NAMM 2020 VIDEO: Arturia’s KeyLab Essential 88 is an 88-note controller keyboard at a wallet-friendly price point

NAMM 2020: Arturia has added a new 88-note model to its KeyLab Essential range of MIDI controller keyboards. Described as ‘one of the most affordable 88-note controllers on the market’, this latest KeyLab looks like a great option for those who want the flexibility of a full-range piano keyboard without having to shell out for something priced at the high-end.

The keyboard itself is described as having a hybrid synth-piano feel, is velocity sensitive and has pitch and mod wheels placed above the keys. As with other controllers in the range, there’s more here than just the keyboard, though. The controller packs eight back-lit performance pads, transport controls, a parameter screen with browser jog wheel, plus a bank of nine fader/rotary channel strips.

These controls can be used plug-and-play with a variety of software tools. As with other KeyLab controllers, there’s tight integration with Arturia’s own Analog Lab application, which hosts an assortment of vintage synth, piano and organ emulations powered by the brand’s excellent V Collection software suite. The KeyLab Essential 88 is also designed for use with major DAWs, and incorporates MCU/HUI compatibility.

The controller also includes a Chord Play mode, for simple arrangement and triggering of chords. The 88 is class-compliant, too, allowing straightforward use with iOS and Android devices.

(Image credit: Arturia)

On the software front, the KeyLab Essential 88 comes bundled with Analog Lab, which hosts over 6,500 synth and keyboard sounds, along with the full version of UVI’s Grand Piano Model D. Ableton Live Lite also comes included.

The KeyLab Essential 88 will ship spring 2020, priced at $349/€349. Find out more at the Arturia site.

Si Truss

I'm Editor-in-Chief of Music Technology, working with Future Music, Computer Music, Electronic Musician and MusicRadar. I've been messing around with music tech in various forms for over two decades. I've also spent the last 10 years forgetting how to play guitar. Find me in the chillout room at raves complaining that it's past my bedtime.

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