preference based on individual usage style; hence it's important to consider what functionalities would benefit your music production or performance workflow before making a decision.

SpecificationsArturia KeyLab 61 Mk2Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61
Number of Keys6161
Type of KeysSemi-weightedFatar keybeds with aftertouch
Other ControllersPitchbend, Mod WheelPitchbend, Mod Wheel
Pads16 x Backlit padsNone
Encoders/Pots9 x Rotary knobs8 x Touch-sensitive knobs
Faders9 x 30mm fadersNone
Dedicated Transport ControlYesYes
Pedal Inputs1 x 1/4″ (sustain), 1 x 1/4″ (expression)1 x 1/4″ (sustain), 1 x 1/4″ (expression)
USB1 x Type B1 x Type B
SoftwareAnalog Lab, Ableton Live Lite, Piano VKomplete Kontrol, Maschine Essentials, Ableton Live Lite
Power Supply12V DC power supply (sold separately)USB bus power
Weight14.33 lbs.14.77 lbs.

What You Need To Know About Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2

The Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 is a musician's dream tool. Packed with a top-notch keybed from Arturia’s MatrixBrute synthesizer, it'll give your music the ultimate expression and playability. The keybed pairs perfectly with a mod wheel and pitch bend wheel for highest control in live performance.

On top of that, it features 16 colorful backlit pads perfect for finger drumming or triggering samples. Plus, it has 9 big faders and 9 rotary knobs for controlling automation and such. And guess what? It comes with magnetic overlays for noting down the 16 transport controls – now that's handy!

Here's an exclusive offer for India: the FULL V Collection 8 Software Bundle (worth Rs.50,000) is included! This bundle gives you over 8,000 sounds from 28 classic keyboards and synths known for their ultra-realistic sound reproduction.

Worried about compatibility? No need! The KeyLab MKII works seamlessly with many digital audio workstations like Ableton, Reason, FL Studio, Logic etc. Plus quick access buttons make it super easy to use patches such as piano sounds.

Its design will impress you too! Solid yet compact, it flaunts an elegant aluminum chassis with genuine wood side panels. It also sports sustain and expression input options at the backside along with three configurable AUX inputs suitable both studio and stage use.

The cherry on top? Its unique modular connectivity featuring built-in connections for CV pitch, gate as well as dual modulation controls compatible with external synths and Eurorack modules!

Curious to know more about this fantastic gear? Head over to their official page.

My 1 Month Review Of The Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2

My 1 Month Review Of The Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2

Product Review: Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2

It seems almost surreal that it's already been a month since my Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 arrived. I've spent copious hours behind its beautiful build and keys, exploring the vast range of sounds this remarkable piece of equipment has to offer.

Initial Impressions

When I unboxed the unit, my initial impression was that it seemed quite sturdy and well-built – far more than just your average MIDI controller. It has an **all-metal chassis** which screams durability. The included software bundle is impressive too – offering Analog Lab, Ableton Live Lite, and others gave me a head start in discovering the versatility of this machine.

Playability & Functionality

Moving onto functionality; playing the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 is a real joy. The **aftertouch-enabled keyboard is semi-weighted**, giving you a wonderful blend of depth and response. It's not too stiff, not too soft; it's like Goldilocks' porridge – just right.

One standout feature for me was the amount of physical control elements offered by this model! With **rotary knobs, faders, pads**, and lots more – there’s hardly anything you can’t do with it. Let's not forget to mention that these controllers are all easily assignable too!

Another huge plus for me was discovering how seamlessly integrated this controller is with major DAWs like **Logic Pro X or Ableton Live**, making production sessions smoother than ever before.

Software Integration & Usability

Switching gears to software integration aspect – what an ease! The included Analog Lab software blends perfectly with this keyboard giving access to thousands of **classic synth sounds** at your fingertips. This greatly expands creative range but honestly, can be somewhat overwhelming initially due to its vast nature.

The Arturia MIDI Control Center took some time getting used to but once set up properly, offered deep customization options for every control element on the board – further expanding the possibilities!

Throughout these weeks I had to reach out to their customer support only once regarding some minor issues related firmware updates but was pleasantly surprised by their speed in response and resolution.

Drawbacks… But Not Dealbreakers

If there’s one gripe I'd have about my experience thus far with the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2: it would be its size. It’s definitely hefty and takes up considerable space on my desk – so make sure you measure first before diving in!

And probably worth mentioning – a small learning curve when exploring some deeper functions, especially within analog labs or setting up complex DAW mappings. But hey! No pain no gain right?

I think overall after spending a month here’s what counts:

• Construction quality: Top-notch
• Playability: Excellent
• Knobs & Faders: Sufficiently smooth
• Software suite: Comprehensive yet complex

So would I recommend buying an Arturia Keylab 61 MKII? Absolutely yes – if you’re ready for professional grade gear packed full of features then look no further! It’s proved so far as an exceptional investment in my music production journey.

What You Need To Know About Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61

The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 is a smart keyboard controller for all your virtual instruments. It has 61 semi-weighted keys with pro-grade Fatar keybeds that also include aftertouch. This means you get a realistic piano-like feel when you play!

The keyboard comes with ergonomic pitch and mod wheels, plus a touch strip for expression control. These features make it super easy to add personality and style to your music.

One of the coolest things about this keyboard is its pre-mapped control of KOMPLETE instruments, and hundreds of Native Kontrol Standard (NKS) instruments from leading manufacturers. Basically, it's ready to play nice with a lot of different sounds right out of the box.

The Komplete Kontrol S61 also supports full VSTi, which means it can work with a wide range of software synths. And if you're using macOS 10.12, 10.13 or 10.14 (latest update), Intel Core i5 with at least 4 GB RAM, you've got nothing to worry about compatibility issues.

Want more details? Visit the official page for the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61.

My 1 Month Review Of The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61

My 1 Month Review Of The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61

My First Month With The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61

After using the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 for a month, I can safely say that it's been a real game-changer for my music production journey.

A Seamless Integration Experience

One of the standout features for me has been its seamless integration with my DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). With other MIDI controllers I've used in the past, I've spent countless hours setting up and configuring – but not with the Komplete Kontrol S61. It's clear that ease of integration is a priority here.

The Feel and Playability

The quality of this controller is noticeable immediately. The keys have an impeccable weight and responsive touch sensitivity – they feel just like playing an actual piano. Also, I appreciate that there are enough keys to play complex chords, which isn't always the case on smaller MIDI controllers.

The Light Guide

The integrated light guide is genuinely helpful for visualizing chords and scales as you play. Such feature might seem gimmicky to some, but it's actually really useful when you're in the middle of a groove and need to switch scales quickly.

Pitch Bend and Modulation Wheels

These guys on most keyboards are usually hard plastic feeling, but on the S61 they have a rubbery texture which I found much more satisfying to use. They are super responsive too!

Screens, Knobs & Buttons

There are two small screens on this MIDI controller which provide vital information about what you're doing at any given moment – excellent feature! The countless knobs and buttons might seem overwhelming at first, but once you get used to them they become second nature. They allow for quick access to sounds, effects controls – eases my workflow significantly!

Key Features after one month:
– Seamless integration with DAW
– Great key feel
– Helpful light guide
– Quality pitch bend/modulation wheels
– Informative screen displays

After my first month of using this product, I can honestly say it lives up to its reputation. It's not perfect; no product ever truly is – certainly better suited towards studio work than live performances due to its size – but overall it provides an enjoyable experience that contributes positively towards music production endeavors.

Who The Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61

Who The Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61

Who is the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 for?
The Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 is ideal for those seeking a controller with a wide range of keys and value hands-on control in their music production. This MIDI controller is particularly appealing to live performers due to its velocity-sensitive keys with aftertouch and 16 illuminated performance pads.

Why choose Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 over Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61?
Someone might prefer the KeyLab 61 Mk2 over the Komplete Kontrol S61 for several reasons:

  • The KeyLab offers numerous knobs and sliders which users find easier and more tactile to work with.
  • This model allows users to combine two instruments from Analog Lab, offering the ability to split or layer them directly from the hardware.
  • The Arturia Keylab has a metal case which provides a different feel compared to NI's Komplete Kontrol MK2 series, adding an extra sense of sturdiness.

By contrast, the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 is renowned for its superior key quality, software integration within NI ecosystem, high-resolution displays for precision controls, and compatibility with MASCHINE software.

However, choosing between these two models comes down largely to user preference based on usage style – where some may prioritise better integration or superior key-feel while others might value hands-on controls or robust build.

Who The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2

Who The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2

The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 is ideal for musicians who value superior key quality and seamless integration with the Native Instruments ecosystem of software. This MIDI controller stands out due to its high-resolution full-color displays which offer precision browsing, tweaking, mixing and much more.

If you're a performer requiring visual cues during your session, Komplete Kontrol S61 comes equipped with a unique light-guide system. Furthermore, its compatibility with MASCHINE software is an added bonus for users who prefer enhanced workflow management.

In contrast to the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2, the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 exudes a different feel in terms of build quality. Although both keyboards are robustly built, the KeyLab features a metal case that some users might find more appealing.

In conclusion:

  • The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 is an excellent choice for those seeking superior key quality.
  • Komplete Kontrol S61's seamless integration into the Native Instruments ecosystem makes it desirable for those needing slick workflow management.
  • If you rely on visible guidance during your performance or production sessions, this controller's light-guide system can be highly beneficial.
  • The build quality might be a determining factor if you prefer one material over another – The Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 has a metal casing while the NI's keyboard does not.

