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Best 88 Key MIDI Controllers in 2024

Due of the additional room required for a full-size piano configuration, 88 Key MIDI Controllers are typically found in larger studios. An 88-key controller makes it simpler for piano players familiar to the instrument to effortlessly switch, whilst smaller sizes prioritize portability. Piano players are prioritized, with some models featuring fully-weighted, hammer action keys.

Arturia KeyLab 88 MkII

Arturia KeyLab 88 MkII 88 Key Weighted USB MIDI...
  • 88 note Fatar TP/100LR keybed
  • High quality, aftertouch, velocity sensitive, hammer-action, piano feel...
  • 16 RGB-backlit performance pads

The Arturia KeyLab 88 MkII is a highly regarded 88-key MIDI controller that offers a mix of versatile functionality and build quality. It features a much-improved Fatar hammer-action keyboard that is more responsive and quieter than its predecessor, the original KeyLab 88. The KeyLab 88 MkII is praised for its assignable controls, including nine faders and nine rotary knobs, which are perfect for recording automation on the fly. It also features pitch-bend and modulation wheels, although their positioning at the top left corner of the main panel may not be ideal for all users.

The controller is compatible with many DAWs and offers tight integration with the bundled Analog Lab software. The midi keyboards also has excellent connectivity options, including USB and traditional 5-pin MIDI outputs. However, some digital piano users have noted that the action of the keys is a bit on the heavy side. There are also mixed reviews about the Fatar key action, with some users finding it unreliable unlike grand piano, while others appreciate its responsiveness and feel. The KeyLab 88 MkII also comes with a sturdy computer platform and music stand, which are considered valuable bonuses. However, some users have noted that the sheet music stand isn’t big enough to hold a larger score.

Arturia KeyLab 88 MkII is considered a high-quality, professional-grade MIDI controller that offers good value for money. It’s particularly recommended for serious pianists looking for a controller with an authentic grand piano feel and response. This is the Best 88 Key MIDI Controller in 2023.

Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S88 Mk2

Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S88 Mk2...
  • Smart keyboard controller for all your virtual instruments and effects
  • Pro-grade Fatar keybeds with aftertouch, fully weighted, hammer-action keys
  • Pre-mapped control of KOMPLETE instruments and effects, plus hundreds of...

The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S88 Mk2 is a premium 88-key MIDI controller that has garnered attention for its elegant design, solid build, and high-quality Fatar keybed. It is designed to offer a sophisticated playing experience and deep integration with Native Instruments’ software.

The S88 Mk2 is noted for its classy-feeling weighted keyboard action, which aims to provide a realistic piano feel. This weighted midi keyboard is complemented by good visual feedback and quick navigation facilitated by two high-resolution color screens, which help to reduce the need to look at a computer screen while working. The controller’s integration with NKS (Native Kontrol Standard) compatible instruments allows for a seamless workflow, particularly for those who use NI’s Komplete series of instruments and effects.

The S88 Mk2 comes bundled with Komplete Select 12, offering a selection of software instruments and effects that provide a good starting point for music production. Despite the absence of slider controllers or drum pads, the S88 Mk2’s Light Guide and Smart Play features are highlighted as invaluable tools, especially for amateur pianists. In terms of playability, the S88 Mk2’s keybed has been described as having a heavy piano action, which might not suit everyone’s preferences. The keys are said to feel and play very nicely, akin to a grand piano, and the overall build quality is described as high.

Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S88 Mk2 is considered a professional-grade MIDI controller that offers a high level of quality and functionality, making it a strong contender for serious musicians and producers looking for a controller with an authentic piano feel. This is the Best 88 Key MIDI Keyboard in 2023.

M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro – 88 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller With Piano Style Weighted Hammer Action Keys

M-Audio Keystation 88 MK3 – 88 Key Semi Weighted...
  • Music Production Essential – MIDI keyboard controller with 88 full-size...
  • MIDI Keyboard Must-Haves - Volume fader, transport & directional buttons;...
  • Immediate Creativity - Effortless plug-and-play USB connectivity to Mac or...

The most popular 88-note keyboard controller in the world, the M-Audio Keystation 88 MK3, is now in its third iteration and features numerous upgrades and enhancements. Many electronic musicians appreciate having access to a piano keyboard’s entire spectrum. However, not every keyboardist requires (or prefers) hammer-action keys, with their additional cost, bulk, and weight. The Keystation 88’s smooth semi-weighted key feel, minimalist control set, lightweight portability, and solid build quality reach the sweet spot for these legions of gamers. The convenience of having 88 full-sized keys in front of you is not limited to pianists.

The M-Audio Keystation 88 MK3 is a beginner-friendly keyboard that gained popularity by offering alternatives and high-quality performance at a reasonable price. This keyboard has a standard 88-key layout, pitch and mod wheels, a data slider that can be adjusted, and octave shift buttons. It is crammed into a small yet incredibly cozy and durable body. For those who use it to create music, it will also include an Ableton Live Lite and be able to connect to an iPad.

If you’re a novice wishing to learn and develop alongside your keyboard, bus-powered with an optional power cord and a sustain pedal will provide you with everything you need. This is a terrific purchase for anyone, especially beginners, looking to buy a small, compact, and all-around well-built keyboard that is ready for it all. It has a great price, all the fundamentals, and a lot of varied options. This is the best 88 key midi controller keyboards in 2023.

