Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 vs Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61: A Comprehensive Comparison Guide

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 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 Essential 49





Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61



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Key Differences Between The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 And The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61

Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 vs Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61

The main differences between Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 and Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 are largely determined by factors such as overall size, control knobs and sliders, key action, compatibility, price and versatility.

The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 is slightly longer in size compared to the Kontrol S61. This model also comes equipped with 8 knobs and 8 sliders, which some users may find easier to work with. In terms of its keys, it utilizes a light synth action. However, this might not suit all users depending on their individual preference. As per the research data, KeyLab Essential 49 is considered the more versatile option among MIDI controllers.

Conversely, the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 offers semi-weighted keys that provide good action which can be preferred by some musicians. It features ergonomic pitch and mod wheels along with a touch strip that gives users more control options.

Moreover, if you're already using Native Instruments products in your studio setup then you might experience better integration and user experience with this model.

In comparison to the Arturia model, Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 could potentially cost you more given its additional features like semi-weighted keys among others.

  • The main differences between both models can be summarized as follows:
  • Synth Action vs Semi-Weighted Keys: Arturia has light synth action whereas Native Instrument provides semi-weighted keys.
  • Versatility: According to user reviews and research data collected, Arturia is seen as more versatile.
  • Budgetary Constraints: If budget is a key deciding factor in your decision-making process; it's important to note that Arturia's models are generally cheaper than Native Instruments.
  • User Experience: For users currently using other products from Native Instruments; they may have a better user experience should they opt for their MIDI controller.

Both of these MIDI controllers have been widely accepted within music industry circles for their performance and quality.

Therefore your final deciding factor should revolve around your specific requirements such as feel of keys (light synth action or semi-weighted), integration with other studio gear or software (NI ecosystem vs broad compatibility) or level of versatility needed.

SpecificationsArturia KeyLab Essential 49Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61
Number of Keys4961
Type of KeysSynth actionSemi-weighted Fatar keybed
USB1 x Type B1 x Type B
SoftwareAnalog Lab, Ableton Live Lite, UVI Grand Piano Model DKomplete Kontrol, Komplete Select, Maschine Essentials
Power Supply9V DC power supply (sold separately)USB bus power

What You Need To Know About Arturia KeyLab Essential 49

The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 is a fantastic music-making tool for anyone, whether you're a beginner or a pro. This nifty keyboard has 49 keys that respond to how hard you press them, so it feels like you're playing on both a synth and a piano.

What makes this keyboard super cool are all the knobs and switches it comes with. Imagine having 1 clickable encoder, 9 regular encoders, 9 faders measuring 30mm each, 6 transport switches, and 4 command switches right at your fingertips.

But wait – there's more! It also features a modulation wheel and pitch bend wheel to alter your sounds. Plus, there are also 8 pads that respond to both touch and pressure.

Already included with the KeyLab Essential is Analog Lab V software that gives you access to an incredible range of over 2000 synth sounds. You also get Ableton Live Lite for music production and UVI Grand Piano model D for those beautiful piano tones.

The software integrates perfectly with the KeyLab Essential. This means you can select sounds, browse presets, switch parts and control everything else swiftly using the smart-assigned controls on your keyboard.

You can use KeyLab Essential as standalone or plug it in using VST, VST3, AU or AAX formats. With over 7000 preset sounds powered by Arturia’s award-winning V Collection technology at your disposal, there's no limit to what you can create!

What makes this product truly essential is its aim of making music accessible to everyone while simplifying the production process.

Get rid of any distractions when working with this responsive keyboard that lets you go through presets easily and perform DAW commands tactilely for a seamless experience in making music all in one tool.

Find out more about the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 today! Can't wait for you to explore all these amazing features yourself!

My 1 Month Review Of The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49

My 1 Month Review Of The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49

Initial Impressions

From the moment I unboxed the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49, I was pretty much taken in by its sleek and professional look. It boasts a minimalistic yet elegant aesthetic, with a solid build quality that immediately gives off an impression of durability.

User Experience

After a month of use, I can confidently say that I've enjoyed every bit of my time with this MIDI controller. The keys have a wonderful feel to them – they're semi-weighted and have just the right amount of resistance. This makes them feel highly responsive to touch, allowing me to express myself musically without any hindrance.

The pads, on the other hand, are both sensitive and sturdy. They respond well to varying degrees of pressure, which is great for creating dynamic drum patterns or triggering samples.

Integration and Functionality

In terms of integration, Arturia's Analog Lab software has been nothing short of amazing. The software came as part of the package with the KeyLab 49 and it features some really incredible sounds – from vintage synths to beautifully sampled pianos. It's been like having my own personal orchestra at my fingertips!

Furthermore, setting up was easy-peasy; no confusing instruction manuals or complex installation processes here! In fact, it was simply plug-and-play which for me as a musician who just wants to create music without any technical hiccups was perfect.

Useful manual controls, like mod wheels and faders are conveniently placed for easy accessibility during performances. Also worth mentioning is the transport section where you can control your DAW directly from the keyboard – super handy!

