Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 vs Novation 61SL Mk3: A Comprehensive Keyboard Comparison

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 Novation 61SL Mk3.

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


Novation 61SL Mk3

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Key Differences Between The Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 And The Novation 61SL Mk3

Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 vs Novation 61SL Mk3

The main differences between Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 and Novation 61SL Mk3 are primarily found in their unique features and advantages, as both are professional MIDI keyboard controllers.

Arturia KeyLab 61 MKII is known for its extensive control options. It is equipped with velocity-sensitive keys with aftertouch, color-illuminated performance pads, faders, and rotating control knobs.

Additionally, a standout feature is its Pro-Feel action keybed, providing a comfortable playing experience. One unique advantage of Arturia Keylab is its feature of smart mapping, allowing users to easily browse through iconic sounds of various instruments.

Contrarily, the Novation 61SL Mk3, while also having the semi-weighted velocity-sensitive keys with aftertouch, distinguishes itself with its special sequencing capabilities and CV/Gate out – making it ideal for controlling non-MIDI hardware like Eurorack modules.

Its biggest strength lies in the customization options it offers for templates and connecting to outboard gear along with automapping technology for easy setup.

In terms of feel, user feedback varies – some mention that the Novation keybed feels superior compared to many MIDI keyboards on the market while others also praise KeyLab's keybed feel.

Both keyboards are typically priced around $699 USD meaning they represent significant investments for musicians or producers.

To summarize:

  • The Arturia KeyLab 61MKII:

  • Presents an extensive range of controls.

  • Incorporates Pro-Feel action keybed.

  • Incorporates smart mapping features.

  • The Novation 61SL Mk3:

  • Includes sequencing capabilities.

  • Able to control non-MIDI hardware through CV/Gate out.

  • Sports superior customization options for templates and connections along with quick setup through auto-mapping technology.

In conclusion, both controllers offer robust functionality but your choice may depend on your specific needs in terms of connectivity (for example if you need CV/Gate outputs), feel of the keys or included software packages from companies.

FeaturesArturia KeyLab 61 Mk2Novation 61SL Mk3
Number of Keys6161
Type of KeysSemi-weightedSemi-weighted
Dedicated Transport ControlYesYes
Pedal InputsExpression, SustainSustain
Power Supply12V DC power supply (included)USB bus power
SoftwareAnalog Lab, Ableton Live Lite, Piano VAbleton Live Lite, Novation Bass Station, V Station virtual instruments and over 4GB of Loopmasters samples

What You Need To Know About Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2

The Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 is a digital musician's dream. It comes with a premium, high-end keybed taken from Arturia's MatrixBrute synthesizer.

The keys respond to how hard you hit them (that's what velocity-sensitive means!), and they even respond after you've pressed them down for extra expression in your playing. Plus, there are wheels to bend pitch and adjust modulation for more control when you perform live.

You also get loads of other cool features. There are 16 backlit performance pads that light up in different colors. They're perfect for things like finger drumming or triggering samples, which means activating sounds at the push of a button!

It even has nine big faders and nine knobs for controlling automation — that's fancy speak for adjusting sound levels over time.

The KeyLab 61 Mk2 goes above and beyond with the magnetic overlays feature – it’s basically sticky notes you can use to label the 16 transport controls .This lets you control transport controls within your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) with just one click.

Exclusively for customers in India, the KeyLab 61 Mk2 comes bundled with Arturia's V Collection 9 software. That's over 8,000 sounds from classic keyboards and synths worth Rs.50,000 – all without actually having any physical instruments!

If you're using music software like Ableton, Reason or FL Studio among others, this keyboard fits right in thanks to quick-mapped controls – meaning most functions are already pre-assigned! Plus there are quick access buttons to load patches (like piano sounds) instantly!

Talking about design – this sleek keyboard is compact but still sturdy with an aluminium body and real wood side panels! At the back it has inputs for sustain and expression pedals plus three AUX inputs that can be set as per your needs – whether onstage or in studio.

What makes the Keylab MKII truly special is its modular connectivity — built-in connections designed specifically for interacting with external synths or Eurorack modules!

So if all these fabulous features sound up your alley head on over to Arturia’s Official Page to learn more about the KeyLab 61 Mk2!

