Best 88 Keyboards On The Market

The best 88 keyboard Guide To Fingertip Harmony

First of all why 88?  88 is a common standard number of keys that most of the pianos and therefore, piano-like keyboards are made of. Not going any deeper in defining the details of music theory, but 88 means that the keyboard has exactly 52 white keys and 36 black keys. Which further means they all match up to 7 octaves plus a minor thirdHowever, we are here for much more Hip Hop producer-adopted versions of digital keys. 

Era Of Digital Keyboards

In the Era of digital piano keyboards, the job of a producer became much more practical. Even though there are still super-high price tags on some of those insanely realistic models of piano instruments, most of them are much more accessible to own. Their specifications exceed most producers expectations.


Weight Of Keys

One of the main features in digital keyboard is the weight of its keys. What is the meaning behind this? Every piano has a thing called hammer, the whole system that enables the pianist to actually hear a note played when pressing any desired key on a piano keyboard. When the key is pressed, the hammer acts like, a custom made hammer, hitting the tuned string dedicated to that exact  key or tone.


Still Hammer Time!

Nowdays, manufacturers really outdo themselves in creating the best possible digital systems of the hammers responses, that act almost impeccably the same as ones of a real acoustic and grand piano. Making you feel like your fingers are on the authentic piano. Hence the reason why, the weight of the keys are perfectly corresponding to the actual concert piano.

The Differemce Between Weighted Keys & Key Sensitivity

Key sensitivity and touch sensitivity as it can also be called, is one of the best advantages of a digital piano against a classical one. It means you can actually adjust the level of sensitivity when your fingers press on the keys, which no real piano has. Although, it’s one of the greatest things to pianists to be able to play all sorts of musical pieces with their trained fingers. However, in modern music production it is not something of such a delicate importance. The creativity and idea for the main composition is what counts the best. As we beatmakers know (Work flow).

Hard, Medium & Soft

Key sensitivity ranging from hard, medium, soft and fixed is our golden mine. You can play with pressure and velocity as much as you want. But let`s also not stop here. There are also specially designed weighted keys digital piano keyboards that bring closer the reality of acoustic “soundation”.  But again, for us Hip Hop producers, the weighted key system really is not the key necessity here. Only if your goal is to be an actual pianist, then look into the semi or fully weighted additions. Here, the basic touch sensitivity works just enough magic.

A Tip For Key weight

Some more good tips to follow include a really not so truly informative product service. Most of the keyboards that you will run into, although categorized as weighted key ones, are actually not weighted at all, or are semi-weighted. Which again, makes a big difference.

Semi – Weighted Keys

On the other side, as a, well I`m tempted to say, simple producer 😉 , even the semi-weighted ones help immensely. And believe me, you won`t even feel or should I say care about the difference once you get into your creative zone. You WILL though have longer time of adaptation to the weighted key models. Especially if you previously used any type of touch-sensitive keyboard.

Best Result?

I work with a MIDI controller  with semi-weighted keys, and still manage to work the heat up. 🙂 And I strongly recommend buying any type of semi-weighted machine, rather than full, if you are a beginner.  After you work that level up, then you can think about using and getting used to something much more serious


The Voice Library And Connections Type

One of the respectful features in digital 88 keyboards is of course the internal memory and the number of assigned voices/samples/instruments. The modern keyboard is nothing without a high-quality voice pack. Also, very crucial thing here are the output ports. Two most important ones are external headphone out and MIDI Out. 


Pitch Bend

Pitch Bend as the third best option you must have on a purchasing digital piano keyboard is another awesome addition. A pitch bend is maybe one of the most used control key wheels of any electronic producer today. Its ability to instantly pitch or “bend” the note in use several tones up or down has opened a galactic door in producer`s composing creativity. To me, it`s like a 3D painting brush that drops out new, unseen colors.

Polyphony

Polyphony means the number of pitches or notes that a keyboard can produce at once. You have probably heard in basic description of a 88 keyboard piano, or any digital piano at all, that is has a 64 note polypony, or 32, 128 etc. What this means is that one key, once pressed may contain 32, 54 or more voices or notes activating on just one key press. Is this cool or what? Theory rocks! 🙂

The Nutshell

And last but not least, when picking out the best 88 keyboards on the market you should make sure that the outside shell material also tops the level of quality. If the keys underneath your fingers feel plastic-like or they actually are, immediately stop with the examination of that particular model and move on to the next one. Luckily this article will make everything way much easier, so you won`t be wondering around the store Alice style ;).

Best 88 Keyboards On The Market

Our list is made based on couple of notation marks. Beside the obvious price and user review/quality factors, we also thought about the mobility. Although not so important to many owning a studio or home workplace, still most prefer more mobile versions of keyboards. Ones that take less space and less weight too.

The Best 88 Keys List

Casio PX760 BK Privia Digital Home Piano, Black
    • Yamaha P-115

Yamaha P115 88 Key Digital Piano – Black
    • Korg LP-380

Korg LP-380 88-Key Real Weighted Hammer Action Grand Piano – Black with Padded Bench,Stereo Headphone and Zorro Sounds Piano Polishing Cloth
    • Kawai ES 100

Kawai ES100 88-key Digital Piano with Speakers

 

tanja cookbeat

Producer/Blogger/Music Critic

32-year-old self-taught artist (Hip Hop producer/dj, blogger/critic, quote writer/enthusiast photographer)…. Certified Fitness Coach. Former Ryan Leslie`s “BPBC” member. Occasionally on a Composer Agreement with LA`s “Smash Haus Music Group”. Owner of online personal label “CoCo Beatz Music Group”. Certified Fitness Coach (has 17 years in recreational bodybuilding). Living for Hip Hop Culture.

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