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

whinecellar

Jim Daneker
Re: the issue of weighted 88 key controllers that aren’t too sluggish:

About two years ago I had to have surgery on both hands for trigger finger… caused by 30+ years of banging on weighted actions. My benchmark was the Yamaha CP300, which feels sublime - but too heavy.

And I totally relate to the issue of needing to program fast parts: most weighted actions are too sluggish, and I have yet to find a “semi weighted” action that doesn’t feel like complete crap.

So, I set out to find something that would work for me. After a ton of auditions, I landed on a Korg D1. It is extremely bare-bones: no USB MIDI, pitch or mod wheels - but a high quality Japanese-made action (same as their GrandStage) that’s just about perfect for me. Heavy enough for legit piano work, yet fast enough for everything else. It’s also very low profile so it fits in a sliding tray I built into my desk.

Highly recommended if you have another controller available with wheels, pedal inputs, etc.
 

dcoscina

Senior Member
Re: the issue of weighted 88 key controllers that aren’t too sluggish:

About two years ago I had to have surgery on both hands for trigger finger… caused by 30+ years of banging on weighted actions. My benchmark was the Yamaha CP300, which feels sublime - but too heavy.

And I totally relate to the issue of needing to program fast parts: most weighted actions are too sluggish, and I have yet to find a “semi weighted” action that doesn’t feel like complete crap.

So, I set out to find something that would work for me. After a ton of auditions, I landed on a Korg D1. It is extremely bare-bones: no USB MIDI, pitch or mod wheels - but a high quality Japanese-made action (same as their GrandStage) that’s just about perfect for me. Heavy enough for legit piano work, yet fast enough for everything else. It’s also very low profile so it fits in a sliding tray I built into my desk.

Highly recommended if you have another controller available with wheels, pedal inputs, etc.
The weighting is nice on the D1 but again it’s weighted fully. Not semi weighted. I think Simon is looking for semi weighted from the sound of it. Kurzweil used to make an awesome semi weighted action as found in the K2500.
 

IFM

Senior Member
So I have a KL88mkI and later bought the KL88mkII. Although I was fine with the keyboard (they do tend to break in over time) and the excellent build quality. However, the velocity curve was terrible and nothing like the MKI. Playing any sort of short note sequence into the DAW resulted in vastly varying velocity values. Artura replaced the keyboard for me and it had the exact same issue. I returned it and won't recommend it sadly.
 

SupremeFist

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 😂
The m32 is really a great little board: I have one in front of my Roland FP10 weighted 88 for the best of both worlds. I think maybe searching for the one keyboard to rule them all is asking for disappointing compromises. (I do do a lot of solo piano/piano-focused stuff though.)
 

whinecellar

Jim Daneker
The weighting is nice on the D1 but again it’s weighted fully. Not semi weighted. I think Simon is looking for semi weighted from the sound of it. Kurzweil used to make an awesome semi weighted action as found in the K2500.
Yeah, it is a weighted action, but light and fast enough to just about qualify for what I would consider semi weighted. At the very least, it is eminently playable on faster parts, unlike most heavily weighted actions.

Frankly, I have yet to play anything labeled “semi-weighted” that wasn’t utter junk: M-Audio, Arturia, StudioLogic, etc. They’re either completely inconsistent with their velocity responses/curves, their key lengths are 1/2” shorter than standard, and/or their pivot points are completely jacked.

I’ve said it a thousand times and I know others feel the same way: if somebody made a decent 88 key, truly semi-weighted controller that actually felt good and played like a musical instrument, they’d clean up!
 

whinecellar

Jim Daneker
Interesting on the D1. A bit of a bummer with the lack of USB connection though.
Yep. And no pitch/mod wheels either. I really like it though on a slide out shelf; I have a little Arturia Micro Brute above it on my desk for wheels - not a bad compromise.
 

MikeRolls

New Member
I've had the 88 Mk II for about a year now, and is the first weighted keyboard I've properly used. I like it but what I really hate is the DAW integration, which may be the case for all controllers.
I'd naively expected it to instantly sync and I'd be able to use it to 1) control the highlighted Instrument/Effect and 2) set up global mappings. After much fannying about I've been able to do the second part, but not the first. In Logic you can set up the rotaries to control the Smart controls, which is better than nothing - but that's only 8 controllers. And the rotaries are pretty crap.
(I've also set up one fader which always controls the volume of the selected track, which is quite handy)
I'd be interested to know if anyone has had more success than me with this..
 
