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Do people realise how good the Arturia KeyLab 88 Mk II is?

ZeroZero

Senior Member
Like many, I have been on the quest for a satsfying controller/controller keyboard, for some time. I have had lots of gear through my studio, Korg Nanos, M Audiio gear, Necktars, Akais and more, but all have dissapointed. Nightmarish set ups and general flakiness, things just not happening when they should and as far as keboard controllers go, kebeds that play like toys. I spent more time on set up than I did no using these things, often things just would not work, after days of trying.
I am a pianist. I have a wonderful old Roland 700NX, which has a fantastic piano action and a very decent concert grand sound. That's my Goto. If it was going to be replaced, it was because it is a stage piano and is very limited as a controller keyboard. This board cost me £3500 back in the day. I have tried to replace it with Nords and with its successor the RD 2000 but it did not work here.

I think I have just found its successor, and for £750 UK!

Before we even go into the (great) details of the keyboard, its worth mentioning the bundled software. First there is Analog Lab 5 - that's 6500 sounds rightv there - all instantly mapped to the keyboard. Then there is analog 4 too. You also get a full version of a VOx Continental, A full version of a Wurli, Piano V2 - 12 modelled pianos, and something called MIDI control centre an excellent on screen controller of your hardware. Click on a feature (fader, button etc) and assign). If you were to buy all this from Arturia, it would cost you more than the price of thev keyboard. Oh and there is Ableton Light, whatever that is ;) .

I set up with Cubase 11. To be honest I could not ffind the right instructions on the web, so I was fiddling around. However, once I found the correct instructions here:https://www.arturia.com/faq/keylabmkii/keylab-mkii-tips-tricks, it took about 5 minutes. DO follow to the letter and you should be fine. Its not quite plug and play as Arturia claims, but once you tweak Mackie Control it works great.

Let's talk about the build. First it has a metal chassis. It looks great in white and also comes in black. Overall the knonbs and faders get a solid 8/10 here. They are far better than say M AUdio or Korg Stuff, but not quite as good as my Roland, which would be happy after an elephant sat on it. I had one pot with a slight haptic crunch (ever so slight), I notified Arturia and have decided to live with it and see if it goes.The buttons are perfect, the 16 drum pads are velocity and after touch sensitive (I can't judge them as I am not a finger drummer) the nine faders are also very good quality and work smooth and quiet.

The back panel is impressive. Its hte best I have seen. Not only does it have expression and control inputs (also assignable), but no less than three extra aux pedal inputs, all assignable. If this is not enough for you it even has 4 special inputs for real analogue synths (which I do not understand). It has old skool MIDI and USB, it has a power input, but oyu do not need this if you are using USB.

The Keybed is a Fatar TP/100LR. This is hammer action and after touch sensitive. I am spoilt by my Roland and have very high stands here. I need a proper action and full expressitivity. COuld I use this as my GOTO. Yes!
I did find that out of the box the V2 paino's did not work well with the keyboard. However, after some tweaking of teh velocity curves I got better results. I give the V pianos 8.5 / 10, but I think I will be using Pianoteq.

I really like the way Arturia has thought this all out. The keyboard is set up around three central buttons: "Analog Lab", "DAW" and "User".

The first button maps the keyboard to work seemlessly with Analog Lab. The sounds of these synths are top of the line. The best way to control these is in the software - MIDI COntrol Centre. This gives a picture of the keyboard and all the knobs are assignable within. Using Analogue labs 24 Analog synthesizers. Digital synthesizers. Acoustic pianos. Electric pianos, Organs, Strings and samplers are all set up for you with the knobs clearly labelled and modifiable. The only frustration I have found, is that the MIDI COntroller wont work with other instruments loaded, so you have to make your modifications in silence . Of course you can make changes in the hardware's VDU but this is tiny.

The second mode is DAW Mode. As expected, this is dedicated to your DAW. There are pre- programmed custom set ups for each DAW. Ableton is favoured (again what is this?) . All you do is long press the DAW button and scroll for your DAW - done.

