Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 vs Arturia KeyStep Pro: A Detailed Comparison of Features and Performance

You're ready to make a big purchase, but you're having trouble deciding between these two powerhouses, the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 and the Arturia KeyStep Pro.

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 Essential 49


Arturia KeyStep Pro

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Key Differences Between The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 And The Arturia KeyStep Pro

Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 vs Arturia KeyStep Pro

The main differences between Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 and Arturia KeyStep Pro are their target audience and features.

The KeyLab Essential 49 is a versatile MIDI keyboard with 49 full-sized keys, eight drum pads, nine faders, and nine knobs. It runs over USB without traditional MIDI ports, making it a good fit for computer setups.
It offers ultimate integration with Analog Lab, enabling you to create music intuitively by reducing the need to use a keyboard or mouse frequently. This device caters more to studio work with DAWs like Ableton due to its tight integration.

On the contrary, the KeyStep Pro has transport buttons and tactile sliders for pitch bend and modulation.
It incorporates an advanced sequencer and arpeggiator in its compact design, allowing creativity through its robust features that may not be found in other keyboards. The KeyStep Pro is renowned for feeling like an actual keyboard instead of appearing cheap or unresponsive.
Unlike the KeyLab Essential 49 designed mainly for studio work, the KeyStep Pro is more tailored towards live performance due to its range of sequencing options.

Notably, there can be a significant price difference between these two models.

  • The Keystep Pro is pricier than the Keylab Essential 49.
  • The Keystep Pro offers an additional range of creative tools designed specifically for live performances.

In conclusion,

  • If you are looking for extensive live performance options then you might prefer the Keystep pro.
  • If your primary use is studio work within DAWs then the Keylab essential 49 could serve you better.


SpecificationsArturia KeyLab Essential 49Arturia KeyStep Pro
TypeMIDI ControllerSequencer, MIDI Controller
Number of Keys4937
Key TypeSynth ActionSlimkey
SequencerNoYes (4 Tracks)
MIDI I/OIn/OutIn/Out/Thru
Power SupplyUSB Bus Powered12V DC power supply
Software IncludedAnalog Lab Lite, Ableton Live Lite, UVI Grand Piano Model DArturia MIDI Control Center

What You Need To Know About Arturia KeyLab Essential 49

The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 is a versatile and powerful keyboard that can quickly become your go-to instrument. Its impressive set of features include a 49-key velocity-sensitive keyboard that authentically replicates the feel of an analog synth and piano.

This keyboard also offers an array of interactive controls. They include a clickable encoder, nine faders, six handy transport switches, four command switches, one modulation wheel, and one pitch bend wheel. There are also eight touch-sensitive pads that respond to pressure for more dynamic performances.

But what makes the KeyLab Essential 49 really stand out is its seamless integration with the Analog Lab software. This gives you access to over 2000 synth sounds and allows you to effortlessly select sounds, switch parts, browse presets and more with smart-assigned controls.

Additionally, included in the package is Ableton Live Lite for digital audio workstation tasks and UVI Grand Piano model D software for capturing authentic acoustic piano sounds.

You can choose to operate this keyboard as a standalone instrument or plug it into your computer using VST3, AU or AAX formats enjoy over 7000 TAE powered preset sounds from Arturia’s award-winning V Collection.

In short – The KeyLab Essential 49 is designed to simplify your music-making process by providing all necessary tools right at your fingertips. It's all about helping you find your own sound without any distractions.

For more detailed information on this product or to make a purchase visit Arturia's official page.

My 1 Month Review Of The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49

Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 2 6

Initial Experience with the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49

Unboxing, it was clear from the get-go, this wasn't just another keyboard. The solid body, smooth keys, and sleek design immediately reflected a level of quality you don't come across every day. With my eyes taking in each detail and my fingers itching to play, I knew I was in for a treat.

A month into the Journey

Now, having spent a full month with the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49, I can confidently say that it has enriched my music production far beyond what I had originally expected.

This machine is a beauty. The build quality is robust and feels like it could stand up to years of heavy use. Each button is durable and responsive, really making you feel like you're creating something special every time you press them.

