Novation thinks big and launches its first ever 88-note MIDI controller keyboard

Given how many MIDI keyboards it’s released down the years, it seems remarkable that the new Launchkey 88 is the first piano-sized controller that Novation has ever, um, launched.

This new model takes the best features of the smaller Launchkeys (Mini, 25, 37, 49 and 61) and marries them to a “premium” semi-weighted keyboard that sets it apart from the rest of the range. In fact, it promises Novation’s best-feeling key mechanism to date, which is said to be the result of meticulous refinement and testing.

Other features include 16 velocity-sensitive pads, an arpeggiator, a Scale mode (to keep your playing in key) and three Chord modes that enable you to trigger complex chords with a single finger. Whether someone who’s proficient enough on the keyboard to buy an 88-note model is going to need these playing aids is open to debate, but at least they’re on hand if you do.

Launchkey 88 also promises deep integration with various DAWs - Ableton Live, Logic Pro and Cubase to name just three. For others - the likes of Studio One, Pro Tools and Reaper - you get mixer, transport and navigation controls via the HUI protocol.

The included software bundle, meanwhile, comprises Ableton Live Lite 11, virtual instruments, plugins and sample packs.

The Launchkey 88 is available now priced at $400/£380. Find out more on the Novation website.

Novation Launchkey 88

(Image credit: Novation)
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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