88-key controller: NI, Arturia, or ...?

Hehehe I’ve heard a lot of good of the VPC1, but indeed it is too heavy, and the feeling is never as good as a real piano, so I prefer to go for something cheaper and lighter.

Yes you’re right ! Well… My 2014 Macbook pro starts to old a little bit (battery is not so good and some ports don’t work), so when the new Macbook Pro is out I think I’ll buy it… With rent !!!

I can not judge on the keyboard of the KeyLab 88, but the controller possibilities are really, really good (I own the KeyLab 61 MkII)

And, if you are also using the Arturia Plugins/Analag Lab you can switch between your user setup for GP and Plugin Control in Analog Lab mode quite comfortable.

Very flexible: 3 Banks of Knobs, Sliders + Buttons as mentioned above + additional button / transport controls.


That’s something you cannot say without trying it. I use it with the Ivory American Concert D. I don’t sit in front of a soundboard, but believe me or not, that’s the only major difference.

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i think the Studiologic SL 88 Studio has the same keybed like the keylab 88. The Studilogic SL 88 Grand has the TP40Wood.

That the reason i selected the Grand. I did not like the TP/100LR as used in the Studiologic 88 Studio.

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and you have this new…

Yes thats correct, that is one of the only 88 note midi controllers that doesnt use the tp 100lr. Thats why i got the roland

Well, that’s all completely subjective, now, isn’t it? I have a trusty old Roland A-30, which is straight up synth action. I played that as my primary for a LONG time and then I got the Arturia KeyLab 88 MkI. It took quite a while for me to get used to weighted keys, but our church had a grand piano that I had the opportunity to play as well. I found the action comparable, although the MkI felt just a bit lighter. Last year I bought the KeyLab 88 MkII. It is, in my opinion, significantly improved over the MkI and the action–to ME–feels closer to a grand. Again, it’s taken some getting used to. But as a fully configurable workstation, I find the KeyLabs to be indispensable. However, I do suggest–as I do with any musical instrument–that you find one on display at a local music store and see if YOU like it. My MkI now stays in my studio for my to do midi work and recording, while both my MkII and A-30 are in my band’s practice room and is my gig rig.


There are similar discussion in nearly all instruments communities about the TP/100LR - some play it, some hate it. My Kurzweil Forte SE is also build on the TP/100LR. It’s not the best keybed I can imagine, but it works and you can get used to it.

Most Kurzweil users love the TP/40L in the Standard Forte. Others hate the new Medeli Keybeds in the PC4.

You have to check and build your own opinion at the end…

I am using the LMK4+ from Doepfer - but only for rehearsals.
This fantastic - when you play Piano.
When you play Synth and Organs it is not optimal.

For Live Situations I am using S88 MKII and for me that is a good compromise of playability, weight and controller options.

All of the reputable, weighted keyboard controllers use the Fatar keyboard bed for their products. I am a life long professional pianist (55+ years) and, after auditioning several different controllers, settled on the the Arturia Keylab 88. I also want to note that Arturia’s customer support is exceptional!! They have one of the best support teams in the industry. I have owned my Keylab for almost 2 years and it’s integration into DAWs and Gig Performer is seamless and transparent. To be fair the NI product is quite good too.
As a final observation, let me reiterate the fact that the actual keybed for most quality weighted keyboards is the same unit, manufactured by Fatar. Don’t be fooled by claims made to the contrary.
I hope this helps!!


Roland is a notable exception, using its own PHA-4 keybed in various 88-key pianos and controllers.

Definitely true that Fatar makes the keybed for a lot of today’s controller, but there are some different flavors.

The TP/100LR in the Keylab 88 and the Studiologic SL88 Studio are the “lighter” ones. They are physically lighter, and generally have a lighter feel than the TP/40 series of keybeds that show up in “piano feel” controllers like SL88 Grand.

The TP/40 series comes in a variety of “playing” weights, so the feel on say the SL88 (with a TP/40WOOD) can feel different than Doepfer LMK4+ (using a TP/40GH) or a Kurzweil Forte (using the TP/40L).

It’s true most of them use Fatar keybeds, but if one wants to know if two different controllers really feel and play the same you have to look at which specific Fater keybed it uses.

I have the Native Instruments S-88. I am very picky about the action of keyboards since I want it to respond as close to an acoustic piano as possible. This is a quality keyboard and I am satisfied with the action although I did adjust the velocity sensitivity.
Unfortunately, the NI is not good enough by itself for integration with Gig Performer. There are no faders, and not all components are accessible to Gig Performer.
I solved the problem by purchasing a Korg Nanokontrol which sits on top of the NI and supplies all the missing functionality I needed.

I’m curious then as to why you have said elsewhere that “Again, Cantabile is currently miles better than GigPerformer”? What does it do that Gig Performer doesn’t? Are we missing some key feature that we ought to implement sooner rather than later? We are striving for GP to be the best of course.

It was my opinion because Cantabile has background rack (in GigP 3 there was not such an issue) and automation issues on events that I was using very much. Like program changes on always loaded VST at song start, for example.
If you consider new master rack in version 4 and scripting, maybe you have same features.
But scripting means some programming skills, while Cantabile uses a classic event management with click and drag action.
I had a concert management in Cantabile that was fully matching my requirements, including audio and midi players.
Next concerts will be with GigP, in a month or two if we are going to play on stage, I will get a proper knowledge

“issue” means “problem” not “feature” if it is what you wanted to tell… perhaps…

Could you please give an example, as an older Cantabile user I am interested… Is it an event (which kind?) that could trigger an automation/action (of what?)?

Yes, feature, you are right.
English is not my native language, sorry…
Cantabile has racks static (full song list) and single song racks. Every rack has more states.
Changing states you can drive a lot of parameters.
Or events on many conditions.
Example: on song start, send a program change to a rack.
Another example: on start of song part x, drive controller to a midi channel. This way you can easily switch channels of a multi setup of Kontakt.
Automation on different cases is extremely flexible and programmable without scripting.
When I landed here I tried to do the same with GigP. Everyone suggested to me immediately to make different racks of same VST, one for every preset needed. It works.
But my brain prefers to think to have a more programmable platform where my fantasy is the only limit.
This is why I used Cantabile for years, when I was playing live a lot.
Now we are locked at home…
So GigP until now has no “references” in my mind

So a little bit like Rackspace and variations…

What is a Program Change supposed to change here? A Rack, a plugin preset in the rack or an external synth preset? There are possibilities for this in GP too without scripting.

Can be done with a widget too…

A program change on a synth VST means a preset change.
So you can have a “full concert” rack of a synth where you change preset for every song. Or even every song part.
I am not sure but I mean automation without widgets.
Usually I am not interested to click on a button on my controller to make different actions.
I click on a button to go on with song parts, or change song. And I would like with that single action to drive my full setup.
Like changing preset or changing midi routing.

It is completely unnecessary to apologize for such things — we are very appreciative of users who take the time to interact with us when English is not their first language.