Both models have velocity-sensitive keyboards and pitchbend/modulation wheels, as well as eight RGB backlit performance pads, nine faders and nine rotaries. There’s a DAW ‘Command Centre’ and transport section, and you can commit one set of DAW mappings to memory for easy recall.
You can also store one set of assignments for controlling the Analog Lab 2 software that comes in the box. This contains more than 5,000 keyboard sounds lifted from Arturia’s back catalogue of virtual instruments. Other bundled software includes Ableton Live Lite and the UVI Grand Piano Model D.
Further features on the hardware include six fully-customisable user memories, a Chord Play mode and a twin-line LCD screen. As well as being compatible with PC and Mac, the KeyLab Essentials ‘boards also work with iOS and Android devices.
Shipping in June, the KeyLab Essential controllers are priced at €199/$249 for the 49-note model and €249/$299 for the 61-key version. This puts them in a higher bracket than some of the best affordable controller keyboards, but they do cost significantly less than the standard KeyLabs. Find out more on the Arturia website.