Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 vs Novation 61SL Mk3: A Detailed Comparison Review

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 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 Essential 49





Novation 61SL Mk3



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Key Differences Between The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 And The Novation 61SL Mk3

Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 vs Novation 61SL Mk3

The main differences between Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 and Novation 61SL Mk3 are largely based on functionality, construction, software, key feel and price.

Novation 61SL Mk3 stands out with options for customizing templates and connecting to outboard gear.

This makes it a more flexible choice for musicians wanting customizability. It is also noted as an all-sequencing hub which allows users to control and create with their entire setup.

In contrast, Arturia KeyLab Essential 49‘s strength lies in its plenty of assignable pads/knobs/faders and exceptional DAW integration. It works well with Analog Lab 4 right from the start, which could be beneficial for those using this software. Its metal/wood construction increases its durability.

Another unique aspect is its equipped automapping technology that simplifies the setup process.

Both models offer their own software bundles:

  • Novation Impulse 49 includes the Xcite+ Software Pack (including Ableton)
  • Arturia KeyLab Essential comes with Analog Lab 3 and Ableton Live.

These included software packages can significantly enhance your music production experience.

When considering key feel – it's somewhat subjective to individual preferences. Some users reported that Keylab's keys have a synthetic, soft feel, good for synth playing but may not be ideal for piano input. On the other hand, some users appreciate the keybed on the Novation SL MKIII, stating that it feels nice.

In terms of price range – according to some search results; The Novation 61SL MkIII retails at $699 USD while The Novation 49SL MkIII retails at $599 USD. However prices may fluctuate depending on region or availability.

To conclude – both Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 and Novation 61SL Mk3 are solid choices in MIDI keyboard controllers each catering different strengths depending upon your needs and preferences.

SpecificationsArturia KeyLab Essential 49Novation 61SL Mk3
Number of Keys4961
Type of KeysSynth ActionSemi-weighted
Hardware Requirements – Mac2.5 GHz Intel Core i5 or higher, 4GB RAM or moreMacOS 10.12 or later, 4GB RAM minimum
Hardware Requirements – PCIntel i5 or higher, 4GB RAM or moreWindows 7, 8, 10, 4GB RAM minimum
SoftwareAnalog Lab, Ableton Live LiteAbleton Live Lite, Novation Bass Station, Loopmasters Samples
Power SupplyUSB bus powerUSB bus power

What You Need To Know About Arturia KeyLab Essential 49

The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 is an awesome addition to any music studio. It's a 49-key keyboard that responds to how hard you play, giving you a real piano-like feel. Not only that, but it also works as a hybrid synth for those futuristic sounds.

With this device, you get software packed with 2000 synth sounds (Analog Lab V), a lite version of the Ableton Live music production app, and the UVI Grand Piano model D for some serious piano action!

The KeyLab Essential is loaded with controls! There's a clickable encoder, nine more encoders, nine big faders, and six transport switches to make fine tuning your sound easier. There are four command switches too for quick commands.

Plus, there's a modulation wheel and pitch bend wheel for cool sound effects.

Do you like drum pads? You're in luck because there are eight touch-sensitive pads on this device which can also measure pressure.

One highlight here is the perfect integration of Analog Lab. This lets you select sounds quickly, browse presets comfortably and switch parts swiftly thanks to smart-assigned controls.

The keyboard can work standalone or as plug-in (VST, VST3, AU & AAX) with over 7000 preset sounds powered by TAE from Arturia’s award-winning V Collection.

Arturia made the KeyLab Essential to simplify the making of music and help you find your sound quickly and intuitively. Say goodbye to distractions as this device offers seamless music-making experience with its responsive keyboard and swift preset browsing capabilities.

Check out more about Arturia Keylab Essential 49 here.

My 1 Month Review Of The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49

My 1 Month Review Of The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49

Initial Impressions

Unboxing, the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 was an exciting experience. I'm a bit of a gearhead, so I loved the clean, modern design and sleek black-and-white color scheme. True to name, this keyboard has a certain elegance – it's not too flashy, but still manages to look pretty impressive on my desk.