Let me tell you about these keys! The keybed has an impressive semi-weighted feel which strikes the perfect balance between a traditional synthesizer and an acoustic piano: not too light but not too heavy either.

Can we talk about sounds? Oh, the numerous sounds this thing can produce! Working with Ableton Live Lite (included in the package), this machine takes your musical creativity to new levels by offering unlimited possibilities.

Here's what stood out after a month:
Faders: They glide so smoothly up-and-down without any friction or resistance.
Pads: They're sensitive enough to pick up even light hits.
DAW Control: It removes any need for me to constantly reach for my mouse during production sessions.
Much more…

In terms of software…

Utilizing Analog Lab 2 (also included), getting access to more than 5,000 classic synth sounds was nothing short of game-changing. It's actually helped reveal layers of creativity I didn't know existed inside me!

The Verdict

So why does all this matter? Because making music should always be about exploration and enjoying yourself as much as possible – something I've never felt held back by with the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49.

The one thing that's guaranteed when purchasing this product is you’re not just getting another tool added into your setup – but rather an “experience”.

A journey into sound creation that is bound to inspire even if you’re an experienced pro or someone who’s just starting out on their musical adventure. So would I recommend this product? Without any hesitation – Yes!

What You Need To Know About Arturia KeyStep Pro

The Arturia KeyStep Pro is not just a MIDI keyboard. It's an all-in-one controller that lets you control your performance like a pro. You can play smoothly and create entire setlists with many different hardware and software devices.

This device has velocity-sensitive slimkeys that are super comfy to use. It has hands-on controls and a lot of features you can't find anywhere else, making it more versatile creatively.

Making songs with the KeyStep Pro is super easy, even if they're complicated ones! Its huge list of features makes sequencing fun, quick to react and totally customizable. Add chord mode, quick edit, time shift, touch strip looper and more to take your ideas further.

One of its best features is the ability to connect every part of your setup. You can sync your collection of Eurorack modules, analog synths, and VST instruments like never before!

It has 4 CV, Gate and Mod outputs, 8 dedicated drum Gate outputs, Clocks, MIDI in/out feature along with metronome output; plus it connects via USB for easy power control.

Unleash your creativity using its smart sequencing and arpeggiation features. You can record detailed step sequences or make custom arpeggios by just hitting record and going with the flow.

And don't forget its beat-making abilities! The device lets you create hard-hitting beats easily whether on a drum machine or DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), thanks to Track 1’s dedicated polyrhythmic drum sequencer!

To learn more about this awesome product visit their official page here.

My 1 Month Review Of The Arturia KeyStep Pro

Arturia KeyStep Pro 1


Hey there! It's been a full month since I got my hands on the Arturia KeyStep Pro. This software has stirred up quite a buzz, and after testing it thoroughly for 4 weeks, I feel equipped to provide an in-depth, honest review.

First Impressions

Unboxing the KeyStep Pro was a delight. The build quality immediately stood out. For something that fits so comfortably on my desk, it's surprisingly sturdy and well-constructed.
The keys are semi-weighted and have an excellent response.

User Interface

Contrary to what some might say about this being complicated, I found the KeyStep Pro relatively straightforward to navigate after getting used to it.
The layout is logical and the illuminated pads are super helpful when working in dim light or interpreting different modes.


When it comes to functionality, here's what really impressed me:

– First off, the four independent polyphonic sequencer tracks. These opened the door for creating complex melodies effortlessly.
– Then there’s its superb connectivity. With CV/gate outputs and MIDI in/out on both standard jack and mini-jack…let’s just say interfacing with other gear has never been easier.
– Lastly – but definitely not least – is its ability to work as a standalone unit without a computer. This proved invaluable during those power outage moments or when travelling.

Software Integration

Integration with Ableton Live was completely hitch-free. The drum sequencer parts automatically mapped onto Ableton's Drum Rack which made workflow significantly smoother.

I did experience some difficulties when linking up with Logic Pro X but nothing too drastic; just required tweaking some settings.

The Downsides

No product is perfect. One of my main gripes with the KeyStep Pro is that saving presets can be slightly tedious due to interface limitations.
In addition, while I appreciate its compact size for most purposes; sometimes when busy creating music I wish for more keys.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Arturia’s KeyStep Pro has quickly become one of my favourite pieces of studio gear due to its versatility and portability plus top-notch sequencing capabilities.
If you're someone who needs all-in-one sequencing solution with durability in mind – go for this one!

