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V Collection 7 + KeyLab MkII

For fans of synths, pianos or keyboard instruments of any sort.

V Collection 7 + KeyLab MkII

Postby Eddy Deegan » Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:11 am

Having got the software yesterday and received the hardware today I'm stunned.

The seamless integration between the two is exemplary, the set-up process is a doddle. I ran the Arturia software centre, it auto-detected my new licenses, installed the lot in 10 minutes (over a fast network link but even so, it's non-interactive so no more hassle if it was slower) and activated those licenses for all 25 plugins with a single click. Having a few DAW controls for Reaper is a bonus.

All that would be moot if it didn't sound good. I'm sat here with the KeyLab 61 (black, naturally) in front of me, a Matrixbrute + Prophet-6 to my left and an OB-6 to my right and jamming across all four of them, the sounds coming out of the software are indistinguishable from those coming out of the hardware.

There's a PC somewhere in the background but I've tried hundreds of patches, tweaked loads of them while experimenting with the physical controls on the Keylab and only clicked the mouse in the plugin interfaces about 4 times in the last hour.

I've not plumbed the CV/Gate outputs from the KeyLab into the Modular yet either. Was going to but I'm more than happy right now in Analogue Lab.

A few years ago there were some serious questions arising from their somewhat patchy support for the early versions of their plugins, and I remember spending almost an entire day fighting dongles and conflicting licenser software versions as I installed each plugin from the V4 collection one at a time (you had to do some in the right order) and it was brutal. A lot of people moaned, they weren't responding much and it all seemed quite bleak.

No idea what happened to change it, but the customer experience today is unrecognisable from those earlier days.

I'm really, really impressed. Bravo Arturia.
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Re: V Collection 7 + KeyLab MkII

Postby Agharta » Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:08 am

Good to see someone taking the time to share a positive experience. :thumbup:
Does the whole thing work seamlessly when run within Reaper as I hear Komplete Kontrol isn't so seamless within Reaper?
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Re: V Collection 7 + KeyLab MkII

Postby Eddy Deegan » Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:19 am

Yes, it's seamless. The physical DAW controls on the KeyLab are a little basic but considering they are really a bonus you get with the controller, they are fine. You have transport controls (FF, RW, Pause/play, Rec, Stop and toggle looping), a row of 8 knobs and sliders for pan and mixing (with the ability to page through as many tracks as you have in Reaper) and some dedicated Reaper-specific functions for save, zoom in, zoom out, metronome and undo plus for the the currently selected track there is solo, mute, automation read and write.

There is also a 9th slider/knob for the master outputs (pan and level) and a jog wheel for scrubbing back and forth.

All I had to do to make all this work was install the MIDI driver for the Arturia (though for normal MIDI control it's class-compliant) and assign the two dedicated control MIDI interfaces (one in, one out) to the Mackie Universal template in control-surfaces in Reaper options. It also supports a bunch of other DAWs and you get a nice magnetic overlay for your DAW of choice (it comes with overlays for Reaper, Cubase, Logic, Studio One, Pro Tools and Live) that surrounds the buttons that get activated when you pick one.

Took about 5 minutes to set up and works like a charm. The KeyLab also has dedicated buttons to switch between DAW control mode and Analogue Lab/V Collection plugin control mode. When in Analogue Lab mode all the hardware controls map to sensible parameters in whatever patch you have selected.

The build quality of the KeyLab is excellent too. Aluminium body, nice wooden cheeks, metal modulation and pitch wheels, sliders feel nice, knobs are tactile in all the right ways and there's a 4 x 4 matrix of tough-but-responsive velocity-sensitive RGB backlit pads for chord storage or rhythm purposes.

The whole thing runs off USB power as well (optional external power supply - I didn't bother). Keybed is on the nicer-side-of-nice, possibly a little soft-feeling for some people but it feels quite good under my fingers and I had no trouble coaxing feeling out of it audio-wise.

Add in sustain pedal input, three expression pedal inputs, USB MIDI, old-style DIN MIDI in and out, CSV, Gate and Mod1/Mod2 csv interfaces and there's really not a lot to complain about.

