Arturia KeyLab Essential 61 MIDI Keyboard Controller


87 out of 100. Incorporating 350+ ratings and reviews.

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Arturia KeyLab Essential 61 MIDI Keyboard Controller

Meta Analysis Overview

Our rating of 87/100 is based on analysis of 350+ sources comprised of online reviews and discussions. Under the Pros and Cons headings below you'll find a condensed analysis of what those owners and users have been saying. Feel free to ask questions or add your thoughts in the comments section.

"Creativity Defined" is Arturia's tagline for KeyLab Essential 61.

And while the "Essential" tag is usually used to market bare-bones gear, the Keylab Essential 61 hosts a slew of features including backlit pads, 9 assignable encoders, 9 assignable faders and MIDI out to name a few.

Key Features:

  • Keys: 61 / full-size / synth-action / velocity-sensitive
  • Pads: 8 x back-lit performance pads
  • Bundled Software: Analog Lab, Ableton Live Lite, UVI Grand Piano Model D
  • Power: 9V DC power supply (sold separately) / USB bus powered (MIDI out requires 9V adapter)
  • Connectivity: USB, 1 x 1/4" (sustain), MIDI Out
  • Controls: 9 x encoders, 9 x 30mm faders, Pitchbend, Mod Wheel
  • Automap: Most DAWs (Bitwig Studio, Cubase, Digital Performer, Garageband, Logic Pro, Nuendo, Reason, SONAR, Studio One, FL Studio, Reaper)
  • Compatibility: OS X 10.8 or later , Windows 7 SP1 or later, Android , iOS via Apple Camera Connection Kit
  • Dimensions: 9.7" x 34.7" x 2.9"
  • Weight: 7.2 lbs.


Users praise its DAW integration and programmability. Long term durability is also a plus as some reviews from touring musicians note that the KeyLab survived rigorous gigging and touring.


Some report velocity inconsistencies. Keybed felt "toylike" for some.


For the amount of features and tweakability, the Keylab Essential 61 presents a great value. Get it if you're on the lower middle end of the budget and need a tour-durable controller with numerous assignable parameters.

Although this was previously on our recommended list, there are now more highly rated options available which you can see in our guide to The Best 61 Key MIDI Controller Keyboards.

About the Author

Raphael PulgarRaphael Pulgar

An audio engineer of 20 years who specializes in rock and metal recordings, he also plays guitar and produces original music for his band and other content creators.