Thus it's evident that potential buyers should assess their needs based on functionality and workflow preference while considering these MIDI controllers.

If the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 and the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 don't quite match what you're looking for, don't worry! I've compared a number of other similar products in previous posts.

Check out my comparisons between the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 and Arturia KeyStep Pro, or perhaps the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 vs Nektar Impact LX88+.

If you're interested in comparing to Akai equipment, I also have a post on the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 vs Akai Fire.

Lastly, for another comparison involving Native Instruments, take a look at my comparison of the Novation 61SL Mk3 vs Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61.

There's sure to be something out there that perfectly suits your needs.


What are some specific use cases that might make the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 a better choice than the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61?

The **Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2** might be a better choice for musicians who perform live frequently or those who prefer hands-on control over their music. The velocity-sensitive keys with aftertouch, illuminated performance pads and numerous knobs and sliders all contribute to an interactive music production experience. Additionally, its ability to combine two instruments from Analog Lab directly from the hardware offers more layering possibilities.

How does the integration of Native Instruments ecosystem in Komplete Kontrol S61 enhance user experience?

The **Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61** has an integrated ecosystem that allows seamless compatibility with various software from Native Instruments. This facilitates easier browsing, tweaking and mixing, contributing to an efficient workflow especially for those already familiar with NI's software environment. Furthermore, it comes with high-resolution full-color displays which provide precision in navigation.

In terms of build quality, how do users compare Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 and Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61?

While both MIDI controllers are well built; some users note that the build quality of **Arturia Keylab 61 Mk2**, particularly its metal case provides a different tactile feel compared to Native Instrument's Komplete Kontrol series. However, preference on this aspect is subjective; some may prefer the sturdier feel of metal while others may not note a significant difference.

Who would benefit most from using the light-guide system on Native Instrument's Komplete Kontrol S21?

Musicians who value visual cues when playing would find great utility in **Komplete Kontrol S21's** light-guide system. This feature offers visual aids during performances or recording sessions which can enhance accuracy especially in low-light conditions or complex compositions where guiding cues can assist in navigating through different parts of your session.

Buyer's Guide: Important Things To Consider & Look Out For When Buying A Midi Keyboard

1. Know Your Musical Needs

When you're in the market for a MIDI keyboard, it's essential to identify your musical needs. Ask yourself: What style of music do you produce? Do you need authentic piano action or prefer lighter synth action keys? Will the keyboard be used for live performances or studio work? Understanding these aspects can guide you in deciding between keyboards like the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2, known for its incredibly versatile nature, and the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61, which excels at DAW control and software integration.

2. Evaluate Software Integration Features

The beauty of MIDI keyboards is how well they integrate with software applications. As such, consider a keyboard that offers seamless software integration capabilities. A model with automatic mapping to your preferred DAW enhances workflow and productivity immensely. Here, look at options like Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 – a high-performance controller known for its ease of integrating with virtual instruments.

3. Reflect on Size and Portability

Depending on your workspace or performance situation, size could play a decisive role in purchasing a MIDI Controller online. If space is limited or you travel frequently, opt for compact and portable models over larger ones that might deliver multiple functionalities yet compromise portability.

4. Check Compatibility with Your Devices

Before making any purchase online, ensure that the MIDI controller is compatible with your operating system and music production software. For instance, some may not work as well with certain versions of Windows or MacOS.

5.Choose According to Your Skill Level

If you’re an amateur producer just getting into music production, consider starting off with more simple models that are easy to navigate before graduating to more complex models such as Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61— an advanced option filled with professional features.

6.Consider Extra Functions

Some Midi keyboards come equipped with additional features including pads for drumming and programming beats, mod wheels for modulation controls as well as faders and knobs offering mixer functionality within your synthesizer program or DAW control interface. While these extras may not be essential when beginning in music production; they can certainly enhance creativity down the line!

7.Check Online Reviews & Compare Prices

Lastly but not least important – always check customer reviews! Evaluations from other users often provide insights on potential challenges associated with products hence helping shape informed decisions! Moreover comparing prices across different online platforms allows shoppers to save money while getting best value.

About Author

Arielle P

Arielle P

Songwriter | Music Producer | Engineer.

With a background in music production and a strong passion for education, Arielle is dedicated to helping emerging artists navigate the music industry. She has worked with a diverse range of artists, from indie rock bands to well-known hip-hop and grime artists. Arielle's unique approach to teaching focuses on empowering artists to take control of their brand, ensuring they retain creative ownership throughout their journey. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting with new sounds in her home studio and sharing her insights through music production tutorials and workshops.

📧 Email Arielle