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Arturia Keylab Essential 88 review SOS August 2020

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Arturia Keylab Essential 88 review SOS August 2020

Postby DarthPaul » Tue Jul 28, 2020 1:05 pm

I've noticed a very glaring error in Robin Bigwood's review of the Arturia Keylab Essential 88, SOS August 2020.

He writes that the Essential 88 has velocity sensitivity but not aftertouch. This is incorrect. The keyboard has both velocity sensitivity and channel aftertouch.

I don't want to be nit-picky, but this is a big mistake. For many, a lack of aftertouch would be an absolute dealbreaker. This error could harm the sales of the keyboard. It will put off people who need aftertouch who might actually find it ideal for their needs.

I have the Arturia's big brother, the Keylab 88 mkII, which is superb for my needs. The Essential 88 is ideal for anyone who needs an excellent controller without the expense of a weighted keyboard action.

Robin also reviewed the Roland A-88mk 2 in the same issue. The Roland does not have aftertouch, which I find inexplicable in a MIDI controller keyboard. Robin correctly reports this. Perhaps he confused the Roland's lack of aftertouch with the Arturia's actual provision of it.

We all make mistakes, but it should be pointed out that the Essential 88 does have Channel aftertouch.
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Re: Arturia Keylab Essential 88 review SOS August 2020

Postby desmond » Tue Jul 28, 2020 1:28 pm

There is no mention of aftertouch on Arturia's product pages*, or in the Essential 88 manual, that I could find:

"88 note, velocity sensitive keyboard with hybrid synth-piano feel"

Where did you get the info that it does has aftertouch?

Edit: Hmm, I see some product pages in shops (eg Andertons) that report velocity and aftertouch...
* And actually I have found a reference to pressure on the product pages now, quite buried in a popup though.

Image

It's easy to be confused about this...
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Re: Arturia Keylab Essential 88 review SOS August 2020

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Jul 28, 2020 1:39 pm

DarthPaul wrote:We all make mistakes, but it should be pointed out that the Essential 88 does have Channel aftertouch.

I find it hard to believe Robin would havea missed so basic a feature... but if it's a mistake we will, of course, correct it in the online review. I've flagged your comments back to the team to check with Arturia.

However, in the meantime the website and manual for the Keylab Essential 88 both only mention velocity sensitivity and there's no mention anywhere in either of them about channel aftertouch:

Arturia wrote:KeyLab Essential features either 49 or 61 velocity sensitive, synth-action keys, or 88 velocity sensitive, semi-weighted keys.

I wonder if you're possibly confusing the Essential model with the very similar-looking Keylab 88 MkII which does have channel aftertouch?
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Re: Arturia Keylab Essential 88 review SOS August 2020

Postby DarthPaul » Tue Jul 28, 2020 1:47 pm

Hugh,
If you look at Arturia's product page for the Essential 88, you'll see it.

https://www.arturia.com/products/hybrid ... 8/overview

Scroll down to the picture of the keyboard with numbered feature descriptions and click on number 7, the Keyboard action.

It reads:

"7. 88-NOTE KEYBOARD

A full size, durable, velocity-sensitive keybed will capture every nuance of your performance, and applying pressure after you’ve hit the notes will trigger exciting modulations within Analog Lab."

That looks very much like aftertouch to me!
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Re: Arturia Keylab Essential 88 review SOS August 2020

Postby DarthPaul » Tue Jul 28, 2020 1:50 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
I wonder if you're possibly confusing the Essential model with the very similar-looking Keylab 88 MkII which does have channel aftertouch?

No, I own the Keylab 88 mkII, as I mentioned in my post. Youre right to ask the question, of course , but yes, I'm aware of the difference, the Arturia site and several retailers say the Essential 88 has aftertouch.
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Re: Arturia Keylab Essential 88 review SOS August 2020

Postby desmond » Tue Jul 28, 2020 1:52 pm

DarthPaul wrote:If you look at Arturia's product oage fir the Essential 88, you'll see it.

That's the picture I posted above, and it's the only official reference to keyboard aftertouch I found, there's nothing else on any product pages, and nothing about it in the manual, which seems strange.

