Roland A-88MKII MIDI Keyboard Controller

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The new A-88MKII professional MIDI controller from Roland is supremely playable, with onboard creative tools for today's musicians and producers. Roland's acclaimed hammer-action keyboard and built-to-last quality combine with modern features like USB-C connectivity, RGB-lit controls, and MIDI 2.0 (coming soon) for the best performance in its class.

• Unmatched playability with Roland's own PHA-4 keyboard
• Built-to-last with wood and premium materials for years of dependable performance
• Eight RGB-lit assignable knobs, eight RGB-lit pads, and three pedal inputs
• Three customizable zones, onboard arpeggiator, and chord memory
• Thin design with shallow depth fits today's studio environments
• Control application for deep customization and instant recall
• USB-C connectivity and bus power
• MIDI 2.0 ready

A controller that plays like an instrument.
When it comes to MIDI controllers, playability often seems like an afterthought. With the A-88MKII, Roland brings their acclaimed keyboard feel, enjoyed by professional players on stages around the world, to your studio. Its robust, wood construction creates a solid playing experience you can feel under your fingers. And you can easily adjust the sensitivity and responsiveness to match your unique playing style.

Deep expression.
The A-88MKII has three user-definable zones, so you can layer and split the keyboard with different sounds or instruments. The unique pitch/mod lever and an array of RGB-lit knobs and pads give you expressive, hands-on control of your sound. And a sustain pedal input plus two fully assignable pedal inputs mean your feet can get in on the action too.

Creative control.
Today's musical styles demand special production techniques. The A-88MKII extends your creative arsenal with three configurable zones, advanced arpeggiator, chord memory, and multipurpose pads that can trigger commands and events, and energize real-time performance.

MIDI 2.0 and USB-C
The A-88MKII uses the latest technologies for years of universal compatibility and convenience. Class compliant USB-C provides bus power and single cable connectivity with macOS, Windows and compatibility with iOS. And the A-88MKII is ready to take advantage of the extended capabilities of MIDI 2.0.
*When connecting the A-88MK2 to iOS devices with Lightning, Apple's iPad Camera Connection Kit and A-88MKII AC power is required.

Custom control. Instant recall.
Customize the A-88MKII with the control app for macOS and Windows. See all your layers and control mappings at a glance and assign commands to the pads with custom colours for visual feedback. You can create custom setups to control specific soft synths or external hardware, and instantly recall everything with the handy Snap Shot function.

When less is more.
Space is always at a premium in today's personal studios. The A-88MKII is designed to be as thin and shallow as possible while still retaining the smooth, dynamic playability that Roland instruments are known for. Surfaces are flat and edges are squared so they sit neat and flush against other gear or integrated into a studio desk.

Specs

Keyboard: 88 keys (PHA-4 Standard Keyboard: with Escapement and Ivory Feel)

Controllers:
- Pad x 8 (with illumination, assignable)
- Knobs x 8 (with illumination, assignable)
- Pitch Bend/Modulation lever
- Button x2 (Assignable)
- Pedals: DAMPER, FC1, FC2

Connectors:
- Pedal (DAMPER, FC1, FC2) jacks: TRS phone type
- MIDI (IN, OUT) connectors
- USB (COMPUTER) port: USB Type-C (TM)
- DC In jack

Interface: USB2.0

Zones: 3 (Lower / Upper1 / Upper2)

User memory: 8

Power Supply: Supplied from the computer via USB COMPUTER port / AC-Adaptor

Current Draw: 260 mA (USB); 300 mA (AC adaptor)

Dimensions (W x D x H): 1,429 x 274 x 119 mm / 56-5/16 x 10-13/16 x 4-11/16 inches

Weight: 16.3 kg / 35 lbs 15 oz

Accessories
- Owner's manual
- USB Type-C to USB Type-C cable
- USB Type-C to USB Type-A cable

A Real Instrument10 of 10 customers found this review helpful

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Product ExperienceI own it
Closest StoreSurrey, British Columbia
Buckle up, this is going to be too long to read. In the past I've played on a variety of old upright pianos. My current is a U1 from around 1985. Its actually great, despite its humble credentials. I've had a K2000, PSR4600 (yuk), and a Roland P1. Then I really went minimal and replaced it all with virtual and a Roland A-49 controller. I really liked that A-49 for no particularly rational reason. It just felt nice to play and was inviting. I wanted that same thing in an 88 key hammer action keyboard and was excited to discover that Roland had just released a new generation of the A-88. In theory exactly what I wanted. For the most part, it's exactly what it should be, but it does have some short comings. First off, yes it has MIDI 2.0 but for me that means very little in practice right now. Good to know. It does not seem to have any aftertouch. I accepted this going in, but in one promotional video a Roland rep seems to say that it has channel level after touch - but it doesn't have that either. At leas not from the keybed. I believe you can enter an after touch value, but that is not a real solution. I wanted a real feeling keybed though and I got it, so I'm a happy camper. Even my old U1 feels better - you can kind of feel this large mechanical apparatus working in response to your key presses that the A-88 doesn't give you, but instead you get a very predictable and satisfying feeling keybed is its own right. Once I stopped trying to think of how close it felt to my actual piano, and just started enjoying how it felt in its own right - I really fell in love. Its a great controller. The knobs are perfect and feel great. Love the RGB options although the app for that is pretty basic right now. Lots of promise, and even with what's available its really pleasing to use. Pads are great too but honestly I'm a key entry guy and will maybe use the pads for aftertouch (as they can be continuous CC pressure controllers). Some don't like the fact that the pads are above the keys, but I prefer it that way as I'm all about the knobs. I was considering the S88 and Keylab 88 mk2. I'm happy with my choice. Its so easy to map the knobs to synths that the direct integration of the S88 isn't as huge a benefit as it might seem. The Keylab has sliders and looks super cool but they keybed, from what I gather, isn't going to match this. I'm so happy playing this instrument that it seems like the best thing to be using at the time. The complaints - The side plastic is a bit cheap and has overhang that can catch on things. In general the build quality of my A-49 seems a little higher (I mean obviously the keybed is completely different but its just has tighter seams). The feet on the bottom are strangely asymmetrical, and even Roland (when contacted) couldn't provide me with their inset from the edge. The bottom is like a shotgun of screws and the feet are just randomly on 4 screws. It is purely bus powered which is super amazing. This giant f'ing thing and it is all powered with no power adaptor. That is super great. In general the feel of the keys and knobs is so superior to any other not-actually-a-piano I've tried that I can't help but rate this highly. I'd love to try it next to a SL88 Grand but I think I'd prefer the knobs on the Roland. I also enjoy the pitch/mod combo thing on Roland keyboards. Some people hate them. I get it. The mod wheel is often used for filters and then you have to hold the Roland thing in place to get what you are used to with a wheel. For a lot of instruments, however, the expression that is controlled by the mod is better served by Roland's solution (in my opinion). ..and for any filter needs I just map it to one of the knobs which is almost an instantaneous operation in logic (and I imagine other DAWs). So - here's the deal. Feature bullet point wise this thing doesn't cut it against the S88 or Keylab 88. It is way more than an SL 88 Grand. But none the less, I think its a legit instrument that feels good to play.
Posted by Jason on May 3, 2020
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Roland A-88MKII MIDI Keyboard Controller
L&M @ NAMM 2020: Roland A-88 MKII

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