Arturia Keylab 88mk2? or something else?

yiph2

Active Member
hi everyone

im looking for a new keyboard, and the one that caught my eye was this arturia one.
is there an better alternative for around the similar price?
im mainly looking for:
hammer keys
logic daw control
aftertouch
drumpads


any suggestions?
 

cuttime

Member
I'm very happy with my Arturia KL88 MKII. The key bed is the same as the NI S88 (Fatar TP100LR). I really suggest you get to try one before buying, as I have read some complaints about the key action. It does have a bit of a mushy impact, but I think that is the price one pays for aftertouch (channel only on the keys). The drumheads are excellent IMHO, and they do have poly aftertouch. The software package that comes with it is a plus, too. I'm not sure what is currently included. I don't use it with Logic.
 
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yiph2

Active Member
ok thanks! was wondering about the keys... many people say the keys are "spongy", but not sure what that means... is there any comparable texture in real life?
 

j3tman

New Member
I'm in the same boat, basically debating between this one and the SL88 Grand. It's tough wading through the strong opinions (both positive and negative) about these two keyboards. The keybed of the SL88 sounds like it's more of an authentic piano feel, but a number of people have complained about the quality control and lack of support from Studiologic.

I'm leaning towards the Arturia simply because it appears to be more flexible with its controls, but I can't shake some of the scathing reviews from some people about the keybed. Is it really THAT bad or is this the internet being the internet again? lol... I wish I could head to a store and just try it for myself at this time!
 

j3tman

New Member
I should add that I have a Kawai MP11 in my main studio space (which I can't get to because of COVID -_-). The feel is absolutely amazing, but to be frank I don't think that has significantly improved my productivity in writing per se. So I'm sort of questioning how important it is to me now versus other factors like controls, ergonomics, etc.
 

whinecellar

Jim Daneker
The keybed in the SL88 Studio/Arturia is the one that many describe as spongy/mushy/sluggish, etc. I would agree with all 3. Much of it is due to the memory foam they put in it to cut down on the “clack” when the keys bottom out. It’s just not pleasurable to play and feels weird.

The SL88 Grand, on the other hand, feels excellent... one of the closest to a real acoustic grand on the market, IMO. It’s night and day different than the SL88 Studio. And it certainly has a great feature set and the build quality seems really good too. Spent some time on both at NAMM as I’ve been in the market for a main controller.

However, in reading reviews, I also found far too many reports of problems for my comfort - including a handful with keys physically showing up broken or bad springs. So, I didn’t want to take chances. I just wanted a great action in as small a chassis as possible, so I ordered a Korg D1. Bare bones, but feels great and a quality Japanese-made action...
 

j3tman

New Member
The keybed in the SL88 Studio/Arturia is the one that many describe as spongy/mushy/sluggish, etc. I would agree with all 3. Much of it is due to the memory foam they put in it to cut down on the “clack” when the keys bottom out. It’s just not pleasurable to play and feels weird.

The SL88 Grand, on the other hand, feels excellent... one of the closest to a real acoustic grand on the market, IMO. It’s night and day different than the SL88 Studio. And it certainly has a great feature set and the build quality seems really good too. Spent some time on both at NAMM as I’ve been in the market for a main controller.

However, in reading reviews, I also found far too many reports of problems for my comfort - including a handful with keys physically showing up broken or bad springs. So, I didn’t want to take chances. I just wanted a great action in as small a chassis as possible, so I ordered a Korg D1. Bare bones, but feels great and a quality Japanese-made action...
This is exactly the conclusion I landed on, at least between the two controllers. So it's actually so bad that it's not even pleasurable to play? That's... tough haha. And yeah, I'm also wary of any build quality risks-- even if I order from a store with a generous return policy, I'm not really trying to make a bunch of trips to the post office at this time...

The Korg looks kool-- I'm not familiar with the RH3 keybed. But it does like strictly like a digital piano-- no controls at all :(
 

whinecellar

Jim Daneker
Well, “not pleasurable” is admittedly subjective, and that’s definitely just my opinion! For background, my benchmarks are the high-end actions on Yamaha, Korg, and Roland. The Yamaha CP300 is the gold standard for me, followed by the Korg Grandstage/D1, then the Roland RD2000 but that one lags a bit behind for my taste. Again, subjective. The keys are really sharp and the travel is a tad shallow on that one by comparison. The Yamaha is as perfect as it gets for me.

That StudioLogic SL88 Grand feels superb to me too, but I’m just too spooked by all I’ve read...
 
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yiph2

Active Member
I've ordered it in my music shop, but it will come in late May...
However, it was only $890, and I have 12% discount, plus $260 coupons that I had.
So ends up being about $523, much less than Arturias actual website
 

j3tman

New Member
I've ordered it in my music shop, but it will come in late May...
However, it was only $890, and I have 12% discount, plus $260 coupons that I had.
So ends up being about $523, much less than Arturias actual website
Nice, well that works lol! Is that a local store?