It's possible the website is in error of course, and they copied that info from a different model. Anyway SOS are on the case to clarify.
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Re: Arturia Keylab Essential 88 review SOS August 2020

Postby DarthPaul » Tue Jul 28, 2020 1:56 pm

desmond wrote:
It's easy to be confused about this...

I agree, and the Arturia website should make it more apparent. That's why I posted about it, not to criticise Robin at all. We're all only human. Thanks!
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Re: Arturia Keylab Essential 88 review SOS August 2020

Postby DarthPaul » Tue Jul 28, 2020 1:59 pm

desmond wrote:Anyway SOS are on the case to clarify.

Thanks! Please post here when you find out for sure?
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Re: Arturia Keylab Essential 88 review SOS August 2020

Postby Eddy Deegan » Tue Jul 28, 2020 2:08 pm

The Keylab 61 Essential doesn't have aftertouch. I'm not sure if they added it to the 88 or not but in the Winter NAMM 2020 video featuring the Essential 88, the Arturia guy says it has exactly the same specification as the smaller models so I would be surprised if it does.

DarthPaul wrote:We all make mistakes, but it should be pointed out that the Essential 88 does have Channel aftertouch.

The Thomann listing for it says it doesn't have aftertouch. I also saw a couple of comments on youtube videos about the Keylab 88 Essential that say it doesn't have aftertouch so on this point I think you are mistaken. The 8 pads on the Keylab 88 Essential do have aftertouch however.
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Re: Arturia Keylab Essential 88 review SOS August 2020

Postby DarthPaul » Tue Jul 28, 2020 4:04 pm

Eddy, I've been doing more research and I think now that you and Robin (Paul bows in apologetic acknowledgement of his correctness) are right. Arturia themselves are incorrect in their website.

It looks very much as if the mistake is Arturia's in their product page saying that the Essential has aftertouch and in the retailers sites for saying the same, possibly having used Arturia's site as a source. And my mistake too in believing them all!

I now think its a shame that the Essential 88 doesn't seem actually to have aftertouch.

In every other respect its excellent, but I'm glad I've got the Keylab 88 mkII which has everything.

My apologies, to Robin, he was right!
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Re: Arturia Keylab Essential 88 review SOS August 2020

Postby DarthPaul » Tue Jul 28, 2020 4:05 pm

At least debate is healthy!
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Re: Arturia Keylab Essential 88 review SOS August 2020

Postby Eddy Deegan » Tue Jul 28, 2020 9:59 pm

Aftertouch on an 88-note controller at that price point isn't something I would expect. Some people won't want/need it but I certainly would never buy a controller without aftertouch and as such I think they should be clearer on that.

I've raised a support ticket with them through my own Arturia account to ask whether the graphic on their product page is incorrect or not. Personally I think it's just a copy/paste error or a similar misunderstanding/miscommunication between engineering and the web folks.

I have also asked them if there is some feature associated with applying pressure after hitting the notes that isn't exactly aftertouch, on the unlikely but not impossible premise that there is a 'switch' of some kind that is activated by pressure and triggers some kind of preconfigured modulation in Analog Lab.
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Re: Arturia Keylab Essential 88 review SOS August 2020

Postby Eddy Deegan » Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:26 pm

I have confirmation from Arturia that the graphic is incorrect:

Arturia support email thread wrote:Me
Jul 28, 2020, 10:51 PM GMT+2

Hi there,

On the Arturia website describing the Keylab 88 Essential there is a mouseover popup on the large photograph of the keyboard itself. The large "7", when moused-over displays a message that states: "applying pressure after you've hit the notes will trigger exciting modulations within Analog Lab". I believe this to be incorrect, as the Keylab 88 Essential does not have aftertouch.

Is there a feature here I'm missing or this graphic a 'copy and paste' error?

Arturia Support
Jul 31, 2020, 6:46 PM GMT+2
Hello Edward,

Thank you for reaching out.

You are in fact correct. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

I have contacted the department in charge and asked for a change in the description.

Please let me know if there's anything else I can help you with.

Kind regards,

- Arturia Support


I think this clears things up once and for all :thumbup:
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Re: Arturia Keylab Essential 88 review SOS August 2020

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:26 pm

:thumbup: :clap: :ugeek:

I'm sure Robin will be relieved his credibility remains intact... :lol:
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