It's all rather lovely really :thumbup:
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Re: V Collection 7 + KeyLab MkII

Postby IAA » Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:37 am

I think the sounds from most of v collection 7 in particular are good and easily hold their own in a mix and most on their own. I’ve used Arturia v collection since I sold my Origin (remember that :D ) and they’ve certainly sorted out the user experience from license management, bug fixes, patch management and hardware interaction. I midi learned my Kronos for analog lab and it works great.
The sample import on the synclavier, CMI and mellotron are amazing and give some real return on stock Logic samples. And after all, a CMI and synclavier in my studio :tongue: when back in the day I couldn’t contemplate how one could even get close to affording them when that money bought a Street where I grew up!

Lots of folks knock them on other forums, Gordon’s review this issue (and in fairness previous versions) considered them easily good enough even with direct comparison stood up well. As you say in my studio with a real minimoog the Arturia version is not found wanting in a mix at all and I bet many could not tell any difference - a ordinary listener most certainly couldn’t (or even care).

They’re terrific value. I upgraded to v7 and Arturia sent me a discount on Pigments (thank you Arturia) which i think is lovely too - I’m just looking at wave importing - quite exciting!

I don’t use v piano though.......

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Re: V Collection 7 + KeyLab MkII

Postby Eddy Deegan » Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:22 am

IAA wrote:They’re terrific value. I upgraded to v7 and Arturia sent me a discount on Pigments (thank you Arturia) which i think is lovely too - I’m just looking at wave importing - quite exciting!

Yep - I'd held off upgrading as I thought that V4 was enough but I did ask them about any deals going and they offered me Pigments as well as V7 for a very good price which I felt I'd regret if I didn't accept, and I'm very glad I did.

IAA wrote:I don’t use v piano though.......

For 'proper' piano, I agree (I use Pianoteq these days) and haven't really looked into the V pianos much as a result but a cursory flip through them revealed some interesting noises which may well be usable in certain contexts in their own right. I agree that it's not a package you'd buy just for the pianos though!

The synths on the other hand ... :thumbup:
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Re: V Collection 7 + KeyLab MkII

Postby IAA » Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:36 am

...on pianos, I know it’s off post...I tried Pianoteq some years ago and it never convinced me enough, I tend to use the Kronos Berlin but you’ve got me thinking whether it’s time to retry?

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Re: V Collection 7 + KeyLab MkII

Postby Eddy Deegan » Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:15 am

IAA wrote:I tried Pianoteq some years ago and it never convinced me enough, I tend to use the Kronos Berlin but you’ve got me thinking whether it’s time to retry?

I'd say it's worth a trial of the latest version (there is a free one with a few sharps and flats missing, which you can then register if you decide to). The general consensus seems to be that they have steadily improved with each release (I have version 6), though piano is a very subjective sound thus you may decide you still prefer the Kronos. I'm the other way around; I like the Kronos pianos to play but I prefer Pianoteq for the sound!

There is quite a lot of variation in the instrument packs they offer, so it's worth exploring them a bit. Again, you can try out packs you don't have on a time-limited basis (I think 20 minutes at a time, with some notes missing).
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Re: V Collection 7 + KeyLab MkII

Postby IAA » Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:36 am

Thanks Eddy will do.
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Re: V Collection 7 + KeyLab MkII

Postby Dave B » Wed Jul 03, 2019 2:13 pm

I have an older version of the collection and I'm a bit ... meh ...

I don't have any problem with how they sound (except for the Wurli ... that's pretty weird to me as I didn't seem able to just get a straight sound that I liked), but I did find the sheer volume of stuff overwhelming. In the end, I just used the SEM thingy for some sounds. Which is a shame - I quite fancied the idea of having a P5, Jupe8 and CS80 on tap, but found that I just got lost in presets and never really enjoyed myself.

I'm tempted to update just for the CMI and Synclavier really. The idea of a Fairlight that doesn't require lots of TLC to keep going really appeals .... ;)
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Re: V Collection 7 + KeyLab MkII

Postby Eddy Deegan » Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:27 pm

Dave B wrote:I have an older version of the collection and I'm a bit ... meh ...

I don't have any problem with how they sound (except for the Wurli ... that's pretty weird to me as I didn't seem able to just get a straight sound that I liked), but I did find the sheer volume of stuff overwhelming. In the end, I just used the SEM thingy for some sounds. Which is a shame - I quite fancied the idea of having a P5, Jupe8 and CS80 on tap, but found that I just got lost in presets and never really enjoyed myself.

