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Keylab 88 MKII or S88 MK2 or something else?

For fans of synths, pianos or keyboard instruments of any sort.

Keylab 88 MKII or S88 MK2 or something else?

Postby karol » Thu Aug 08, 2019 2:24 am

My first post here, so hi everyone!

I need some help here as bit stuck atm. I’m looking for a MIDI controller with a good piano feel. Doesn’t have to be perfect, as I was never a good piano player, but must have hammer action keys.

At the moment I’m considering two: Komplete Kontrol S88 MK2 and Arturia Keylab 88 MKII and this would be the price point I would be looking for (not saying I cannot stretch the budget though, but it would have to be reasonable).

I like the look of a piano, but they usually don’t have as much functionality as other keyboards. Ideally I would build a piano-like custom cabinet for the keyboard :D Also pianos wouldn’t give me much software in the bundle I guess.

Purpose of buying:
- Creating backing tracks to jam over it with my guitar, or just sing (ideally it would come with a software to do so, both above do)
- Playing piano (ideally playing standalone is possible, but I accepted with two above that it won’t work and I will need to connect a laptop, and it’s fine as well)
- I probably would never use it live, but maybe…

There are differences, and here’s my thoughts:
- Software UI - I prefer Analog Lab, but I only played with Demo, and free version of Komplete - Kontrol (used with Garage Band, and vmpk)
- Sounds - both look like more than I would ever need
- Keylab has drum pads (not that I’m that much into beat, but having an option and not using is better than needing and not having)
- Keylab has more controls so you click less I guess?
- S88’s screens are useful if on your laptop screen you only show Ableton Live, and then you don’t need to switch (with Keylab screen is pretty minimalistic)
- Guiding LEDs in S88 are awesome, as I’m not a great piano player, and even to learn and practice they would be useful imo, and they would allow me to start real quick
- Keylab have both laptop and music stands, I know you can buy them separately and most of the time I may not even use them, but it’s very convenient to have them
- Analog Lab can only be installed on one machine, where Komplete Kontrol on 3, so I could have it on a home computer, and laptop to use while commuting

1. Do you have any thoughts on above and help me choose which one and why (please give reasons)?
2. Are there any other keyboards (pianos) I should consider? I'm open to any recommendation as will do my research anyways and it's not that urgent.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Keylab 88 MKII or S88 MK2 or something else?

Postby Arpangel » Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:26 am

For what you are trying to do, especially the bit about building a piano style cabinet for the keyboard, my take is this.
Get yourself a decent stand alone digital piano, with USB/Midi outputs, and use the computer or sound modules for other sounds.
When playing piano it's important to feel "connected" to the instrument, and the more your instrument looks and feels like a real piano the better.
There's not a lot more to say, you just have to figure out how important playing an actual piano type instrument is to you.
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Re: Keylab 88 MKII or S88 MK2 or something else?

Postby Blades78 » Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:56 am

I have exactly the same doubts. I need to take a decision in some days. The heart tell me the S88mk2 but the reason tell me Arturia Keylab 88 mkII. Keybed is the same; Fatar TP/100LR.

And U?

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