New tool (3.3.0): Arturia KeyLab mkII v1.3 build 023 (January 2021)

Arturia KeyLab mkII

The Arturia KeyLab mkII is a “bridge” tool to make these MIDI controller keyboards (KeyLab mkII 49, KeyLab mkII 61 or KeyLab mkII 88) compatible with Renoise.

New GUI (v1.3.023)

Old GUI (v1.1.017)

In general, it enables all the extra buttons of the controller and converts the wheels and faders into dedicated controls for direct editing in the pattern editor and for navigation.

Activate the tool and go. The learning mode of MIDI mapping is not necessary! Turn this controller into something useful!!!

Development related thread: Tool development: Arturia KeyLab mkII 49/61 (MCU MIDI messages)

Steps to start:

  1. Start Renoise.
  2. Plug the Arturia KeyLab mkII controller.
  3. Turn ON the back switch of the controller. Make sure Renoise has detected it.
  4. Launch the tool: Renoise/Tools/Arturia KeyLab mkII.
  5. Turn ON the tool.
  6. Done! Use your MIDI controller in “Daw Standard MCU”.
  7. You can put the tool window in the background or close it and continue using the controller. To deactivate the tool, set it to “OFF”.
  8. Important: In Renoise/Edit/Preferences/MIDI/ “in devices” or “out device”, never use the “MIDIIN2(…)”, “MIDIOUT2(…)”!

Update history:

  1. Arturia KeyLab mkII v1.3.023, January 2021 (last release, R3.3.0)

    • Modified: need API 6.1 (R3.3.0 or higer).
    • Modified: new compact GUI.
    • Added: new access of preferences panel.
    • Added: Pads RGB control (beta).
    • Improved: code review.
  2. Arturia KeyLab mkII v1.1.017, August 2019 (old, R3.2.0)

    • Modified: need API 6 (R3.2.0 or higer).
    • Added: HiDPI support. New icons included.
    • Added: some titles with style: “strong”.
  3. Arturia KeyLab mkII v1.0.016, August 2019 (first release, R3.1.1)


Building these kinds of tools is very labor intensive. If you consider making a donation for my work, please contact me. Can do it! :+1:

Enjoy it!


Hey, thanks for releasing this!

Just getting used to the flow, will feedback once I’ve had a few sessions with it.

Really appreciate it.

@rudenoise Very few people will enjoy this luxury tool. There are few owners who use this MIDI controller with Renoise.

Of course, if you think you find something that improves the workflow or control of the device, you just have to tell me.

Probably, this tool will continues to receive some update. For example, the description of the effects on the tool screen is not yet implemented (that is impossible to appear on the device screen).

Have you tried the navigation in the sequence, tracks and instruments in two steps with pressing and holding? Do you see that it stops at the ends of the range?

The play and stop button also have a couple of combined tricks.

Please, if someone uses the Arturia KeyLab mkII 61 or Arturia KeyLab mkII 88 controller with the tool, let me know if it works correctly or not!

I have only been able to test the tool with the Arturia KeyLab mkII 49. I believe that as all three models use the same firmware, the tool will be able to independently work with all three models without problems, with exactly the same behavior.

Great work, Raul !

I own the Arturia KeyLab Essential 61, which has fewer controls than its bigger brother but is also a lot cheaper.

Coincidentally i was about to create a similar tool for it, which seems redundant now.
Since you already implemented the functionalities It should not be that hard to extend your code to support the KeyLab Essential series.
With your permission i would like extend your tool, when i have the time.

Thank you in advance!

Hi @strobotone
If you want to extend this tool, I do not recommend it. It would be best to take the code and, based on it, create a completely new tool with a similar appearance, especially for the Essential series of Arturia. In this way, it would be possible to use an mkII + an Essential at the same time.

Both series use a different firmware. Surely no MIDI input or output message will match. You will have to study, one by one, all the MIDI messages to create the new tool.

The Arturia Keylab Essential 49:

The “Daw Command Center” buttons, “Transport” buttons, center wheel (and left, right), the 9 knobs and 9 faders, maybe you can adapt them to the MIDI input. It’s a bit messy, but if you know how to make a button, the rest will be to repeat the process.

