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Tried the new NI S88 Mark 2. Keyboard still doesn't feel good.

dflood

Active Member
If they made an 88-key version with the S61 keyboard I'd be happy. The S88 mk 2 is just a weird mushy situation, to me, and I won't buy it even though I would love to for its other great features. Such a drag.
You’re right, the S61, at least the first generation model that I have, stops pretty firmly and then you have to really press down for aftertouch, firm enough that you wouldn’t accidentally engage it. The weighting is nothing like a piano though, if that is what anyone is after. Thanks for the heads up on the new S88.
 

Nathanael Iversen

Active Member
The mushy bit is likely the aftertouch strip, though some weighted actions are just heavy and slow to reset. The best #1 instruments don't have them for precisely this reason (and of course, pianos don't have it either).
 

tmhuud

Brown Belt
Rats. I was SO hoping this KB was going to rock. Will have to take some time though to try it out for myself.
 
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Headlands

Active Member
Rats. I was SO hoping this KB was going to rock. Will have to take some time though to try it out for myself.
Yeah, this is all just my opinion. But I can't imagine anyone would disagree with the "mushy" part -- though some may like it, just like a few people here love the S88 mk 1.
 
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Nathanael Iversen

Active Member
Everyone interested should play it. Actions are pretty personal. And one's piano technique definitely plays a factor. Those who can execute complex material on an acoustic piano have very different needs than someone looking to enter notes into a DAW one line at a time. The repetition rates and other things like key leverage (key length) play a big role in feeling right for a trained pianist. But for most people, these are not real considerations.
 
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Headlands

Active Member
Everyone interested should play it. Actions are pretty personal. And one's piano technique definitely plays a factor. Those who can execute complex material on an acoustic piano have very different needs than someone looking to enter notes into a DAW one line at a time. The repetition rates and other things like key leverage (key length) play a big role in feeling right for a trained pianist. But for most people, these are not real considerations.
I agree that is very personal, indeed, as I've said here. But one doesn't need to be a trained pianist to be able to appreciate things like note repetition and more. Even for people who only play one note at a time, these things can matter. I can play basic piano but I also know how it should feel for me in order to execute things like fast repetitions well, to be able to play synth/sample and drums in with good key response and feel, etc. I've played other fully weighted controller keyboards (Studiologic and Yamaha) that were noticeably superior for my tastes than the S88, for the huge variety of instruments that I might be playing in when scoring a film (sometimes playing one note at a time and sometimes playing full piano-style, albeit not at an advanced technical level).

\I'm definitely interested to hear others' opinions on this keyboard. The majority of posts I've seen about S88 mk 1 complain about the keyboard feel (including me), but there are some exceptions. Mk 2 definitely does not play close to a real piano (at least compared to the great real Yamaha piano I have in my studio), that's for sure, for those who are looking for that - though to expect that from a keyboard that's very advanced in other ways at this price isn't realistic, as someone pointed out.

To me it just feels kinda bad, on any/all levels.
 
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Wunderhorn

Active Member
If they had left out the screen gimmicks (those are probably outdated soon) and pushed the price tag closer to $500 I might have been interested.
 

funnybear

Member
I recently went to MusicStore in Cologne on a road trip through Europe and tested all the actions of all the keyboards they had on display. The S88 MK1 was horrible. The best "light" action suitable for piano and synth playing I found was on the Studiologic Sl88 Grand which has a Fatar TP/40WOOD keybed (graded).

So I was hoping the S88 Mk2 would use the TP/40WOOD or even better the TP/40L which is the lightest version ungraded across the full 88 keys.

But from the early feedback it seems they used something else.
 

Nathanael Iversen

Active Member
I recently went to MusicStore in Cologne on a road trip through Europe and tested all the actions of all the keyboards they had on display. The S88 MK1 was horrible. The best "light" action suitable for piano and synth playing I found was on the Studiologic Sl88 Grand which has a Fatar TP/40WOOD keybed (graded).

