Arturia expands the KeyLab Essential mk3 range with a new 88-note controller keyboard: "A new standard for stripped-back, multi-octave MIDI control"

arturia keylab
(Image credit: Arturia)

Last year, Arturia unveiled mk3 versions of its KeyLab Essential range of affordable controller keyboards. In their third iteration, the 49 and 61-key controllers offered improved DAW integration, a redesigned interface and new features such as Chord and Scale Modes. 

Today, Arturia is expanding the KeyLab Essential range with the KeyLab Essential 88 mk3, a full-sized 88-key controller keyboard boasting the same updated feature set as its 49 and 61-key cousins and available in both white and black.

The 88 mk3 is equipped with the same kind of velocity-sensitive semi-weighted keyboard as the 49 and 61-key versions, which we described as "precise and reasonably springy" with a "hybrid synth-piano feel" in our review last year.

Above the keyboard, you'll find a 2.5" display and DAW controls, next to a 2x4 grid of pressure and velocity-sensitive pads and a bank of nine faders and nine full-rotation encoders, all of which arrive pre-mapped to parameters in your DAW and bundled software instruments such as Analog Lab V.

KeyLab Essential mk3 is equipped with custom DAW scripts for majors DAWS such as Ableton Live, Logic Pro, FL Studio, Cubase and Bitwig. You can design your own customised mappings, of course, or control other DAWs via the MCU/HUI protocol.

Arturia is hoping to make writing melodies and chord sequences easier with Chord and Scale Modes and a built-in arpeggiator. Chord Mode assigns chords to single keys across the keyboard while Scale Mode locks the keyboard to one of a selection of pre-defined scales, so you won't be able to hit a wrong note if you try.

All KeyLab Essential mk3 controllers arrive bundled with a two-month subscription to Loopcloud and a software package that includes Analog Lab V, a software instrument that offers thousands of presets lifted  from its V Collection bundle of synth plugins, and Ableton Live Lite.

Arturia KeyLab Essential mk3 88 is priced at £299.

Find out more on Arturia's website.

Matt Mullen
Tech Editor

I'm the Tech Editor for MusicRadar, working across everything from artist interviews to product news to tech tutorials. I love electronic music and I'm endlessly fascinated by the tools we use to make it. When I'm not behind my laptop keyboard, you'll find me behind a MIDI keyboard, carefully crafting the beginnings of another project that I'll ultimately abandon to the creative graveyard that is my overstuffed hard drive.

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