Arturia is the latest company to hit the market with a mini MIDI controller. The Microlab 25 recently got released from Arturia and it has had a pretty good reception so far.
The Microlab 25 slimmed itself down and it also added some nice features to enhance its portability. With this being said, did Arturia hit a home run or did they come up short?
I heavily recommend checking out the Arturia Keystep here. This keyboard is just a little bit more expensive, but I think you ultimately get more out of it as you have the sequencer.
Quick Look At Its Competition
This is a super affordable option for producers looking to easily record and track drums and samples.
The Mini 32 is a solid option that s a lot cheaper than most options. The MIDI functionality is surprisingly decent and I think this is a solid choice.
This is the top-dog when it comes to mini controllers. Loaded with software and great pads, the MK2 is perfect for beginners.
Amazing controller with a sequencer. This controller is revered in the community for its price and sequencing abilities.
I believe Arturia did exactly what they wanted to do with the Microlab25. They didn’t create a gamechanger with this controller, however, this was not the point.
The point of this keyboard was to present a competitive, beginner option that is relatively expensive. For this goal, they did just that, and I believe they actually did a good job.
I will say that I too would love a Keystep with more keys, however, we might still get this in the future.
If you’re looking to read more articles that I’ve recently written, you can check out these below as I think these can help you improve your game.
- Bundled Software: Analog Lab Lite, Bitwig Studio, UVI Grand Piano
- Keys: 25, velocity-sensitive slim keys
- Pitch Bend/Modwheel: Sensor strips
- Low Power: Can easily be used by mobile phones or tablets
- Weight: 1.71 pounds
Arturia Microlab 25 Overview
At first glance, you will notice that the Microlab 25 has a very simple layout. I personally find it aesthetically pleasing. This controller comes in the following colors:
- Orange & White
- Blue & White
- Black & White
I personally really enjoy the orange color as it looks super crisp to me.
Here’s a little video that highlights some of the main features.
Retractable USB Cable
The design is perfect for beginners. I actually love the retractable USB cable, and I’m surprised we haven’t seen this before. I’ve gone through probably 10 USB cables from overuse and accidentally tearing them.
The fact that you can easily just retract the cable is such a win in my opinion. Obviously, USB cables still have the ability to wear out over time, so there is still the chance that you can tear it.
Arturia is talking about its ability to be self-contained because of the retractable USB cable and this in fact true.
The keys have the same keys as the Arturia Keystep, which are velocity-sensitive and fairly sensitive. The key-bed has been praised amongst the community as the Keystep is an extremely popular controller.
The Microlab 25 comes with Arturia’s classic software that is typically offered, including, Analog Lab Lite, UVI Grand Piano Model D and Bitwig Studio 8 track. Analog Lab is a great VST that offers a ton of great presets and tweaking ability.
UVI Grand Piano Model D is also an expensive piano VST and it’s great. I think the software bundle with the Microlab 25 is a great deal personally.
Portability and ease of use seems to be Arturia’s main play with this controller. I think this is totally cool. It is extremely portable, but the one knock that musicians are going to have on it is as that it doesn’t have really any features.
Now, I’m personally not knocking this controller as I get exactly what Arturia’s plan is with this keyboard. I also believe that there will be a Keystep coming in the near future, however, this is just my own speculation.
If you’re looking for something simple to throw down some ideas and you’re traveling frequently, this is a smart choice.
Who Is This For?
This controller is mainly meant for absolute beginners. There aren’t really any special features with this keyboard and it lacks certain things that other controllers excel in.
With this being said, I still think it’s a good choice to dive into as I really do like Arturia as a company.
These are your basic functions that a lot of other controllers also offer. You have chord mode, which allows you to play chords by just hitting one not. There’s also sustain which allows you to sustain your notes by holding in the sustain button.
I personally have never loved the sustain button as I feel like this completely takes away from the whole purpose of the sustain pedal. Even on a mini controller, I still want to be able to sustain with my foot. With this being said, this controller is for beginners, and I get why they would have they function.
Should You Buy The Microlab 25?
The purpose of this article was to review this controller fairly. With this being said, I do believe this is a good controller to purchase for beginners. I would also urge you to check out the Keystep and the Akai MPK Mini MK2.
Full review of the MPK Mini MK2 is here for comparison.
I am a huge fan of the Mini Mk2 as it gives you a ton of extra features, still for a cheap price. Remember, all of these options are solely meant for beginners and they’re not meant to be your main professional controller.
Overall, I believe this is a solid beginner controller. If you can afford the Keystep, I would recommend just going for that right away, however, if you’re on a super tight budget, this will still get the job done for all of your basic needs.
I don’t believe that this controller is better than the Keystep, but the main reason for this controller is to present a more affordable option for beginners.
Are you excited for the Microlab 25? I would love to hear your overall thoughts on this controller and discuss it below.