My 1 Month Review Of The Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2

My 1 Month Review Of The Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2

After a month of playing around, I think it's fair to say that I'm completely hooked on the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2. It's now an essential part of my music-making process and I wouldn't want to be without it.

**Build Quality and Design**

The design is sleek, modern, and functional – with its aluminum-made casing and wood side panels, this isn't just some average MIDI controller; it also looks really cool in my studio! Plus, it feels sturdy and well-built; no flimsy plastic parts here.- High-quality build
– Stylish design

**Functionality and Performance**

The fact that there are 61 semi-weighted keys with aftertouch gives me plenty of range for composing melodies or hammering out chords. What really sets this keyboard apart though are the additional features – drum pads, faders, knobs…. you name it!And then there’s the performance aspect – oh boy does this thing perform! The keys have an excellent feel to them – they're responsive and sensitive in all the right ways. – 61 semi-weighted keys
– Drum pads
– Faders
– Knobs

**Integration with DAWs**

Integration with various DAWs (digital audio workstations) is seamless too. Whether you're using Ableton Live or Pro Tools (or any other major DAW), mapping controls is straightforward which makes workflow smooth as butter.

**Arturia's Analog Lab Software**

One thing I have thoroughly enjoyed is Arturia's Analog Lab software. This thing comes packed with over 6k presets from 21 iconic synths & keyboards – talk about spoiling us for choices!- Over 6000 presets
– 21 iconic synths & keyboards

**Final Thoughts**

Overall, after a month using the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2, it has definitely won me over with its robust build quality, awesome features and smooth integration capabilities.Surely not your average MIDI controller – for me, it strikes the perfect balance between functionality & style while delivering top-notch performance consistently.But don’t just take my word for it – go check out KeyLab Mk2 by yourself! Remember: Good things come to those who create…and Arturia certainly facilitates creativity!

What You Need To Know About Novation 61SL Mk3

The Novation 61SL Mk3 is a dynamic device that can bring together MIDI hardware and CV/Gate synths. It's the perfect controller for Ableton Live music-making software, which means it's great for budding musicians or seasoned pros.

One of the great things about this device is that it makes it easy to integrate your hardware with your DAW – that's a digital audio workstation. So, if you've got some techy gear you want to use with new music software, this could be the answer!

It also has an internal 8 track pattern-based sequencer – sounds complicated right? But don't worry, it's just a tool that helps you create and arrange your musical masterpiece.

There's even one routable clock included in the system. This is super useful because it helps keep everything playing at the same tempo and in sync.

Oh and another plus? Novation offers a generous 3-year warranty on this product (and actually all other Novation products). That means they've got your back if anything goes wrong within three years of purchase!

You can get more details or buy directly from their official page here. Happy music making!

My 1 Month Review Of The Novation 61SL Mk3

My 1 Month Review Of The Novation 61SL Mk3

Unboxing Experience

From the moment I laid my eyes on the Novation 61SL Mk3, I was hopelessly enamoured. The packaging in which it arrived told me that this manufacturer absolutely values presentation, and in my experience, that usually speaks volumes about their committed attention to detail.

First Impressions

As I carefully peeled back the packaging and unveiled the Versatile Keyboard Controller, my excitement couldn't be contained. Out of the box, this sleek piece of musical technology was just as stunning as I had anticipated – with its beautiful design, well-positioned pads and sliders. It felt markedly sturdy and well-made too.
The backlit LED screen came alive at power up – a mesmerising sight for any synth enthusiast. But how would it perform?

Setup and Compatibility

Next came set up. Would it be a headache? A breeze? To my relief, it was more of the latter than the former.
It's important to note that I'm no tech whizz, but installing software and syncing with Ableton Live was quite straightforward. This speaks to Novation's focus on making their products user friendly.
A word of caution though: if you use another DAW (especially an older version), you might run into some compatibility issues.

Sound Quality & Performance

Now onto what really matters: The sound quality.
Let me tell you, it's nothing less than superb! Once connected to my DAW, playing this keyboard became an absolute joy.
The velocity-sensitive keys allowed me to create expressive melodies while those all-important mod wheels added depth to every note played.

The built-in arpeggiator, sequencer and scales are both fun to experiment with – they've genuinely reignited my creativity! Sure there were minor glitches here or there but overall these features alone make this keyboard worth considering.

