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

jononotbono

Luke Johnson
Same keybed as the Studiologic SL88 Studio that is 300 pounds 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.
Do you play a lot of Piano?

I was hell bent on getting a decent 88 weighted but even after trying the infamous LMK4+ I’ve concluded I really just want a decent semi weighted 88note. Most of the time I’m writing music with samples that only occasionally use piano and trying to play marching snare rolls and fast String ostinatos on a weighted keyboard just makes no sense to me.
 

Simon Ravn

Senior Member
Do you play a lot of Piano?

I was hell bent on getting a decent 88 weighted but even after trying the infamous LMK4+ I’ve concluded I really just want a decent semi weighted 88note. Most of the time I’m writing music with samples that only occasionally use piano and trying to play marching snare rolls and fast String ostinatos on a weighted keyboard just makes no sense to me.
No. Piano is not super important. Pretty fast action is more important. I do more orchestral stuff. I read that the DS88 has pretty quick action despite being "Ivory feel-G".
 

dcoscina

Senior Member
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.
I’m told by our Roland rep that all weighted Rolands are using the PHA-4 keybed now and they have replaced the Ivory G keybed s except on the RD2000 and FP90. I like PHA-4 keybed- it’s quiet and not sluggish- but still not as crisp as my PC3X. I had an A88mk2 last summer and loved the action. Now I’m still partial to my Kurzweil PC3X because it’s weighted but super light for orchestral writing. The PC4 has a nice keybed which is also found in the Kurzweil KM88 ($599USD).
 
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jononotbono

Luke Johnson
No. Piano is not super important. Pretty fast action is more important. I do more orchestral stuff. I read that the DS88 has pretty quick action despite being "Ivory feel-G".
Not tried the DS88 so can't say. I'm honestly considering getting a 61 Key controller. The NI Kontrol S61 probably. Yeah, sucks not to have the extra keys to actually play but I'm a bad player anyway and 61 is far enough for me to write with. Buying an Upright Piano to play an actual Piano and then a 61 key is probably what I'll next do. Depends where I'm living though!
 

dcoscina

Senior Member
Not tried the DS88 so can't say. I'm honestly considering getting a 61 Key controller. The NI Kontrol S61 probably. Yeah, sucks not to have the extra keys to actually play but I'm a bad player anyway and 61 is far enough for me to write with. Buying an Upright Piano to play an actual Piano and then a 61 key is probably what I'll next do. Depends where I'm living though!
Aside from the range, I'm really not sure why so many people want a weighted action for orchestral writing. Unless they have really strong hands or a keyboard that responds to fast re-triggering (which means expensive keyboards), I don't find the piano keyboards particularly well suited to orchestral writing. Unless you do a lot of keyboard-styled orchestrating.. Most of my concert works come from a little MicroKorg 49 to be honest. But hey, that's just me. Different strokes...
 

jononotbono

Luke Johnson
Aside from the range, I'm really not sure why so many people want a weighted action for orchestral writing. Unless they have really strong hands or a keyboard that responds to fast re-triggering (which means expensive keyboards), I don't find the piano keyboards particularly well suited to orchestral writing. Unless you do a lot of keyboard-styled orchestrating.. Most of my concert works come from a little MicroKorg 49 to be honest. But hey, that's just me. Different strokes...
I actually used a NI M32 controller for a lot of time whilst out in NY haha! I took this little 37 micro key controller in a bag just for something to play on and sure, it's a bit frustrating and limiting but I wrote quite a lot with that so yeah, I think the obsession with weighted 88 keys probably comes down to the fact it looks more impressive.

I mean, when you have 1 octave M Audio controller on a table under a screen, in between 2 shitty speakers, and with some foam on the walls of a bedroom, it might not gives first impressions that one desires 😂
 

dcoscina

Senior Member
I actually used a NI M32 controller for a lot of time whilst out in NY haha! I took this little 37 micro key controller in a bag just for something to play on and sure, it's a bit frustrating and limiting but I wrote quite a lot with that so yeah, I think the obsession with weighted 88 keys probably comes down to the fact it looks more impressive.

I mean, when you have 1 octave M Audio controller on a table under a screen, in between 2 shitty speakers, and with some foam on the walls of a bedroom, it might not gives first impressions that one desires 😂
I totally get it. Studio aesthetics is very real! I don't post my studio because it's nothing to write home about. It's functional but that's about it. My Kurzweil PC3X still serves me well for most purposes. I used to change keyboards every 6 months until I found it. I'm scared when it gives up the ghost since I haven't found a better controller. Maybe the KM88 since I like the PC4 action (same Fatar keybed) but with no sounds. Who knows...
 

north3d

New Member
New Guy Here ... :)

Looking for Controller Mapping "patches/files" between:
-Omnisphere- and -KeyLab MKII. (

ZeroZero's initial post got my attention ... we seem to have the same taste in controllers :)
I agreed with everything in his post; having my KeyLab for a full week now ...
The software that comes with it makes ya want to get the V Collection right away however.
Because there's only so many times you can live with a patch the 90% close to what you want :)

Omnisphere and KeyLab on the surface seem like and ideal match ... but I'm not sure I have it in me to create the Controller Mapping ... when I think about it, it makes me want to play my guitar !!
 

