New controller (after NAMM 2020)


I am blocked in a deadlock.
I am in bad relationship with my one year old Arturia Keylab 61 mkII.
Reason is known here: many cases of stuck notes, after a new USB driver much less present.
But still an issue, because you can never be sure of a full gig without problems.

After NAMM I don’t see suitable new units.
There is a Roland 88 keys, but I don’t like hammer type.
I would appreciate more keys, sometimes useful if using a piano or rhodes emulations.
And more keys for splitting.
There is a new Arturia Keylab 88 essential: described as “velocity sensitive keyboard with hybrid synth-piano feel”. Hmmmm: I cannot buy something suspecting I will have troubles with stuck notes again!!!

Any experience here with Nektar LX88+, or Icon 8?
They are 88 keys but not hammer, and cheap enough.

I know there are 61 keys that I like.
Novation SL mkIII is nice, it can drive Reaper (my DAW), but keybed is not fantastic, and there are a lot of useless things (8 track sequencer, split and state management: I prefer C3 for those things). Expensive.

Native Kontrol S61 mkII is more intelligent: it can select select everything from my Native, Arturia and Uhe synths, but it cannot drive Reaper, and in pure MIDI mode has very few devices available for C3, keybed is very nice.
Or Akai Advance 61, very good keybed, but full of useless software (VIP)

I am puzzled…


Take a look at Behringer UMX610
no soft, no buttons, no stuck notes (at least at my 2 gigs with this keyboard). Keybed are good suddenly. And its very cheap

… btw AKAI MPK261 has the same keybed as AKAI Advance? I do like MPK261 action, but havent tried Advance

kind regards


Cannot tell about Akai keybeds.
At my dealer only Advance is available and it looks great. Keys are stiff and fast, as I like


I still love my Advance for its fast synth action but one word of warning: it seems they are not produced anymore and major resellers have already removed them from their offer.

Indeed, the MPK261 is probably more suited for Cantabile.


I have a Nektar LX88. I really love it. The keys are more on the side of a piano feel than a synth feel, but nothing like a Kurzweil. Very light to transport. Some of the controls light up. Sliders work well as faders or draw bars.


Yesterday I went to a dealer in my city. I never bought anything in that shop, because of their incredible customer relationship.
Also this time I decided easily to avoid purchasing.
My will was to test Nektar things and Lx88+ in detail. It was not available.
The guy at the desk told me he has one at home and he didn’t like it at all.
So I asked him to buy it as used, but it was clear after some talk that it will get back in the shop as new…
Then I was suggested to test Arturia Keylab 88 essential.
It was not my will, because I had bad experience with Keylab 61 mkII.
I was surprised: keyboard seems very good, it is not hammer and it seems hard enough and well balanced. Of course I could not connect to anything so I cannot talk about dynamics.
Bad thing is that there are no pushbuttons (my way to drive C3) so I should use pads, not my cup of tea.

Final point: I am not convinced. I will wait.
Also because two gigs this month have been cancelled, corona virus here is forcing to stop anything in crowded places.


The Nektar gxp-88 looks interesting to me as a compromise single board. Waiting patiently for it to appear in the shops due this month apparently.


I am interested too.
But not buying it before testing


I feel your struggle man. I’ve been hunting for a better controller also lately. Since my new akai failed, as predicted. Mod wheel issues. And even i notice key Velocity failures. It’s pissing me off!
I went to the local repair because akai support is weak over here in Belgium. Cost me 120€ just to replace the pot meters and it won’t be fixed correct.
Don’t start me with any other brand, even arturia is the worse as i described before.
I’m spamming all their review sites in the hope they will eventually stop delivering toy junk at premium prices :smiling_imp::smiling_imp::smiling_imp:


I feel your anger against Arturia.
I cannot agree 100% with you because everything that I tested for some time (M-audio or similar cheap axes) are even worse.
After one day with an old Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S 49, I am biased to it.
But not seriously planning.
We had to cancel 3 gigs until April because of corona virus.
Main target is surviving now, not purchasing instruments or even playing…


@Furio: I have the Nektar LX88+ as a 2nd lighter keyboard next to my Korg Kronos 88 keyboard. The Nektar is good quality keys (better than other similar keyboards; had an Akai Advance 61 (broken keys after 1 year usage) and a Thomann Swissonic 88 (returned after 1 hour for bad key quality). Nektar is ok for piano, but I prefer the Kronos there. for all other tasks, Nektar is perfectly fine. All the Cantabile bindings, transport functions etc I do on the Nektar.

The Nektar GXP88 looks like a slight improvement over the LX88+; if the keybed quality is the same, it will be an interesting choice! For me no need though, perfectly happy with the LX88+



Thanks @adderoo!
I will test in shops both Nektar devices as soon as virus will allow a calm shopping.
I am surprised: everyone reports that traditional synths have better keys than midi controllers.
My Montage 7 is superb: no hammer keys but wonderful mechanic. I am sure about your Kronos88.
It is stupid from controller producers: we just need good keyboard, 8 faders and 8 pushbuttons. It shouldn’t be so difficult…


Hi @Furio

Yes… I am in Lombardia (Varese province); pretty messy and confusing right here and now. Saw you are from Torino…Take care.


I didn’t get you are so close.
Writing to you in Italian on mail