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Arturia KeyLab Mk 1

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Arturia KeyLab Mk 1

Postby willie45 » Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:32 pm

Hi all

I am slightly considering buying an 88 KeyLab mk 1 but I keep reading the keys are very heavy and stiff to play. I am happy with an acoustic piano action but this comment pops up a lot re this keyboard. Can this not be adjusted by velocity or is this a naturally resistant keyboard?

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Re: Arturia KeyLab Mk 1

Postby Eddy Deegan » Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:48 pm

There is a Sound On Sound review in which the action was not assessed as anything out of the ordinary:

Gordon Reid (writing for Sound On Sound) wrote:The KeyLab 88 is an 88-note master keyboard with a velocity- and aftertouch-sensitive, piano-weighted Fatar keybed. It doesn’t boast an escapement action, but its touch is quite acceptable on a product designed for a range of playing requirements, especially since the firmware now offers 10 velocity curves and 10 aftertouch curves to tailor its response.

Some of the earlier units had hardware problems, which are also mentioned in the review, but assuming you don't get a faulty one I doubt the keyboard action is much different to other controllers in its class, especially as having looked at a couple of youtube videos of the original Keylab 88 neither of them had any complaints in that department either.

That said, the preferences when it coms to 88-note weighted controllers are many and varied as are the actions on a real piano so if at all possible I would always recommend trying one out before you buy it. What is a stiff action for one person may suit another perfectly.

The physical action of an 88-note controller is not something you can expect to adjust although there are usually velocity curves to choose from to suit your playing style and the KeyLab 88 provides some of those.

Doing a quick search on the Arturia forum I saw also that there was a mention of the keybed action becoming slightly softer after some use, so it could be that as shipped from the factory it needed to be played a little before "settling down". If you are buying second hand this is unlikely to apply to you of course!
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Re: Arturia KeyLab Mk 1

Postby willie45 » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:01 pm

Thank you for your comments. Unfortunately, I won't have the chance to try it, and I'm a bit wary because I've come across a few people saying it has a "stiff" action, but the review you linked seems to have nothing to say about it.

I guess the action might be off-putting to some people used to synth action, but from my point of view, I'd like an acoustic - type feel. One man's meat...

I did notice one reviewer saying it felt heavier to him than a grand piano action he had played recently, so who knows and in the Arturia forum some were complaining it was too heavy. It's a good point that acoustics vary too. Shame it's not possible to try so easily in these times.
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Re: Arturia KeyLab Mk 1

Postby innerchord » Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:21 pm

I use one, and can confirm that it is a heavy action. I also play Yamaha MIDI pianos, which are heavy as well. What are you used to playing?
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Re: Arturia KeyLab Mk 1

Postby willie45 » Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:57 pm

Thank you for that.

I'm by no means a pianist but I've been fortunate to have owned, or had access to, a number of acoustics over the years. My father was a church organist and we always had a piano in the house.

My main piano these days is a digital one, a Roland HP504, which has the PHA 4 Concert action. This is adjustable with 5 settings heavy to light, S2, S1, Med, H1 and H2. I really like this action and depending on what I'm playing I usually have it on Medium or sometimes S1. When I bought the Roland I went to the shop expecting to come out with a Yamaha Clavinova but I found the action of the Roland much more to my taste.

I have at various times and for prolonged periods played several acoustics including a Steinway Model S, and Kawai Grands, Yamaha, and Broadwood uprights - I'm not sure of the model.

I've never had a problem adjusting to any of these but in recent years I've had arthritis in my fingers which makes playing more difficult. I'm pretty limited to what I can play now so I'm keen not to challenge myself further by choosing a keyboard with a very heavy action, hence my caution.
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Re: Arturia KeyLab Mk 1

Postby innerchord » Sat Jun 27, 2020 2:00 am

Well, given your response, I might be tempted to tell you to avoid the Arturia. If you play a lot, you may find it hard work, whereas I'm sure you'd cope with shorter sessions.

