More than capable Lenovo ideaPad, Windows 7 Ultimate, Ableton Live 9.2.1, MiniLAB.
Recently purchased a new MiniLab. I thought, "Great! This will be awesome as a UNIVERSAL MIDI CONTROLLER." You know, since it says so right on the box and hardware. Well, it was way too much hair pulling from initial plug in, and I certainly have criticisms about Arturia's instructions and customer support. I have never had so much trouble getting Ableton 9 to recognize a midi controller, or any other DAW/MIDI combination ever. Also, just getting my PC to recognize the hardware at all was nothing short of frustrating.
The instructions are simple enough. Download software, install, register, good to go. However no matter what I did (uninstall, restart, reinstall, change usb ports, change cables, in every conceivable order, etc...) my PC would simply not correctly recognize the MiniLAB in the "sound, video and game controller" area of Device Manager. It would, without fail, always be listed under "unknown devices". Uninstalled there, repeat, try new usb port, reset usb port, it went on forever. This meant the hardware would not communicate with the MIDI Center, Analog Lab, or Ableton (yes, I put the user config file in the correct location for Ableton). I'm computer literate and the Arturia MiniLAB instructions are dead simple (too simple?), but for a CLASS-COMPLIANT device this should have not been a problem.
My first encounter with Arturia support was less than spectacular. I stated most of these issues, within the ridiculously limited character text box, and although I did get a fairly quick reply (4 days) the response was completely inadequate and totally dodged the core issue. Not verbatim, but essentially the response was "Of course it will work. Just turn on "Track" and "Remote" tabs in Ableton's MIDI configuration." This would've been fine if my system correctly recognized the MiniLAB, since it's supposed to be class-compliant, but It didn't and I have serious doubts the CS rep thoroughly read my inquiry to begin with.
More research reading about more problems with the MiniLAB, Win7 MIDI issues, etc...
I reached out again, and got a better answer that still didn't get to the core issue. Basically it was, "You should see the device in the 'sound, video and game controller' area of Device Manager, then you..." No, it's wasn't there and that's why I'm contacting you, Arturia. At least he/she was much nicer in their response. Now, I'm not completely sure who's at fault here. It's highly possible my Win7 just hates the MiniLab because I wouldnt be the first one, or the included software didn't install properly 37 times, but come on... The MiniLAB forum is 95% technical issues.
I found a solution that wasn't stated anywhere, so maybe this will help someone down the line. I only wanted to use this as a universal midi controller, just like it specifically says on package and product. Couldn't have cared less about Analog Lab, I just wanted the most basic of MIDI functions for Ableton. Like a universal MIDI controller should do.
Again, my issues were:
1. Installation of Analog Lab and MIDI control center did NOT assist my computer in recognizing the "class-compliant" MiniLAB. No matter what.
2. MiniLAB was only popping up in the "Unknown Devices" category within Device Manager. No matter what. I could go into far more explanation if needed.
3. Customer Service. Not trying to bash the Support Team, it may very well be my system. I'd still pay closer attention to the actual content of the inquiry, though.
This is going to sound ridiculous, but all I did was apply the default YAMAHA USB MIDI DRIVER found within the driver list included in Win7. Seriously. That's it.
I understand if you folks at Arturia will refuse to recommend a different driver other than your own. I hope you also understand people would actually like to use your product, and avoid giving blanket statement solutions to fairly specific problems.
Fully functional, awesome product now. Zero issues with Ableton. Haven't even opened Analog Lab, probably never will. MIDI control center works great and recognizes it no problem as the MiniLAB. Hopefully this helps someone, and hopefully the support team reads this and can help someone else out when the device simply won't be recognized correctly. As of now there are more problems than solutions as far as I can tell, but I'm happy in the end and would be glad to elaborate the process if someone else is experiencing the same issue.
Thanks, I'm enjoying the MiniLAB finally!