A Month Down The Line

Fast forward about a month into owning this little beauty…
Yes, there have been challenges – mainly around learning curves with some advanced features & occasional software glitches – but nothing has overly hampered my user experience or diminished its value for money.

In summary:

– The build quality is excellent
– Installation process is straightforward
– Compatibility could pose challenges depending on your setup
– Sound quality is superior
– Advanced features may require patience to master

All in all? The Novation 61SL MkIII is not perfect (what product is?), but for anyone serious about music production who wants a robust instrument that sparks creativity—a month in—and I can confidently say: “This keyboard controller rocks!”

Who The Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Novation 61SL Mk3

Who The Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Novation 61SL Mk3

Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2: Who is it for and why?

The Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 is an excellent choice for musicians or producers who prioritize a variety of control options and superior keybed feel. Here's why:

• The Pro-Feel action keybed promises a comfortable playing experience, providing a more natural feel when playing. This may be particularly appealing if extended keyboarding sessions are part of your routine.

• Its unique smart mapping feature can be a delight for enthusiasts of vintage sounds, allowing you to quickly navigate through different instrument tones, from the classic acoustic piano to the iconic 1970s synth.

• If you're one who appreciates visual feedback during performances or recording sessions, the color-illuminated performance pads on this controller might just catch your eye.

Though some users have noted that the Novation's keybed has a better feel than many others in the market, those who have used Arturia's KeyLab 61 Mk2 have similarly praised its keybed quality.

So if you're deciding between these two, consider what else each model brings to the table: features like sequencing capabilities and CV/Gate output on Novation's side versus extensive control options and smart mapping on Arturia's.

At an average price point around $699 USD for both models, either pick would represent an investment in your music production setup. If you're leaning towards broad control options coupled with rich vintage sound exploration capacities while maintaining respectable keybed quality – Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 may be ideal for your needs over Novation 61SL Mk3.

Who The Novation 61SL Mk3 Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2

Who The Novation 61SL Mk3 Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2

The Novation 61SL Mk3 caters to musicians and producers who appreciate diverse control options and advanced sequencing capabilities. This MIDI keyboard is ideal for those who desire flexibility, customization, and a satisfying tactile playing experience. Here's why:

• The Novation 61SL Mk3 has more than just control options; it boasts of being among the few MIDI keyboards with built-in sequencing capabilities, setting it apart from many others including the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2.

• It integrates well with non-MIDI hardware such as Eurorack modules, thanks to its CV/Gate out features. If you're a producer or musician who commonly uses non-standard gear, this can be a game-changer.

• The keys on the Novation are semi-weighted and velocity-sensitive with aftertouch. This means they offer a level of feel and responsiveness that some users suggest is superior to many other MIDI keyboards — including potentially that of the Arturia KeyLab 61 MK2.

• The Novation shines in terms of customization. It offers extensive options for templates along with an automapping technology for easy setup which might give it the edge if ease-of-use and flexibility are your priorities.

Despite these advantages, remember that both keyboards come with roughly similar price tags (~$699 USD), so ultimately your choice will depend on your specific needs as each has its strengths. For instance, while the Novation stands out for its sequencing capabilities and non-MIDI hardware connectivity, the Arturia excels in its Pro-Feel action keybed and wide range of iconic instrument sounds.

  • If superior feel, sequencing functionalities, control over non-MIDI hardware or custom template creation are crucial aspects in your music production process – then Novation 61SL Mk3 could be the right match for you.
  • If you value having plenty of control options including velocity-sensitive keys with aftertouch along with a Pro-Feel action keybed plus easy browsing through iconic instrument sounds – then perhaps Arturia KeyLab 61 MKII will meet your needs better.

This brief overview should provide a starting point as you make informed decisions based on individual needs/preferences in terms of connectivity (such as need for CV/Gate outputs), keybed's feel or software inclusion from various brands while keeping budget considerations in mind too. Ultimately both MIDI controllers offer robust features but their suitability depends on user preferences/requirements.

If the comparison between Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 and Novation 61SL Mk3 in this post isn't quite hitting the mark for you, don't worry! I've reviewed similar products in other posts that might be more to your liking.

For instance, you might find the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 vs Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 comparison intriguing, or perhaps the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 vs Arturia KeyStep Pro discussion is more up your alley.