Few Downfalls…

No product is ever perfect though! One minor quibble I had with this keyboard is its size – compared to other similar products in its range it's quite big making portability slightly less convenient.
Also while Arturia claims that this keyboard will work seamlessly with any DAW – I did face slight issues getting it integrated perfectly within Logic Pro X but with some tweaking around in MIDI settings, things started running smoothly again.

Regardless these were small issues compared to all the positives it brings.

To Wrap Up…

In conclusion – after a month-long adventure with Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 my verdict remains overwhelmingly positive. From initial impressions through user experience to functionality – everything clicked together nicely.
I strongly believe whether you’re new to music production or an experienced pro looking for an upgrade; you’re goingto fall hard for this versatile piece of equipment like I did!

What You Need To Know About Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61

The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 is a smart keyboard controller that is perfect for managing all your virtual instruments. It has 61 semi-weighted keys and a pro-grade Fatar keybed with aftertouch, which will provide you with high-quality sound and performance.

This keyboard controller also sports ergonomic pitch and mod wheels, as well as a touch strip for extra expression control. This makes it user-friendly and easy to manipulate the sounds you produce to fit your exact needs.

One of the standout features of the Komplete Kontrol S61 is its vast pre-mapped control of KOMPLETE instruments. It can also connect with hundreds of Native Kontrol Standard (NKS) instruments from multiple leading manufacturers.

It provides full VSTi support, so it's very versatile. Please note you'll need macOS 10.12, 10.13, or 10.14 (latest update), Intel Core i5, and at least 4 GB RAM to run it smoothly.

If you want more details about this product or are ready to make a purchase, visit the official page on Native Instruments' website!

My 1 Month Review Of The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61

What You Need To Know About Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61

Initial Impressions

I'll admit, I was pretty excited when I first got my hands on the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61. Having worked with several MIDI controllers before, I had high hopes for this one.

Getting Up and Running

Straight out of the box, it was fairly simple to get started. Setup was swift and straightforward, which is always a relief. The supplied software bundle, Komplete Select, loaded up without a hitch.

A Month of Exploration

After playing around with this bad boy for about a month now, there are a few things that stand out.
Key features include:
– Integrated browsing: This is outstanding! It's made finding sounds and samples from Komplete or any other NKS-compatible plugins so much easier.
– Keybed: With fully-weighted keys ‘Fatar' keybed feels great under my fingers. It's as close to an acoustic piano experience as you can get with a MIDI controller.
– Light Guide: The LEDs above the keys are not just flashy; they provide helpful visual cues like key switches or scales.

Performance & Workflow

The S61 has significantly improved my workflow. Being able to control software directly from the keyboard has been game-changing. For example, features like mixing tracks and adjusting parameters right from the keyboard have saved me so much time.

The Not So Good

However, it hasn't all been roses. For all its amazing features, there's one major downside – this thing isn't cheap!. Plus you'd need to purchase Komplete 13 separately if you want access to more sounds beyond what's provided in Komplete Select.

But considering how much time and effort it saves me in music creation sessions (not to mention the added creative inspiration), I'm still happy with my purchase.

Closing Thoughts

In summary: Would I recommend Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61? Heck yes!
In spite of being on the pricier side, its advanced features justify its price tag. This is no toy – it’s a well-designed piece of gear that will boost your productivity no end. And after all…can you really put a price on creativity?

It may be costly but if we’re judging purely based on quality and performance – then Native Instruments' S61 would be very high up indeed on any list of MIDI controllers worth their salt.

Who The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61

Who The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61

The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 is an excellent MIDI controller for producers and musicians who value versatility and a wide range of customization options. This is a perfect fit for those who appreciate the tactile control offered by its 8 knobs and 8 sliders, allowing users to manipulate sounds in real time.

Users that prefer a lighter touch when playing will enjoy the synth action of this controller, although it's important to note that this may not suit all users.

Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61, on the other hand, might be the preferred choice for users already invested in Native Instruments products due to its seamless integration within their ecosystem. It boasts semi-weighted keys providing good action which can be highly appealing to certain musicians.

Additional control features like ergonomic pitch and mod wheels, along with a touch strip further enhance user control experience.

Budget considerations are also crucial. The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 typically comes at a lower price point than the Komplete Kontrol S61. However, it's always recommended to weigh your budget against your specific needs as a musician or producer before making an investment.

Key reasons someone might choose Arturia KeyLab Essential 49:

  • Prefers light synth action keys.
  • The need for more physical controls such as knobs and sliders.
  • Tight budget constraints.
  • Broad compatibility with other gears or software in studio.
  • A high degree of versatility required.

Reasons to consider Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61:

  • If you're already using NI products (better integration).
  • Prefers semi-weighted keys.
  • The need for special controls like pitch and mod wheels along with touch strip.

Who The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49

Who The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49

The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 is a prime choice for musicians and producers who prioritize the feel of the keys and integration with other Native Instruments products.

Semi-weighted keys give a sensation akin to playing a traditional piano, which many users prefer over light synth action found on the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49. The heavier key action can provide more dynamic control and expression for certain styles of music.