Set-Up Process

Setting up the keyboard was pretty straightforward. I'm not very tech-savvy, but even I didn't have any trouble getting it hooked up to my computer and DAW. The downloadable analog lab software that comes with the keyboard worked seamlessly with my setup. Within a couple of hours from unboxing, I was making music.

Features And Functionality

A month into using this product and boy am I impressed! There are so many nifty features.

  • The 49 velocity-sensitive keys provide enough range for most compositions and they’re responsive enough for dynamic play.
  • The DAW integration is excellent. It smoothly links up with Ableton Live which is what I use mainly.
  • I love playing around with all nine faders and encoders – they offer plenty of control options for mixer settings or synth parameters.
  • The pads are handy when you want to trigger drum samples or transition between sequences quickly – they're fun to experiment with!

User Experience And Performance

Daily use has been super enjoyable . The layout of controls makes sense and feels intuitive which really helps during long sessions in-studio where ease-of-use is key.
The build quality seems strong enough for a home studio setting without being overly rugged.
I will say though that if you plan on gigging heavily or frequently travelling with your gear, you might want something sturdier.

All in all, as far as MIDI controllers go in this price range – you can’t go wrong! The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 is versatile, intuitive and offers great value for money.

In Conclusion…

After one month of using this product every day for various music projects – both personal and professional – I can confidently recommend the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 .
Whether you're an amateur bedroom producer like myself or a seasoned professional looking for affordable gear that doesn't compromise on quality or features – give this one a try.
You won't be disappointed!

What You Need To Know About Novation 61SL Mk3

The Novation 61SL Mk3 is a game-changer for all music enthusiasts. This gadget can bring together MIDI hardware and CV/Gate synths, making it easier than ever to create and manipulate sounds. If you have music-making hardware at home or in your studio, you can easily integrate it with this controller.

Not only that, but it also works perfectly with Ableton Live music-making software. If you're already using Ableton Live or planning to use it, the 61SL Mk3 will be a fantastic addition to your setup. It'll enhance your control and make the entire process more seamless.

But one of its best features has got to be the internal 8-track pattern-based sequencer. You can organize and create music patterns on the fly! Plus, there's a routable clock for the whole system which is supremely useful for maintaining sync across all your gear.

Are you thinking about long-term durability? Novation's got you covered! They offer a generous 3-Year Warranty on this product – along with all other Novation products. That's how confident they are about their quality!

Sound good? You bet! To get more info and even get your own, check them out at Novation's official website.

My 1 Month Review Of The Novation 61SL Mk3

My 1 Month Review Of The Novation 61SL Mk3

My First Month with the Novation 61SL Mk3

After a solid month of everyday use, I am truly in love with my new Novation 61SL Mk3. I remember the excitement that filled me as I unboxed this beast of a MIDI controller.

The sleek design and glowing lights promised a world of musical creativity, and man, it did not disappoint.

Getting Started

What first caught my eye was the excellent build quality. Everything is so well made and feels so robust. The pitch and modulation wheels have just the right amount of resistance and offer an incredibly tactile experience.

However, getting started was admittedly a bit challenging for me. It took some time to get used to operating the sequencer and internal clock, but once I got the hang of it – wow! It's like conducting your own personal orchestra.

The Keys — A Dream To Play On

Moving on to what's most important — the keys. They're semi-weighted with aftertouch. The action is smooth yet sufficiently responsive. After one month of playing regularly, I can confidently say these are some of the best keys I've ever laid hands on.

The ability to use on-board zone mapping is impressive too. Combining that with up to eight tracks per project…that's just insane!

MIDI Capabilities — Sky High!

As for its MIDI capabilities – they’re off the chart! And also those backlit RGB pads? Super useful not only for triggering clips but also for marking your beats.

