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Maximize Music Production with the Arturia KeyLab MkII and Your DAW
Master music creation with the Arturia KeyLab MkII MIDI controller. Learn its exclusive features and how seamless integration with your DAW boosts creativity and efficiency.


The world of music production is increasingly leaning into the realm of digital technology, specifically through software- and hardware-based Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs). One important aspect of these workstations is their efficient integration with MIDI controllers, which vastly improves workflow, speed, flexibility, and creativity. The importance of having a MIDI controller that quickly modules and integrates with your DAW cannot be overstated.

In this regard, the Arturia KeyLab MkII sets itself apart as a handy solution. This high-quality controller comes with full-size velocity-sensitive keys and comprehensive controls that streamline your composition and recording sessions. In this blog post, we'll delve into how to best integrate the KeyLab MkII with your DAW and make the most out of its features.

Setting up KeyLab MkII with DAW

Setting up the Arturia KeyLab MkII with your DAW is a straightforward process. Begin by plugging the KeyLab into your computer and selecting KeyLab MkII in the MIDI preferences section of your DAW. This ensures your KeyLab is fully outputting MIDI through the USB connection.

To make the controls more intuitive, the KeyLab MkII includes a selection of different magnetic overlays that display the functions of the buttons and knobs for specific DAWs. These overlays become lifesavers for quick reference, and they firmly secure onto the surface of the controller, reducing any confusion during the heat of production.

KeyLab MkII Functionality with Ableton Live

Ableton Live is a popular DAW known for its flexibility and robust features, and the KeyLab MkII integrates very well with it. For instance, the pads on the KeyLab can be assigned various functions for track operations. You can customize these pads to start or stop clips, trigger samples, or even control particular MIDI effects. This provides you with hands-on control for track manipulation.

Apart from track operations, the KeyLab MkII also allows seamless control of mixer functions such as panning, volume adjustment, solo/mute, and automation recording. Beyond that, additional features such as switching views, recording sections, and utilizing the undo function directly from the controller make the KeyLab MkII an essential addition to any Ableton Live setup.

Extra Functionalities with KeyLab MkII in Ableton Live

Expanding beyond its basic functions, the KeyLab MkII introduces added functionalities to further enhance your Ableton Live workflow, especially with clip control of DAW commands. For instance, you can toggle between session and arrangement views, recall your last-used Ableton Live device for tweaking, and even navigate through your project timeline – all directly from the controller.

Additionally, the KeyLab MkII makes identifying the status of clips easier with its color-coded pads. These pads light up in different colors that correspond to the clip's status in Ableton Live, whether it's playing, recording, or stopped. This visual feedback allows you to monitor the status of your clips at a glance and promptly react with accuracy during performance and production.


Arturia's KeyLab MkII is not only a solid MIDI controller but also a powerful tool that bridges the gap between you and your DAW. It takes the complex controls and functionalities from your DAW and recreates them on its interface, enabling you to focus more on your music and less on menu diving. It offers a great deal of control, flexibility, and functionality that assists you in realizing your creative visions without constant reference to a computer screen.

Whether you're a seasoned producer or new to the art, investing in a robust MIDI controller like the KeyLab MkII empowers you to prioritize your creativity above all during your workflow. Rest assured, integrating this controller with your DAW will surely enhance your music production experience, enabling you to create the best music your imagination can conceive.

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Crate is the easiest way to store, organize, and share unreleased music. With Crate, your unreleased music syncs across your devices. Available for iOS and desktop.
Rylan Talerico
October 24, 2023
Before founding Crate, Rylan Talerico was signed to Warner Records as a recording artist, producer, and songwriter. These days, Rylan enjoys spending time with his family and working on Crate building tools to empower musicians to be more creative and connected.
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