Arturia KeyLab Essential 61 MIDI Keyboard Controller (Discontinued)

91 out of 100. Incorporating 800+ ratings and reviews.

Gearank Recommendation

The KeyLab Essential 61 earned a spot on our recommended list for 61 Key MIDI Controller Keyboards from June 2020 until June 2021 when it was out-ranked by other controllers.


“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.

For the amount of features and tweakability, the Keylab Essential 61 represents good value.

Get it if you’re on the lower middle end of the budget and need a tour-durable controller with numerous assignable parameters.


  • 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.
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.

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