Arturia Analog Lab 5 Review – Analog Emulations That Sound Awesome




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Analog Lab 5

$240

Sound Quality
Features
Ease of Use
Presets
Value for Money

Verdict

If you’re looking to play with some great analog synth sounds quickly and easily, Analog Lab 5 is for you. With over 13,000 presets and 30+ legendary synths, Analog Lab is a phenomenal song writing tool.

4.6

Pros

✅ 13000 presets

✅ Diverse instrument selection

✅ Super easy to use

✅ Perfect for getting a great sound, quickly.

Cons

❌ Some instruments sound better than others

❌ Some parameters can’t be edited

The legendary analog synths, responsible for a lot of our favourite music, are not financially viable for most people.

For us mere mortals, a software instrument is our only option.

In this Arturia Analog Lab review, we’ll go through why we think Analog Lab is such a great tool for getting classic synth sounds.

What Is Analog Lab 5?

arturia analog lab 5 VST plugin

Analog Lab V gives you access to sounds from all the powerful hardware instruments that are financially out of reach for most people. Plus, with its simple and powerful browser and intelligent filtering, it makes finding the right sound quick and easy.

It might be confusing at first, looking at Arturia’s product line. They offer The Analog Lab 5, alongside the Arturia V Collection, which appear to be very similar on the surface.

Both of these are vintage synth bundles that contain more or less the same synthesizers.

While V Collection is a “regular” VST collection, and comes with 24 synths and keyboards, Analog Lab is an interface with 13000 presets from those synths. Essentially, if you’re looking for in-depth control of the most legendary synths, you’re better off getting the Arturia V Collection.

You’ll get a full synth environment with the V Collection, but with Analog Lab you only get a collection of 13000 presets to choose from.

The price difference between the two is something to consider however, with Analog Lab being half the price of the V Collection. But, all in all, Arturia Analog Lab is perfect for a producer, or songwriter just wanting to get a great sound quickly.

How Does It Sound?

Having read multiple forum threads, proclaiming that Analog Lab’s sound quality was thin and uninspiring, we were bracing for disappointment.

However, while there are definitely some sounds that lack in body and presence, and can feel overall muddy, we came to a different conclusion:

The analog synth sounds of the Arturia Analog Lab are extremely fun to use, and the variation of what you can get from it is absolutely inspiring. Having found ourselves spending hours just looking through cool sounds on Analog Lab, we can testify that it’s a damn good plugin.

Our favourite instruments were definitely the Arp 2600, the Propher-5, the Moog Modular V and Wurlitzer.

The Arp 2600 in particular is perfect for sound design, there are a lot of weird and funky presets to explore and play with.

Comparisons to the monumental Diva plugin (by U-HE) have been made, however these are very much different categories of plugins.

If you’re looking for the flagship synthesizer, then Analog Lab isn’t for you, Diva is.

If however, you’re a songwriter and just want some cool sounds, without having to spend hours designing sounds, pick up Analog Lab.

Presets

arturia analog lab 5 presets

To give you a better understanding of how Analog Lab sounds, we’ve compiled a few examples of our favourite presets.

ARP 2600 – Canadian
ARP 2600 – Hard And Funky Split
Mellotron – Strawberry Flutes
Prophet-5 – Ambient Drops
Vocoder – I Know

Analog Lab 5 Features And UI

analog lab 5 interface

Using Analog Lab couldn’t be easier. You’re able to search and filter presets, save new ones, add FX and go into concert mode. If you perform live, the convenient “concert mode” allows you to save presets in groups, so you can easily access them during a live performance.

Changing the parameters of synth sounds is easy as well.

There’s a menu with knobs and sliders, which can control settings like cutoff, ADSR, LFO amounts, waveforms, timbre and effects. What you can change depends on the synth the preset is taken from. While these controls are great for automation and for tweaking the sound, you’re not able to make any fundamental changes. 

The most problematic thing about this lack of control, is that you’re not able to change the arpeggiator or sequencer settings on sequenced sounds. So, in terms of sequences, you get what you are given with Analog Lab.

