NAMM 2020: Roland’s A-88MKII MIDI keyboard is its first MIDI 2.0-ready instrument

Roland A-88MKII
(Image credit: Roland)

NAMM 2020: Having been one of the co-founders of the original MIDI spec, it seems fitting that Roland should also be one of the first companies to announce a MIDI 2.0 ready product - the A-88MKII MIDI keyboard controller.

This 88-note instrument includes the same Ivory Feel PHA-4 keyboard that you’ll find in other premium Roland products, and has a rigid, wooden construction. It includes high-resolution sensing and what’s described as ‘lightning-fast response’, meaning that you should be able to play with greater levels of expression and ‘feel’. You can personalise the sensitivity according to taste and touch.

Performers will also appreciate the option to split the keyboard into three user-definable zones, each of which can be used to play a different sound or instrument. There are also layering options, along with an arpeggiator.

Hands-on control comes via Roland’s familiar pitch/mod lever, RGB-lit knobs and eight assignable pads (pad bank setups can be stored for quick recall). There’s USB-C connectivity, which is said to eliminate the need for a power supply, and Roland assures us that the A-88MKII is ready to take full advantage of all the high-resolution control and extended capabilities that MIDI 2.0 has to offer.

Look out for it in March priced at $999.99, and find out more on the Roland website.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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