Novation unleashes new 88-key semi-weighted Launchkey MIDI controller for all major DAWs

Launchkey 88-new keyboard controller

After taking a hands-on look at the new FLKey for FL Studio last month, Novation is back with its new keyboard controller known as the Launchkey 88. This time around featuring the semi-weighted treatment, this is the latest addition to its already available lineup of more compact Launchkey controllers. The full-size 88-key MIDI keyboard delivers much of the same functionality as its smaller brethren in a larger more expansive frame so you can get two hands of more realistic piano-style action injected into your content creations and music productions. Head below for a closer look and more details. 

New keyboard controller from Novation – Launchkey 88

Unlike the FLKey controller we featured recently, the more platform agnostic Launchkey 88 delivers deep integration with a host of the most popular DAW software out there, from Pro Tools and Apple’s Logic Pro to Cubase, Abelton, and others. It packs in all of the features we have come to love from the Launchkey lineup including transport control alongside a new real-feel keybed and Novation’s interesting creation features. 

Launchkey 88 has a premium semi-weighted keybed and tight DAW integration that makes creating tracks feel great. Expand your musical vocabulary with inspirational creative tools and make music without limits. You’ll have intuitive control of all the key production and performance functionality in Ableton Live, Logic and Cubase, as well as essential mixer, transport and navigation controls for all other major DAWs including Studio One, Pro Tools and Reaper, via HUI.

The new keyboard controller features 88 semi-weighted keys as well as 16 velocity-sensitive pads at the heart of the musical input operation. From there, the top control panel boasts nine faders, eight pots, and nine assignable buttons as well as dedicated transport controls. 

On the more creative side of things, Novation has implemented its arpeggiator with a “strum mode,” as well as its auto chord-making functionality (triggering chords with one finger), and scale locks that force the chromatic keys into user-selected scales. Here’s a quick run down from Novation on the details:

Launchkey 88 scale mode:

  • Quantize the keys to a selected scale, so you always stay in key.
  • Choose from 8 included scale types.
  • Combines with scale chord mode to help the user explore new musical ideas.

Chord mode on Novation’s new keyboard controller:

  • 3 chord modes total.
  • 1 chord mode triggered by the new keyboard controller
  • Fixed chord mode: Choose the chord notes then play this chord starting from any key as the root note. Lock these chords in key by combining with Scale Mode.
  • 2 chord modes triggered by the pads to enable simultaneous playing with the keys. Emitted on separate MIDI channel to the keyboard, to control multiple instruments at once.
  • Scale chord mode: generates a bank of chords based on the selected scale, including triads, 7ths, 9ths and 6/9ths.
  • User chord mode: allows the user to create a bank of 16 custom assigned chords.

And the apreggiator:

  • Up, down, up/down, played, random, chord and mutate modes.
  • Keyboard controller Strum mode to trigger the arpeggiator with the mod wheel.
  • Set the rate to 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32 and all associated triplets.
  • Set the octave range to 1, 2, 3, or 4.
  • Control the degree of mutation to increase the melodic complexity of the arpeggio.
  • Control rate, octave, range, swing, rhythm and gate.
  • Use random rhythms or deviate to sweep through 128 different arpeggio rhythms.

Novation’s new keyboard controller is now up for pre-order with an August shipping date here in the US. The Launchkey 88 carries a $399.99 price tag

9to5Toys’ Take

Novation has been at the top of the heap for many years when hit comes to some of the add-on features on its MIDI keyboard controllers – outside of whether they are weighted or not, all but the most meticulous keyboard players will even be able to notice all that much of a difference in the quality of the actual keybeds among the top brands out there, in my opinion. Its chord and scale modes are wonderful creative tools and something I make use of on its Launchpad products quite regularly. In the new keyboard controller setting here, the arpeggiator is also another standout that can result in some fun happy musical accidents as much as they allow for more detailed chordal patterns and the like. And if the 88 key setup is a bit much for your needs, or you just don’t have the desk space, the 25-, 37-, 49-, and 61-key options bring much of the same feature set at even lower price points

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