Multis

Want to play a funky bass with your left hand and a customized wobbly Wurlitzer with your right?

The Multi feature lets you simply drag and drop to combine any two of your favorite presets in whatever way you desire. You can even save your multi as a preset for when you need it again.

What Synths Do You Get?

analog lab 5 vst plugin synths included

The Arturia Analog Lab 5 builds on Analog Lab 4, with even more sounds and emulations, adding in their own incredible Pigments synthesizer.

Presets from the following synths, keyboards and organs are included in Analog Lab:

  • Modular V
  • Mini V
  • CS-80 V
  • ARP 2600 V
  • Prophet V
  • SEM V
  • Wurli V
  • VOX Continental V
  • Solina V
  • Matrix-12 V
  • Farfisa V
  • Synclavier V
  • B 3 V 2
  • Piano V 2
  • Clavinet V
  • DX7 V
  • CMI V
  • Buchla Easel V
  • Mellotron V
  • Synthi V
  • Pigments
  • OB-Xa V
  • Vocoder V
  • Emulator V
  • Jun-6 V
  • Jup 8 V 4
  • Stage 73 V 2

The V in the names of these synths comes from Arturia’s software emulations (not sampled from the actual instruments).

Features Quick List

  • Over 13,000 analog synth sounds from top sound designers
  • 30+ Classic instrument software emulations.
  • Multi mode for creating your own layers, keyboard splits, and adding effects
  • Automatic mapping of parameters for Arturia keyboards
  • Full keyboard Mod Wheel support
  • Parameters can be mapped easily to other MIDI keyboards and controllers
  • Full preset editing available for owners of the full versions of Arturia soft synths
  • User interface configures automatically to match your Arturia midi controller
  • Standalone or plug-in operation (VST, VST3, AU, AAX)
  • 64 bit OS required (Win 7+, OS 10.11+)

Effects

analog lab 5 effects units

Analog Lab comes with Studio Mode, which is used for manipulating your presets. In other words, creative sound design.

It’s where you’ll prepare how your selection of presets will behave when you’re playing them. You’re also able to save this for the Stage Mode for a live performance

These are the effects you can use in Analog Lab:

  • MultiFilter
  • ParamEQ
  • Compressor
  • Distortion
  • Chorus
  • Flanger
  • Phaser
  • StereoPan

Each of these effects has further control to perfect your instruments. In addition to this, you get seperate master Reverb and Delay controls, to further fine-tune your music.

CPU Hit

analog lab 5 concert mode

Analog Lab can be a taxing plugin. Opening it on a device that’s not super powerful can take a minute. Analog Lab can also demand quite a bit of CPU power – but this depends entirely on the preset. There are plenty of presets that barely moved my CPU meter.

If you have a modern computer that can run synths like Serum, most presets should run just fine. That being said, having multiple instances of Analog Lab in the same project can start to be taxing on the system.

Verdict

Analog Lab 5

$240

Sound Quality
Features
Ease of Use
Presets
Value for Money

Verdict

If you’re looking to play with some great analog synth sounds quickly and easily, Analog Lab 5 is for you. With over 13,000 presets and 30+ legendary synths, Analog Lab is a phenomenal song writing tool.

4.6

If you’re a synth expert and you enjoy creating most of your sounds yourself, Analog Lab might not be the right choice for you. 

If you don’t need total control over every aspect of your sound and feel like you could really use 13,000 retro analog synth presets, this is a great bundle. The diversity of sounds make this collection a great deal.

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Toms is a music producer & DJ, born and raised in Post Soviet Latvia. Currently based in Brighton, Toms has had over 6 years of experience with all things production and in that time, he's done a tonne of cool stuff! He's played multiple festivals, had experience in the field with mixing & mastering and even become a freelance journalist in the music industry. Toms currently creates music under the alias Sovereign. Producing music that's intimate and subtle, while full of edge and energy, the young producer combines the artistic sounds of Trip Hop artists like Massive Attack, with the energy and youthfulness of producers like Flume, Jamie XX and Yaeji. You can check his stuff on Soundcloud.