If you're already in the Native Instruments ecosystem, then there's no learning curve with the S61 as it seamlessly integrates with your other gears. Similarly, if you prefer having ergonomic pitch and mod wheels along with a touch strip for better control options, then this model may be right up your alley.

• The weight of keys: Are semi-weighted keys important to you?

• The Nature of your gear composition: Do you already use Native instruments products?

• Need for enhanced control options: Do ergonomic pitch and mod wheels or touch strips appeal to you?

Keep in mind, however, that comparing cost, the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 tends to be cheaper. The choice between these two models ultimately boils down to the importance of these specific factors in your personal requirements as a musician or producer.

If the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 and the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 covered in this post don't quite meet your needs, I've compared some other similar products in previous posts that might be a better fit.

For instance, you can compare the same KeyLab Essential 49 with different models like the Arturia KeyStep Pro, Nektar Impact LX88+, or even Akai Fire in my other posts.

Additionally, if you're interested in different brands altogether, then my comparison between M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro and Akai MPC Studio might be worth checking out.

Here are the links:

Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 vs Arturia KeyStep Pro

Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 vs Nektar Impact LX88+

Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 vs Akai Fire

M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro vs Akai MPC Studio

Take a look – you might find exactly what you're looking for!


What are the key differences in terms of versatility and functionality between the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 and Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61?

The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 is often described as more versatile due to its 8 knobs and 8 sliders, which offer a variety of control options. On top of this, it has a wider range of compatibility with various software in studios. In contrast, the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 provides additional features like ergonomic pitch and mod wheels, along with a touch strip. It offers excellent integration for users already invested in Native Instruments products.

How does the feel of keys on the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 differ from that on Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61?

The main difference lies in their action – while both models are highly rated for their performance, they differ considerably when it comes to key-feel. The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 features a lighter synth action, which may not appeal to everyone. On the other hand, many musicians prefer controllers equipped with semi-weighted keys like those found on the Komplete Kontrol S61, as they provide good action.

In terms of budgetary constraints, how do these two models compare?

While both MIDI controllers offer exceptional quality and value for money within music industry circles, there is generally some difference in price between them. The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 is usually cheaper than Native Instrument’s Komplete Kontrol S61 model which might make it an attractive option for those working within tighter budgetary constraints.

If I am looking for better integration with other gears or software in my studio setup which model should I choose?

If you have already been using products from Native Instruments then you will find better integration and user experience with Komplete Kontrol S61 due to its seamless incorporation into the existing ecosystem provided by Native Instruments. However if your workflow involves diverse software or hardware then you might find that Arturia's broad compatibility makes it a more suitable choice.

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

1. Know Your Needs and Budget

Firstly, check-in with your personal music production needs. Are you just starting out in the world of electronic music, or are you a seasoned pro? This will dictate whether you need a beginner-friendly midi keyboard or something more complex and advanced.

Similarly, take a good look at your budget. Midi keyboards range dramatically in price; therefore, determining how much you are willing to spend is an essential initial step.

2. Consider the Number of Keys

In terms of specifics, consider how many keys you'd like on your midi keyboard – this is always an important factor for music enthusiasts! Midi controllers often come with 25, 49, 61, or even up to 88 keys (like a traditional piano keyboard).

If space isn't an issue and you plan to play more complex pieces involving both hands heavily – go for more keys.

3. Check Compatibility with Your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)

One thing every online shopper should remember: compatibility matters! Make sure the midi keyboard supports your Digital Audio Workstation.

Most models can work seamlessly with different DAWs like Ableton Live, Logic Pro X and FL Studio etc., but double-checking before buying will save any frustration later down the line.

4. Think About Portability

Are you planning on taking your midi controller on the road while touring? Or perhaps using it in multiple locations within your home or studio? Then portability is key! In this case, compact and lightweight midi keyboards are worth considering for their convenience.

5. Determine Your Need for Performance Controls

It's not all about keys – performance controls matter too when creating intricate beats and melodies! Look out for elements such as drum pads (great for beat making), sliders (for adjusting volume levels), knobs (controls various effects), modulation wheel & pitch bend controls (enables smooth dynamic changes).

These might appear overwhelming at first but they exponentially increase creative opportunities when producing tracks.

6. Exploring Synthesizers & Virtual Instruments

Your MIDI keyboard can act as physical access to virtual instruments — from classic piano sounds to futuristic synthesizer tones — all through software add-ons that emulate these sounds digitally within your DAW software's interface.

There’s a whole world of sound possibilities available here- whether it’s producing thick bass lines from a synth plug-in or lovely string arrangements using orchestral libraries- so make sure if these aspects appeal to its integrated into the controller functionality well.

7. Read Reviews And Look At Ratings Online Before Deciding On A Purchase.

Never underestimate the power of customer reviews when buying online– especially if it's something technical like MIDI controllers. Checking ratings will provide insights on quality control issues,and real–life performance feedback.It can also highlight potential problems which might not be evident from reading product descriptions alone.
To wrap it up,a good buyer should consider requiring features,key count,portability,and compatibility that fits their needs best.Finally read real experiences shared by users online before deciding.

You're now armed with information ready to embark upon buying that perfect MIDI Keyboard.Happy shopping!

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