Sitting on the fence and waiting for a new KeyLab MK3

I know, the best keyboard is always the keyboard available. And for most people this is true. My situation is a little bit different. I already own a midrange keyboard with most features I was looking for.
So why a new keyboard when the KeyLab MK3 finally is launched? I am a YouTuber and the videos about my actual keyboard are among the most watched videos in my channel. In case your are interested: Of course, a new version of the KeyLab 61 MK3 would attract droves of new viewers.

But there are other reasons as well. For example, the size of the display. If I buy a KeyLab 61 today, I would pay a premium price for a keyboard with a display that is much smaller than that of Arturia’s actual midrange (essential) class. My actual keyboard is really bad in this regard and I avoid using it whenever possible. Bigger is better.

By the way. I really do not understand why midrange keyboards wouldn’t rely on their user’s smartphones. Everybody has a smartphone with touchscreen nowadays. Now that even Apple uses USB-C it should be easy to just plug your smartphone into your keyboard and have a cool color display (with the help of an app) for your midrange keyboard. Well, maybe in ten years or so. :man_shrugging:

I also assume the next KeyLab version will feature Midi 2.0 and Polyphonic aftertouch.
So, all in all, it seems not advisable to buy now and regret later.

What do you think?


There have been various supposition threads and feature requests threads about mkIII KL’s. As users, the only fact we know is, Arturia do not leak information about upcoming products.


Makes totally sense. I guess it is a rather delicate operation selling off the old stock and announcing the new model just right without writing off too much on the old device stock. I guess we will see when there are special offers with lots of software thrown in. :man_shrugging:

There was a time when the KeyLab 61 MK2 was not available at Thomann. I took this as an early sign. But Thomann restocked again. So false alarm. :thinking:

I’ve got time. The only thing I know is that I won’t buy the NI counterpart. Though I like all the blinking lights and the big screen. And though I have invested in some Kontakt instruments I feel it gets awkward as soon as you want to control a DAW with it. I enjoy playing live and I need as many faders and knobs and pads I can get for total immersion. My actual keyboard controller is superior to NI’s S-series offering in that regard.

I am excited to see what Arturia will offer whenever they are ready to make it public. :man_shrugging:


Likewise. I’ve been a Mk1 owner [of the KL88] since 2016, so eight years. DAW integration doesn’t bother me: I have a full suite of Icon control surfaces for that. The feature that would push me towards upgrading from my ageing mk1 KL88 is polyphonic aftertouch {PA}. I hope it’s coming. Not only do some of Arturia’s direct competitors have it such as the NI Kontrol S-Series, but it’s incongruous that some of the Arturia software synths respond to PA (notably the CS80V, as expected) while none of their controllers send it. To experience PA from within the Arturia stable you have to buy a Microfreak. Which I know is a competent synth in its own right, but as a midi controller it’s like a Stylophone on steroids and not at all a suitable replacement for a real keyboard.

I was never tempted by the MkII KL88. There really was nothing about it to convince me to upgrade: same number of pads, sliders and controls, paired with a BIOS that offered stripped-down customisation options compared to that of the Mk1. But then again, the MkII wasn’t really aimed at Mk1 owners.

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Arturia, please give us a big screen (for the 50+ people with less good eyesight), midi 2.0 and yes, polyphonic aftertouch.
Let’s hope that they use their time wisely to find the sweet spot for users like us. :sunglasses:


I’m thinking maybe around June they will release a new mk3 keyboard. I have been waiting patiently too. I have the KL mk2 88 keys. I am waiting so I can use the new board for live performance & that the Ableton part of it will be a little better i hate switching between Analog Lab, user mode& Daw mode all the time. Trying to control filters & midi CC stuff at the same time is hard when don’t have that kind of time playing live. Things happen really fast in a performance. And also a bigger screen would be very helpful.


