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Akai's Advance keyboards get major VIP 2.0 update

Akai has announced the addition of VIP 2.0 software with the Creative FX Plus suite to their family of Advance keyboards.

While the VIP 1.0 software enabled artists to control their entire VST library directly from the keyboard using a full-colour 4.3-inch display, VIP 2.0 now allows musicians to apply the same approach for the included AIR Creative FX Plus alongside their existing compatible VST effect collection.

Using the built-in “tagging” function, users can quickly filter and search through every single instrument or effect patch in their plugin library, saving time when needing to find a specific sound or effect quickly, or when simply mining their libraries for sounds they haven’t used before. After a patch is selected, VIP 2.0 auto-maps the keyboard’s controls to the selected plugin, and displays the plugin parameters directly on the keyboard’s full-colour display.

The new AIR FX Plus collection features 20 classic audio plugins in AU/VST formats, for creative production, mixing and mastering, including reverbs, compressors, equalizers, delays, filters and more. The FX Plus collection also adds eight all new FX (in AAX, AU and VST) created by the AIR team.

The end result is announced as a keyboard that fuses the power of software instruments and effects with the live playability of a keyboard workstation, transforming computer-based VST instruments and effects into an entirely hands-on playing experience.

In addition to playing and controlling plugins, VIP 2.0 gives musicians and producers a larger creative potential using “Multis,” combining up to 8 patches from 1 or more plugins. Users can add up to 4 effects sends and inserts to each slot of their Multis. These effects can also be saved as Effects Stacks, and quickly recalled for fast auditioning or used in different setups.

The new Custom Control Mode enables users to map any plugin parameter from any VST (instrument or effect) to any VIP-enabled keyboard’s knobs or buttons, enhancing creative freedom when playing and controlling sounds from small individual instruments to large Multis with integrated effects—a feature supposed to further expand the musician’s improvisational capabilities.

Purchased separately, the Creative FX Collection Plus retails in excess of £100, but it is currently included (and for a limited time) at no additional cost in VIP 2.0. Akai Advance keyboards with VIP 2.0 + AIR Creative FX Plus are available now in 25-, 49- and 61-key versions.