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ZeroZero

ZeroZero

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New Guy Here ... :)

Looking for Controller Mapping "patches/files" between:
-Omnisphere- and -KeyLab MKII. (

ZeroZero's initial post got my attention ... we seem to have the same taste in controllers :)
I agreed with everything in his post; having my KeyLab for a full week now ...
The software that comes with it makes ya want to get the V Collection right away however.
Because there's only so many times you can live with a patch the 90% close to what you want :)

Omnisphere and KeyLab on the surface seem like and ideal match ... but I'm not sure I have it in me to create the Controller Mapping ... when I think about it, it makes me want to play my guitar !!
In regard to mapping for Omnisphere and other VSTs. I decided not to map at all, seeing as it's so easy to use MIDI learn on the fly in our set up. It's not the same as expression maps, you don't need semi coding. Just go to USER mode, make sure your sequencers track is set to monitor, the right click a knob and MIDI learn. Done.
 
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ZeroZero

ZeroZero

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I was hell bent on getting a decent 88 weighted but even after trying the infamous LMK4+ I’ve concluded I really just want a decent semi weighted 88note. Most of the time I’m writing music with samples that only occasionally use piano and trying to play marching snare rolls and fast String ostinatos on a weighted keyboard just makes no sense to me.
Well if you weant a decent semi weighted then this is a different animal. I play a lot of piano stuff ( which never gets recorded) and I realise that a weighted keyboard is not the best for orchestral work, I can do fast piano trills on little fingers and run rapid scales and arps but it took a lot of practice on my wieghted to get there. If your just focussed on orchestral I would say that semiweighted is much better. It's probably best for synths and Hammonds too.

Me, I wanted weighted. I can get speed out of the Mkii 88. Yes it's not the best, but it's certainly not the worst either. kit IS most certainly useable IMO.

Z
 

Simon Ravn

Senior Member
I’m told by our Roland rep that all weighted Rolands are using the PHA-4 keybed now and they have replaced the Ivory G keybed s except on the RD2000 and FP90. I like PHA-4 keybed- it’s quiet and not sluggish- but still not as crisp as my PC3X. I had an A88mk2 last summer and loved the action. Now I’m still partial to my Kurzweil PC3X because it’s weighted but super light for orchestral writing. The PC4 has a nice keybed which is also found in the Kurzweil KM88 ($599USD).
But the PHA-4 is weighted right? Now with all the stuff people write inhere I get worried that it won't make sense, since I don't have piano as first priority. As said by others, I need to be able to make drum rolls, fast staccatos etc...:)

Any recommendations for a great semi weighted - you, or someone else?! I know this subject has been beaten to death but I really haven't found the Holy Grail here - if there is one.
 

jononotbono

Luke Johnson
But the PHA-4 is weighted right? Now with all the stuff people write inhere I get worried that it won't make sense, since I don't have piano as first priority. As said by others, I need to be able to make drum rolls, fast staccatos etc...:)

Any recommendations for a great semi weighted - you, or someone else?! I know this subject has been beaten to death but I really haven't found the Holy Grail here - if there is one.
It doesn't exist. It's exactly why Mike Verta made a thread a couple of years ago saying he is going to design and build one. Unfortunately, I think 61 key is where you will find something that feels better.
 

jononotbono

Luke Johnson
What about this: https://www.thomann.de/gb/studiologic_numa_compact_2x.htm

Did you try that or know anything about its keys?
I haven't tried it so have no idea about the feel of the action. But the thing that interests me about this is how thin the controller is. Which means it would save a bit of space and fit nicely underneath a desk etc.

Anyway, sorry, I've derailed this thread enough so I wish ye all well on your quest! :)
 

dcoscina

Senior Member
What about this: https://www.thomann.de/gb/studiologic_numa_compact_2x.htm

Did you try that or know anything about its keys?
They are actually good Simon. The store I work at has them (thanks to me actually bugging our purchasing manager to bring them in). They feel better than the M audio keystation 88s and keys aren’t annoyingly loud or clacky. The Numa with the drawbar sliders is ideal because they can be assigned to MIDI CCs. Very light to carry around should you need it.
 

fourier

Member
Bought my Keylab 88 MkII in November, so limited timeframe, but I'm super happy with the purchase. Analog Lab V + Pigments2 (for $69) was a massive plus, too. I have not encountered any negatives so far. I'm not a classical-trained pianist, so my limited abilites are pretty much a dead left hand (chords) and a fairly functional right hand for melody, but I've still always preferred weighted keys over semi-weighted. It's been super easy to use with Ableton for me.

I lean heavily towards using Pianoteq over the V2, too, but I don't do professional piano players justice anyway - I just like how it sounds and feel to play better.
 
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