For lots of folks, the actual feel of the keys isn’t a consideration when choosing a MIDI controller. But for others, whether that’s hobbyists, aspiring producers, or established professionals, an authentic key touch is a prime consideration in their search. That’s where the Roland A-88MKII MIDI keyboard comes in.
With Roland’s PHA4 action on-board, you can enjoy the same excellent touch that the multitude of working professionals around the globe do when performing on stage. The touch response has several levels of adjustment available so you won’t have to do any compromising.
As far as practical onboard features go, the A-88MKII offers 3 customizable zones, allowing you to split and layer the entire range of keyboard however you choose. Roland’s pitch/mod switch, along with an arsenal of RGB-lit knobs and pads offers a host of real-time control. Add in an input specifically for a sustain pedal as well as two additional fully assignable pedal inputs whatever pedal setup the production calls for.
As one would expect from Roland, the A-88MKII also offers the newest connectivity options the working professional will encounter. There’s USB-C for connectivity with macOS and Windows and is also compatible with iOS, not to mention compatibility with MIDI 2.0.
Last but not least, Roland kept the case as flat and compact as possible, so incorporating one of these into your studio setup will be simple and efficient.
The presence of Roland’s tried and true PHA4 action here is probably the most important feature on the A-88MKII. This action features escapement, a believable ivory feel, and is regarded in the industry as one of the top key actions available.
For the class, it’s fair to say that this is the top action available in a MIDI controller, and considering the reputation, this action has for durability, it’s more than up for the challenges faced by the most demanding of studios.
Of course, there are MIDI controllers with superior actions, like the Kawai VPC1 and its all wood action, but the trade-off is that the VPC1 costs 50% more. So with that said, in the $1,500 class, the A-88MKII with its PHA-4 action is tough to beat.
Given that the A-88MKII is a MIDI controller, it doesn’t have an on-board sound engine. This is the standard with MIDI controllers, as they’re typically designed to be used with a VST or Audio Interface of your own choosing.
The A-88MKII has the connectivity options needed for the modern studio, including a damper and two additional assignable pedal inputs, MIDI in and out, USB type C, and a DC in jack.
A MIDI controller with an action this good is rare. If your budget is approximately $1,500 for a MIDI controller, you won’t find another with an action this good.
- 88 note PHA4 Action
- 8 assignable pads that light up
- 8 assignable knobs that light up
- Pitch bend/Modulation level
- 2 additional assignable buttons
- 3 pedal inputs
- USB 2.0 interface
- 3 assignable zones
- Weights only 35 lbs
Roland’s trademark durability? Check. Roland’s professional PHA4 action? The features needed for modern production? Check. Lightweight and compact? Check. If these are the boxes you want to have checked, the A-88MKII might be the MIDI controller for you.