For Cubase you get dedicated buttons for transport, undo, solo, mut, record, read, write. save, metronome punch in and punch out. The ninth fader is set up for Master Out and the other veight faders are set up for valume for a bank of the first eight tracks, you can jump or scroll to the next bank of 8 etc. The big knob is set up for scrub. The rotaries for Pan. Te buttons below the faders are used to select tracks (or the back and forward buttons) and YOU? You needed to set up nothing but select Cubase with two clicks! All you did was long press the DAW button and scroll to select Cubase Mode.

The final Mode is USER mode. This is similar to DAW mode, all the transport functions still work as in DAW mode, except the faders are now not dedicated to Volume, but are assingable using MIDI learn. So, for example if oon track one, one has Omnisphere and wat to control both the track volume and the Omni cut off, all one has to do is swithc to DAW mode to control track volume using fader 1, then to user mode and assign fader 1 to Cut off in Omni. It's a matter of a single click once set up and setting up is only three clicks. The pots (Pan in DAW mode) are also assignable in user mode.
Switching between these three modes - Analog Labs, DAW and User is a single click

Summary.
I am super impressed. This is easily the best controller I have used. My M Audio Oxygen 25, My BCF 2000, my Nano Kontrol Studio are all up for sale.
Not only is this the best controller I have used, but it is also a fine FATAR piano keyboard. I load it with Pianoteq and I can play for hours. Aftertouch too? Drumpads with aftertouch? Nine faders?

£750, with£750 of free software?

I can be picky, motirised faders would be very good. The pots get 8/10 not 10/10. I would love to be able to use the MIDI control Center with a DAW running or a standalone instrument running.

But is there better? I doubt it. The Komplete Kontrol I suppose comes closest. It has a better VDU, but no faders or drum pads and only 2 pedal inputs (comapred to five).


Anyway guys, you can see I like it. It's here to stay. I hope you enjoyed the review

Z
 

Markrs

Complete Beginner
Like many, I have been on the quest for a satsfying controller/controller keyboard, for some time. I have had lots of gear through my studio, Korg Nanos, M Audiio gear, Necktars, Akais and more, but all have dissapointed. Nightmarish set ups and general flakiness, things just not happening when they should and as far as keboard controllers go, kebeds that play like toys. I spent more time on set up than I did no using these things, often things just would not work, after days of trying.
I am a pianist. I have a wonderful old Roland 700NX, which has a fantastic piano action and a very decent concert grand sound. That's my Goto. If it was going to be replaced, it was because it is a stage piano and is very limited as a controller keyboard. This board cost me £3500 back in the day. I have tried to replace it with Nords and with its successor the RD 2000 but it did not work here.

I think I have just found its successor, and for £750 UK!

Before we even go into the (great) details of the keyboard, its worth mentioning the bundled software. First there is Analog Lab 5 - that's 6500 sounds rightv there - all instantly mapped to the keyboard. Then there is analog 4 too. You also get a full version of a VOx Continental, A full version of a Wurli, Piano V2 - 12 modelled pianos, and something called MIDI control centre an excellent on screen controller of your hardware. Click on a feature (fader, button etc) and assign). If you were to buy all this from Arturia, it would cost you more than the price of thev keyboard. Oh and there is Ableton Light, whatever that is ;) .

I set up with Cubase 11. To be honest I could not ffind the right instructions on the web, so I was fiddling around. However, once I found the correct instructions here:https://www.arturia.com/faq/keylabmkii/keylab-mkii-tips-tricks, it took about 5 minutes. DO follow to the letter and you should be fine. Its not quite plug and play as Arturia claims, but once you tweak Mackie Control it works great.

Let's talk about the build. First it has a metal chassis. It looks great in white and also comes in black. Overall the knonbs and faders get a solid 8/10 here. They are far better than say M AUdio or Korg Stuff, but not quite as good as my Roland, which would be happy after an elephant sat on it. I had one pot with a slight haptic crunch (ever so slight), I notified Arturia and have decided to live with it and see if it goes.The buttons are perfect, the 16 drum pads are velocity and after touch sensitive (I can't judge them as I am not a finger drummer) the nine faders are also very good quality and work smooth and quiet.

The back panel is impressive. Its hte best I have seen. Not only does it have expression and control inputs (also assignable), but no less than three extra aux pedal inputs, all assignable. If this is not enough for you it even has 4 special inputs for real analogue synths (which I do not understand). It has old skool MIDI and USB, it has a power input, but oyu do not need this if you are using USB.