Let’s hope that they work with focus groups to find out how to enhance their controller keyboards regarding the stressful situation of playing live. :crossed_fingers:
You might be right with the June launch date. Several people already mentioned that last time they introduced their KL MK2 series in June as well. It would be really nice to make a video series about the new KeyLab Mk3 series around that time. :sunglasses:Though as an organ player I would have to stick with the 61 keys version. :man_shrugging:

I too have a KL88 MKi and I agree - please please please a bigger screen, support for MPE and stop making the knobs out of the kind of rubber that degrades over time. Some of the knobs on my unit are sticky to the touch. It makes the keyboard unenjoyable to play and it’s really a big pain to fix/clean them.


SInce I do not own an Arturia controller yet I wouldn’t know. But those old electronic devices that get sticky are absolutely disgusting. :nauseated_face:

Looking at the mkIII Essential they just launched, I personally am not optimistic about the KL MkIII getting the poly-aftertrouch I sorely want. I’d like to be wrong, but considering the Essential MkIII still does not have even regular aftertouch, it seems less likely the KL MkIII will have poly AT. If I’m right (I want to be wrong) I feel Arturia have missed the target. The NI equivalent product already has poly AT. Is it that much of a deal? Well it is, in so far as there’s nothing else I really want from a controller keyboard that my OG KL88 doesn’t already do. So while the lack of poly AT might not be a showstopper for most new purchasers, I can’t think of any reason why I would sidegrade my OG KL88 for another controller that doesn’t have it.

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As you said yourself. At this point in time it is all speculation. But we all know Arturia has a good chance to come out ahead of the competition. NI got problems with its Kontrol S series. Especially with Windows PC users. People miss the lack of Machine support and the lack of faders and pads. They only have this one thing, that people are really interested in: Polyphonic Aftertouch.
I can’t imagine that Arturia would not want to seize this opportunity. Maybe this is the reason they are taking their time. When they launch their MK3 KL series they need the software support for PA. Arturia’s plugins support aftertouch. But I am not sure if they support polyphonic aftertouch yet.

Anyway, I wouldn’t use the Essential series to draw my conclusions. Aftertouch was always a premium feature. Implementing it in the actual KL Essential series would have killed the business with KL MK2. Why would you pay so much more money for almost no differentiation?

Haven’t checked them all but the CS80V4 definitely does. And to demonstrate it in the YouTube launch video for the CS80V4, they had to plug it into a Microfreak, which crazily is the only product in their current lineup with poly AT. In terms of being a controller it’s basically a Stylophone on steroids yet that’s the only hardware they could pull out of the hat to demonstrate their new killer feature of the CS80V4. I felt even then it was crazy they didn’t have a new range of premium poly AT controllers to go with it.

Sounds like I could be the ideal NI Kontrol S customer though. I don’t use a Windows PC. I have no interest in Machine support, and I have very little interest in faders and pads because I have my external Icon control surfaces for all of that… I literally just want 88 weighted keys in front of me with polyphonic aftertouch.

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My thoughts reg. the “upcoming” Keylab 88 Mk3…

The fact that almost five years have passed since the Mk2 was launched, must indicate that something big is coming. Arturia’s KL88 Mk3 launch has passed NI’s latest 88 key controller 5 months, so they must be doing some serious brain work here.

As for myself, already an Arturian (Minilab3 and Keystep37, Analog Lab), I agree with those who like to see poly aftertouch introduced on the forthcoming Mk3. 2) A color screen should be a nobrainer as an upgrate. 3) Midi2 4) Faders on the left side as most of us are right handed! plus some fancy analog style knobs…
5) The keybed. Wouldn’t a 73 key waterfall keyboard be something? There are very few 73 key controllers out there, the Keylab MK range is designed around Analog Lab so why not stay on the synth/organ-style path? 6) Built in (limited) sound library for dawless use/practise, that means a headphone jack would be needed. There are a bunch of so called “Stage piano keyboards” out there by Roland, StudioLogic, Yamaha, Alesis… that have hundreds of built-in voices, that are down to half the price of the Keylab Mk2, so couldn’t that be an interesting option?

On the whole, so far, I’m very satisfied with Arturia, hardware and software. What is to come will hopefully cheer us all up! Thanks a lot for the other posts in this thread.