The LUA code that I have written is not explained. You will probably get lost by jumping between the lines. But if you know how to program with LUA and know the Renoise API, you should be able to take advantage of the code. Doing this kind of tools costs a lot of work, because there is a lot of research behind.

Honestly, I think it is better for each MIDI controller to have its specific tool, if necessary. Particularly, I move away from tools like Duplex, a very inflated code for wanting to be multicompatible, and that is why it is very difficult to maintain, and therefore with a variety of failures.

In the tools, it is much better that they do not have redundant code or leftover.

I agree, @Raul .
A dedicated tool would be a better maintainable solution in this case.
You were right - midi mappings between the device series are barely compatible.

Ok then, research it is.

looks really nice. will it work with the minilab?

Thanks! It is not compatible! This tool is exclusive to Arturia’s KeyLab mkII controller series. In fact, if you don’t have one of the 3 controllers, you won’t even be able to activate the tool.

To create this type of tools it is necessary that the programmer has the MIDI controller, to “hunt” the MIDI messages (or have very clear instructions on the messages of each control). Without the hardware it is impossible to build it.
However, seeing the MiniLab controller, there are no controls to take advantage of with a tool. PADs and knobs will work with the standard MIDI input. This kind of tools are fine for more complex MIDI controllers.

thanks for the reply :+1:
yes it is a basic controller and i make basic music :laughing:
it is decent enough for simple midi mapping. one day i will upgrade.

This tool has been updated to version 1.1.017 . Read the first comment for more information…

This version includes the compatibility with the new version 3.2.0 of Renoise. It include new icons and other graphic details.

It is not necessary to say that you must upgrade to Renoise version 3.2.0 to use Arturia KeyLab mkII version 1.1.017 or future version.

I’ve been researching sysex messages for the pads. Finally, I have hunted all the messages. So, you are likely to add another panel dedicated to making the pads colors useful.

For the rest, this tool is now more modular and compact. The previous version was a window too large, for a floating query window. So I’ve been playing with these things related to this tool. This is what it looks like now.
I have not had time to improve this tool much. But I intend to do it. If you got here and you don’t understand anything, this tool simply works only with a specific MIDI controller. So you really don’t miss anything.


Man, if I used a MIDI controller. This is beautiful!

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Hello @Neuro_No_Neuro. My MIDI controller would be “a dead lump” without this tool.

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It is possible to change the input settings? Everything in the tool seems locked to me!

@PirkoAaro What MIDI keyboard do you have?

Keylab essential 61, damn, you were quick to answer! Thanks! =)

getting messages that it has midiin has failed to load

@PirkoAaro This tool is exclusive to the “Arturia KeyLab mkII”.
Unfortunately, to develop this type of tools it is necessary to have the hardware. Each controller works with different sysex messages.

Ahhh I see! That makes a whole lot of sense then! ^^ Thanks for the reply!

Hi, thank you for making this tool. I’ve been curious about it for some time and am considering buying a Keylab MKII specifically to use with the tool. Can you update us concerning how it’s going? Here’s a few questions I have.

  1. Do you think Apple’s migration from Intel will cause issues for the plugin?

  2. Does it matter which size of the keyboard we buy? I think I saw you post elsewhere that the 88 key most likely won’t work.

  3. I downloaded the tool and had a look. By the looks of it, you can move the sliders and it will cycle through the values entered in the note and fx columns?

That’s precisely what I’d most have in mind, I think. It would make it more like the Polyend Tracker, which I have. And simply being able to turn a knob or move a slider in order to change values in the pattern editor would bring me back to Renoise.

Assuming this Tool has that functionality, do you know of any other tools/methods of being able to use knobs and/or sliders to affect the values in the pattern editor? Basically, just wondering if you or some other Renoiser knows if there’s an easy way to achieve this that doesn’t require buying a keyboard. Regardless, if it’s the best/only (non programming) way to achieve that, I’ll do it. :slight_smile:

  1. Are you still intending to keep developing the project?

Again, thanks for sharing your work. I remain intrigued. Cheers