Akai is replying to Native Instruments with a new series of controller keyboards with plug-in and DAW parameters integration.
The new Akai Advance Series will be officially introduced at NAMM 2015 next week. It features three 25, 49 and 61-key models, all equipped with advanced control for hundreds of virtual instruments and DAW parameters.
The three MIDI keyboards are provided with semi-weighted, velocity-sensitive keys with aftertouch, modulation and pitch-bend wheels, high resolution 4.3” color display, 8 endless encoders for the continuously variable control of the settings, a transport section as well as performance, octave and pad bank buttons. Unlike the Native Instruments Kontrol S, the Akai Advance keyboards include 8 MPC-type velocity and pressure-sensitive, RGB backlit pads. You can also directly access note repeat, time division, pattern arpeggiator and tap tempo features.
You’ll find on the back of each keyboard a USB MIDI port, 5-pin DIN MIDI input and output as well as footswitch and expression pedal inputs.
The Akai Advance can operate as standalone controllers but thanks to the VIP application, that works both as a VST, AU and AAX plug-in and standalone virtual instrument player, you’ll access you plug-in collection and will be able to freely organize it. VIP allows you to edit and mix up to 8 virtual instruments at once (the number of VIP instance is unlimited), access hundreds of virtual instrument parameters, create patches and switch between patches quickly from the keyboard via the Setlist feature. The software also offers keyboard split, custom mapping and mixing option features.
Last, Akai provides a 16GB software collection with the AIR Music Technology and SONiVOX virtual instruments (Loom, Velvet, Hybrid 3, XPand2, Transfuser, Vacuum Pro and Eighty Eight) as well as sample and loop content from Toolroom Records.
The Akai Advance 25, 49 and 61 will be available in a few weeks for US prices of $399.99, $499.99 and $599.99 respectively, which is inferior to the Kontrol S models. The only question is: are the construction quality and performance as good as the Native Instruments’? We’ll tell you more about this next week.
Discover the Advance series at www.akaipro.com.