Arturia KeyLab Essential 88 MK3, new budget USB MIDI keyboard with 88 keys

SYNTH ANATOMY uses affiliation & partner programs (big red buttons) to finance a part of the activity. If you use these, you support the website. Thanks! 

Arturia KeyLab Essential 88 MK3 is a new budget-friendly USB MIDI keyboard with 88 semi-weighted keys, new design, and more.

Last year Arturia updated its budget-friendly USB MIDI keyboard series KeyLab Essential with new 49 and 61 versions. With a new design and new function but still only velocity keybed.

Now, the series is being expanded with an 88-key version with the same features as the previous 49 and 61 keys. 

Arturia KeyLab Essential 88 MK3

Arturia KeyLab Essential 88 MK3

This move was expected as the 88 Mk2 version continued to be sold even though the new MK3 had already been on the market for almost a year. Now, the KeyLab Essential 88 MK3 is also getting the update it deserves.

Arturia promises that the new KeyLab Essential 88 mk3 offers simply the best value for a full 88-note range, semi-weighted keyboard on the market. Perfect for DAW production, hybrid setups, and controlling MIDI hardware instruments.

The keybed is semi-weighted, has 88 keys, and offers velocity but without aftertouch. Arturia said in its press release that they have improved the keyed in the MK3 version. So if you need aftertouch, you must dig deeper in your pockets. It also applies to keyboards with 88 keys from other manufacturers.

Then, it hosts the same modern features as the 49 and 61 versions, including handy scale mode, chord mode, and arpeggiator.

The control panel has been redesigned while retaining the essential elements. Like the previous MK2, it offers nine assignable faders and knobs. There are also two wheels for pitch bend and modulation and eight RGB-lit pads for drums or starting clips.

Arturia KeyLab Essential 88 MK3

An upgrade also got the display. Arturia has replaced the predecessor’s little 2-line display with a 2.5-inch LC display. Plus, four context-dependent buttons are intended to ensure more intuitive operation.

Besides this, you recall your settings, and it comes with custom DAW integrations for FL Studio, Ableton Live, Logic Pro, and more. Of course, you can control all Arturia software products (V Collection, FX Collection, Pigments) with the keyboard controls.

On the backside, there is no surprise. You get a sustain pedal input, a 5-pin MIDI output, and a USB-C connection.

In addition, it ships with a big software package: Arturia Analog Lab Pro, Ableton Live Lite, Native Instruments The Gentleman, and UVI Model D. There are also trial subscriptions for Loopcloud and Melodics. 

First Impression

It’s nice to see that the KeyLab Essential MK3 series is now complete.  

Arturia KeyLab Essential 88 MK3 will soon be available for 399€ in white or black. 

More information here: Arturia 

Available at my partner


Audio & MIDI News


  1. I had been anticipating the release of this product to decide between purchasing it or the NI S88 MK3. Arturia made the decision easier for me by excluding features such as aftertouch and polyphony. I just placed an order for the NI S88.

  2. There are some companies, that release updates for their products even ten years later. NI hardware is often tailored to be used with their software, therefore end-of-life is much more problematic. Arturia keyboards on the other hand are mostly general purpose controllers. In fact I owned an “Arturia Analog Experience THE LABORATORY 61” about ten years ago. This controller keyboard is listed in their latest MIDI Control Center software, so I still could use it today on modern computers with modern software. Just saying_

    • at least you can still use the Mk1 version as a regular MIDI controller. If you fine without the NKS software, they are still great MIDI controllers.

      • I can still use it with the older Komplete Kontrol v2 (NKS). This NI concept of tight hardware integration with their software of course has many advantages. The KK MK1 together with MASCHINE is a very powerful combo. But as a customer, you always have to accept, that NI will kick you out of their update routine after some time.

  3. No aftertouch: LOL. Useless piece of gear.

    So they will sell a far more expensive model that will take even more space on the desk, bloated with useless functions + aftertouch. Useless gear anyways.

    • I’m pretty sure music tech companies sell more non-aftertouch keyboards as it’s more the bread-and-butter market. Entry level, bedroom producers etc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.