During the first week of October 2014, I was privileged to visit the headquarters of Arturia in Grenoble, France, where they invited press, distributors, and other music instrument industry folks in celebration of their 15th anniversary. Unfortunately, I'm currently sworn to secrecy about the very coolest stuff I saw there--not counting their awesome vintage synth collection and our group's visit to the Chartreuse distillery, of course--but it's also very cool that they've teamed up with upstart startup DAW maker Bitwig to offer "Producer Packs" that include everything you need to produce music right out of the box: a KeyLab controller (pick your size), the Bitwig Studio software (read our review here), and Arturia's own Mini-V emulation of the Minimoog synthesizer. This is in addition to the Arturia software instruments that have always been included with the KeyLab series of MIDI controller keyboards: a curated and highly tweakable selection of presets from across their acclaimed V Collection (Jupiter, Prophet, Moog Modular, Yamaha CS-80, Vox organ, Wurly, etc.). Okay, so you still need the computer and the audio interface, but what impressed me most here was the price: with the KeyLab 61 the whole crepe goes for an actual street price of $499, and that goes down if you prefer a shorter keyboard. Considering that a KeyLab 61 by itself costs $399 and a full Bitwig Studio install is also a $399 download, that's a ton of savings, and you might say it's an able one at that. Look for more highlights of Arturia's 15th birthday festivities from me soon, and scroll past the teaser video for the official press release from the company. --S.F.
GRENOBLE, FRANCE: music software and hardware company Arturia and Berlin-based international software company Bitwig are proud to collectively announce availability of three Producer Pack bundles — integrating an Arturia KeyLab premium hybrid keyboard controller (complete with the former company’s critically-acclaimed Analog Lab sound collection software suite) with the unprecedented workflow of Bitwig Studio, the latter’s namesake, next-generation music creation and performance software solution (for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux), and also throwing Arturia’s amazing-sounding, award-winning Mini V software recreation of the Seventies-vintage classic Minimoog™ synth into the musical mix for good measure — as of October 9…
Three versions of the Producer Pack bundle are now available for purchase, differentiated by the cutting-edge KeyLab keyboard controller included: as implied by name, Producer Pack 25 is based around the KeyLab 25, the smallest such keyboard controller in Arturia’s KeyLab range, featuring 25 keys with velocity sensitivity for performance flexibility, complimented by a feature-packed panel bristling with controls compatible with third-party software and hardware alike; Producer Pack 49 and Producer Pack 61 come complete with the larger KeyLab 49 and KeyLab 61, respectively, maximising performance and expression further still, thanks to their respective 49- and 61-note keyboards boasting both aftertouch and velocity sensitivity. Setting the standard for MIDI control, all are designed to easily integrate into any studio or stage setup.
Speaking of integration, regardless of which Producer Pack is purchased, rest assured that each and every KeyLab keyboard controller concerned here has been mapped to work flawlessly with the full version of the bundled Bitwig Studio software right out of the box so purchasers need not concern themselves with the tedious task of getting things up and running, but rather focus on making music. Moreover, Bitwig Studio has been conceived by its creators to eliminate creative boundaries and bring out the best in musical ideas at every stage of the production with professional time-based and loop-style recording. Arrange, mix, and edit separately or simultaneously with customisable workflows to match any style. Since each and every Producer Pack includes a Bitwig Studio installation DVD and printed manual there’s no need to squint at scrolling screens while getting to grips with igniting creativity.
For his company’s not inconsiderable part in igniting the creative partnership proceedings, Bitwig CEO Placidus Schelbert says, “From the start, Bitwig recognised Arturia as a fantastic company that offers unparalleled quality and attention to detail in everything that they do. Establishing a partnership is a great benefit that combines the outstanding workflow of Bitwig Studio with rich content and hands-on control from Arturia. The Producer Packs reveal the power and flexibility of music making in ways never experienced before.”
Arturia President Frédéric Brun echoes such supportive sentiments, stating, “We are thrilled to be partnering with our friends at Bitwig so we can bring you the Producer Packs. Bitwig Studio is one of the most innovative and smart software solutions that we have seen coming through in recent years. We think musicians will enjoy finding a top-quality controller, a very smart production suite, Analog Lab’s huge collection of sounds, and also Mini V in one package.”
Of course, all Arturia’s KeyLab packages come complete with its attractive Analog Lab software synthesizer solution, boasting a huge library of over 5,000 presets by internationally-renowned sound designers taken from all eight of its award-winning and critically-acclaimed TAE® (True Analog Emulation) synthesis-powered Mini V, Modular V, CS-80V, ARP2600 V, Jupiter-8V, Prophet 5, Prophet VS, and Oberheim SEM V soft synths, as well as VOX Continental-V — bringing back the coveted classic sounds of the Sixties-vintage VOX Continental 300 organ as authentic-sounding software — and the Wurlitzer V software recreation of the classic Wurlitzer 200A electric piano, providing the immediacy of a hardware instrument with the flexibility of a software-based solution. So it should come as little surprise to learn that each and every Producer Pack also comes complete with Analog Lab. What’s more, owners of any of Arturia’s aforementioned Analog Classics can, of course, delve as deep as they like and are free to fully edit sounds without having to leave the user-friendly Analog Lab environment. Just as well, then, that each and every Producer Pack also includes Mini V. Created in partnership with Dr Robert Moog himself back in 2003, this plug-in has become a studio standard, much like the original 1971-vintage Minimoog™ synth that it so successfully recreates the look and feel of with unparalleled sound quality. Again, all Arturia software is already mapped to work with its KeyLab keyboard controllers so users don’t have to do it themselves.
With the timely introduction of the three Producer Pack bundles, two top-tier music technology brands have clearly combined their strengths to develop a complete production package that raises the bar in design quality with deep integration of hands-on control, rich virtual content, and next-generation workflow with Bitwig Studio. So what’s not to like here? Anyone looking to pair up a cutting-edge keyboard controller with creative workflow-enhancing software solutions should seriously consider adding a Producer Pack bundle to their studio or stage setup.
Producer Pack bundles are available now in limited quantities through Arturia’s network of dealers and retailers, priced as follows: Producer Pack 25 (€349 EUR/$349 USD), Producer Pack 49 (€399 EUR/$399 USD), and Producer Pack 61 (€499 EUR/$499 USD)
For more detailed info, please visit the Producer Pack product webpage here: http://www.arturia.com/products/producerpack