Advice on Native-Instruments s88 keyboard

Musician’s friend is purposely trying to bankrupt me and sent me a 20% off coupon which is applicable to a s88 kybd …usual retail 1049 pre-tax . With the coupon I can get it for 923 , signed sealed and delivered .

I’m tempted . Don’t like the expense , but I’m getting older and could drop dead before I finish this post anyway and then the money would be useless to me.

Does anyone use this keyboard and think it’s a good or bad deal ?

I don’t actually have one but it’s on my wish list…they are a good keyboard

be aware that there are different versions - mk1 mk2 etc…which one is it ?

it’s the mk2 they guy told me . I called em to check and make sure the 20% off was applicable to this particular keyboard .

Have you ever seen them on a sale like that before ?

I’m in the UK - so things are a bit different - but yes people have sales all the time. 20% seems reasonable for hardware IF it’s 100% new and the very latest version.

They are great keyboards, you become a little tied in to the Native Instruments eco system to get the best out of them though, is the only downside.

It’s best features shine when used with Komplete Kontrol plugin (Which wraps other plugins inside).

The keys and quality of controller is superb though. I love using mine, and the light guide is a really nice aid if you want to practise new scales, or use sample libraries with splits which Komplete Kontrol controls for you. i.e. it’s very good when using Battery, Abbey Road drummer etc. - all coloured as to which drums are where.

Also i really like the integration with Cubase’s mixer, even though faders would make more sense for volume control, using the knobs is really good as you don’t have to ‘catch’ to the correct value as you would a fader, as they’re relative/endless knobs. The interface is nice and quick also, which makes them very useable.

Also, in regards to price, i think it’s quite common to see NI controllers go on sale, i don’t think 20% off is anything spectacular in all honesty. I’ve seen some really good offers via direct from Native Instruments in the past - that’s where i got mine, but they don’t seem to have any listings right now.

As a vanilla controller (i.e. if you don’t plan to use Komplete Kontrol) they’re definitely less featured, but still a great keybed. The Arturia Keylab Mk2 would be a better choice for a vanilla controller, again great build and feel.

no 88 key version though - and not weighted keys ?

Arturia have the 88 key as their flagship Fatar weighted/hammer action. Very nice keys, probably the same bed as the Native Instruments S88 Mk2 i’d imagine. If not, very close.

The metal construction on the Arturia does make it feel a little more premium though, but for me i like the additional features of the light guide and full colour screens on the NI keyboards.

They just look and play great, however, Arturia have more physical controls.

Trouble is, Cubase can’t really deal with a load of physical controls all that well, the whole Cubase mapping system is due an update shortly as we know from the leaked info. Maybe then the Arturia range would become more flexible/useful.

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ahh yes - didn’t see that on the website

that does look pretty good…I don’t really use Komplete Kontrol so that make more sense

…looks like the Arturia doesn’t support half-pedal sustain pedals ?

Never used a half-pedal sustain so i couldn’t say. I’ve used a cheap expression pedal with a keylab before and it sent the full range of values… Don’t know if that’s a workaround or not. Guess it depends on your target instrument and how you can route values.

Not even sure what MIDI data a half-pedal even sends. :slight_smile:

It’s still CC64 but values other than 0/127 - an expression pedal doesn’t feel the same as a proper damper. Lots of piano software uses it,

Not totally clear if Arturia supports it - lots of talk on their forum but no clear answer…not ready to buy just yet so I’ll worry about that when I am

This seems to be the age-old problem with MIDI controllers sadly, so hard to find one that ticks all the boxes - and prices seem to go sky high at 88 keys. I guess they become more niche vs the smaller keyboards.

My friend still swears by their Korg SV-1, i think they’ve always held a good reputation as a MIDI controller despite being a standalone instrument - but again, pricey.

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