New Roland A-88mk2 is ALMOST perfect

TintoL

Active Member
I also got tired of bad sitting posture with my vpc 1. So i want to replace it. I am really interested on this a88. But, i have never tried the joistick thingy.

I am also interested on the casio px s1000 becauseof how slim it is. Has any one tried this keyboard?

I am now also putting ergonomics over key action.
 

Dewdman42

Senior Member
I think these discussion related to 88 key controllers often get a bit confusing because of there is a wide range of purpose for 88 key controllers. if the goal is specifically to have the best piano action, then this one is not the best and I would wager that hardly anything that is this compact will be in the running. This keyboard is more of a candidate for a controller that sits in front of your daw and has 88 keys, which many find advantageous for various reasons...with action that doesn't totally suck. I mean I would expect the action here to be superior in every way to the LX88, key station and other 88 key choices. Might even better then the KK88, but we shall see about that. Its more compact then the KK and many others that people often use which have quite good action...such as old K2500's and stuff like that, those are humongous in comparison.

The keyboards with the best killer piano action are generally humongous. Anytime these discussions start going people start talking about escapement and all the rest, and all of that hugely matters for a piano action to be sure, but it also generally results in a very large controller that is not going to work out that great in front of the DAW without a custom setup. I don't feel the A-88mkII is in that category at all, so discussions about how accurate it is for practicing the piano are kind of a moot point. This should be compared to the LX88, key station and other compact 88 key controllers that has ok weighted action, but have other features like sliders, wheels, place to put your QWERTY, and decent enough action.
 

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
Oh, it is quite clear to me that this is designed for DAW use (but not for me due to my own personal setup limitations), on account of its depth and other factors. But as many were addressing is suitability as a stage piano, I thought it worth addressing those aspects.

It might be better to compare this to the VPC1, given the above caveat.
 

Dewdman42

Senior Member
I can't possibly see how many people could fit a VPC in front of their DAW. I certainly can't. If you have a trick custom desk..of course you can make anything work.
 

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
Like I said, I can't personally, but many people in pro studios vs. home studios, have VERY deep desks as they also have mixers in front and large mastering-level active monitors with appropriate working distance (I use 5" monitors due to working distance and room size).
 

Dewdman42

Senior Member
My MP-9500 is sitting to my side.. So that if I really need a piano feel I just slide over there and work on it. Different purpose.

Anyway, clearly the A-88mkII is not in that category of midi controller...so I don't know why get into the weeds about the finer details of which comparable controllers have the best action, it always leads to discussions about controllers that are MUCH larger and often times often lack other controller features as well compared to this category.
 

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
Isn't it logical to do so, simply because this is so far the first and only controller to support MIDI 2.0? None of us know when to expect MIDI 2.0 to become available in Digital Pianos, so it is only natural that people yearn for this controller to be more than it is purposed to be.
 

Dewdman42

Senior Member
Midi 2.0 is somewhat interesting, but nobody will be taking advantage of that for a long time. But anyway I would consider that valuable as a DAW station controller...and ultimately digital pianos will have the higher levels of velocity and all that also, but you only have to look at the photos of the A-88mkII for about 3 seconds to realize that its not ever going to compare well against other true piano action boards... There are many other better alternatives for that...and by the time we have the software and digital piano sounds to take advantages of a lot more velocity levels.....midi 2.0 will make its way into all of those controllers as well. VPC-2.0. That is a different purpose really then what the A-88mkII is ideally suited for. If that is a primary concern, the easy answer is don't bother looking at this one. But I think this Roland compares very favorably against other 88 key controllers that are more in this compact category...with extra pads and knobs and things like that as well....compact...light... only $1000. Possibly will have one of the best actions in that category in fact...so why concern about the fact it is not triple sensor with escapement?

I was seriously considering one until this morning. Its pretty heavy, my desk may not support that, the desk surface for the keyboard moves up and down and I'm not sure how much weight it can handle. This Roland is 35 pounds, which is not actually that light as I would have expected. it has wood in it apparently. The LX88 I just got is I think less then half that weight. But the action on the LX88 basically sucks and I'm not that impressed with its wheels or sliders either. No place to put my QWERTY. It was under $300 though. My main interest in the Roland is I can put my QWERTY on top of the keyboard and my track ball and that solves a lot of problems..and I have a high degree of confidence I will like the action just fine for this purpose...when I can turn to my left to play an MP-9500 for serious piano playing. But still I am thinking the roland will just be smooth to play with some weight but still smooth and easy to play for non-piano instruments which is actually what i need to do a lot more when I'm in front of my DAW. I actually do NOT want a fully weighted controller there most of the time. A bit of weighting is ok, as long as its smooth and buttery for playing other things with a light touch. In some ways the LX88 is even better for that, but the problem with that keyboard is that its an inconsistent poor quality keybed in general, where I would expect the Roland to feel very solid and smooth...albeit, not the most realistic piano per the things often discussed... but as I said, i personally feel that is a different discussion and the A-88mkII shouldn't even be considered for that kind of purpose. Separate category really.