The Keybed is a Fatar TP/100LR. This is hammer action and after touch sensitive. I am spoilt by my Roland and have very high stands here. I need a proper action and full expressitivity. COuld I use this as my GOTO. Yes!
I did find that out of the box the V2 paino's did not work well with the keyboard. However, after some tweaking of teh velocity curves I got better results. I give the V pianos 8.5 / 10, but I think I will be using Pianoteq.

I really like the way Arturia has thought this all out. The keyboard is set up around three central buttons: "Analog Lab", "DAW" and "User".

The first button maps the keyboard to work seemlessly with Analog Lab. The sounds of these synths are top of the line. The best way to control these is in the software - MIDI COntrol Centre. This gives a picture of the keyboard and all the knobs are assignable within. Using Analogue labs 24 Analog synthesizers. Digital synthesizers. Acoustic pianos. Electric pianos, Organs, Strings and samplers are all set up for you with the knobs clearly labelled and modifiable. The only frustration I have found, is that the MIDI COntroller wont work with other instruments loaded, so you have to make your modifications in silence . Of course you can make changes in the hardware's VDU but this is tiny.

The second mode is DAW Mode. As expected, this is dedicated to your DAW. There are pre- programmed custom set ups for each DAW. Ableton is favoured (again what is this?) . All you do is long press the DAW button and scroll for your DAW - done.

For Cubase you get dedicated buttons for transport, undo, solo, mut, record, read, write. save, metronome punch in and punch out. The ninth fader is set up for Master Out and the other veight faders are set up for valume for a bank of the first eight tracks, you can jump or scroll to the next bank of 8 etc. The big knob is set up for scrub. The rotaries for Pan. Te buttons below the faders are used to select tracks (or the back and forward buttons) and YOU? You needed to set up nothing but select Cubase with two clicks! All you did was long press the DAW button and scroll to select Cubase Mode.

The final Mode is USER mode. This is similar to DAW mode, all the transport functions still work as in DAW mode, except the faders are now not dedicated to Volume, but are assingable using MIDI learn. So, for example if oon track one, one has Omnisphere and wat to control both the track volume and the Omni cut off, all one has to do is swithc to DAW mode to control track volume using fader 1, then to user mode and assign fader 1 to Cut off in Omni. It's a matter of a single click once set up and setting up is only three clicks. The pots (Pan in DAW mode) are also assignable in user mode.
Switching between these three modes - Analog Labs, DAW and User is a single click

Summary.
I am super impressed. This is easily the best controller I have used. My M Audio Oxygen 25, My BCF 2000, my Nano Kontrol Studio are all up for sale.
Not only is this the best controller I have used, but it is also a fine FATAR piano keyboard. I load it with Pianoteq and I can play for hours. Aftertouch too? Drumpads with aftertouch? Nine faders?

£750, with£750 of free software?

I can be picky, motirised faders would be very good. The pots get 8/10 not 10/10. I would love to be able to use the MIDI control Center with a DAW running or a standalone instrument running.

But is there better? I doubt it. The Komplete Kontrol I suppose comes closest. It has a better VDU, but no faders or drum pads and only 2 pedal inputs (comapred to five).


Anyway guys, you can see I like it. It's here to stay. I hope you enjoyed the review

Z
Really nice to see someone happy with their new keyboard/midi controller. Not had an Arturia keyboard but I do hear good things about them, especially build quality.
 

dcoscina

Senior Member
The Keylab 88 II has the exact same Fatar keybed as the NI Komplete Kontrol S88 Mk2. It feels slightly different due to the metal case Arturia uses as opposed to the Native Instruments which is housed in a plastic case. I find both slightly sluggish in their response.

