Log inCreate account

Arturia MicroLab Review - Tiny & Smart MIDI Keyboard

March 7, 2024

Today we review Arturia MicroLab, one of the most compact MIDI keyboards in the world. Also, MicroLab is the most compact MIDI keyboard among the controllers from French manufacturer Arturia. Its size is comparable to a computer keyboard, and its unique wire attachment allows you to conveniently place the controller close to any other device in your workspace. At the same time, the Arturia MicroLab MIDI keyboard is equipped with a two-octave keyboard and allows you to interact with some functions of the Analog Lab software (the Analog Lab Intro free version comes with this MIDI keyboard).

Portable MIDI keyboards have always been in demand. And it's not only about their use in limited space or on the road. Even if you have at your disposal a full-fledged MIDI controller with full-size keys in several octaves, it is often necessary to have a keyboard always on hand to quickly play an interval, a simple melody, or a couple of chords. In addition, there is a lot of music being written that does not require two hands to play a wide range. Arturia MicroLab is perfect for this purpose. There is nothing superfluous in it, it is very compact, inexpensive, and equipped with good keyboard mechanics. But we'll talk about all the features of this MIDI keyboard later, let's start our Arturia MicroLab review with the specs as usual.

Best Price on Arturia MicroLab MIDI Keyboard

The Arturia MicroLab MIDI Keyboard is a compact & smart yet powerful MIDI keyboard designed for music creators on the go.

Arturia MicroLab Package Classic Package

Arturia MicroLab Specifications:

  • 25 note velocity sensitive slim keyboard
  • 2 touch sensors for pitch bend and modulation wheel
  • USB/MIDI class compliant no drivers needed
  • Flashy rubberized case that protects the controller when you're on the go
  • Can be powered by Android devices or Apple iPads (Camera Connection Kit required)
  • Dimensions (WxDxH): 414 x 130 x 37mm (16,3 x 5,12 x 1,46 inches)
  • Net Weight: 770 grams (1,71lbs)
  • Set Includes: Arturia MicroLab unit, quick start guide + software: Analog Lab Intro, UVI Model D, Bitwig Studio 8-Track
  • Color Options: Black / Blue / Orange

Overall Build, Design & Features

So let's start our Arturia MicroLab review with design and overall build, then move on to features. The controller is enclosed in a plastic case and has an additional rubberized shell that protects the keyboard from mechanical damage and prevents slipping when playing. A rubberized case is also a great thing for those who travel, you can put the controller in your luggage without fear for its safety. In terms of design, MicroLab keeps the Arturia branding, the device is somewhat minimalistic and concise.

Arturia MicroLab Colors

It is noteworthy that the manufacturer offers a choice of as many as three color variants of the case - blue, orange and black. All three color options look bright and interesting in their own way.

Arturia MicroLab USB Cable

The USB connector for connecting this MIDI Keyboard controller to a computer is located on the left side of the device. A special wire for connection is already included in the set and is very conveniently fixed in a special channel around the perimeter of the case. At the end of the wire, an L-shaped connector is used, which allows the plug to be located in the niche without protruding outside the case. This allows you to place the keyboard close to any other device from all sides. If the length of the wire is not enough to connect to a computer located far away from the workplace, you can use any other wire. The keyboard uses a standard USB Type-B connector.

The Arturia MicroLab controller uses a two-octave keyboard with tiny keys and synthesizer mechanics. A similar keyboard is used in the Arturia KeyStep controller and we are familiar with it. The used mechanics are equipped with velocity sensitivity and looks very good for a budget solution. Its construction is quite sturdy, the keys don't dangle and don't make any noise.

On the left side of the keys are the octave shift and auxiliary control buttons. The rubberized keys are equipped with backlighting, indicating the operation of this or that function. Instead of traditional wheels, MicroLab uses touch strips. In our opinion, they are in no way inferior to the wheel and are more flexible. Among other things, the touch surface allows you to change the value of a parameter at once and also reacts to touch. Which is successfully used in additional control modes.

By holding down the Shift button, the touch bars navigate through the tags or presets of the Analog Lab program. Selecting a desired tag from the list or loading a preset is accomplished by briefly pressing the corresponding bar. To make it easier to search for the desired tone directly from the keyboard, you can flip through the presets in the selected list one by one. This can be done while holding down the Shift button using the octave shift buttons.

In addition to this, MicroLab has a Chord mode built into the MicroLab, which has been adopted from more advanced Arturia controllers. This is activated by holding down the Shift and Hold buttons simultaneously. Chord mode allows you to memorize a specific chord and play it later by pressing just one key. Such a chord can consist of up to 10 sounds and will be automatically transposed from any pressed note. The programmed chord will be stored in memory until the power is turned off.

Final Verdict on Arturia MicroLab

There are many compact MIDI keyboards on the market, but it is quite attractive to have such a controller from the famous manufacturer Arturia. The MicroLab MIDI keyboard is not the first miniaturized device from the French manufacturer, there is also the Arturia KeyStep model, but the MicroLab is the one that best realizes the concept of a portable device. We hope you enjoyed our Arturia MicroLab review. Feel free to leave your comments, complaints, questions and suggestions in the section below, we will be happy to answer them all.

  • Affordable Price
  • Compact and Portable
  • Rubberized Protective Case
  • Durable Build Quality
  • Comprehensive Software Bundle
  • USB cable channel around the housing
  • No Aftertouch: Unlike some higher-end MIDI keyboards, the MicroLab does not feature aftertouch, which may disappoint users looking for additional expressiveness in their performances. However, considering its compact size and affordable price point, this omission is understandable.
Our Score

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *