For musicians and producers seeking the closest experience to playing a traditional piano in the digital realm, 88 key MIDI controllers are the ideal choice.
These controllers offer a full-sized keyboard with 88 keys, replicating the range and feel of an acoustic piano while providing the versatility of MIDI control.
In this article, I’ll explore my favorite 88 key MIDI controllers, discussing their specifications, and features, and highlighting the advantages of having 88 keys.
What’s The Best 88 Key MIDI Controller?
Choosing the perfect 88 key MIDI controller requires thinking about things like the type of keys, how well it’s made, extra features, and if it works with your favorite digital audio workstation. Here are the best 88 key MIDI controllers.
Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S88
Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S88 is made for people who use the Komplete software system. It has 88 keys that feel like a real piano and can sense how hard you press them. The colorful screens let you control virtual instruments in detail, and the browsing and tagging features make it easier to be creative. It also works well with many other virtual instruments but it’s the best to use with Komplete instruments. Also, if you don’t need this amount of keys, you can get a 61 key MIDI controller, exactly this model.
Novation Launchkey 88
Novation Launchkey 88 integrates perfectly with Ableton Live, making it a preferred choice for electronic music producers. It’s one of the best 88 key MIDI controllers with semi-weighted keys featuring aftertouch, it offers an authentic piano-playing experience. RGB backlit pads, velocity-sensitive faders, and extensive control options enhance your creative capabilities, all in a compact and portable design. Working with DAWs is very easy and comfortable with this 88 key MIDI controller.
Nektar Impact GXP88
Nektar Impact GXP88 is a much simpler MIDI controller with 88 keys and a couple of controls that do the job but the main focus is on playing. It offers mod and pitch wheels, velocity curves, and fourteen buttons that can be assigned to different functions, and you can use an external expression pedal with it. I don’t like the lack of pads but other than that this is a perfect MIDI keyboard for professional piano players.
Arturia KeyLab Essential 88
Arturia KeyLab Essential 88 is a MIDI keyboard with 88 keys that are partially weighted. It also has a large control surface with drum pads, wheels, faders, and various buttons. However, my favorite thing is the unimaginable amount of sounds that are included. If you buy this keyboard you get 6000+ keyboard and synth sounds that are perfect for live or studio musicians. Also, the price is very affordable based on what you get feature-wise.
- Amazing sound
M-Audio Keystation 88
M-Audio Keystation 88 is a straightforward, affordable, and one of the best 88 key MIDI controllers. It’s lightweight, portable, and focused on playing but it’s perfect to use with virtual instruments. Controls include wheels, a volume fader, octave switch but the main features are software such as MPC beats, Ableton Live Lite, and various virtual instruments which makes it a great recording MIDI controller.
88 key MIDI controllers give musicians the same range as a regular piano, but with more control and flexibility. You can choose a controller that feels like a real piano, works well with software, is easy to carry, simple to use, or affordable. With the right 88 key MIDI controller, you can improve your music production and performance skills.