I work in keyboard sales so I have lots of experience with both these boards.
 

pixelcrave

Ivan (hobbyist / apprentice / beginner)
Like many, I have been on the quest for a satsfying controller/controller keyboard, for some time. I have had lots of gear through my studio, Korg Nanos, M Audiio gear, Necktars, Akais and more, but all have dissapointed. Nightmarish set ups and general flakiness, things just not happening when they should and as far as keboard controllers go, kebeds that play like toys. I spent more time on set up than I did no using these things, often things just would not work, after days of trying.
I am a pianist. I have a wonderful old Roland 700NX, which has a fantastic piano action and a very decent concert grand sound. That's my Goto. If it was going to be replaced, it was because it is a stage piano and is very limited as a controller keyboard. This board cost me £3500 back in the day. I have tried to replace it with Nords and with its successor the RD 2000 but it did not work here.

I think I have just found its successor, and for £750 UK!

Before we even go into the (great) details of the keyboard, its worth mentioning the bundled software. First there is Analog Lab 5 - that's 6500 sounds rightv there - all instantly mapped to the keyboard. Then there is analog 4 too. You also get a full version of a VOx Continental, A full version of a Wurli, Piano V2 - 12 modelled pianos, and something called MIDI control centre an excellent on screen controller of your hardware. Click on a feature (fader, button etc) and assign). If you were to buy all this from Arturia, it would cost you more than the price of thev keyboard. Oh and there is Ableton Light, whatever that is ;) .

I set up with Cubase 11. To be honest I could not ffind the right instructions on the web, so I was fiddling around. However, once I found the correct instructions here:https://www.arturia.com/faq/keylabmkii/keylab-mkii-tips-tricks, it took about 5 minutes. DO follow to the letter and you should be fine. Its not quite plug and play as Arturia claims, but once you tweak Mackie Control it works great.

Let's talk about the build. First it has a metal chassis. It looks great in white and also comes in black. Overall the knonbs and faders get a solid 8/10 here. They are far better than say M AUdio or Korg Stuff, but not quite as good as my Roland, which would be happy after an elephant sat on it. I had one pot with a slight haptic crunch (ever so slight), I notified Arturia and have decided to live with it and see if it goes.The buttons are perfect, the 16 drum pads are velocity and after touch sensitive (I can't judge them as I am not a finger drummer) the nine faders are also very good quality and work smooth and quiet.

The back panel is impressive. Its hte best I have seen. Not only does it have expression and control inputs (also assignable), but no less than three extra aux pedal inputs, all assignable. If this is not enough for you it even has 4 special inputs for real analogue synths (which I do not understand). It has old skool MIDI and USB, it has a power input, but oyu do not need this if you are using USB.

The Keybed is a Fatar TP/100LR. This is hammer action and after touch sensitive. I am spoilt by my Roland and have very high stands here. I need a proper action and full expressitivity. COuld I use this as my GOTO. Yes!
I did find that out of the box the V2 paino's did not work well with the keyboard. However, after some tweaking of teh velocity curves I got better results. I give the V pianos 8.5 / 10, but I think I will be using Pianoteq.

I really like the way Arturia has thought this all out. The keyboard is set up around three central buttons: "Analog Lab", "DAW" and "User".

The first button maps the keyboard to work seemlessly with Analog Lab. The sounds of these synths are top of the line. The best way to control these is in the software - MIDI COntrol Centre. This gives a picture of the keyboard and all the knobs are assignable within. Using Analogue labs 24 Analog synthesizers. Digital synthesizers. Acoustic pianos. Electric pianos, Organs, Strings and samplers are all set up for you with the knobs clearly labelled and modifiable. The only frustration I have found, is that the MIDI COntroller wont work with other instruments loaded, so you have to make your modifications in silence . Of course you can make changes in the hardware's VDU but this is tiny.

The second mode is DAW Mode. As expected, this is dedicated to your DAW. There are pre- programmed custom set ups for each DAW. Ableton is favoured (again what is this?) . All you do is long press the DAW button and scroll for your DAW - done.

For Cubase you get dedicated buttons for transport, undo, solo, mut, record, read, write. save, metronome punch in and punch out. The ninth fader is set up for Master Out and the other veight faders are set up for valume for a bank of the first eight tracks, you can jump or scroll to the next bank of 8 etc. The big knob is set up for scrub. The rotaries for Pan. Te buttons below the faders are used to select tracks (or the back and forward buttons) and YOU? You needed to set up nothing but select Cubase with two clicks! All you did was long press the DAW button and scroll to select Cubase Mode.