A fair warning though-
This little beast might take over your life (and your desk).

Who The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Arturia KeyStep Pro

Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 1 1

Arturia KeyLab Essential 49: For Computer-Based Studio Work
The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 would be an excellent fit for musicians and producers who work primarily in a computer-based studio setting. With its easy USB connectivity, it integrates seamlessly with your digital audio workstation (DAW). This MIDI controller is also outfitted with 49 full-sized keys, eight drum pads, nine faders, and nine knobs, providing all you need for creating music in an intuitive manner.

• Optimal integration with Analog Lab
• Less dependence on keyboard and mouse

If you're looking for a keyboard that will enhance your interaction with platforms like Ableton or other DAWs, the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 is designed to do just that. It provides a tightly integrated workflow allowing for efficient production.

Arturia KeyStep Pro: For Live Performers
In contrast, the Arturia KeyStep Pro could be a preferable choice if live performance is your primary domain. It boasts transport buttons and tactile sliders for pitch bend and modulation, making it more dynamic during performances. It's known for its responsive feel which emulates real keyboards.

• Advanced sequencer & arpeggiator
• Set of unique musical features

This model encourages creative explorations due to its advanced features not commonly found in other MIDI controllers. If you thrive on invoking spontaneous musical ideas during live sets then this feature set can be particularly advantageous.

However, it's worth noting the price difference – the Arturia KeyStep Pro comes at a higher price point compared to the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 due to its capabilities tailored towards live performances.

The decision between these two models ultimately depends on your intended use; computer-based studio work calls for the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 while live performers might prefer the versatility of the Arturia Keystep Pro.

Who The Arturia KeyStep Pro Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49

Arturia KeyStep Pro 2 1

Arturia KeyStep Pro: Ideal for Live Performances
The Arturia KeyStep Pro is designed with the live performer in mind. It introduces a host of features that are crucial for real-time performance, including tactile sliders for pitch bend and modulation, transport buttons, and an advanced sequencer.

This MIDI controller stands out with its compact design that feels like a real keyboard rather than a cheap or unresponsive device. Here's why you might prefer the KeyStep Pro over the KeyLab Essential 49:

• Emphasis on creative musical ideas: The Keystep Pro has unique features that could not be offered by other keyboards, making it ideal for innovative musicians.

• Advanced sequencer and arpeggiator: These features make the KeyStep Pro stand out as a live performance tool.

• More expensive but offers more: While there is a significant price difference between this model and the Keylab Essential 49, Keystep Pro justifies this with several additional creative tools.

Arturia KeyLab Essential 49: The Studio Work Specialist
The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49, on the other hand, seems to cater more to those working in digital audio workstations (DAWs) like Ableton. Its ultimate integration with Analog Lab and user-friendly design allows you to minimize time spent using your keyboard and mouse while making music. Here's why somebody might choose this unit over the Keystep pro:

• Designed for computer setups: The device operates via USB rather than traditional MIDI ports which may suit your computer setup better.

• Abundant controls: It boasts of nine faders, eight drum pads, nine knobs and 49 full-sized keys providing you extensive control during studio work.

• Better suited for use within DAWs: Its tight integration makes it an ideal tool if your primary use leans towards studio work.

If the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 and the Arturia KeyStep Pro aren't quite ticking all your boxes, don't worry! I've written other posts comparing similar products that you might find interesting.

For example, you can check out my comparison between the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 vs Nektar Impact LX88+ or the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 vs Akai Fire.

If you're more inclined towards M-Audio products, then perhaps my post on M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro vs Akai MPC Studio may be of interest.

Additionally, I've done a side-by-side comparison of the M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro vs Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2.

These comparisons should provide some valuable insights to help you make an informed decision.


How does the USB-only connection of the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 affect its functionality in various music setups?