So I was hoping the S88 Mk2 would use the TP/40WOOD or even better the TP/40L which is the lightest version ungraded across the full 88 keys.
The Studiologic is the least expensive TP40/WOOD action on the market, as far as I know, at $900 USD. Note that it also weighs 45lbs - almost 2x the S88. Most things that use TP40 (like the Kurzweil Forte), are significantly more expensive. The Nord Piano 4 uses a modified version with programming to help improve finger/sound connection and it is $3k. NI has spent the $$ difference between TP/40 and TP/100 on the LightGuide, fancy screen, enough brains to interface with their software, big marketing budget, etc.

If you want something better than TP/40, your options are basically from companies that don't use Fatar, or who modify a stock Fatar action: Yamaha CP4, Kawai MP11, Nord Piano 4, Roland RD-2000. The Kawai VPC1 is the only pure controller with a better action than TP40, but it has its own limitations in terms of running a composing rig. Or you find something "good enough" and just make music.
 

KerrySmith

Member
I hear you, yeah. This one feels much spongier/smooshier than mark 1 -- I compared them side-by-side at GC and the mark 2 is definitely different. I guess whether it's better or worse will be individual preference. Personally I would pay more to get a better keyboard, but c'est la vie.
I trust your judgement for what you’re comfortable with, but I do feel compelled to point out if you compared both at Guitar Center, AND if you compared floor models, it’s very likely that the Mk I you played was stiffer when brand-new (like the Mark II) than it became after being banged on by all kinds of tire-kickers in-store for (possibly) over 2 years.
 

whiskers

Perpetual student
I trust your judgement for what you’re comfortable with, but I do feel compelled to point out if you compared both at Guitar Center, AND if you compared floor models, it’s very likely that the Mk I you played was stiffer when brand-new (like the Mark II) than it became after being banged on by all kinds of tire-kickers in-store for (possibly) over 2 years.
But he's saying the mk2 already felt softer/spongier than the mk1 which already took 2 years of demo abuse , not stiffer, so makes you wonder how mk2 will hold up
 

KerrySmith

Member
But he's saying the mk2 already felt softer/spongier than the mk1 which already took 2 years of demo abuse , not stiffer, so makes you wonder how mk2 will hold up
I do equate "Stiff" with "Spongy and Squishy". Basically the same thing for me. What I like in a "weighted" "piano" action is still an extremely easy, fast travel on the key down to the bed. Kind of a organ responsiveness with a bit of "weight" under the key, but not necessarily a lot of "friction" and "resistance". If I play "light"/low-velocity, I want to feel a bit of the resistance, but I want to be able to play fast and high-velocity parts with speed and responsiveness. But I only usually find this after (some) keyboards have been "broken-in" for a bit.
 
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Headlands

Active Member
I do equate "Stiff" with "Spongy and Squishy". Basically the same thing for me. What I like in a "weighted" "piano" action is still an extremely easy, fast travel on the key down to the bed. Kind of a organ responsiveness with a bit of "weight" under the key, but not necessarily a lot of "friction" and "resistance". If I play "light"/low-velocity, I want to feel a bit of the resistance, but I want to be able to play fast and high-velocity parts with speed and responsiveness. But I only usually find this after (some) keyboards have been "broken-in" for a bit.
Agreed. I could be wrong but I bet you won't like the S88 mk2, for the same reasons I don't. It's both heavier/slower travel-wise and spongier at the same time.
 

Iostream

Member
I got one yesterday. After years of using a Yamaha CP-33. I will say that I prefer the keybed on the Yamaha, but I find the NI keybed plenty usable. It was a valid trade off for the integration and control options for me. I am no great pianist, but the velocity curves are decent, and I don't have trouble getting what I intend into the DAW with this keybed. The other controls and wheels feel solid, the screens are useful, the DAW integration with Cubase 9.5 required no setup, it just works. My biggest issue was getting the old Yamaha FC3 sustain pedal working since it is a continuous control instead of just a switch, but even that is working perfectly now. While I would certainly pay more for a better keybed, it wasn't an option, and I find this a decent enough option that as a whole the controller is a massive upgrade. Walking into a store and feeling the keybed is one thing, but hooking it up to your system and seeing how it fits into your workflow is something else, perhaps others will find the tradeoff worth while as well.
 
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