The final Mode is USER mode. This is similar to DAW mode, all the transport functions still work as in DAW mode, except the faders are now not dedicated to Volume, but are assingable using MIDI learn. So, for example if oon track one, one has Omnisphere and wat to control both the track volume and the Omni cut off, all one has to do is swithc to DAW mode to control track volume using fader 1, then to user mode and assign fader 1 to Cut off in Omni. It's a matter of a single click once set up and setting up is only three clicks. The pots (Pan in DAW mode) are also assignable in user mode.
Switching between these three modes - Analog Labs, DAW and User is a single click

Summary.
I am super impressed. This is easily the best controller I have used. My M Audio Oxygen 25, My BCF 2000, my Nano Kontrol Studio are all up for sale.
Not only is this the best controller I have used, but it is also a fine FATAR piano keyboard. I load it with Pianoteq and I can play for hours. Aftertouch too? Drumpads with aftertouch? Nine faders?

£750, with£750 of free software?

I can be picky, motirised faders would be very good. The pots get 8/10 not 10/10. I would love to be able to use the MIDI control Center with a DAW running or a standalone instrument running.

But is there better? I doubt it. The Komplete Kontrol I suppose comes closest. It has a better VDU, but no faders or drum pads and only 2 pedal inputs (comapred to five).


Anyway guys, you can see I like it. It's here to stay. I hope you enjoyed the review

Z

Since you're familiar with Roland, I'm curious how the Keylab Fatar key's feels differ from Roland's. I have a Roland RD-88 (PHA-4 key actions), and I like it a lot for playing piano and anything between slow to moderately-fast stuff. But over time I realize that as a controller it may not be as versatile as I'd like it to be, especially for playing faster stuff (quick ostinatos) — it feels sluggish... sometimes I have to hook up my Arturia Minilab for its lighter/synth actions just so I can give my fingers a break.

Thoughts?
 

shapeshifter00

Active Member
The Keylab 88 II has the exact same Fatar keybed as the NI Komplete Kontrol S88 Mk2. It feels slightly different due to the metal case Arturia uses as opposed to the Native Instruments which is housed in a plastic case. I find both slightly sluggish in their response.

I work in keyboard sales so I have lots of experience with both these boards.

Any other recommendations when it comes to 61 keys that is less sluggish and do not have keys that create a lot of sound when hammering spiccato notes?
 

José Herring

Senior Member
The Keylab 88 II has the exact same Fatar keybed as the NI Komplete Kontrol S88 Mk2. It feels slightly different due to the metal case Arturia uses as opposed to the Native Instruments which is housed in a plastic case. I find both slightly sluggish in their response.

I work in keyboard sales so I have lots of experience with both these boards.
David, what do you like as a good 88 key controller reasonably priced? I'm in the market. It doesn't have to be weighted I almost prefer that it isn't weighted but I do understand that a non-weighted 88 keyboard is hard to find.
 

Rory

Amateur Auteur
The Keylab 88 II has the exact same Fatar keybed as the NI Komplete Kontrol S88 Mk2. It feels slightly different due to the metal case Arturia uses as opposed to the Native Instruments which is housed in a plastic case. I find both slightly sluggish in their response.

I work in keyboard sales so I have lots of experience with both these boards.
Close enough in price that issues other than the action are likely to be considered. Sweetwater:

Arturia Keylab 88 Mk II: $900
Komplete Kontrol S88 MK II: $1050

 

dcoscina

Senior Member
non weighted affordable fare always seem to suffer from lackluster build quality, noisy springs and a generally poor aesthetic. I think the Keystation 88 Mk3 is an improvement over the original from M Audio but the keys are noisy I'm told (I've not played one yet). I actually thought StudioLogic Numa wasn't bad for a non weighted board. There used to be more high quality 88 note semi weighted boards out there but not as many now.
 

dcoscina

Senior Member
Any other recommendations when it comes to 61 keys that is less sluggish and do not have keys that create a lot of sound when hammering spiccato notes?
Funny enough the best semi weighted board i've played is the Keylab 61 mk2. It has the same gorgeous action as the MatrixBrute which is $3000 CAD. I used one for composing a while back when I took one out on a staff loan. The only stupid thing about it is the sliders are located on the right not left. our product rep contact asked me to design suggestions on behalf of Arturia and I told him to make sure they relocate the sliders for future versions!!!
 
