Roland A-88MKII MIDI Keyboard Controller just got a Free MIDI 2.0 update.

When Roland A-88MKII MIDI keyboard  was launched, in early 2020, one of the promises was that it was ‘MIDI 2.0-ready’. The updated MIDI standard’s rollout has been rather slow, but perhaps it’s starting to gather some momentum. A free update means that the next-gen interfacing standard is now fully supported.

Roland seems optimistic that more instruments and apps are in the works, though, and paints a rosy picture of what MIDI 2.0 will bring to your creative life. “Pianos will perfectly reflect the most subtle keyboard playing techniques, orchestral sounds will be more acoustic and lifelike, and synthesizer textures will respond to performance gestures like never before,” we’re assured.

In addition, it is also worth noting that, thanks to MIDI 2.0’s bi-directional communication capabilities, it should also enable your DAW to instantly map a supported controller, and to recognise the patches in your hardware synth and give you software control of them. This level of convenience could end up being one of the new standard’s MIDI 2.0 features.

So, what does that actually mean? How this will actually impact your music-making. In theory, MIDI 2.0 will bring various benefits, such as – in Roland’s words – “dramatically increased musical expressivity”. This relies not only on your keyboard being compatible, though, but also whatever you’re controlling with it.

Though A-88MK11 is not the only MIDI 2.0-equipped keyboard in the market; Korg recently released the Keystage, which comes in 49- and 61-note varieties and also offers polyphonic aftertouch. However, the good news is that the A-88MKII remains an excellent 88-note controller, offering a winning action that we described as “a joy to play”.


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