Arturia KeyLab Essential Mk3, USB-MIDI controller keyboard gets a makeover

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Arturia has unveiled the KeyLab Essential Mk3, an updated version of its affordable USB-MIDI controller keyboard with arpeggiator, chords… 

In 2018, Arturia showed a budget-leaning version of its KeyLab USB-MIDI keyboard called Essential—lots of customizable controls, and buttons but no aftertouch.

Five years after this success, they unveiled a KeyLab Essential Mk3 with a new design and features. Why Mk3 and not Mk2? Good question

Arturia KeyLab Essential MK3

Arturia KeyLab Essential Mk3

The KeyLab Essential, the budget-friendly USB-MIDI keyboard from the series, enters the third round. I tested the previous version in 2018 and found it to be good. Only the missing aftertouch was a downer. The new KeyLab Essential MK3 does not turn the keyboard world upside down. It’s a good sequel to its predecessor.

Like its predecessor, the Mk3 version has many controls: nine encoders, nine faders, eight background-lit pads, and more. There is also a new bigger display with contextual buttons and two multi-purpose pad banks.

The KeyLab Essential MK3 has a velocity-sensitive keybed with 49 or 61 keys. Arturia doesn’t address whether it has velocity and aftertouch in the press release. But I’m almost sure that you only get velocity here. That’s because the keyboard is at the entry-budget level.

Arturia KeyLab Essential MK3

DAW Scripts And Eco-Designed

Then it also features custom DAW scripts for Ableton Live, Logic Pro, FL Studio, Cubase, and Bitwig Studio, plus familiar MCU & HUI compatibility. So you can control any DAW. Not to forget, it also hosts enhanced integration with Arturia software like the Analog Lab, V Collection, and more.

Arturia also added some neat creative features to the KeyLab Essential MK3, including a handy arpeggiator, a chord mode, a scale mode, and customizable pedal modes. For all friends of the environment: It is built with a minimum of 40% recycled plastic and has a footprint reduction of 18% of carbon material. KeyLab Essential mk3 follows in the footsteps of MiniLab 3 as a controller designed with sustainability in mind, says Arturia in the press release.

Arturia KeyLab Essential MK3 backside


Further, Arturia beautifies the package with plenty of free software, including:

  • Analog Lab V with thousands of synth and keys presets
  • Ableton Live Lite DAW,
  • Native Instruments The Gentleman Intimate Upright Piano
  • UVI Model D, a timeless grand piano virtual instrument
  • Loopcloud, a 2-month subscription with millions of samples & loops
  • Melodics for learning keys with KeyLab Essential

First Impression

A nice solid update to the KeyLab Essential range. A pity that there is no aftertouch on the keys. Nonetheless, good feature-dense USB-MIDI keyboard controllers.

Arturia KeyLab Essential Mk will be available soon in 49 or 61-key configurations, with a choice of black or white finishes. The 49-key version will cost 199€ and the 61-key version 249€.

More information here: Arturia 

Available at my partner 


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