Akai Pro Advance Keyboard Controller Hands-On Overview


Akai Pro has released a hands-on demo video for its new Advance Keyboard MIDI Controller series:

The Advance Keyboard series – available in 25-, 49-, and 61-key sizes – has been designed to marry the power of software instruments with the live playability of a keyboard workstation.

The Advance controllers feature an integrated 4.3-inch display and work with any VSTi virtual instrument, using the Advance keyboard’s Virtual Instrument Player (VIP) software application. VIP operates as a plugin inside your digital audio workstation (DAW) or as a stand-alone application, on both Mac and Windows operating systems.

Akai_Pro_Advance25_angleA wide variety of physical controls are also included, with RGB backlit, velocity- and pressure-sensitive pads integrated into each keyboard surface, rubberized pitch and modulation wheels, continuously-variable endless knobs, and a semi-weighted, velocity-sensitive keybed which supports aftertouch.

Akai Professional’s new Advance 25, Advance 49, and Advance 61 keyboards have suggested retail prices of $399.99, $499.99, and $599.99, respectively.  For more information, visit the Akai Pro Advance keyboard website.



21 thoughts on “Akai Pro Advance Keyboard Controller Hands-On Overview

  1. This sort of thing has legs but it needs to be DAW led, otherwise you just got a layer of shite getting in the way of everything. It needs to have that tight focus on the DAW feeding everything on the keyboard and its display with direct interrogation to that DAW – like with the Ableton Push thing, it not only functions, but does so tight without an extra layer of junk.

      1. Unless you are using the Panorama with Ableton Live in which case is a VERY basic controller for the DAW, leaving you to create mappings to your VSTs. I’ve been told by Nektar developers that this is an issue with Live not willing to work with them.

        The Panorama is a superb controller for other DAWs though. The way it integrates with Reason cannot be beat.

  2. He left this out:

    “If youre a MPK49 user, you’ll love the AKAI Pro Advanced! Because quality is a word no longer associated with AKAI, the AKAI Pro Advanced will probably crap out on you in a similar fashion as the MPK49. You’ll be lucky if you can squeeze out a whole year with light use before everything on this bad boy falls apart. Here at AKAI our motto is ‘Why have one paper weight when you can have two at double the price?’.”

    1. You took the words right out of my mouth. My first gen MPK 49 has keys that no longer register without MASHING them, which really makes my soloing sounds rough, lol. And the pads… egads, they somehow are able to suck and blow at the same time.
      I’ve babied the damn thing since I bought it; it gets very light use (aside from me now having to mash the keys). Just because something uses metal in its construction doesn’t mean it’s “built like a tank”. Maybe they’ve gotten better at QA, but the MPK turned me off the AKAi for the foreseeable future. Yeah, the demo above looks cool, but I’ve been burnt, and am not going back to them. The Nektar is what I’m buying in a few months.

  3. “Advance keyboard’s Virtual Instrument Player (VIP) software application” also known as a Plug-in Wrapper. That is why I love my Panorama P6. My DAW and plug-ins are left untouched.

  4. Build quality is good. I don’t know about the other AKAI products (besides PUSH that i have too) I totally can’t understand the rant about things falling apart. And yes VIP is a plug-in wrapper and a damn good one you can configure like you want if you aren’t happy with the initial setup. The Advance is what I was always looking for for my VSTs: Something that enables me to easily find presets, tweak them and just record. All the rest (tweaking more, etc.) I do in the DAW itself.

  5. This sort of thing – having your MIDI controllers smart enough to ‘talk’ to your DAW – is the future.

    But ONLY if manufacturers can get together and standardize it. Right now you’ve got Akai requiring a ‘wrapper’, Native requiring a new VST format, Elektron requiring custom VSTi’s, etc.

    So there’s no synergy of companies working together, like there’s been with MIDI.

    1. I don’t think you are going to see true cooperation. It looks like each DAW is forming partnerships with hardware people and focusing on that instead. Buy Ableton, get Push. Buy Reason, get a Panorama…..

  6. I agree. Although the approach of AKAI is impressive.

    What do you do when your softsynth has 100+ parameters? According to the info you may map the most important ones to the 8 encoders. That is something. A good start for the casual user.

    The advanced user and sound designer will probably prefer a custom interface with all parameters. Of course this can’t be accomplished with 8 encoders and a small display.

    What AKAI did is in my opinion a good thing. Personally I won’t get one of their keyboards, but it is somehow the best one can get without programming your own controller.

      1. Not! I had the Panorama before getting the Advance, and the P4 is a pain in the ass compared to the ease of use oof the Advance!

  7. This is a controller for *playing* plugins and recording automation, not fine-tuning hundreds of parameters. If you need to go into fine detail editing, what better interface than the native plugin UI in your computer ?
    For live playing and recording, though, Advance + VIP seriously rock. The wrapping solution is much better than automap, as it doesn’t create hundreds of copies of your plugins.

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