Nektar Impact LX88+ | USB MIDI Controller Keyboard with Nektar DAW Integration

Nektar Impact LX88+ 88-Key USB MIDI Keyboard...
  • 88-Keys Semi-Weighted Controller: The 88 note velocity sensitive keyboard...
  • Nektar Daw Integration: The Impact LX88+ software integration supports most...
  • Powerful Control Center: There are nine 30mm faders, 9 MIDI buttons, and 8...

The LX88+ now features MIDI in/out to provide you the ability to use it for any production application, realizing the full capability of the Impact LX+ series. The Nektar Impact LX88+ USB MIDI controller, which is based on the lauded Panorama and the LX49+/LX61+ models that came before it, uses clever mapping to offer you direct control over your DAW session. For a quick workflow, alternate between Mixer, Instrument, and Preset modes. By providing default instrument parameter assignments on the labeled faders and encoders, you may avoid staring at your computer screen. The pitch and mod wheels, along with the 88 semi-weighted keys of the Impact LX88+, provide a fluid, accurate feel. All of the LX88controls, +’s including the knobs, 30mm faders, and performance pads, feel excellent.

Along with 88 keys, 8 pads, and numerous additional knobs and mixers, the Nektar Impact has these features. In addition to being bus-powered, this keyboard has a DC input for use when USB isn’t available and is incredibly thin and small—especially when you consider how many features it has in relation to its overall size. Although it comes with a wonderful keyboard with just-right (not too hard, not too soft) keys, Nektar DAW integration is the real thing. In order to provide seamless integration of the computer software and keyboard itself, the company has created integration files for 9 of the most popular DAW. You can start making music immediately by installing the integration file and attaching the keyboard to the computer. Aside from the basic pitch, mode, and shift buttons, this keyboard has more than 30 customizable buttons, LED colored pads, and other features. You can purchase a keyboard and controller for an excellent price that is fantastic for both playing in the studio and going on the road. It is acceptable for even seasoned experts.

Studiologic SL88 Studio Lightweight Midi Controller with 88-Key Hammer Action Keyboard

Studiologic SL88 Studio Lightweight Midi...
  • 88-key hammer action TP/100LR keyboard with After touch
  • Compact, lightweight, extremely portable professional controller
  • 3 default velocity curves and fixed curve with a programmable value; 6...

If you prefer to manage splits, layers, and control assignments directly on your primary keyboard rather than on the receiving end in host software like MainStage, the Studiologic SL88 offers a ton of capability. If your setup includes hardware modules like a keyless analog synth with virtual instruments, you might consider doing this. Two MIDI Outs (and one In) and USB make this even easier. Those two Outs will transfer commands from your computer to external equipment if you desire your software to serve as the “brain.” Two switches, one continuous control, and one dual-purpose input make up the four pedal inputs.

The SL88’s user interface is quite inventive, and it can operate up to four zones onboard: A clicky infinite knob that also functions as a four-way cursor joystick and a pushbutton is located next to the 320 x 240 color display. With your fingers still on the knob, you may select presets, tweak parameters while highlighting them, alter their values, and confirm selections. The free SL Editor software (Mac/Windows) lets you see a lot more information at once and includes a “Key Balance” page that is just as sophisticated as the velocity curve editor on the Kawai VPC-1. While a number of useful General MIDI-based splits and layers are already preloaded, you can also roll your own. However, it doesn’t appear like either SL88 model comes packed with any virtual instruments to get you started.

Buying Guide for 88-key MIDI controller

When buying an 88-key MIDI controller, there are several factors to consider to ensure you get the best fit for your needs.

Key Size, Weight & Action

Nearly all 88-key controllers currently available have full-sized keys. The weight and action of the keys can vary significantly between models. Some models feature semi-weighted keys, which offer a balance between the light touch of synth-action keys and the heavier feel of fully weighted keys. Others offer fully weighted keys, which mimic the feel of an acoustic piano and are ideal for pianists.

Compatibility and Connectivity

Most MIDI controllers are compatible with popular operating systems like Windows and Mac OS X. They usually connect to your computer via USB, but some models also offer traditional 5-pin MIDI outputs for connecting to other MIDI-compatible devices. Some models also support iOS connectivity, allowing you to perform and compose with audio apps on your iPad and other iOS devices.

Controls and Features

MIDI controllers often come with a variety of controls that expand expressive capabilities and enhance your recording workflow. These can include octave range buttons, pitch-bend and modulation wheels, and transport and directional controls. Some models also include performance pads, faders, and encoders for additional control.

Software Bundles

Many MIDI controllers come bundled with virtual instruments or DAW software. For example, the Keystation 88 comes with a premium virtual instrument from SONiVOX, while the Arturia KeyLab 88 MkII comes with Analog Lab software.


If you plan to travel with your MIDI controller or move it around frequently, consider its weight and size. Some models are lightweight and compact, making them ideal for traveling musicians.


What is the difference between weighted and semi-weighted keys?

Weighted keys mimic the resistance of an acoustic piano, while semi-weighted keys offer a lighter touch.

Can I use an 88-key MIDI controller without a computer?

Some controllers have onboard sounds and can function as standalone instruments.

Do all 88-key MIDI controllers have full-sized keys?

Nearly all 88-key controllers feature full-sized keys, but always check the specifications to be sure.

Is aftertouch important on an 88-key MIDI controller?

Aftertouch adds expressiveness to your playing but is not essential for everyone.

Are there 88-key MIDI controllers with built-in speakers?

Some stage pianos with MIDI capabilities have built-in speakers, offering dual functionality.

Can I control hardware synths with an 88-key MIDI controller?

Yes, if the controller has 5-pin MIDI or CV/Gate outputs.