Arturia Astrolab Review

Arturia Astrolab Review

"the extensive and diverse sound engine makes this perfect for touring musicians who are looking to cover a wide range of genres"
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Founded in 1999, French manufacturer Arturia is no newcomer to music production equipment. The range of Arturia hardware and software has gained some considerable acclaim amongst producers and sound engineers alike over the past 25 years. Particularly the Analog Lab software suite which is made up of a meticulous collection of some of the the most popular and widely used synthesizers and keyboards. Until now there were no options for using the V collection sound library as part of a live show without having to rely on a laptop but that is all about the change. 

Introducing the AstroLab, a 61 key velocity and aftertouch‑sensitive standalone stage keyboard from Arturia. The unit has been designed around the sound engine used by the infamous Analog Labs, but is now available for the first time in a piece of standalone hardware, perfect for live performance and touring musicians who have relied on Analog Labs in the studio for years.

While the unit doesn’t support the entire Analog Labs range of instruments it does include a pretty hefty 1300+ presets straight out of the box, with access to 33 different instrument engines and the capability to add more sounds via a dedicated connect app. Sound engines range all the way from faithful recreations of timeless synths like the Yamaha CS-80 and Jupiter 8 to the classic sounds of a Rhodes, Wurlitzer, and Hammond B3 which ensures that the sound palette is versatile enough to enable even the most genre fluid musicians to cover most bases.

The Astro Lab has clearly been designed with performance in mind, the song and playlist features enable users to group presets that can be recalled with the touch of a button. This feature really comes into its own on stage, for example you need a soft Juno pad for the verse but need to quickly switch to a soaring DX7 lead for the chorus, you can group them into a song, which turns the instrument type buttons on the surface of the unit into shortcuts for specific presets. Songs are then further organized into playlists enabling users to cycle through a prepared setlist with a batch of presets on the fly.

Coming in at £1369 the Astro Lab is by no means cheap, but we feel that it represents pretty good value for money when compared with other high-end stage keyboards from the likes of Nord and Yamaha. The extensive and diverse sound engine makes this perfect for touring musicians who are looking to cover a wide range of genres and sounds with one device but is also an equally great option for producers who are looking to access the powerful Analog Lab library without being glued to the computer. Bravo Arturia!