Novation Launchkey 88 Review: New 88-Key MIDI Keyboard from Novation! (2023)

Novation Launchkey 88 Review

Novation Launchkey 88

Rating: 4 out of 5.
  • Adjustable dynamic curves
  • 16 RGB Illuminated velocity-sensitive pads
  • 8 Rotary controls
  • 9 Faders: 45 mm

Novation Launchkey 88 Review

The Novation Launchkey 88 MK3 88-Key Keyboard Controller is the proper companion for contemporary songwriting and production. With highly effective inventive options to maintain inspiration flowing, premium keys for expressive playing, help for all main DAWs, and an intensive software program bundle, Launchkey 88 has everything needed to make, write and record inspired music directly out of the box.

Made for expressive efficiency, Novation‘s premium semi-weighted keyboard is about apart from the remainder of the Launchkey range, optimized for a responsive feel and tactile suggestions. Designed for the player, Launchkey 88 is set up to seize each detail. Make more of your favorite DAW with devoted and seamless integration.

You’ll have intuitive management of all the key production and efficiency performance in Ableton Live, Logic, and Cubase, in addition to the important mixer, transport, and navigation controls for all different major DAWs together with studio One, Pro Tools, and Reaper, via HUI. You may create without limits by bringing 88 premium semi-weighted keys to the inventive instruments Launchkey is known for.

Rework your sound with modern options together with Scale and ChordModes, and a powerful arpeggiator. Custom Modes and a five-pin MIDI output remodel Launchkey 88 into a robust centerpiece for any player’s setup, whether or not on stage or in the studio. Combine modes to take your music in new directions, uncover concepts effortlessly, and remain inspired.

Novation Logo

Everything You Need To Know On Novation Launchkey 88

The aptly-named Launchkey 88 has 88 semi-weighted keys, setting it aside from the opposite members of the Launchkey lineup and making it extra appropriate for individuals who desire piano-style playing expertise.

Semi-weighted isn’t identical to fully-weighted but Novation has struck pleasant stability of playability and responsiveness whereas additionally benefiting from the weight saving that semi-weighting permits. The unit is lighter than you may count on at around 11kg, and its casing feels comparatively compact contemplating its full-range keyboard.

It powers and sends data over a USB-B port on the rear, which means some clients will need adapters. There’s a full-size sustain pedal input which is fairly important for extra inventive playing, a lock port, and a MIDI DIN output port for connecting to different hardware.

The keyboard can function in standalone mode (you’ll nonetheless power it over USB) and there’s a free app, Components, that allows you to configure the onboard controls nonetheless you need and save them into 4 Custom modes.

As you’d hope, there are some acquainted Launchkey tools that will help you with performance, and the keyboard’s player techniques work each in computer and standalone modes. First up is Scale mode that, when activated, ensures any wrongly pressed keys are conformed to the chosen scale, making it not possible to play out of key.

Then there’s Chord mode with three choices: Fixed for pre-setting your personal chords, Scale, which auto-generates chords primarily based on a scale, and User, where you possibly can assign a customized chord to each of the 16 pads. There’s additionally an arpeggiator mode with intelligent options like Rhythm, which provides grooves to an arp sequence, and Strum, which helps you to carry out the arp using the mod wheel.

For extra expressive playing, an 88-key controller will all the time supply superior expertise over smaller keybeds. Although semi-weighted quite than fully-weighted, the Launchkey 88 provides an easy and responsive playing floor, its controller options are well-laid out and DAW integration is in-depth. Customizing through the Components app provides one other layer of utility when connecting to MIDI hardware. General, it’s a really dependable controller for your studio.

There are some odd peculiarities right now, although, that can presumably get ironed out in firmware and script updates fairly quickly. In particular, Live will get confused by playing within the higher octaves. There are a few useless zones, from G4 through E5, for instance, and a few keys within the highest octave set off varied recording modes instead of notes. However, this solely occurs in Live.

The arpeggiator remains to be incredible, although. The random, Mutate and Deviate options make it straightforward to create distinctive patterns and introduce just a little unpredictability to a composition. That is the function that has us coming back to the Launchkey line time and again in our personal studio.

And the five-pin MIDI DIN connection lets you deliver that top-notch arpeggiator to hardware synths. Nonetheless, we still assume the controller is best suited to a mostly software-based setup.

Novation Launchkey 88 Features:

  • Transport control
  • Pitch and modulation wheel
  • Integrated arpeggiator with strum mode
  • Scale and chord modes: fixed, scale and user
  • Display with 2x 16 characters
  • USB and MIDI connection
  • Sustain pedal input: 6.3 mm jack
  • One-touch access to “Capture MIDI” in Ableton, “Capture Recording” in Logic and “Retrospective MIDI Record” in Cubase

Why You Need the Novation Launchkey 88

When you will compare functions and the price of this unit, you will understand that this is a bargain. Plus you are getting something 2022 new with the latest and best used in it. Novation is one other brand that never disappointed in terms of surprising us with their devices and the Novation Launchkey 88 is no exception.

If you wish to expand and get a keyboard with more keys, 88 to be precise and to be new on the market – this is the right choice for you.

8.5Expert Score
Novation Launchkey 88 Review

The Novation Launchkey 88 MK3 88-Key Keyboard Controller is the proper companion for contemporary songwriting and production.

  • It has 9 Faders
  • Aftertouch on Drum Pads
  • Brand new Modes and Features
  • Compatible with most DAWs
  • Semi-weighted Keys
  • No aftertouch on Keys


The Launchkey 88 isn’t a real luxurious MIDI controller. It’s actually an affordable workhorse. But it surely does go a bit past a few of its more affordable opponents, and even its siblings. The expansive dimension most likely isn’t needed for many producers, however, the semi-weighted keybed does make an enormous distinction in playability.

In case you’re having any questions when it comes to this unit, please let us know in the comment section below or reach out to the Novation website and get in touch with their customer care!


Nikoloski is the founder and main content writer and editor of Mixing Tips. With his experience in audio engineering, mixing, and mastering for over 15 years, will provide hands-on experience and expertise in all the matters covered on this website.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Mixing Tips
Shopping cart