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ZeroZero

ZeroZero

Senior Member
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I've had the 88 Mk II for about a year now, and is the first weighted keyboard I've properly used. I like it but what I really hate is the DAW integration, which may be the case for all controllers.
I'd naively expected it to instantly sync and I'd be able to use it to 1) control the highlighted Instrument/Effect and 2) set up global mappings. After much fannying about I've been able to do the second part, but not the first. In Logic you can set up the rotaries to control the Smart controls, which is better than nothing - but that's only 8 controllers. And the rotaries are pretty crap.
(I've also set up one fader which always controls the volume of the selected track, which is quite handy)
I'd be interested to know if anyone has had more success than me with this..
I am not a logic user, but did you see this page? https://www.arturia.com/faq/keylabmkii/keylab-mkii-tips-tricks
Your right about controllers they're all a pain in the posterier I have used lots of them.

I am not sure how any controller can control all instruments as they are all created differently. I decided not to try to code any, but simply to use right click and MIDI learn in user mode. Simple and quick
 

Fenicks

Bedroom Producer
I have a 61-key Arturia MK II and have been surprised how little I hear others talk about or recommend it. I LOVE it and it's improved my workflow immensely. The Midi Control Center is lightyears better than the Automap crap I had to use with my old Novation. It integrates well with Studio One 5 and the magnetic overlay for different DAWs and their commands is brilliant. I enjoy how stylish it is (mine is white) and it feels solid as a rock. Worth every penny I spent on it.
 

laoshuterry

New Member
The m32 is really a great little board: I have one in front of my Roland FP10 weighted 88 for the best of both worlds. I think maybe searching for the one keyboard to rule them all is asking for disappointing compromises. (I do do a lot of solo piano/piano-focused stuff though.)
Glad to see someone has same gears with me. I also have Roland FP10 for practicing piano and sometimes I connect it to PC as a weighted MIDI keyboard. The touch feeling is very good.

I also have used Arturia Minilab mk2 as my normal mini keyboard. The quality is solid and mapping software is also well. But the biggest problem is its velocity, keybeds, knobs and buttons, all of them can not play smoothly. And now I change it to NI Komplete M32. Feels right for me.
 

B4time

New Member
It is always a matter of personal preference. I have owned Kurz 2500SX and PC3X. Found action on both to very playable, very fast but still piano like. I recently owned to KKS88 and Arturia KL 88 MK2. They have the same tp100 keyboard which, to me, is incredibly sluggish, nearly unplayable for open viocings and fast playing. Last week I bit the bullet and got the StudioLogic 88 Grand w tp40wood keybed. Like night and day. Pretty similar to the tp40L in the Pc3X. Also thought the daw integration w Studio One was spotty and even the Analog Lab integration is a bit spotty. I already owned the Arturia V Collection 7 and the integration with the full instruments is practically useless. I bought the SL Mixface which sits nicely magnetically attached to the keyboard. Feels basicaaly like part of the SL Grand and lloks good - not overly busy and since I use a Machine Mikro 2 too, I don't need more pads. The Mixface software is a bit sketchy to set up but after a bit of trial and error it integrates very nicely w Studio One. Have not mastered the mapping of vsts but, cool as that would be, it is the daw integration that I really need and coukd niot accomplish w the PC3X.

At the end of the day, the keybed is really most important for me. I real8ze it isn't that way for everyone, but imho, the SL88 Grand TP40W is MUCH MUCH more piano like than the TP100. The addition of Mix face gives me everything I was looking for BUT, of course, the price tag is a bit higher by about $300 comp to KL 88 MK2
 
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ZeroZero

ZeroZero

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I think therec is a lot of "haptic Illusion" going on in threads about keyboard action. I have had this keyboard a couple of weeks. First I used the Arturia piano, not impressed. The keyboard felt sluggish. I swapped to Pianoteq, still not impressed, but better. Tried Kescape, nah not my sound. Then Addictive keys.
Throughout all of this I experimented with different velocity curves, these make a big difference. The same keyboard, can feel sprightly or like wet wellington boots, according to settings.
I just spent 9 hours playing teh arturia using TruePianos (I love this little known keys - and there is a free ffull demo)
I can assure you that the Arturia did not feel in the least bit sluggish and I did a lot of runs figures and trills. I tweak the velocity to give it a slight bow, set the latency to 128 and its playing really well.
 

B4time

New Member
@ZeroZero I am glad the action is working for you. But folks looking to buy should be aware that a sluggish action is a complaint that has dogged instruments w TP100 keybed. There is a kind of funny post on you tube by a guy who doesn't pretend to be a piano player who puts nickels on the keys of a tp100 and tp40w keybed. It takes more nickels to drop the key on the tp100. I don't think the issue is an ilusion. That does not mean it isn't a really nice keybed or that a lot of players won't love it especially once they tweak the velocity curves. But if one is asking which feels more piano-like, I personally don't think that is a contest. The TP40W is for me far more piano-like.
 

jaketanner

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.
Not to derail here, but what are your impressions on the Roland DS 88? I tried one a GC and felt excellent all around.
 
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