Novation Launchkey 88 - well done!

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Novation Launchkey 88 - well done!

Post by The Elf »

I thought I was a lone voice in admiring this keyboard, then suddenly it's an SOS award winner!

I got one last year for my live rig. It had all the knobs and buttons I needed and I quite liked its immediacy. I even programmed a couple of chord stabs into the pads to give me a performance edge on one particularly difficult tune.

I admit I never use any DAW integration with any master keyboard. I see little point in it. It all seems so much more fiddly hard work than just reaching for a mouse.

Interested to hear how others are using theirs?
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Re: Novation Launchkey 88 - well done!

Post by sonics »

It's very affordable I see. I'm mostly interested in the keyboard action. Would you outline your opinion on that, please?

I read that it has a synth action; is it a good one? Can you play it hard without it creaking or knocking? What would you compare it to?

Thanks! :)
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Re: Novation Launchkey 88 - well done!

Post by Martin Walker »

sonics wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 4:48 pm I read that it has a synth action; is it a good one?

It's described as semi-weighted, which implies that it's not so 'clacky' as standard synth key actions, but nevertheless doesn't require the full-on physicality of a weighted keyboard like an acoustic piano.

The Elf will no doubt be along shortly with his verdict, and given the number of keyboards in his collection it will be a mighty informed answer! 8-)

Here are Robin Bigwood's SOS review thoughts to keep you going until then ;)

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/no ... unchkey-88

...and specifically:

"As for the keyboard action, it’s synth‑style, at least 1cm shorter than a typical hammer action, and subjectively quite light and springy, but of really good quality. It’s notably quiet in use, with a quite luxurious damped feel at the bottom of the key travel. That may well be connected to the fact that there’s no aftertouch sensitivity, which will be disappointing for some users, but on the up side the velocity response is very well graded and can be switched to light or heavy curves, or to a fixed full‑output response."

The absence of aftertouch would sadly rule it out for my purposes, although it's a mighty purty device all the same :thumbup:
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Re: Novation Launchkey 88 - well done!

Post by The Elf »

I agree that the lack of aftertouch (and it really should have had poly AT - it's 2023, for heaven's sake!) is a huge black blot on an otherwise glistening list of features. For my live rig I can live with it, since I have other AT-able options, but it is a pain.

I think that manufacturers play fast and loose with the 'semi-weighted' moniker. I'd say that this is essentially 'synth' action. I've had other keyboards that claimed to be 'semi-weighted', yet weren't. Launchkeys is a bit light for piano performance (read 'loads of bum notes' here!), but for anything else it's fine.

I prefer synth action keyboards, and I like Launchkeys a lot. It feels quite 'classy' - not quite a Fatar, but not clattery like a Nektar.
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Re: Novation Launchkey 88 - well done!

Post by Arpangel »

Strooth £316
I may have to investigate, how does it compare to the cheap M-Audio 8, key action , apart from knobs etc, I’m wondering.
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