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While this is a hypothesis thread I think we can definitely rule that out. It wouldn’t just need a headphone jack, that’s over-simplifying the ask. It would need to be a computer running some kind of OS compatible with let’s say Analog Lab Intro (so likely some version of Windows embedded), plus an audio card, plus a PSU. This is not a route that Arturia have even remotely hinted at going down ever since they discontinued the Arturia Origin keyboard and module over a decade ago, and if they did, it would be a different product-line to the Key Lab controllers, which are midi controllers for plugging into computers and external hardware.


As a learned organ player and having an over 50 year old Hammond T222 I am very sympathetic to the waterfall keys idea. I can’t count how often I hurt my hands on my M-Audio Midi Controller keyboard just playing like my organ skills want me to. :man_shrugging:

I agree with @Jon_Vincent though there is no chance at all that Arturia would build its flagship midi controller as a part-time stand-alone keyboard. It could be done of course but the target group of buyers most probably is not really interested.

At the end it comes down to this: Would you pay an extra four hundred Euros just for built-in sounds? I wouldn’t.


If a version with 73 or 76 semi-weighted keys were released it would be perfect, perhaps with polyaftertouch. The worst thing about the 88 key version remains the fatar keybed which many find too heavy. the only problem here is that a new version could easily also come out in a year or two. Since I need it in the short term, would you say that the new Korg keystage could be a good replacement? Or is it better to wait?


Should you wait or not? Since my actual controller is OKish, I am not in a hurry.

For you the answer might be more nuanced as it comes down what you expect from a MIDI controller. Korg’s Keystage is a nice device and it offers only a small set of controls. I really like my faders and my pads, my buttons for arming recording, solo, mute, etc. It makes playing live so much easier for me.

The Keystage controller is as sparse for controls as NI’s Kontrol S series. But other than NI’s controllers Korg won’t have a big market share for its keyboard. And that means it takes much longer to figure problems out and solve them. :man_shrugging:

But design-wise the Keystage is a beauty. That is for sure.

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If I may… this partially depends on what DAW you are using. I discovered Arturia rather late, around 2017. From then on, I realized that Analog Lab was the THING for me, as I am very much synth oriented. Few years earlier I had purchased Studio One (came with a usb controller from Nektar, already out of service!)… and well… the VST instruments inside Studio One never charmed me in any way… so I moved to hardware… then shortly after, Arturia - which was the game changer, Analog Lab was my thing, it is revolutionary! That said, Analog Lab needs the hardware the keyboard it deserves. Going full digital is their decision of course but part analog(sliders/knobs) and part digital is the way it should be, because that’s the “physical idea” from the start, Analog Lab.

So, I really would like to see a proper organ/synth/piano keyboard as the Mk3. Ok… I’ve been looking at NI, Korg, StudioLogic, Roland… but I’m not convinced.
For this status, I would really appreciate some vague comment from ARTURIA, about the imminent Keylab 88 version (or 76/73?) Mk3. What is actually going on in Grenoble?? Give us a tiny hint… :slight_smile:

in fact, as a DAW I use FLstudio and Vcollection 9 and my big need would be a midi controller that can help me manage everything in a more fluid way. Previously I was also oriented towards the novation flkey but I’m not very convinced by the construction quality. Now instead I have an Alesis Q88 but it’s anything but premium…
Anyway, a little hint would be great :slight_smile:

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As understandable it is that we would like to know if there is something coming around the corner. But and that is a big one, it is just bad business practice to give your customers hints regarding a hardware update.

People are still buying the KL MK2 series left and right. So Arturia needs to have stock to not lose sales to the competition. That stock is a financial burden on the company if they can’t sell it at full price.

So if they have something nice and fresh in June, they will work on reducing their stock to a minimum level before that. And then you will get some real deals like "get this KL MK2 keyboard for 30% off and by the way if you buy it you will get these two beautiful extra plugins for free. "

I guess our hint will be those really nice deals on the KL MK2 series. If you see those popping up it won’t take long till the new hardware hits the market. :partying_face: