Opinions on SL88 STUDIO


#1

Hi,

I would like to replace my Studiologic VMK88plus with a slightly more professional master keyboard and with weighted keys, and I would be oriented on the SL88 Studio, also for the low cost.
Can you recommend it to me?

Thanks
Fabry


#2

I have the SL88 Grand, which is very similar to the Studio, but has a different Fatar keybed. That one is more piano-ish, but not very glissando-friendly - I regularly get blisters on my “sliding finger”. Not sure how it compares to the one in the Studio…

The mini-joysticks are a matter of taste - pretty short, so it is difficult to be precise when e.g. fading in strings via mod-wheel or doing exact pitch bends. I definitely prefer “classic” wheels. But of course, you get three x-y-controllers, so you can control more parameters - albeit within the limitations (different spring-loading: stick 1 re-centers horizontally and vertically, stick 2 only horizontally, stick 3 is fully free)

The display is nice and bright, but operations take a bit of getting used to: the labelling of the three buttons is about the most un-informative I’ve ever seen. Beside the buttons, you have the funky joystick-button-rotary control to do your editing. Every time I want to do some editing (admittedly rarely - I set up my one Cantabile profile and left it there…), I need to start experimenting how to operate the beast - which button does what, do I need to use the joystick or the rotary to do what I want, …

But overall, as a package, it is a good device - a minimalistic device focussed on being a keyboard (including aftertouch!) with a minimum of controllers thrown in. Pretty good as part of a two-keyboard-setup where you have all the faders, buttons, etc on the upper keyboard and just need a solid piano keybed for the lower level.

From what I see in some ratings, there seems to be a pattern of quality issues with the TP/100LR keyboard (rattling or squeaking keys) - I haven’t come across that with my TP40 Wood keyboard yet…

Cheers,

Torsten


#3

I have the studio.
Agree with everything Torsten has said regarding the sticks and menu (again I never use any of it).
The sticks are down to personal taste but they do have less movement than traditional wheels or a roland-style stick.

It’s quite well featured, with several pedal inputs, a second midi out, and aftertouch (!). Also supports the studiologic triple pedal which only uses one socket.

I think the Studio doesn’t have as good keys as the Grand. A few keys on mine (more than five actually) rattle a bit. I think the glue sticking the top down has come loose perhaps. If you were playing with headphones, someone else in the room would here it.

Other than that, good build quality. I’d recommend trying though if key feel is important to you.

Oh, also, it has editor software to avoid using the menus for setting up. I rarely use it as cantabile does all the hard work but it’s pretty flexible if you wanted to set the keyboard up with different programs.


#4

Thanks for the detailed answers. What interests me is a keyboard with a good dynamics for playing the piano parts and with inputs for various pedals, and I thought the SL88 studio could be a good choice. However everything would be managed by Cantabile, both sounds midi management, so the fundamental thing is the goodness of the keys.


#5

In my experience, it is essential to try the keybed in “real life” - find a local music retailer where you can have a go and play it for at least 10 minutes. Keybed feel is a very personal issue, so you’ll need to see if the keybed fits to your style.

My personal favorite - the keybed in my Kurzweil PC3K - is a bit “lighter” than a full hammer keybed, but it just fits my playing style, with enough weight to allow me to nuance the dynamics across my playing styles. If I were a classical / jazz pianist, I’d probably go for a bit more weight and the precision of a true hammer action.

Give it a try - if the keys feel good then all’s well :wink:


#6

I have the sl88 Grand as main keyboard, and im very happy with it. All the gig is conducted with Cantabile from a 24 inches touch monitor running in windows server. In december i made my last gig with a korg kronos 88 as main keyboard (had some problems with de bind of sata cables while the transport, and is not easy to fix when in the road, it is easier to fix a pc while in the road). Everything is programed in advance, no changes during the show… As backup keyboard, lightweight TR76. In almost two years of testing this setup, never had a problem…


#7

The hardest part for me about purchasing a new weighted 88 keyboard was that I live in a small town with one music store, which has a very limited keyboard selection. Even several hours drive to a large music store doesn’t yield a great variety to choose from (compare that to the selection of electric guitars in a typical music store!). I did a lot of research on keyboards, including the Studio Logic ones, but ended up taking a chance and purchasing a Roland A88 online, which fortunately I’ve been very happy with. I also have a Casio Px1000 which has a nice key bed.


#8

I have SL88 Studio and the keybed feels fine to me - tight enough for piano dynamics, but also usable for synth/organ playing. The key action is very customizable.


#9

Just mt 2 cents…

I bought 2 SL73s thinking that they would be my nirvana, 73 keys, light, perfect for gigging, I thought. Didn’t get on with them at all, IMHO (You might think different) the keybed felt horrible, and I was getting LOTS of double triggers where if I was playing enthusiastically a note would trigger loud for a very short time then very quietly immediately afterwards, so if I was holding a chord one or more of the notes would sound like I hadn’t played them… Also the first one I had, a key broke on the very first gig.

Weird for a FATAR action as I’ve owned quite a few boards with them in wit no problems and in fact I’ve ended up with an Arturia Keylab MKII which also has a FATAR action and I love it… Maybe it’s a software thing…

Anyhow, there’s my opinion…

P


#10

Ok, thank you all, but now I’m a little confused…


#11

Opinions are important, your feeling while playing is more. Try the keyboard yourself before you buy.


#12

I have the SL88 Grand to use for gigging (and at home), and have a spare Studio I have in the rehearsal room. I have added the SL Mixface for getting all the knobs/faders/buttons I needed, so I rarely use the pins on the SL88, and all other settings are handled in Cantabile.

My observations:

  • There is quite a difference in the keybeds between the two (but also weight and price … ), personally I prefer the Grand, but that is because of the feeling that is very close to the acoustic pianos I got used to. The Studio is acceptable, but not the best for piano parts, IMHO.
  • Plenty of room for attaching pedals etc., works fine.
  • Setup is not easy, the SL Editor or the menu is both rather cumbersome. But when you are don, it works fine.

Regarding the issue that Toaster mentioned, it sounds like all four zones are enabled and all sending notes to a device that is listening on all channels - then all notes will be send four times, and if the velocity settings are different for the different zones, then you are heading for serious issues. Just disable the unused zones or set the device ot only listining on one channel.