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Roland A-88: MIDI Keyboard Controller
|Price:||$1,099.99 + $79.95 shipping|
- Premium 88-key Ivory Feel-G keyboard
- Two knobs, two switches, and D-BEAM controller
- Dual and Split keyboard functions
- USB bus powered (also supports AC power)
- Bundled with Cakewalk SONAR LE software
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The Portable Controller That Plays Like a Grand With 88 pro-quality weighted keys, the A-88 sets a new standard for streamlined, portable MIDI controllers. Its Ivory Feel-G weighted keyboard — a trusted asset found on high-end Roland workstations and digital pianos — brings a new level of grand piano luxury to the portable MIDI controller market. But even with its premium keyboard, the A-88 remains slim, compact, and easy to transport. For players looking for great weighted-keyboard action in a portable package, the A-88 is the best MIDI controller available.
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I have been shopping around for a long time for a weighted midi keyboard. Once I got this, I never looked back. The weighted feel is just like the piano I grew up playing at my parents. I use Addictive keys as the vst and it sounds amazing. It has octave controls, transposing controls, 3 slots for pedals (recommend getting the Roland RPU-3 (3 pedals) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0046R7NPI/ref=cm_cr_ryp_prd_ttl_sol_48). It does come with a single pedal to dampening but I like having the 3 pedal option. My only issue with it is that it doesn't come with a sheet music hold or a slot to add one to. But honestly, that is perfectly fine since I use my laptop to read on anyway. If you have any hesitations, DON'T. GET IT NOW!
I was looking for a digital keyboard without speakers in the $1500 range. I wasn't happy with the action and sound of the Casio Privia PX-3S I purchased last year from Amazon. I wanted a quiet action (I play at night with headphones with other people in the same room doing their own thing). I also wanted softer action than Yamahas, which I find too stiff. I tried out lots of keyboards in the $1500 range at two different bricks and mortars, and when I tried the Roland A-88 I was sold almost immediately. The only question was whether I was willing to live with needing a computer hooked up to the keyboard at all times. I only play at home and I already had a computer hooked up to my old setup although I didn't always use it because my old keyboard had built-in sound modules. I decided to get the Synthogy Ivory Grand Pianos II sound module from Amazon and I have to say that the combination of the Roland A-88 with this sound module is simply amazing. It's as close to playing a grand piano that I've ever experienced. The Synthogy Ivory software mimics every aspect of an analog piano (even sustain pedal noise and string resonance!) in exquisite detail. This, combined with the lovely feel of the A-88 and its high-quality sustain pedal really has me forgetting I'm playing on a digital rig.
Now for a few details, pros and cons.
As for pros: as I mentioned, the keyboard feel is terrific. However, action is personal and so I urge you to try it out yourself (and buy from where you try it at). The keys themselves have a nice matte finish that resists slipping. Roland calls it "ivory feel". It also has a nice mod/pitch control which I use when I'm composing with instruments other than piano. Some other reviewers have complained that the keyboard doesn't have aftertouch, but this isn't an issue for me. As a MIDI controller, it's highly configurable and that's been good enough for me for composition purposes, but I don't consider myself a MIDI power user.
Now for cons: a few of the black keys rub a bit against neighboring keys resulting in a friction noise. This is indicative of poor manufacturing quality control which I find annoying given the premium price of this keyboard. Nevertheless, it seems that middling quality is pretty much par for the course these days, unfortunately. It's not a big deal by any means, but it's disappointing. Another annoying aspect is that there is no music stand, not even as an option. I ended up cobbling together a custom solution that involved customizing a Yamaha music stand intended for a different keyboard, and a lot of velcro. It works but it's an ugly hack.
In conclusion, I am really happy with the combination of this keyboard and the Synthogy Ivory Grand Pianos II software, even though it's a somewhat complicated setup. I really able to lose myself in my playing now.
Most recent customer reviews
I use it with an Integra 7 sound module, and Cakewalk Sonar X3 with VSTi plugins. The feel of the keyboard is just right for my hands.Read more