I'm not hugely familiar with the PHA-4 action; I always seem to prefer the Yamahas, even though they can be heavier.

It's a shame you can't get to play the Arturia. Perhaps the price is low? If so, you should be able to get along with it fine. There is some adjustment of its velocity response. Setting that will also depend on which software sounds you are using, of course.
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Re: Arturia KeyLab Mk 1

Postby willie45 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:50 pm

Thank you. I will probably not risk this. If I could have tried it I might have been happy but it's a bit of a gamble. I notice the FP10 has a similar action to my own Roland which I like a to but it has the advantage of being small and manoeuvrable and I'm tempted.

Will the FP10 fit onto any stand do you know? The size is fine and it seems it should but it has speakers in the bottom so I'm just making sure.

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Re: Arturia KeyLab Mk 1

Postby innerchord » Sat Jun 27, 2020 7:02 pm

willie45 wrote:Will the FP10 fit onto any stand do you know?
I don't know the FP10 (apart from playing it once) so I can't say.

I was going to mention that there are a couple of keyboards with lighter actions available.
I think the Kawai ES110 is one of them. Very nice, but with a light action, apparently.
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Re: Arturia KeyLab Mk 1

Postby willie45 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 11:36 pm

Yes I see the Kawai has a good action and is tempting. It only has a Pin socket for MIDI and I don't know if this might present any disadvantages other than the minor inconvenience of using another cable. Are there ?

In general, is there any reason stage pianos aren't routinely used as MIDI controllers ?
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Re: Arturia KeyLab Mk 1

Postby willie45 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 11:57 pm

Just found a video comparing the Kawai with the Roland FP30 and Yamaha P125 action. Seems the Roland is the heaviest of them all by a fair bit? It makes me wonder if I'm actually after a light action. It's impossible by discussion. If the times were as normal it would be an easier task :cry:
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Re: Arturia KeyLab Mk 1

Postby blinddrew » Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:23 am

Where are you based Willie? Distance selling regulations in the UK allow you to return something for any reason and places like Thomann are very good on this front.
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Re: Arturia KeyLab Mk 1

Postby willie45 » Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:09 pm

Hi
I'm in the UK and yes I can return but the cost of posting a keyboard is pretty considerable for experimentation. I believe Gear4music accept returns at no cost so I will buy from them or similar.

I'm pretty keen on the Kawai now from what I've read and heard, but I'm not sure if the lack of a MIDI USB port would be problematic. I'm assuming not at the moment but I don't know enough about MIIDI to be sure.
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Re: Arturia KeyLab Mk 1

Postby innerchord » Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:39 pm

willie45 wrote:I'm pretty keen on the Kawai now from what I've read and heard, but I'm not sure if the lack of a MIDI USB port would be problematic. I'm assuming not at the moment but I don't know enough about MIIDI to be sure.
If you have an audio interface with MIDI sockets, then there should be no problem.
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Re: Arturia KeyLab Mk 1

Postby willie45 » Sun Jun 28, 2020 11:05 pm

I don't at the moment but I was considering the Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 which would address the issue. At least I know its do-able and the light action is appealing and as I'm getting a lot of pain right now its making me even more amenable to trying this piano out.
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Re: Arturia KeyLab Mk 1

Postby willie45 » Fri Jul 03, 2020 7:41 pm

Hi

I'm posting to let you people who helped me know what I bought.

I took a punt in the ES110 after hearing some very favourable reviews and took confidence from the shop's generous 30 - day return period. I set it up and so far I love it. The actions is pretty much exactly what was looking for and I like it every bit as much as my Roland.

I connected it via a single MIDI cable to the Scarlett 4i4 ( which I also bought ) and so far all is good in the department too.

All in all I'm very pleased, and I really can't believe how much I like the feel of this piano.


Thank you for suggesting this, @innerchord, and thank you all for your help.
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