Joined: Feb 28, 2003
Location: New Jersey
Audio files: 8
|Posted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 7:09 pm Post subject:
|Well, since i bought one I thought I would answer my own questions.
Overall I would say I am happy with it. The 49 key keyboard has a solid feel to it (metal chassis) though the keys are a bit light-weight. The keys themselves are open in the front unlike a lot of controllers where the key is more or less an enclosed block. This works on them because the keys depress into the keyboard. On the Arturia controller the bottom wraps underneath the keys. I'm not heavy handed so it's a non-issue with me. A piano player though would probably have to watch how hard they hit the keys. The controls have a decent feel...not as solid as they could be but more solid then a lot of it's competition. The included editor works pretty cool. All controls can send midi data.
Installation is a snap - install the driver, plug it in and away you go. The software, well, it leaves a bit to be desired. I really hate when software (or hardware for that matter) tries to dictate your musical style. The included 'Scenes' which are combinations of multiple synths/patches can be modified somewhat....but the touch pads are assigned loops that you have no control over. Supposedly they use REX files but there is no way to use your own at this point. They are supposedly considering it. When you select a Scene there are three parts - the keyboard - the touch pads and then a melody part which is basically a sequence or arp pattern that plays over what you play. At first it seems cool but you have no control over the volume of the Melody part - and you can't change it and you can only turn it on or off! At leaset you can control the volume of the touchpad loops. So basically two out of the three 'features' of the Scene setting are a wash. Oh well - I didn't buy this for the software though if they make a few changes it would be a great way to creat your own 'Arturia Favorites' collection to save on horsepower. One thing that is nice is that if you own a standalone version of one of the synths called up in Laboratory - you can edit the patch. The other mode that the software has is 'sound Mode' which basically allows you to call up one of the 3500 +/- patches. In this mode the touchpads default to C, C#,D, D# but you can re-assign them. I found this mode much more useful then the Scene mode.
>>>A WORD OF WARNING <<< This is the one thing that I found to be extremely stupid on Arturias part. Normally the keyboard is powered by a USB cable. Works fine, hopefully lasts a long time. They also provide a DC input jack on the back in case you want to use it as a standard MIDI controller. Good idea - but here is the problem. On my unit the jack is labeled 6vdc, 500ma. Ok, not my favorite DC supply voltage..but on the BOX it shows the keyboard DC jack indicating 12vdc! And to further add to the confusion the manual says 6 to 12 vdc, 500ma. Ok, I can see having a wide supply voltage capable unit...the back panel and the box should have indicated this. I contacted Arturia US and they confirmed that 6 to 12vdc would be fine.
So....I decide to power it with one of my Yamaha 12vdc 500ma supplies. Polarity is correct - should work.... WRONG! When I turn the keyboard on the LCD display looks like it is going into meltdown so I quickly turn it off. I try another Yamaha supply - same thing. Turns out that the print on the keyboard is correct - a 6vdc power supply works great. I contacted Arturia US about this and I received a reply that after checking with engineering the keyboard DOES have to use a 6vdc supply.
Fortunately mine is ok. Arturia needs to do something about this or they will be getting a lot of returned keyboards with burned out displays.
All in all I'm satisfied with the keyboard - less so with the software but if they decide to add a few features the software will be handy to have.