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Arturia Keylab 88


vonnor

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... has a MSRP now. I wonder what Fatar key assembly it uses.

Based on the weight, assuming it's an existing known model, it would seem it would have to be a TP100.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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I have the Keylab 61. The construction is pretty solid - compared to many other controllers of the same ilk. The front panel / control layout is the same for the Keylab 88; it's the high point of the line, IMO. BTW, the Keylab 61 action is ok, better than many of the budget, 61 key instruments that abound now. But, the design of the keybed allows for somewhat sharp edges on the low and high keys; not so good.

Yeah, I suspect it's a TP-100 under the hood on the Keylab 88, which can be a love/hate thing for players - the weight vs. action quality issue. Also, as usual for this genre, the focus is on workspace - vs. stage; the description /specs bear that out. But with the shift into home studio / hobby setups - away from pro, stage work (which is diminishing), the Keylab 88 may hit a solid niche. Yeah, I'd rather have a Physis K4 - as it's an all-around controller done right (think Roland A90 crossed with a Keylab88), but it's over 3x the cost of the Keylab 88. This newest Keylab seems a winner for home studios.

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

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  • 9 months later...

KeyLab 88 Available

 

Looks like it's available and the street price is $799 (@sweetwater).

Anyone use it yet? They are now bundling Analog Lab, UVI Acoustic Grand Piano (based on samples of a Model D), and Pianoteq 5 Stage.

 

Like we already know, it has a Fatar action... which one?

 

 

Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700, Crumar Mojo, rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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Anyone use it yet? They are now bundling Analog Lab, UVI Acoustic Grand Piano (based on samples of a Model D), and Pianoteq 5 Stage.

 

according to the review in Keyboard Magazine, the UVI and Pianoteq software is limited to the first 3,000 instruments. Wonder if they will sell that many?

:nopity:
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Okay, so I've spent a bit of time with this beast, so here's my quick $0.02 summary. ;)

 

The weighted action is, I believe, a Fatar TP100L, but the added aftertouch makes it bottom out 'squishy'. Had it MIDI'ed up via 5-pin DIN to a Kurzweil Forte, and found the velocity response to be "heavier" than the Kurzweil's default (ie. it took more effort to reach the same dynamic level when playing from the Arturia). Now, there are 10 different velocity curves in the Arturia, but I didn't connect the Arturia to a computer to run the editor, which allows you to create your own curves apparently, so I'm not sure what curves are in the unit as shipped... changing didn't seem to make a huge difference, though).

 

The overall build quality is very good, the knobs/faders/pads/buttons all feel good to the touch, so no complaints there.

 

There are 10 'setups' (scenes/patches/memory locations/whatever you choose to call them), and everything can be set up as you'd like in each of those 10 setups. Program change messages can be assigned to the pads, so you could theoretically have 16 PC messages per setup, so if you were using this with Mainstage/Forte/some other VST host, you might be able to get through a gig using this feature.

 

At the end of the day, though, the squishy feel from the AT strip made this a less than fun keyboard for me to play. YMMV, of course, and I could see myself adjusting to this, but it would take some effort to do so.

 

I'd give it an 8.5/10 as a studio controller, less as a live controller. Once I have a chance to play with the software editor, that might change, so I reserve the right to alter this review based on forthcoming experience & information. ;)

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I really wonder what the target market is for this keyboard. Piano players won't want it, and synth players don't want weighted keys. :idk

 

Just spit balling: I would say the target market is the serious hobbyist that wants a full keyboard and all the included soft synths.

 

They also offer it in 25, 49, and 61k synth actions.

@ $799 for a controller with the TP100 and having to split profit with distributors, dealers, UVI, and Modartt I think it gives us a pretty good idea of how inexpensively they can build a weighted action keyboard these days.

Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700, Crumar Mojo, rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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@ $799 for a controller with the TP100 and having to split profit with distributors, dealers, UVI, and Modartt I think it gives us a pretty good idea of how inexpensively they can build a weighted action keyboard these days.

 

...or how little 'profit' actually exists in the MI space. :snax:

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Ah, keyboard mag's review says Analog Lab is packed full of sounds but no programming UI, and the Pianoteq and Model D are light versions. :(

Ah well, it's a great price for a weighted controller.

Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700, Crumar Mojo, rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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Well, Analog Lab and the earlier "Factory" and "Laboratory" revs have been around for a while, so I'm not sure why the review focused so much on it. It's a tweakable preset player. I mean, that's nice, but it's hardly a selling point IMO. If anything it's a way to nudge the buyer into upgrading to full versions of their synths.

 

Anyway, I guess I'm in the "serious hobbyist" category, and it's certainly interesting to me, but feel would be everything. If I don't like it as much as my Kawai ES6 I wouldn't see the point.

 

-J

I make software noises.
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  • 3 months later...
Where did you leave off on this, Sven? Did you decide to keep the KeyLab 88? If so, what's your take on it now that you've lived with it for a while? Have you gigged it with MainStage?

Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700, Crumar Mojo, rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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Where did you leave off on this, Sven? Did you decide to keep the KeyLab 88? If so, what's your take on it now that you've lived with it for a while? Have you gigged it with MainStage?

 

Sorry for lack of follow-up on this; ended up not going with the Arturia, so really don't have much more to offer than what I posted above, unless folks have specific questions, which I can probably answer.

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Still seems most cost effective way to get your hands on a light weighted key action (I'm assuming it's graded) vs. a PX-5S or dipping into the budget digital piano area (Yamaha P-255/115/45 or Kawai ES100, Casio PX-350/160). But for a laptop player, the MIDI controller functionality might trump those if the action on the Arturia is comparable to those.

 

I'm not as interested in gigging with AU/VSTs per se, but am thinking about just getting a good set of keys for a good price on the lower tier and then saving my cash for something all purpose upstairs in the 61k area like a Kronos 6 or a PC3K6 (or Forte 6 when it shows up).

Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700, Crumar Mojo, rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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I think most people agree that the PX5S and ES100 feel better than the TP100 (which is in turn not as good as the various TP40 actions... and btw, Nord and Kurz don't use the same version of that). It's probably about as good or better than the other sub-$1k weighted actions, though (Roland RD64, Korg Kross 88). If you're not running VST (and not enticed by the bundled Arturia software), I think the main advantage of the Arturia over a PX5S would be the aftertouch (though I'd rather have that on my unweighted action above).

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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^^^

I agree, that's pretty solid advice. Ideally an 88k workstation or do it all downstairs and a good organ clone top would do it for me. But cost of such a rig is prohibitive. So dwelling on best path to similar end.

Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700, Crumar Mojo, rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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FWIW, I tried one of these. I just couldn't get with the action/velocity curves, even with the editor software it comes with. An important thing to note for those really fussy about the weight is that this keyboard is NOT 28 lbs, as advertised. It's actually about 33-34 lbs (I weighed it because it felt heavier than 28lbs). This should really be corrected on the Arturia website and various on line stores.
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