Nektar GPX88 vs M-Audio Keystation 88 Mk3

Anyone used these?

Both released just a few months ago. Both semi-weighted & at the lower end of the usual price range (one just under, the other just over, £200) although DAW controls are minimal.

I’m in the market for a new 88 key controller - currently use an 88 key weighted synth but using the onboard sounds less & less so considering selling it & buying a pure controller & more VSTs.

I already own an Arturia KeyLab 49 Mk2 so have all the knobs & faders I need so extensive DAW control not important. Likewise, not too fussed about weighted action as I’m not a big piano player. I want 88 keys more for the extra real estate.

The Nektar GPX88 apparently has a redesigned semi-weighted higher quality keybed (compared to previous models). Nearest alternative is the M-Audio Keystation 88 Mk3 but anecdotally their keybeds appear to develop problems after a year or so of use so possible quality issues?

A big plus for the Nektar is aftertouch, although a YouTube review I found flagged an odd key design - the black keys have a pronounced slant (although the reviewer didn’t seem to mind too much!).

Any advice appreciated, including additional options - I haven’t ruled out selling both my keyboards & buying an Arturia KeyLab 88 Mk2 but most of the music I produce isn’t really enhanced by a fully weighted keyboard (in fact a weighted keybed can be a disadvantage!).


After 3 Nektar GXP88s, all faulty (2 with identical issue - faulty D3 key!) I opted for the M-Audio in the end & really happy with it.

I actually prefer the keybed on the M-Audio, feels more solid.

It’s not as integrated with Cubase as the Nektar however - in fact the Nektar was great with some bespoke Cubase software to install & everything mapped - but my KeyLab is the main DAW controller so not an issue for me.

The M-Audio keybed with Nektar mapping would be ideal!

i am confuswed between the nektar impact gxp88 and keystation 88 mk3 in the category of key feel which to take can someone describe how both keybeds feel

It’s been about a year since I had both these keyboards. Sadly the M-Audio was returned too after a few months because a key broke - a loud ‘twang’ noise & the key wouldn’t return. Probably a spring.

I actually liked the Nektar, just a shame I had 3 faulty versions - although I mentioned the M-Audio felt a bit more solid, the Nektar was better to play. Although semi-weighted, not quite as stiff as the M-Audio. Also, the minimum velocity available on the M-Audio was 15 & it was difficult to get anything above 110. No option to change velocity curves either. I never tested the full range of velocity on the Nektar but it did have adjustable velocity curves.

The Nektar also has aftertouch - it’s quite sensitive too, i.e. easy to trigger & cannot be turned off. This can be both an advantage & a disadvantage depending on how you play! As a studio ‘producer’ not a big thing as MIDI editing can be used to remove any unwanted aftertouch. In a live setting , if you wanted to turn it off, you would have to tweak the settings inside VSTi/DAW.

Another thing about the M-Audio (also shared by their Oxygen Pro full size range) is their ‘sticky keys’. By this I mean that if a key hasn’t been used for a few minutes, its first press requires slightly harder force than subsequent presses since the key seems slightly ‘stuck’. This makes playing soft passages difficult as this first press leads to a jerky movement. It can be remedied by using the flat of your hand to press all keys down prior to using it, but not ideal. There are a couple of videos on YouTube that show this on older M-Audio keyboards (type “M-Audio sticky keys” into search field).

I gave it a few months before getting another one & in the end opted for another Arturia KeyLab Mk2 (I sold my 49-key & bought a 61-key). Very different keybed to the others discussed here - lighter but overall better build quality (but twice the price too!).

Personally I’d choose the Nektar out of the 2 - I suspect I had a bad batch (which may actually have also affected the overall build quality). YouTube videos of the GXP88 look good (no uneven keys like on my versions!), & Nektar Support is great. They really tried to help out by getting a 4th unit tested & shipped from their warehouse but in the end I chose not to go down that road.

Hope that helps.

Thanks you very much for your reply