Recommend me a MIDI piano keyboard

I would like a piano, but due to space and budget, I won’t be buying one soon.

I would like a big 88-key keyboard though. It should have aftertouch, be well made, not be ugly, and have flexible midi. I would prefer to be able to change MIDI channel on the keyboard itself, like with the launchpad.

Also, a slimline is desirable, for space reasons.

I am not a pianist, nor will I be, but I like a lot of keys so I can play low and high notes together. It doesn’t have to be amazing, and feel like a piano, is what I’m saying. But it should feel good.

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Komplete Kontrol S88 or Arturia KeyLab 88 MKII. The S88 probably has the most “piano-like” keys as they are weighted.

That being said, the rumor mill says we will be getting new polyphonic aftertouch MIDI controllers (finally) this year. Poly AT Keyboard Speculation

If you don’t care for poly aftertouch then disregard.

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If you want a great piano keyboard and you don’t want/need additional bells and whistles, the Studiologic 88 Grand is an option to consider. The brand is not as fancy as others more popular, but this is the company selling the keybeds to several of these fancy brands.

I’m not a pianist either but I got this controller and I’m very happy. It is an investment for life.

I’m not using the editor that comes with it but if you are interested in specific configurations, I believe you are covered. Ah, you can change MIDI channels from the keyboard itself. You can also set different regions in the keyboard that sends notes to different midi channels, to play different synths at once. The editor is for way more specialized stuff.

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@Mistercharlie Important thing to know before any recommendation: What is your budget?

The most expensive on my list is the Keylab 88, but I would rather spend less. On the other hand, I’d prefer to do this once, and do it right.

It would be nice, but channel aftertouch is fine for me.

Most 88 key midi keyboards have weighted keys, therefore those are bigger, heavier and more expensive. Some weighted actions can also be pretty noisy (after a while), so this is something you should take in mind.

I’ve tried many of the Keylab keyboards: Although they are made of metal and good looking, I found the keybed a bit slugish for my taste, but this is a personal thing: Some are really fond of the keybed.

I eventually ended up with a Yamaha CK61 keyboard because I really like the (light) keybed (but not too light). It has extended MIDI master keyboard functionality as well (multiple channels, etc.). It doesn’t have aftertouch, is rather expensive, so it doesn’t really meet your requirements.

I’d say that you should give the Studiologic SL73 or Studiologic SL88 a try, as they also look pretty nice, are made of metal and are relatively cheap.


The Kawai VPC 1 is the most piano like midi controller apparently. There’s some YouTube stuff out there. I think I might upgrade my studio logic 88 to it when I can justify 1100 quid on my second instrument!

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Not just apparently, it quite simply is. The feel of Kawai’s keybed is significantly better (in terms of feeling like an actual piano keybed) than any of the other options on the market.


I went through this search a few years and what I wish I would have done sooner is just buy a linnstrument. Small and portable and much better quality than any of the crap plastic midi keyboards or digital pianos I used (even ones into the $2k range). The full size one has good range although not quite 88 key range. I still have an 88 key digital piano but have not touched it (aside from giving my daughter piano lessons) since getting the linnstrument.


Yamaha P-125.

This threw a spanner in the works. I’m a guitarist too, so this makes a lot of sense. I have some extra thinking to do.


black rabbit seemed very satisfied with the studiologic sl88 studio hammer action 88 key piano midi controller as rtme suggested. I just checked and the price seems fairly well within what I’d call a reasonable range, not outrageous at least.

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Maybe take a look at Casio, they seem to be a bit undervalued and I‘ve heard they have really good weighted mechanisms for the price. Just second hand knowledge though.

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I also use a Studiologic keyboard - but a lesser and considerably older model - VMK 188. It’s got a great keys feel from its Fatar keybed (I’m not a trained pianist but have played a lot of pianos including some very nice ones).

But it’s very large and heavy. It is easy to get into to fix - had to clean the key contacts to fix some notes that didn’t trigger and that was easy enough.

However the mod/pitch joystick thing is not great - feels cheap and flimsy as do the other controls (some faders and pots).

I recommend avoiding that model.

They have an interestingly small form factor one called the Numa Compact. Not sure if it’s fully weighted though and don’t know if it’s any good?

And I know of a doepfer one that’s also very small - LMK4+ but it’s very expensive!

In the end I went for the Arturia Keylab 88 mkII. It has a Fatar keybed with hammer action, and it’s great. Key feel is much better than the synth keyboards I have used, and I dig all the extra controls, and the Ableton Live integration, which has 16 session pads for example.

I also like that there’s a flat spot on the top, and a little extension shelf included, for putting laptops etc on the top. It’s big enough for a Push, even. I tried it with the Digitone and it’s lovely. Really nice, with the aftertouch.

I guess now I’m looking for a piano teacher. Recommendations in Barcelona would be welcome.

I went through this search 20 years ago. Back then I had finally decided for a Kurzweil SP-76: 76 comfortably semi-weighted keys, roughly 10 kg, fit nicely onto the backseat of any car, 32 simple on-board sounds with 32 programmable preset slots, and two fully programmable ribbon strips.

I connected it to a Kurzweil K2600r, also roughly 10kg. This way I had a very portable and back-friendly setup for the stage during 10 years. I later sold the master keyboard for a Kronos 61. Not the best decision for home practice but a more compact one for the stage.

If I had to decide today, I would go for a Clavia Nord Stage 3/4 Compact or, if it were a few kg lighter, a Korg SV-2 73.

Why not 88 hammer-weighted keys? For modern piano play (blues, rock, pop, etc), 73-76 keys are most often enough.
In addition, semi-weighted keys are a decent compromise. Piano-action keys tend to come in heavier boards and are less adapted to be played with organ and synth sounds. I once owned a Kurzweil K2600X with 88 fully-weighted keys during 6 months -> 33 (!!) kg, it was a real eye-opener to me, no matter the comfort of this wonderful synth. I sold it as soon as possible.

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For me, I’ll only be playing at home. The most I ever do out of the house, music-wise, is taking a box or two to a friend’s house, or field recording.

As a guitarist, I really appreciate the novelty being able to play bass at the same time as everything else. And as an RSI sufferer, the hammer action keys are way more comfortable.

I’m also looking forward to splitting the 88 keys in the Digitone,