The fact that Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 runs over USB and doesn't have traditional MIDI ports could have a number of implications. It means, firstly, that it is u003cbu003edesigned primarily for use with computer-based digital audio workstations (DAWs)u003c/bu003e rather than standalone synthesizers or drum machines. This makes it potentially less versatile than controllers with standard MIDI outputs. However, for artists using software like Ableton Live or Logic Pro X on their computer as their primary music-making platform, this may not be an issue at all.

What specific features make the Arturia KeyStep Pro more suited for live performances?

The Arturia KeyStep Pro includes several features that make it well suited to live performance contexts. Most notably, it has an u003cbu003eadvanced sequencer and arpeggiatoru003c/bu003e. These powerful tools allow for real-time manipulation of musical sequences which can add a dynamic and creative layer to live performances. Its compact design also makes it easily portable – an essential feature for performing musicians who travel frequently.

What are some potential factors to consider when evaluating the price difference between these two models?

When considering whether to invest in the pricier Keystep Pro over the more affordable Keylab Essential 49 model, there are several key factors worth considering beyond just initial cost. The Keystep Pro offers more advanced sequencing options and is better tailored towards live performance capabilities – if these are important to you then u003cbu003ethis additional expense may be seen as a valuable investmentu003c/bu003e. Conversely if your needs are more studio based with DAWs then Keylab essential might serve your purposes without any unnecessary expenditure.

In what ways does each device's design contribute to user experience?

Both devices offer intuitive interfaces that streamline music production processes but in different ways depending on usage need. For example, The Arturia u003cbu003eKeyLab Essential 49 allows users less reliance on mouse and keyboard by offering hands-on controlu003c/bu003e, thereby enhancing efficiency within studio settings.u003cbru003eIn contrast, The Arturia u003cbu003eKeyStep Pro is lauded as having a ‘real keyboard' feel which can significantly enhance user experience during live performances.u003c/bu003e.

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

1. Define Your Needs and Expectations

Before you dive head-first into the online world of Midi Keyboards, take some time to determine what you actually require from your MIDI controller. Are you a seasoned professional in music production or just starting out?

Do you need a full-sized keyboard, or will a mini version suffice? Consider what kind of synthesizer functionality you're seeking. If your goal is to create complex rhythmic sequences for electronic music, for instance, the Arturia KeyStep Pro with its powerful sequencer could be an ideal choice.

2. Determine Compatibility with Your DAW

Not all MIDI Keyboards are compatible with every digital audio workstation (DAW). When choosing a keyboard like the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 – which is also known as an advanced performance controller – ensure it's able to integrate seamlessly with your chosen DAW software. This avoids any potential frustration and keeps your music production process smooth.

3. Prioritize Keyboard Quality over Quantity of Features

While it can be exciting to purchase a MIDI Keyboard packed full of features like drum pads and faders, the primary function of this device remains its keyboard. Ensure the keys are quality-made and velocity-sensitive for accurate performance replication. The Arturia range offers exceptional keyboards that strike an ideal balance between features and key quality.

4. Inspect Connectivity Options

In our increasingly wireless world, connectivity matters more than ever before – especially if you plan on using multiple devices with your MIDI controller concurrently. Look out for options that offer USB connectivity as well as traditional MIDI In/Out ports so that it can effortlessly connect to various hardware and software instruments.

5.Check Out Arpeggiator Functionality

If pattern-based play or electronic music genres tickle your fancy, consider getting a MIDI Keyboard equipped with arpeggiator functionality like the KeyStep Pro. This allows you to create impressive evolving soundscapes without needing intricate technical knowledge.

6.Look at Product Reviews and Ratings

Nothing speaks louder about product quality than other customers' experiences.Buying online gives us one huge advantage: we can view numerous reviews on any given product before making our decision.

Ratings can also be very telling depending upon how many users reviewed it.If only five people have rated it highly,the device might not really pass muster.So,it's essential to pay attention not just positive feedback but also criticisms about things like durability,sound quality,and customer support after purchase.

7.Consider Budget Vs Performance Ratio b

When selecting a MIDI Keyboard,pocket-friemdly options might look appealing.However,sometimes investing in something slightly pricier may provide better long-term value.A pricier option such asThe Arturis KeyLab Essential 49,for example may offer superior build quality,multiple control options,and better software integration – worth considering if budget allows.

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