What's new

New Roland A-88mk2 is ALMOST perfect

Michael Antrum

Only the good die young....
Well time to dig this thread up. I possibly am looking to replace the S88mkII with a controller that doesn't have anything in the center so that I can place the Mac's wireless keyboard there instead.

So far I see that leaves the LMK2+, Hammer 88, and the A88mkII.

From any photo and video, it's somewhat hard to tell the angle that the H88 has on the casing as I'd be concerned about the keyboard moving. The Roland and Doepfer are flat. I noticed Christian doing this same thing with his LMK. I also would need to attach the tiny tablet I use for CC on the left, but that gets mounted down so not worried about pitch angle there.
Kawai VPC1 is worth a look too.....
 

IFM

Senior Member
Well tried the Hammer 88 and did not like it at all. Extremely clacky and the black keys seem loose as they wobble from side to side. It also has too much of a curved top to put the mac's keyboard without double-sided tape. Tried it for all of maybe 10 minutes then packed it back up. I'll stick to the S88mkII which I really do like...just wish the case was metal and not plastic but that's minor.
 
Well tried the Hammer 88 and did not like it at all. Extremely clacky and the black keys seem loose as they wobble from side to side. It also has too much of a curved top to put the mac's keyboard without double-sided tape. Tried it for all of maybe 10 minutes then packed it back up. I'll stick to the S88mkII which I really do like...just wish the case was metal and not plastic but that's minor.
I feel guilty for singing the Hammer - 88's praises now, but I do love mine, just shows what's one person's ideal keybed is another's worst nightmare. Enjoy the S88mkII, all the best.
 
  • Like
Reactions: IFM

scoringdreams

Optimistic Member
Had been eyeing the Roland as my next 88-key controller! It's compact and uses USB-C, fancy!

How does the Roland A-88 MK2 compare with a Yamaha CP4 Stage?

I had been exploring alternatives to my Yamaha but have found the ones from Studiologic (SL88-Studio) to be lacking in terms of key bed response / sensitivity. Love the wooden keys too.

Or if not, how does the Roland A-88 MK2 compare to a Studiologic SL-88? Better response?
 

IFM

Senior Member
I feel guilty for singing the Hammer - 88's praises now, but I do love mine, just shows what's one person's ideal keybed is another's worst nightmare. Enjoy the S88mkII, all the best.
Don't worry about it, it's all subjective. I've settled on a setup to keep the mac's keyboard centered on the desk and just added a 7" tablet as a meter bridge to the S1.
 

zolhof

Senior Member
Had been eyeing the Roland as my next 88-key controller! It's compact and uses USB-C, fancy!

How does the Roland A-88 MK2 compare with a Yamaha CP4 Stage?

I had been exploring alternatives to my Yamaha but have found the ones from Studiologic (SL88-Studio) to be lacking in terms of key bed response / sensitivity. Love the wooden keys too.

Or if not, how does the Roland A-88 MK2 compare to a Studiologic SL-88? Better response?
I went through a long list of controllers and settled on the FP-30, which uses the same PHA-4 action found on the A-88 MK2. The keys are very responsive both in touch and dynamics, you get a smooth 0-127 velocity range. It doesn't feel clunky and the ivory finish is a huge improvement over the plastic keys in my previous controller (Korg Kronos), providing a solid grip and control. I'm very happy with it!
 

dcoscina

Senior Member
Had been eyeing the Roland as my next 88-key controller! It's compact and uses USB-C, fancy!

How does the Roland A-88 MK2 compare with a Yamaha CP4 Stage?

I had been exploring alternatives to my Yamaha but have found the ones from Studiologic (SL88-Studio) to be lacking in terms of key bed response / sensitivity. Love the wooden keys too.

Or if not, how does the Roland A-88 MK2 compare to a Studiologic SL-88? Better response?
CP4 is an older Yamaha model. Ok but not as nice as the CP88 which makes a great controller and has terrific sounds. I've not played the CP73 yet so I don't know how that feels but it is a different keyboard. The Nord Grand is my personal favorite and has a space on top for my mouse and keyboard. It's just massively expensive. But open-ended sound architecture (Project SAM has been releasing free expansions to load into the Nords these days which is cool).
 

scoringdreams

Optimistic Member
I went through a long list of controllers and settled on the FP-30, which uses the same PHA-4 action found on the A-88 MK2. The keys are very responsive both in touch and dynamics, you get a smooth 0-127 velocity range. It doesn't feel clunky and the ivory finish is a huge improvement over the plastic keys in my previous controller (Korg Kronos), providing a solid grip and control. I'm very happy with it!
That sounds great, I am all for wooden keys, which makes the A-88 MK2 really attractive for its price, build, and future-proof connectors.

CP4 is an older Yamaha model. Ok but not as nice as the CP88 which makes a great controller and has terrific sounds. I've not played the CP73 yet so I don't know how that feels but it is a different keyboard. The Nord Grand is my personal favorite and has a space on top for my mouse and keyboard. It's just massively expensive. But open-ended sound architecture (Project SAM has been releasing free expansions to load into the Nords these days which is cool).
I agree, the sound sets within the CP4 are nowhere near the newer versions such as the CP88 and flagship synthesizers from the main manufacturers. Nords are surely the hallmark of professional performance - and as you had mentioned, expensive and IMO, very heavy.
 