I'm currently leaning towards an Arturia Keylab MKII 49 for bread and butter MIDI work + whatever 88 keys controller I can get with the best keybed under $500-700 instead of agonizing over an all-in-one solution heh. I'll maybe create a separate thread to not hijack this one...

ETA: The Korg D1 just might fit the ticket for this...
 
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yiph2

Active Member
Its a chain shop in my area, but its the most popular. The second best one is by far worse...
 

Gil

Member
Hi!
I have to make a choice between a Studiologic SL88 Grand + MixFace and an Arturia KeyLab 88 MkII: apart from the very personal keyboard touch preference, can you please list the pros and the cons of the 2 keyboards please?
This is essentially for orchestral instruments and piano playing (35 years "amateur" player here :)).
Thanks in advance for your helpful answers!
 

dcoscina

Senior Member
I’m finding the Roland A88mk2 to be very good at least as far as the action goes. Super quiet and not too heavy.
 

yves

New Member
Well, “not pleasurable” is admittedly subjective, and that’s definitely just my opinion! For background, my benchmarks are the high-end actions on Yamaha, Korg, and Roland. The Yamaha CP300 is the gold standard for me, followed by the Korg Grandstage/D1, then the Roland RD2000 but that one lags a bit behind for my taste. Again, subjective. The keys are really sharp and the travel is a tad shallow on that one by comparison. The Yamaha is as perfect as it gets for me.

That StudioLogic SL88 Grand feels superb to me too, but I’m just too spooked by all I’ve read...
I am also in the same boat .. I really like the action of the StudioLogic SL88 Grand but not sure about reliability .. I might take the plunge anyhow and see..

One other controller worth mention is the Kawai Mp-11 .. apparently it's got an amazing action . And also I think it's the same keybed that Nord is using on their new Grand piano board.
 

Gil

Member
Hello,
Here are a few (personal) thoughts from my tests (and from my research):
- Arturia KeyLab 88 MK2: tested: disappointed by the keyboard quality: for its price, I wasn't expected a noisy and plastic feel keyboard... Moreover, I had velocity inconsistencies on a few low notes (loud sound when playing p(piano)).
- StudioLogic SL88 Grand: tested (keyboard touch only, without sound): it's another (great) universe! Problem: 5 keys "felt" a little bit after 3 months :eek: I'm perhaps going to ask in a new thread thoughts about these problem.
- Roland A88mk2: not tested, but waiting for it to be available at the music shop.
- Kawai VPC1: should I put more than 1200€ for a correct touch feel? :(
Hope that these little points will help.
 
I have a related question. I have a Roland RD 300-SX piano that I love, but I would like to add something relatively small to use with it as a midi controller (for Cubase). The RD 300 doesn't have assignable sliders, and also sports the dreaded paddle. What might be a good and affordable bet?
 
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yiph2

Active Member
However, in reading reviews, I also found far too many reports of problems for my comfort - including a handful with keys physically showing up broken or bad springs. So, I didn’t want to take chances. I just wanted a great action in as small a chassis as possible, so I ordered a Korg D1. Bare bones, but feels great and a quality Japanese-made action...
What do you think about the keybed of the D1? Does it sort of feel like a piano?
 

IFM

Senior Member
Hello,
Here are a few (personal) thoughts from my tests (and from my research):
- Arturia KeyLab 88 MK2: tested: disappointed by the keyboard quality: for its price, I wasn't expected a noisy and plastic feel keyboard... Moreover, I had velocity inconsistencies on a few low notes (loud sound when playing p(piano)).
I had a KL88mk2 and although the Keybed wasn't terrible IMO as Gil mentioned the Velocity inconsistencies are pretty prominent. I could not record a staccato passage without having to completely fix all the velocities. I recorded a video of the problem against all my other controllers (KL88mkI, S88mkII) and sent it to Arturia, they found "no problem" but replaced it anyways. The new one had the same issue so it has to be a firmware issue. I eventually sold it.
 

whinecellar

Jim Daneker
What do you think about the keybed of the D1? Does it sort of feel like a piano?
I'm loving the D1. My benchmark was (and still is) the Yamaha CP300/Motif8/Montage8... but sadly that action is just a bit too sluggish/heavy for my hands after surgery for trigger finger. The D1 is a bit lighter & faster while still feeling really high quality - and it's not plagued with the quality or consistency issues of all the cheap stuff like Studiologic, Arturia, M-Audio, etc.

I do wish it had pitch and mod wheels, USB, and a controller pedal input - it is seriously bare bones (just keys, MIDI, and sustain pedal) - but I have other keyboards with that stuff so it works for me as my main 88-note controller.