Fully weighted 88 key midi controller suggestions


Thanks Torsten, I was actually looking at that article earlier today.

I think if I were to purchase a keyboard site unseen, it would probably be the Roland a-88. Lots of good reviews about the keyboard action.


I’d love to find a comparison between the Hammer 88 and the SL88 Studio. I’ll probably be picking one of them up when I can sell my MOXF8. I figure if I can get enough for it I can pick up a good 88 key lower tier kb and have enough left over for some SampleModeling sweetness.


Another vote for the A88 action from me, it’s inspirational.
I’ve spent a lot of time on a Kawai MP9500 and in many respects I prefer the Roland. Some keys on the Kawai have greater resistance than they should and there’s a couple of hot ones that I’ve learnt to treat carefully. The Roland is smooth and beautifully predictable. (the black keys have ever-so slightly more resistance but it is consistent and easy to adapt to). As mentioned, that wedge of controllers on the left side is a daft idea.


It’s on my To Buy list, as soon as the Px-5 sells.


Hi All,

It’s a Digital Piano by category but I like the RD2000 and RD800 models from Roland. Excellent keybeds for piano playing and usable for many other keyboard duties. The quietest best feel ever. Lot’s of Mainstage people are using it for vsti play of Roland Cloud synths.



A little OT, but @Torsten, do you find that you have to reset the keyboard velocity curve every time you power up the Akai MPK88? Very frustrating.


My MPK261 requires me to manually save the profile to retain any settings between power cycles. Does the MPK88 function the same way?


Once you find out that on page 11 of the global settings, you can actually save the global settings, you don’t need to do that anymore :wink:

Careful though- any transpose settings you made before the “save” will now also be permanently active.

And yes - I found out both of these through painful experience…




Thanks! Feeling silly, but also happy that I don’t have to set EXP 2 every time I start up now.

The MPK88 has been a troublesome beast, but I’ve stuck with it through randomly blinking lights (for which I needed a top right PCB Board replacement), firmware upgrades, and cryptic documentation, because when it’s all set up right, it’s a wonderful device.


I absolutely love my MPK261. My only real complaint is that they don’t publish any of their SysEx support. I would love to be able to change stuff with C3. I managed to get per-song pad colors working, but that’s it.


Very loud thud bottoming out couldn’t stand it sent it back cp-33 wipes it out!


Casio sold and Roland A-88 purchased. Very pleased with the result. The A88 keybed took a little getting used to but all is well now and mechanically it’s SO much quieter than the Px-5 :slightly_smiling_face:


Darn. I was still thinking of getting a Casio Privia PX5S with the three light beams etc, So many good reviews. My oxygen 88 does some serious clunking but behind a PA / foldback or DAW I wasn’t that fussed. (I’m not miked up)
We put cars into space and land rockets on their tails in the ocean, why is it soooo hard to get a hammer action at least equal to the cheap upright.


+1 for Muskhammer BFK 88


I’m pretty happy with my Arturia Keylab88. But I’ve only had it for like 6 weeks - first gigs with that & Cantabile next week! It’s very light (coming from a Kronos) but sturdily built - it’s the lightest 88key controller with weighted Fatar keys I could find. The action is different from the Kronos’ - had to do some tweaking of velocity curves but nothing major. I LOVE the fact that it’s got all these buttons, knobs & sliders PLUS 16 decent velocity sensitive pads!


Have you read this https://homestudiomaven.com/keyboards/best-88-key-midi-controllers?

I would like to learn how to play a keyboard. I know it might be too late but I am interested. I read this article and I am just wondering if you guys have any suggestions on how I can choose the best 88 key midi controllers for a newbie like me. Thanks!


Hi Chris,

A couple of thoughts.

Since you are just getting started, I would not buy an expensive keyboard. if you are interested in taking piano lessons, you will definitely want to get a keyboard with weighted keys. My personal experience includes Casio and Roland keyboards, so that’s really all I can speak to. I would recommend something like a Casio PX 160, which you can get for around $400 (US). The keyboard has a good keybed and decent internal piano sounds. It has a USB out, so you can use it as a midi controller too. The Px160 weighs under 25 lbs, which means it’s very portable. I own both the Casio PX160 and Roland A88. The Roland has an outstanding keybed but weighs 50 lbs and is not very portable.

Hope this helps.


Another fairly inexpensive fully-weighted 88-key keyboard is the one I use as my main weighted keyboard: M-Audio Hammer 88. It also costs right at $400 (US). It does not have any knobs or sliders, just the pitch bend and mod wheels, but it makes up for it with a very realistic (to me) piano feel, as it supposedly has an authentic hammer action. No internal sounds, so it’s just a controller.



if you are serious about learning to play (and this is not just a plug for the article), a controller keyboard might actually not be the right choice - I’d suggest you get a nice digital piano - and a teacher to go with it. Trying to do this wholly on your own is a path to frustration, especially if you’re late to the party.

A digital piano is just easier for the first baby steps than a complicated setup with a computer and virtual instruments. And it’s switched on in an instant, ready to play when you want to get some practice minutes in.




What Torsten said. E.g. a Yamaha P-45 is about 400 USD… decent sounds, decent keyboard.