Arturia is ready to release what some are saying could be among the best 88-key controllers with MIDI out there. After releasing 49 and 61-key versions of the KeyLab MKII nearly a year ago, the French music production company is back again with even more keys for you to get your fingers on. Head below for all the details.

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One of the best 88-key controllers?

While Arturia has been killing it over the last year with its keyboards and synthesizers, it will only be short matter of time before we can say for sure if its latest is one of the best 88-key controllers out there. The second generation semi-modular MiniBrute 2 synthesizer and new sub $350 Mac-compatible analog Impact drum machine have faired quite well since being released, and we expect much of the same for the KeyLab 88 MkII when it hits later this month.

MIDI, CV and more:

The KeyLab 88 MkII is essentially a larger version of the 49 and 61-key variants that are already available. You’re looking at 88 notes of velocity sensitive Fatar TP/100LR weighted keys with aftertouch. That’s on top of the 16 back-lit, dual purpose performance pads, 9 customizable faders and 9 rotary encoders. Just about all of which can be programmed to control almost anything and will work great with the included software bundle (more on that below). The KeyLab controllers are also a great companion for modular synth setups as they sport 4 CV connections including pitch, gate, mod, input.

KeyLab 88 MkII Magnetic DAW Overlays:

To be one of the best 88-key controllers out there, it’s going to have to be universal keyboard that will work with just about any DAW. Not only does KeyLab 88 MkII do that, it also has control presets and magnetic overlays for Ableton Live, Logic Pro X, Pro Tools, Cubase, Studio One, Reaper and more. There is also standard Mackie and HUI setupsf or those invested in other DAW apps. These days, it will also more than likely have to include a boat load of included software and the new KeyLab 88 certainly does. It comes with Analog Lab, Ableton Live Lite, Piano V, Wurli V and Vox Continental V. For those unfamiliar, this is essentially a solid collection of virtual instruments you can use standalone or inside your DAW of choice.

Best 88-key controllers - KeyLab 88

The new KeyLab 88 MkII will be available at the end of June for $999.99 shipped. Pre-Orders are now live from Arturia, but we are yet to see them appear on Amazon and elsewhere. 

9to5Toys’ Take:

Well we’ll need to get our hands on it before we dub it as one of the best 88-key controllers on the market, but things are looking good. The keypads on these Arturia controllers are actually significantly more robust than they first appeared to me, and there’s no reason the big boy wouldn’t be at least that or better. Clearly the price tag is going to box some users out, especially beginners, but it is certainly comparable with flagship MIDI keyboards from Native Instruments and the like. Despite having a slightly less exciting software package (in my personal opinion anyway).


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