There’s no denying though that there were some initial hiccups in terms of DAW integration – particularly if you’re using something other than Ableton Live or Logic Pro X (though Novation offers great support). But once you iron out these initial teething problems? This beauty truly does become an extension of yourself.

– Excellent build quality
– Slightly challenging initial set-up
– Wonderful semi-weighted keys
– Impressive MIDI capabilities
– Some difficulties integrating non-supported DAWs

To sum it up: do I think you should buy this? Hell yes! This product goes beyond just meeting expectations…it exceeds them.
The Novation 61SL Mk3, though pricey at first glance has proven its worth; it's an investment in endless creativity.

My advice? Grab one while you can!
With its remarkable features and quality build, any serious musician would be hard put finding its match at this price point.
But remember…be patient in setting it up initially because trust me…the pay-off is huge! Enjoy making music again.

Who The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Novation 61SL Mk3

Who The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Novation 61SL Mk3

Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 is specifically designed for:

• Music producers and electronic musicians looking for a MIDI keyboard that offers a great deal of assignable controls and deep DAW integration.

• Those who require sturdiness in their studio equipment, as the KeyLab Essential 49 boasts metal/wood construction.

• Users who value convenience and ease-of-use, thanks to the automapping technology.

• Anyone who prefers a softer, synth-like key feel.

Reasons you might choose Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 over Novation 61SL Mk3 include:

Dedicated Software Package:
This MIDI controller comes with its own software bundle including Analog Lab 3 and Ableton Live. These can significantly enhance your music production experience right out of the box.

User-Friendly Automapping Technology:
If you value simplicity in your workflow, the automapping feature could be a game-changer. It allows convenient setup so you can fast-track your production process.

Solid Build Quality:
The robust metal/wood build adds not only to its aesthetic appeal but also ensures durability. It's an ideal choice for those needing reliable studio gear that stands up to extended use.

Pricing Considerations:
While prices may vary based on region or availability, if budget is significant in your decision-making process, the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 typically retails at a lower price point than Novation's controllers.

Who The Novation 61SL Mk3 Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49

Who The Novation 61SL Mk3 Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49

The Novation 61SL Mk3 is a versatile MIDI keyboard controller that would suit music producers and live performers looking for a broad range of controls and customizable options. Here are some reasons why someone may choose it over the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49:

• The Novation 61SL Mk3 offers more flexibility in customizing templates and connecting to outboard gear. If you're looking for superior control over your setup, this keyboard gets the job done.

• This controller also features an all-sequencing hub, making it a great choice for users who want to create and control their entire setup seamlessly.

• Regarding key feel, some users report that the Novation SL MKIII's keybed feels nice – something to consider if you value a good key feel.

• If software bundles are important to you, the Novation Impulse 49 includes the Xcite+ Software Pack (which includes Ableton) – perfect for enhancing your music production experience.

However, keep in mind this option might be more expensive than competitors: The Novation 61SL MkIII retails at around $699 USD while the Novation 49SL MkIII goes for about $599.

On the flip side, you might prefer the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 if:

• You require plenty of assignable pads/knobs/faders and excellent DAW integration.

• You favor controllers that work well with Analog Lab 4 right out of the box.

• Build quality is important – this one has a sturdy metal/wood construction.

• You're after convenience in setting up – thanks to its automapping technology.

Bear in mind though, some users noted that Keylab's keys have a synthetic, soft feel better suited for synth playing than piano input. Its software package includes Analog Lab 3 and Ableton Live.

If the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 or the Novation 61SL Mk3 aren't quite what you're looking for, don't worry—I've got loads more comparisons you can check out.

Maybe you'd be interested in my post on Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 vs Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61?

Or perhaps the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 vs Arturia KeyStep Pro comparison could provide some insights?

I've also compared the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 vs Nektar Impact LX88+, and even made a direct matchup between the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 and Akai Fire.

Feel free to explore these reviews—they might help guide your decision-making process!


What are some unique features in the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 which may not be found in Novation 61SL Mk3?