PaulieDC

1967 Bizzarrini (btw, don't own it, just love it)
Last fall I was so on the fence, Roland A88 MKII or StudioLogic SL88 Grand? Then I discovered that the A88 MKII has the same PH4 keybed as the RD700 which we have at church. It's OK but just a bit too bouncy for me. At the end of the day I wanted a keybed feel that I couldn't wait to get to when I was done with the day job. SL88 Grand absolutely fits that bill with that TP40-Wood keybed. The surprise bonus was that you can actually play smooth legato lines with it... I was sure I was going to have to get a 49er for that. And 6 months in, ZERO quality problems, which we had heard about in the past. Who knows, maybe more care was put in when the factory got back to work after their shut down in early 2020 for you-know-what. Anyway, no Fatar keybed is going to feel just like a grand piano, that's not physically possible, but this keybed feels great for what it is. The Roland PH4 in the A88 MKII isn't quite that for ME... it's all subjective. I use FaderPort 8 for CC and a MixFace for library settings so the cheesy joysticks on the SL88 don't matter much in my world, and you can disable them.
 

Snoobydoobydoo

Active Member
I was looking for a good 88 not long ago and though i would go for the CP88, but
that was nowhere available and i just chose the A88II. Pretty happy with the Keybed,
just the Stick is for decoration. Havnt found a good simple fader yet for Vol/Expression
use...sheessh.

The A88II fits nicely on a Zaor Miza Z Flex, with the Keyboard-Tray mounted at the highest point,
so there is enough space for the legs for long people:
IMG_1918.JPG
 

rardier

New Member
hello, i bought the roland a88 mk2 this monday (cannot test it in store, i bought it because the top is flat so i can slide it under the desk) , i had the NI S88MK2 (the action was ok , a bit sluggish but ok), i had the SL88 grand Great great action but i can't put it under my desk (the joystick on top and the big knob next to the screen) , i had the casio PX5S (cool too but same problem modwheel on top , can't slide under my desk)...but now..i have a problem with the roland a88 , i like it because i like the joystick placmeent in bottom left, i like it because it s silent, the fake ivory make it not slippy BUT it's a bit too heavy my right hand is tired after 5 minutes...(i have an yamaha acoustic piano and the yamaha is really lighter on touch)...so now i'm lost..what would be your advice? is there a 88 midi keyboard that is fast /responsive/silent/not too heavy or do you some finger or hand workout i can do? (i'm thinking about a doepfer or the kurweil km88..maybe the m-audio hammer 88, but i don't like the m-audio brand)
 

Jkist

Active Member
I actually ordered both the new A-88 Mk2 and the Juno DS88. I have to say, the DS absolutely slays the A-88 in every single way except for MIDI 2.0 (in my opinion). The DS comes with a whole plethora of decent sounds, crazy feature set, and best of all it has a screen where you can assign different cc channels.

It has knobs AND faders, AND the cool Roland pitch stick thing. It is expandable, has great I/O, but most of all it has the better keybed. I also found the A-88 much too heavy for my taste, the "Ivory G" keybed on the DS feels perfect. My recommendation is to snag the DS if you can. You will be missing out on MIDI 2.0, but I figure if its that big a deal I will just buy a cheaper 4 octave controller for when I need that or something.
 

rrichard63

Perpetual Novice

hmac

New Member
Second that re the Nectar support team - they're very good.
Strange - out of the cheaper stuff, I've always found the Netars fairly playable. The keybeds aren't the nicest but the velocity response on the 3 units I've had were better than the Alesis/M-Audios etc.
This (good Nektar support) is welcome news for me. I just returned a Hammer 88 Pro to Guitar Center, mainly due to the complete lack of m-audio support. I would have to say insulting, really. Beware of anything owned by inMusic Brands - their obfuscating support pages are all identical regardless of the individual brand and make it next to impossible to reach a human for even simple registration problems. Even if you reach a human, they drop the call/email chain in the middle of an exchange.
Enough about that! I'm now looking at the Nektar Impact GXP88, as I just need a simple, semi-weighted controller. I'm primarily a sax player and I do everything in Pro Tools/Reason so don't need much in a controller beyond an On switch, pitch & mod wheels, and an Expression pedal input.
Pro Tools/Reason, 27"imac 4.2ghz 48g ram, Apollo x8, Mackie HR824's, Mackie Control Universal
 

cedricm

Member
Had been eyeing the Roland as my next 88-key controller! It's compact and uses USB-C, fancy!

How does the Roland A-88 MK2 compare with a Yamaha CP4 Stage?

I had been exploring alternatives to my Yamaha but have found the ones from Studiologic (SL88-Studio) to be lacking in terms of key bed response / sensitivity. Love the wooden keys too.

Or if not, how does the Roland A-88 MK2 compare to a Studiologic SL-88? Better response?
I'm not a pro keyboarder, but I bought the SL-88 Studio from one, upgrading to a $$$$ Genos, and I love it.
Have you tried to configure the keyboard 's sensitivity to your taste with the free SLEditor?
 

Alex Fraser

Requires ☕️
This (good Nektar support) is welcome news for me. I just returned a Hammer 88 Pro to Guitar Center, mainly due to the complete lack of m-audio support. I would have to say insulting, really. Beware of anything owned by inMusic Brands - their obfuscating support pages are all identical regardless of the individual brand and make it next to impossible to reach a human for even simple registration problems.
Agreed. The support is pretty hopeless. You're pretty much on your own with the M-Audio stuff. Just as well it's cheap...
 
Top Bottom