Akai Advance 49

Finally, a board that treats every VSTi like a VIP
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Usually, you don’t run out and buy a premiumprice keyboard controller because of its included software. The Akai Advance series does also include a better-than-average collection of plug-in instruments and loops that usually illicit a mildly interested sniff from a user before he or she moves on, but the main attraction is the VIP (VST Instrument Player) software, which turns the Advance keyboards into direct controllers of any VSTi.

With the Advance 49 and VIP, you can browse, launch, control, and map any of your VSTi plugins in any host software, because VIP itself runs as a VST, AU, or AAX plug-in. VIP automatically maps the plug-in to the Advance’s colored pads, pots, and buttons, and you can customize the mappings. You can also create a Multi from up to eight VSTis loaded simultaneously in VIP, which is amazing for auditioning sounds and sound design.

The Advance also throws in the huge boon of a 4.3-inch color display, which shows the browser and other key features of the VIP software, so you can choose sounds and edit and perform them with minimal back-and-forth from the computer screen.