The u003cbu003eArturia KeyLab Essential 49u003c/bu003e has several strengths that set it apart. One of its unique features is its metal/wood construction which contributes to its sturdiness. Additionally, it's equipped with automapping technology which can make setting up much more convenient. It also offers superior integration with Analog Lab software out of the box.

How does the Novation Impulse compare to the Novation SL MKIII and how do their features impact music production?

While both controllers come from u003cbu003eNovationu003c/bu003e, there are marked differences between their offerings. The u003cbu003eNovation SL MKIIIu003c/bu003e, for instance, is a versatile controller with numerous options for customizing templates and connecting to outboard gear; this flexibility could be an advantage when producing music across a broad array of genres or styles. It also boasts an all-sequencing hub enabling you to control and create with your entire setup.

If price isn't a concern, which would you recommend for someone prioritizing ease-of-use – The Arturia KeyLab Essential or the Novation SL MKIII?

If ease-of-use is paramount, then one might lean towards the u003cbu003eArturia KeyLab Essential.u003c/bu003e Its notable feature includes automapping technology that simplifies setup process significantly. Moreover, it integrates seamlessly with Analog Lab software right out of the box reducing time spent on configuring settings manually.

In terms of key feel preference, how may one choose between these two models?

Key feel can be subjective as it often comes down to personal preference; however some general observations have been made by users about both models. For example, if you prefer a synthetic soft touch ideal for synth playing then Arturia's keys might suit your style better but if you enjoy a u0022niceru0022 feel then perhaps opt for u003cbu003eThe Novation SL MkIII.u003c/bu003e+

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

1. Understanding the Specifics of a MIDI Controller

Before diving headfirst into online shopping for your new music production equipment, it's crucial to understand what a MIDI controller is and what it does. This device sends signals to other digital music devices, such as your computer or synthesizer keyboard, to control sound.

When browsing for the perfect MIDI controller, consider how you want it to enhance your music creation process. Are you looking for something with weighted keys or velocity-sensitive keys? Take into consideration these details before making a purchase.

2. Identify Your Needs: Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 vs Novation 61SL Mk3

Two top-tier models on the market are the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 and the Novation 61SL Mk3. Both are excellent options, each offering unique features that cater differently to various musical preferences.

The Arturia is perfect if you value portability and compact design without compromising functionality while Novation's model shines with its additional keys ideal for musicians who crave range and versatility in their melodies.

3. Soak up DAW Integration Benefits

DAW integration, also known as Digital Audio Workstation integration is an essential feature when buying your midi keyboard online.

It lets you seamlessly sync your music production software with your hardware – an important aspect if you're often changing between different musical apps or software programs.

4.Deep Dive into Control Surface Functionality

When perusing online listings, don't overlook control surface functionality. This function lets you control parameters within different software applications directly from your MIDI controller itself – offering exceptional convenience while ensuring a smoother workflow during production sessions.

5.Choose Performance Pads Wisely

All performance pads aren’t created equal.
While some MIDI keyboards feature drum pads that can trigger samples or loops within compatible software programs, other models offer performance pads which have more functions like playing specific notes or controlling certain effects on-the-fly.

Choosing what suits your needs best will let unleash creativity in unprecedented ways.

6.Accuracy Matters: Assignable Knobs and Faders

A high-quality keyboard controller should ideally come equipped with several assignable knobs & faders – tools that adjust volume levels (faders) or tweak sound characteristics (knobs).

Be sure these components are sturdy, smooth in operation and responsive – they're going to see a lot of use!

7.Remember Modulation & Pitch Bend Wheels Importance

Possessing modulation & pitch bend wheels add another layer of versatility & creativity to any midi keyboard setup.
The modulation wheel provides dynamic control over vibrato intensity while the pitch bend wheel manipulates note pitch in real-time.
Be sure any model being considered has these features onboard!

Now armed with this knowledge concerning key aspects of purchasing midi keyboards online,
we hope narrowing down choices becomes easier when seeking suitable equipment for creating magical melodies!

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