I hate it when sliders are on one side - middle makes a lot more sense. Anyone can reach the middle of you’re right or lefty. I use both hands on the faders depending on what I’m doing.

I have a KeyLab 88 mkI which i generally like but the faders And screen died. It lasted maybe a year or two. They should definitely last longer than that. I had a kurzweil k2500x hat lasted forever. Thinks just don’t
Last anymore.
 

cuttime

Active Member
I've had a KL88 MKII for about 18 months now. I'd like to add a little bit of a counterpoint. Yes, the build quality is good, but the Fatar keybeds are a bit inconsistent in quality. The KL88MK2's keys are better than the MK1 because (I think) they added some kind of padding to stop the impact noise. Some of my keys have had an annoying rattle in them from day one, but it doesn't affect the quality of the response. After the warranty, I had a rotary encoder start to get jumpy, even though I kept the KL88 covered and clean, with very little hard use. I found that judicious use of Deoxit F5 helped a great deal, but I have to keep using it to keep it smooth. I'd like to know if the encoder can be replaced easily. My guess is that it's soldered to the main board. If you look at the Arturia forums, you may see the same comments mentioned.

I'd also like to mention that the pads have polyphonic aftertouch, something that the specs don't mention. The keys do not.

The Arturia included software is quite good, IMHO. The Piano V sounds can be greatly tamed by using the "hardness" control in the "Action" section.
 

Markrs

Complete Beginner
Since you're familiar with Roland, I'm curious how the Keylab Fatar key's feels differ from Roland's. I have a Roland RD-88 (PHA-4 key actions), and I like it a lot for playing piano and anything between slow to moderately-fast stuff. But over time I realize that as a controller it may not be as versatile as I'd like it to be, especially for playing faster stuff (quick ostinatos) — it feels sluggish... sometimes I have to hook up my Arturia Minilab for its lighter/synth actions just so I can give my fingers a break.

Thoughts?
I have a FP-10 with the same PHA-4 keybed and have had the same experience. For most stuff I love it but when you want to do quicker notes I find it sluggish compared to spring/synth type keybed
 

Paulogic

Member
Good info here. I am/was thinking of replacing my S61MK2 with a Arturia K88MK2 (because it
would fit my desk) and also selling my Mikro3 because I only use it for some fingerdrumming.
But now I'm thinking I could better keep everything and if I want a real 88 hammered keybed,
I 'd better add a affordable dig piano with a nice keybed. Then I have both kind of keys.
 
OP
ZeroZero

ZeroZero

Senior Member
Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
I've had a KL88 MKII for about 18 months now. I'd like to add a little bit of a counterpoint. Yes, the build quality is good, but the Fatar keybeds are a bit inconsistent in quality. The KL88MK2's keys are better than the MK1 because (I think) they added some kind of padding to stop the impact noise. Some of my keys have had an annoying rattle in them from day one, but it doesn't affect the quality of the response. After the warranty, I had a rotary encoder start to get jumpy, even though I kept the KL88 covered and clean, with very little hard use. I found that judicious use of Deoxit F5 helped a great deal, but I have to keep using it to keep it smooth. I'd like to know if the encoder can be replaced easily. My guess is that it's soldered to the main board. If you look at the Arturia forums, you may see the same comments mentioned.

I'd also like to mention that the pads have polyphonic aftertouch, something that the specs don't mention. The keys do not.

The Arturia included software is quite good, IMHO. The Piano V sounds can be greatly tamed by using the "hardness" control in the "Action" section.
Thew K 88 differs from the Keylab 88 MK 2. The Mk 2 has after touch " KeyLab 88 MkII features one of the finest hammer-action, piano-weighted, aftertouch-enabled keybeds ever made: the Fatar TP/100LR. "
from Arturia's site
 

jononotbono

Luke Johnson
It’s one of the worst keyboard controllers I’ve ever tried. The action has some weird spongy thing going on with it and the action is super high. I think people like it because it’s White and has fake wood on the ends. The faders feel like shit. The mod and pitch wheels and are in a weird place. Yeah, not for me. I used one for over a year whilst living in New York. Funny how we all have our own tastes.
 
