1. I have the V Collection. I notice that some retailers sell the boxed version with free Analog Laboratory. Is this the same software which comes with Analog Factory?
No, the Analog Laboratory and the Analog Factory are two different applications.
2. Providing Q1 is a yes. What practical advantages would the Analog Laboratory/Factory software bring to the already comprehensive V Collection? Was it developed for and targeted at people who don't want to buy the V Collection? Or is it a neat add on? Can any users chime in here?
The Analog Factory contains 3500 Sounds from the V-Collection, that are tweakable with the controls that are part of the AE 32 Analog Factory keyboard controller.
The Analog Laboratory contains the same 3500 Sounds + 200 Scenes and gives you the possibility to open all the V-Collection 2 plugins from inside the Laboratory software, in Sound mode. That means that you are able to tweak every parameter that is part of the original plugin and creat completely new sounds.
Further you can use 2 sounds + 4 Samples (They are also part of the software) and assigne a melody to one of the sounds, to creat a scene.I recommend trying the demo version, because it's much to much to describe the full range of functionality in a few sentences.
3. I'm thinking of getting the 32 key Analog Factory. However, I'm aware that the keyboard only has a 'Midi Out' and no 'Midi In'. I know that it uses USB Midi. My issue is that I am thinking of getting this as a makeshift portable solution and my laptop only has 4 USB ports which are pretty much taken up with my iLok, eLicenser, Mbox and a mix and match between my USB Mouse and Waves license USB Stick.
I'm not an expert in Midi so forgive me if this sucks...but would one Midi cable 'Midi Out' (Analog Factory) to 'Midi In' (Mbox) cut it for use as a controller and give the full functionality of the Analog Factory software (and any other for that matter), providing I use the required DC Adapter?
I can't answer this question, because I don't know what you want to do with the MIDI-cable. I recommend using a USB-Hub to connect all your devices to your notebook.
The MIDI-out is usually made to control a hardware-synth (or other device) that has a MIDI-input, so you can play the synth with the AE keyboard controller.
My personal opinion is, if you already own the V-Collection 2, it doesn't make sense to buy the Analog Factory, but it would make sense to buy the Analog Laboratory. I guess that this one is too large for you, but hey, you can't have everything!
Hope this is helping,