I know what you mean - I've had the V4 collection since it came out and I've not used it much, a bit her and there. The UIs were nice to look at but I didn't find them super friendly to use. That's partly why I got the KeyLab (that and with intention to use it as a decent general purpose MIDI & CV/gate controller for a few other things).

I think the V7 UIs are more practical (though the new-look interfaces have been around for a version or two in the meantime I gather).

I dunno, there's something about V7 that just 'works' for me in a way that V4 didn't... maybe the interfaces, the new synths, the integration or all of these and more. I'm actually using it in a way I didn't before and ... it's a good feeling :)

I'm tempted to update just for the CMI and Synclavier really. The idea of a Fairlight that doesn't require lots of TLC to keep going really appeals .... ;)

I like both of them very much, though I've not dived in properly under the hood yet. Some of the factory presets, and several of the split/layer combis in Analogue Lab which use them are quite impressive. I also find the CZ V surprisingly good!
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Re: V Collection 7 + KeyLab MkII

Postby Eddy Deegan » Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:44 am

On a related note, I did trawl through a fair number of youtube videos about the KeyLab MkII before buying one, but at the time missed what I think is the best of them. This guy covers all the features in a well-shot and succint video; no waffle, just really good info.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJRMsrI6Jvk
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Re: V Collection 7 + KeyLab MkII

Postby DavyP » Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:41 am

I'd stuck this in the Massive X thread but suppose it's more suited here

https://youtu.be/lS4_eSJrjuI

Have to agree with you Eddy the V Collections so good.

Did a minimal song with it using just V Collection Synths.

I've spent ages just messing about with the different synths, so many options.

I bought the NI Komplete Mk3 as my controller and the Arturia Instruments are all mapped to the NKS standard including the sound clips of each synth sound. :thumbup:

Slightly off the topic of VST's but I've rebuilt my Analogue Solutions Collection after parting with my Techno Systems as I was only really using them for simple percussion.

Have 2 Black Fuseboxes, 2 Impulse Commands, 2 Generator Sequencers and a Mr Hyde and Dr Strangelove FX boxes coming. Going to use them to do my song for the SOS forum album :D
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Re: V Collection 7 + KeyLab MkII

Postby Eddy Deegan » Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:04 am

:thumbup:
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Re: V Collection 7 + KeyLab MkII

Postby DavyP » Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:30 am

Did this one this morning (got up early!)

I made it entirely in Machine 2 with the Komplete Kontrol Keyboard and Machine MK3 and made use of the V Collection as well as Repro 1

https://youtu.be/NNja5vpdoDI

It's a pretty handy way to put a song together, I made a bunch of clips then just arranged them into a song, easy peasy :D
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Re: V Collection 7 + KeyLab MkII

Postby DavyP » Mon Aug 05, 2019 9:29 am

https://youtu.be/dE0n0xO85cE

I chose an odd selection of sounds for this one and put them together in a melodic form, rather than put together a song in Maschines timeline which is really easy and feels like cheating I performed it live with mutes and fx etc.

The sounds are from the Arturia V Collection and Komplete and tweaked and various fx and modulations added. Percussion is just a good old 909 kit :thumbup:

Next song will be an all Analogue CV and Gate job when my new synths arrive this week sometime. :D
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Re: V Collection 7 + KeyLab MkII

Postby DavyP » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:45 am

I'm addicted this Arturia Collection!!!!

https://youtu.be/dJ67qHOQxDg

Some Synth Pop, kept if fairly minimal. :thumbup:
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Re: V Collection 7 + KeyLab MkII

Postby DavyP » Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:15 pm

https://youtu.be/RnCZCUcflNs

Some Yazoo this time, made use of the V Collection plus some NI percussion and strings.
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Re: V Collection 7 + KeyLab MkII

Postby DavyP » Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:34 am

https://youtu.be/WnCqASPf0Po

This one tells a story, 3 songs for the price of one ;)
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Re: V Collection 7 + KeyLab MkII

Postby DavyP » Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:32 pm

https://youtu.be/5mELpnKpkWg

Sold a load of gear so while waiting on my new monitors etc. I did this one using Maschine 2.0, mixed it in 2.0 and used mainly Arturia synths and plugins/fx (which are on offer at the moment)
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Re: V Collection 7 + KeyLab MkII

Postby blinddrew » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:36 pm

Enjoying this Davy. :thumbup:
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