The other thing I don't like about the roland, its quite wide, even for an 88, but they kept the depth down to 11" which helps a lot.
 

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
Thanks; you have convinced me that there is no point in holding off even further before finally getting another digital board. Due to buying my first house recently, I had no choice but to delay it a bit further. But it seems there is no reason to delay on an MP11SE or full-sized home piano (slightly better sound and action) and it is good to know that MIDI 2.0 is not ready to fly across all software instantly. But hopefully this Roland board will find some people for whom it meets their needs.
 

Alex Fraser

Senior Member
If you want the keys in front, I'd prioritise ergonomics above all else: The best 88 note controller in the world is both pointless and an ergonomic hindrance if all you're doing is blocking out chords, programming and fussing with CC curves for 10 hours a day. Ymmv etc.
 

Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
Aftertouch is very rare on fully weighted controllers
Most if not all of the Kurzweils, which use Fatar keyboards, have aftertouch. My K2500X certainly does. But it wasn't cheap when it came out.

Or are you talking about polyphonic aftertouch, i.e. per note? That's not very common, and I"m pretty sure the Midiboard had it. (I've never played one, just a K250.)
 

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
Yeah, PolyAT. The MIDIboard had it. But it's even rare on unweighted and semi-weighted action anymore. Arturia has it on their Buchla-inspired MicroFreak, which I almost bought just as as controller and to explore PolyAT, but I decided not to get any more synths period (the Moog Voyager is enough; I sold everything else).
 
Last edited:

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
I'm just repeating what vendors have told me personally.

At any rate, those are very different controllers as they aren't action-based for the most part and aren't trying to be like piano keybeds.

I have several friends who have bought them, primarily to try to do a proper job of emulating Sitar playing.
 
Last edited:

sostenuto

Big NKS Fan !
May reconsider NI_ KK-S88 after all .... Fatar keybed _ @ $1,049. May start using Exp Pedal for MW to learn how well it can replace; has AT.
 
Last edited:

EvilDragon

KSP Wizard
Aftertouch is very rare on fully weighted controllers due to added weight, costs
Aftertouch is a very simple and light resistive strip along all keys. It costs maybe a few bucks, and weight is <100 grams...

Also, aftertouch, if well designed, has nothing to do with escapement. Escapement just means that you can hit the key before it's fully back up. This is the third sensor thing, which is placed in between the normal 2 sensors that detect velocity. Aftertouch is situated at the very bottom of the key travel. So, you hit the key to the bottom, and only then should AT activate. This has nothing to do with side-to-side key wiggle (if that happens, it happens due to general design of the keybed rather than because AT was added, it's not AT's fault that keys have wiggle - MIDIboard had wiggle because of the way keybed was designed, not because of poly AT - at least to my understanding).
 
Last edited:

EvilDragon

KSP Wizard
Poly AT would work through capacitance rather than resistance, but there's a number of different ways to achieve it. MIDIboard had one method, old Ensoniq SQ-80 had a completely different one (quite cheap implementation). And Osmose has yet another one (quite premium implementation). And Behringer has their own method (which would be the cheapest, I'd presume, since they have economies of scale)...
 

EvilDragon

KSP Wizard
Sure there are different ways of achieving it. It's just a matter of engineering.

as I had been told (apparently also incorrectly) that it's a licensed technology that is sort of packaged as-is and engineered to be used in the way it was implemented.
This is only true if vendor(s) you've talked with order keybeds from a 3rd party like Fatar. Those who make their own keybeds, also make the rules (Yamaha, Roland, Korg, Kawai, Behringer, they all build from their own designs).
 

Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
Poly AT would work through capacitance rather than resistance, but there's a number of different ways to achieve it. MIDIboard had one method, old Ensoniq SQ-80 had a completely different one (quite cheap implementation). And Osmose has yet another one (quite premium implementation). And Behringer has their own method (which would be the cheapest, I'd presume, since they have economies of scale)...
How do those methods work (physically)?

Obviously - I think obviously - you're varying the distance between the plates, but is it just... I'm imagining something like a rubber plate that squeezes together?