Arturia adds an 88-key option to its KeyLab Essential mk3 line of MIDI controllers

Arturia has just announced the KeyLab Essential 88 mk3, the bigger brother of the previously released model. As the name suggests, this is a full-sized 88-key controller that allows you to play the entire note range of the piano at the same time. No need to change octaves here.

Like the other entries in the KeyLab Essential line, the 88 mk3 is designed to be a budget-friendly alternative to advanced KeyLab controllers. While slightly less premium than the standard KeyLab 88, the build is solid, with semi-weighted keys. Compared to the flagship, the number of practical controls is also reduced, although there is still a lot to work on.

Up to this point, the KeyLab Essential 88 mk3 includes the same display as the small keyboards for controlling presets. There are also nine knobs and nine faders for controlling settings

In addition, you get built-in control scripts that work with a number of popular DAWs, such as Ableton Live. This allows you to do things like mix tracks using the built-in faders or start and stop recording from the controller itself.

There’s also a contextual button below the screen that offers more control over plug-ins and virtual instruments. You can see that there are only eight drum pads here, but the KeyLab Essential line allows you to switch to a second bank for a full 16. The keyboard features a save function, new scale and chord modes, and an arpeggiator.

Finally, this keyboard comes with a lot of software to get you started. The included package includes Native Instruments’ iconic The Gentleman piano, a UVI Model D rest, a two-month subscription to Loopcloud, and a subscription to Melodics tutoring software. As always, you also get Ableton Live Lite and Arturia’s Analog Lab V.

We don’t yet know how much it will cost, but we’ve contacted Arturia for pricing information. By comparison, the 61-key KeyLab Essential mk3 costs $249, and the 49-key version costs $199. Also, the last-gen KeyLab Essential 88 is priced at $379, so expect it to fall somewhere in that range. The KeyLab Essential 88 mk3 will be available in both black and white.

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