I've also compared the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 vs Nektar Impact LX88+, and even looked at how it stacks up against the Akai Fire in my Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 vs Akai Fire post.

Feel free to explore these options!


How does the smart mapping feature on the Arturia KeyLab 61 MKII enhance user experience?

The smart mapping feature on the u003cbu003eArturia KeyLab 61 MKIIu003c/bu003e provides a robust user experience by allowing for seamless browsing through different instrument sounds. Users can easily switch between iconic sounds of various instruments such as classic acoustic pianos or analog synths from the 1970s. This not only saves time in sound selection but also allows for increased creativity and flexibility during performances or studio sessions.

What makes Novation 61SL Mk3's connectivity options stand out?

One key strength of u003cbu003eNovation 61SL Mk3u003c/bu003e lies in its diverse connectivity options that extend beyond traditional MIDI controllers. Specifically, it has CV/Gate outputs which makes it compatible with non-MIDI hardware like Eurorack modules, thus expanding its use to more complex setups. The customization options it offers for templates and connecting to outboard gear further enhances these capabilities, making this controller a versatile choice for professionals.

In terms of feel and touch sensitivity, how do users compare these two MIDI keyboard controllers?

Users have mixed views about the feel of both keyboards – some prefer one over the other due to personal preference. The keys on u003cbu003eNovation 61SL Mk3u003c/bu003e, being semi-weighted and velocity-sensitive with aftertouch, are reported to give tactile feedback that feels less cheap compared to many MIDI keyboards available in the market. On another hand, some users have praised u003cbu003eArturia KeyLab's Pro-Feel action keybedu003c/bu003e, noting that it provides a comfortable playing experience.

In comparison between software packages included with these models, what should potential buyers consider?

While both models come equipped with their respective software packages from their manufacturers' companies which add value to each product, potential buyers should evaluate based on their specific needs or familiarity with certain software platforms. Important factors could include ease-of-use, compatibility with other tools they use often or flexibility in sound creation etc., ultimately impacting how effectively they can utilize their chosen MIDI keyboard controller.

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

1. Define Your Needs

When selecting a Midi keyboard for your music production, the first step is to define your needs. Do you need a professional-grade synthesizer for studio use or more straightforward keyboard controller ideal for beginners? Maybe you are looking for a performance keyboard to take on stage. Take careful consideration of your specific needs and align them with the features offered by different models online.

2. Check Integration With Music Software

How well does the MIDI controller integrate with music software? Before making that purchase, it's essential to assess how well the MIDI control surface integrates with your preferred digital audio workstation (DAW) or other virtual instruments. You don't want to find out after buying that some key features aren't supported by your DAW.

3. Test MIDI Mapping Capability

The complexity of MIDI mapping varies from one model to another. Some midi keyboards have automatic mapping, which makes it easier to assign on-board controls (knobs, sliders, buttons) to software parameters in your DAW or other virtual instruments. If you are a beginner in music production, having this feature can be an added advantage as it saves time and reduces complexity.

4. Size and Weight Matter

Never overlook size and weight when buying a Midi Keyboard online! While larger keys can provide better playability, they might not be so portable if you intend on moving around with it frequently. Consider how many keys will fit comfortably in your workspace or performance area before making a final decision.

5.Verify Build Quality

Take the time to research user reviews regarding build quality before purchasing any model of Midi Keyboard online. Specifically look into details about its durability and how well it withstands regular use over time; because let's face it – investing in a high-quality Midi Controller, especially one used often for performances should last more than just a few short years!

6.Evaluate Value for Money

Surely everyone wants their money's worth! So when searching through options online consider all things – price point comparison, offered features against what exactly you need them for (backlit keys are great but not necessary if playing only during daytime hours), ease of use, portability etc., then make an informed decision based on what gives YOU best value.

7.Read Customer Reviews

Don’t just rely only on manufacturer’s descriptions; also read customer reviews from multiple sources when considering purchasing any MIDI device online – including Midi Keyboards! This will give insights that may never find in product specs like hitches encountered over long term usage or peculiar issues arising from certain combinations of hardware/software setup etc., all invaluable information towards ensuring whatever purchase made meets expectations perfectly!

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.

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