Arturia’s KeyLab 88 MkII is a powerful keyboard and controller

Piano feel and controls for virtual instruments, plus MIDI and CV-equipped synths.

Arturia KeyLab 88 MkII playing with laptop

A year ago, Arturia updated the KeyLab 49 and 61 Essential controllers with premium MkII versions. The French brand has now given its 88-key controller the MkII treatment as well, presenting the KeyLab 88 MkII.

Like its smaller siblings, this piano-style controller is a versatile workhorse that only needs a USB connection to spring into life. Its highlights include a Fatar keybed with piano-weighted, hammer-action keys, aftertouch, integration with Arturia’s Analog Lab instruments and DAW control.

Comprehensive controls

Arturia KeyLab 88 MkII landscape

Situated above the keys is an expansive control panel. Controls include nine customisable faders plus nine rotary encoders, a central LCD browser, dynamic back-lit pads, MIDI channel select and a group of performance controls.

Versatile command centre

Arturia KeyLab 88 MkII being controlled

Advertisement

More than an instrument, the KeyLab 88 MkII also doubles up as a Mackie/HUI-compliant DAW command centre: you can hit record, mute and directly from the device. It’s not just DAWs that this controller can command, however. With its four CV/gate connections – pitch, gate, mod and input – the KeyLab 88 MkII gives you control over modular rigs and vintage synths. Arturia has also branded this unit as a “universal MIDI controller”, meaning that it should be able to control a breadth of MIDI-compatible hardware and software.

Software, presets

Bundled together with the KeyLab 88 MkII is a spread of Arturia software titles. At the top of the list is Analog Lab, Arturia’s flagship keyboard collection with more than 6,000 presets from the Arturia V collection. Notable instruments ported over from the collection include Piano V and Wurli V, the latter of which gives you the same evocative sounds deployed by Queen, Marvin Gaye and The Beatles.

Check out the KeyLab 88 MkII in action below:

Available from end June 2019 at €899. More info at arturia.com.

Advertisement