OP
ZeroZero

ZeroZero

Senior Member
Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
Since you're familiar with Roland, I'm curious how the Keylab Fatar key's feels differ from Roland's. I have a Roland RD-88 (PHA-4 key actions), and I like it a lot for playing piano and anything between slow to moderately-fast stuff. But over time I realize that as a controller it may not be as versatile as I'd like it to be, especially for playing faster stuff (quick ostinatos) — it feels sluggish... sometimes I have to hook up my Arturia Minilab for its lighter/synth actions just so I can give my fingers a break.

Thoughts?
IMO Subjectively, My Roland 700NX has fantastic unbeatable action - PHA III Ivory Feel Keyboard with Escapement. It's the best I have ever played. I just cant seem to tear myself away from this keybaord because they nailed gthe action and the Concert Grand Sound. TBH at this point I still prefer it... but... its not a controller keyboard. I have played this keyboard so much there are indentations where my fingers hit.
I have tried to upgrade from this many times, I have had two Nords in my Studio - no thanks, I really dont like the keys, I also had a Roland 2000 in here but in went back as it was a downgrade in action (and build) from my 700NX.
The Arturia is new here, and I think it takes a time for the tiny muscles to get used to a new board. About a month or so. Someone used the word "sluggish" above, well I know what they mean, its a little less nimble, but this is a trivial percentage really, tis very playable and tweaking the sounds and velocity curves brings a sense of liveliness. There is a kind of "haptic illusion" (AKA optial illusion) with keyboards, which fools the brain. Velocity is NOT dynamics, its not how had you hit the keyboard, it's a measurement of the speed the key travels. Depending on how the numbers get crunched the same keybaord can be foggy and dull, or nimble and breezy. Its hard to extracate the actual physical instrument from software, when judging the action. However I do get the sense that this keybaord is a little firmer and less responsive than my Roland, I would put it on par with the RD 2000, about 5% less desirable, but still very useable.
Its not a noisy action. I can play it silently here against my Roland and its about the same. No more than nay piano bed.
Yes the criticisms of the pots are valid. They and the faders could be a bit better, but they are decent enough. What make me so keen is the fact that there is such an intuitive relationship with the DAW and VSTs and the keyboard is well laid out and feature rich. I dont know of anything better.
My Roland is now in my second slot in my studio, the Arturia is now in the primary slot, rfeady for daw work and used for practice.
I prefer modelled pianos. The V Pianos are not as good as gthe Roland super naturals, the Piano Teq sounds come closer. I have recently bought these and am still bedding in with the controls. I think the Paino Teq Steinways are more "real" in their tone, whereas the Concert Grand in the RD700NX is more "idealised" which suits me just fine. They are both very good. Bear in mind the Roland 700NX cost me £3500, the Arturia £750 and it is the Arturia which has more features and more flexibility and the action is very close.

Z
 
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ZeroZero

ZeroZero

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It’s one of the worst keyboard controllers I’ve ever tried. The action has some weird spongy thing going on with it and the action is super high. I think people like it because it’s White and has fake wood on the ends. The faders feel like shit. The mod and pitch wheels and are in a weird place. Yeah, not for me. I used one for over a year whilst living in New York. Funny how we all have our own tastes.
We can agree to disagree :) . DId you play the 88 Mk 2, or a variant?
 

Simon Ravn

Senior Member
The Keylab 88 II has the exact same Fatar keybed as the NI Komplete Kontrol S88 Mk2. It feels slightly different due to the metal case Arturia uses as opposed to the Native Instruments which is housed in a plastic case. I find both slightly sluggish in their response.

I work in keyboard sales so I have lots of experience with both these boards.
Same keybed as the Studiologic SL88 Studio that is just 300 GBP too...

Do you have any recommendation for an 88 keyboard? I just got an Alesis Q88 and isn't too happy about that. I need something "non-sluggish". So if hammer, it shouldn't be too slow. And obviously something where velocity is pretty consistent across the keys from 0-127. Still considering the Juno DS88 actually.
 
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