The piano has always been one of the most popular instruments. With the arrival of electronic music, a combination of keyboards and computers became essential in any musician’s studio and work. A combination of full 88-key piano with MIDI controllers is the best way to combine both worlds.
Seeing loads of keyboards when deciding which one to buy certainly doesn’t do much help. So, I’ve decided to narrow it down for you with a list of the 5 best 88-key MIDI keyboards, to help with your decision.
My top recommended pick is the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S88 Mk2. A high-quality but pricey keyboard that offers the best well-roundedness you can buy.
My second recommended pick is the M-Audio Keystation 88 MK3 for those on a tighter budget but still looking for an 88-key keyboard.
The 5 Best 88-Key Midi Keyboards (2023)
Let’s compare these in more detail.
The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S88 Mk2 is probably the best option for an 88-key keyboard you can opt for. Granted the price is steep on this one, however, none can provide a more well-rounded base and an array of features like this one.
The keyboard is seamless to use with its incredibly sensitive response which can be accredited to the memory foam below the keys. The Mk2 is AC-powered and comes with a USB and a five-pin MIDI to add even more value to it, including a sustain and expression pedal.
The integration with Native Instruments’ trademark soft synths and instruments is as good as it gets. The most significant feature is the mapping to the eight touch-sensitive endless rotary encoders, which is fantastic.
A very brilliant interface to work with, with multicolored LEDs above the keys, available with every standard Native Instruments plugin, all you have to do is implement the mapping to a specific key or button. Many features like this make this the best well-rounded choice out there.
The M-Audio Keystation 88 MK3 is a beginner-friendly keyboard that made its way here by giving quality and options for a low price.
This keyboard comes with a basic 88 key, pitch, and mod wheels, adjustable data slider, and octave shift buttons. It’s packed tightly in a compact, yet very comfortable and sturdy body. It will also come with an Ableton Live Lite and can be connected to an iPad, which is very convenient if you use it for music-making.
Bus-powered, with an optional power cord, as well as a sustain pedal, will give you all of the essentials you need, especially if you are a beginner looking to learn and grow together with your keyboard.
With a great price and all of the essentials, with a lot of different options, this is a great buy for anyone, especially beginners, looking to buy a small, compact, and all-around well-built keyboard ready for it all.
The Nektar Impact comes with 88 keys, 8 pads, and a bunch of other knobs and mixers. It’s also bus-powered, this keyboard comes with DC input when USB isn’t available, and it is really slim and compact, especially when you compare its size to all of the functions that come with it.
It is supplied with a great keyboard, as keys are just right (not too hard, not too soft), but the real deal comes with Nektar DAW integration. The company has made integration files for 9 of the biggest DAW, which brings you complete integration of the computer program and keyboard itself, without any complications.
That enables you to jump right on to making music, simply by installing the integration file and connecting the keyboard to the computer. Also, the great amount of features that come with this keyboard includes more than 30 programmable buttons, LED colored pads, and standard pitch, mode, and shift buttons.
For a great price, you will get a more-than-great keyboard and controller, suitable even for hardened professionals, playing in the studio or taking it on the road with you.
The Arturia KeyLab 88 MKII is the leader when it comes to versatility. This keyboard comes with ten knobs, nine faders, 16 drum pads, with its very own special collection of synth and vintage keys which is the Analog Lab software with over 6000 presets, I mean, what more could you want?
When it comes to its use, this keyboard provides a pretty seamless and comfortable use. With 9 encoders, 10 DAW command buttons, a modulation wheel, a pitch bend wheel, 3 Pad mode buttons, 9 multipurpose faders, you name it, it probably has it!
Aside from the technical aspect, the aesthetics this product has is simply unmatchable. The layout as well as the overall look can’t compare to any other out there. Plus, taking into consideration all the features, it’s hard to argue this keyboard’s worth.
If you have the budget, then this versatile beast will suit your need without question. It’s no secret that it’s a fan favorite and for good reason!
The Hammer 88 has an exceptional quality of the build. This keyboard is of thick metal, making it sturdy and also a bit heavy but still light enough so that it can be easily moved if you need it for gigs and not just studio work.
The best feature of this keyboard is its keys – M-Audio made them the selling point on this controller. They are fully weighted, giving you the full grand piano feel when playing, unlike the other keyboards on this list. Besides that, Hammer 88 offers you pitch and mod wheels, two buttons, and one slider, which can be edited through accompanying the software, as well as the standard array of plug-ins in the back.
This keyboard is a great buy for a great price offering anyone great quality (standard for pricier keyboards) and a nice amount of options and features within this great keyboard and for not a lot of money at all.
Professional or amateur, this keyboard will satisfy your every need, whether you play it as a backup or a centerpiece of your setup.
Keyboards are a necessity in this day and age, whether you’re a professional musician playing studio tracks or starting up your own cover band. Luckily for all of us, there’s no shortage of keyboards these days to choose from, with prices high and low to satisfy the quality needs of musicians at just about any level.
My top pick is the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S88 Mk2 which is a high-quality keyboard that offers a great variety of controls, quality sound, and exceptional build.
My budget pick is the M-Audio Keystation 88 MK3. If you don’t want to break your pockets, the M-Audio Keystation will get the job done. It has decent quality and sound, all the while being an 88-key keyboard.