M-Audio Debuts CTRL 49 Keyboard Controller at 2016 NAMM Show

M-Audio_CTRL49_keyboard_controllerM-Audio announced the introduction of their latest controller, the CTRL 49, at the 2016 NAMM Show today . The new keyboard provides advanced control of virtual instruments and DAWs via a full-color, high-resolution 4.3-inch screen. As the name indicates, it features a 49-key semi-weighted keybed, and, say company officials, the directional cluster of hardware controls “has been meticulously thought out for effortless operation.”

The CTRL 49 is powered by the Virtual Instrument Player (VIP) software (included). VIP software enables users to access any VSTi virtual instrument or effect in their computer directly from the keyboard. Users can filter and search through every patch in their plug-in library by using the built-in tagging function. VIP automatically maps the CTRL 49’s controls to the selected plug-in, and displays the plug-in parameters directly on the full-color display, providing a more “natural and familiar” 1:1 workstation-style experience.

VIP software in the CTRL 49 can also create a new multi directly from the keyboard. Using a multi, producers can combine up to 8 patches from 1 or more plug-ins, and have the option to layer, mix and pan these patches all at once. Users can even set keyboard splits and transpose individual patches within their multi. This allows users to save all the new sounds they’ve created and recall them at any point.

For use in live performance, VIP software also creates “set lists” that quickly deliver access to virtual instruments and effects. With the press of a single button, users can switch to the next plug-in they want, without the use of a computer.

M-Audio CTRL 49 Features:

  • Integrated 4.3-inch high-resolution full-color screen with dedicated interface buttons
  • Screen provides 1:1 real-time feedback of plugin parameters
  • Includes Virtual Instrument Player software— load, play and control any VST or effect plugin quickly
  • Mackie/HUI for DAW control
  • 49-key M-Audio semi-weighted keybed
  • 9 faders and 8 buttons with Mackie Control® and HUI® for seamless control of the DAW
  • Performance-ready 360-degree encoders
  • FX button for future VIP updates
  • 4 banks of 8 velocity- and pressure-sensitive drum pads with RGB illumination
  • Roll mode, time division, transport, arpeggiator, and tap tempo buttons
  • Functions as a standalone MIDI controller or controls your plugins and DAW simultaneously
  • Includes software: Ableton Live Lite, AIR Creative Collection FX (20 World Class FX
  • AU/VST plugins as made famous by Pro Tools®), Vacuum Pro, Loom, Hybrid 3, Xpand!2, Velvet, Transfuser, Eighty Eight Ensemble

Pricing and Availability. The M-Audio CTRL 49 controller keyboard will be available in the second quarter of 2016, and has a U.S. retail price of $499. For more information, go to the M-Audio website.

20 thoughts on “M-Audio Debuts CTRL 49 Keyboard Controller at 2016 NAMM Show

  1. They should at least put venom in each of their controllers. Quite hard to understand what are they aiming for when releasing a new controller every year. They’re even not that different.

  2. Looks like we can count on more of these integrated controllers with their own mapping software. Love that it has the plugins included in the software. I think we are seeing the beginning stages of the software comeback as the analog thing plays out to some extent (been fun). I prefer software at this point to buying cheap analog gear. The analog stuff shines on the more expensive gear like the DSI products

  3. “has been meticulously thought out for effortless operation.”

    Not like that last controller that had the pads on the left below the pitch/mod wheels – nice to know they are thinking about people actually using controllers this time around – WTF? That’s your job!

    But, I wonder who is requesting these controllers with an extra layer of muddle?

    I have my DAW that runs all my music software as close to perfection as you can get, which is highly responsive to my controllers. And now these hardware makers want to enforce an extra layer between my DAW and controller, I don’t want that, I don’t know who wants that, or is asking for it? I spent a good amount of time keeping my workflow as tight and efficient as it can be – this stuff doesn’t make the grade.

    1. I see where your coming from. Just like I don’t particularly like the DAWs that want me to mix on a separate platform from the DAW. I do like the idea of these controllers, but in practicality, probably best to keep things simpler. I would rather see more cooperation between company’s, so that certain controllers have a better chance of working with specific software. Sortof like the Nektar/Bitwig relationship. Though I do believe every controller should have a hold/freeze function for live playing, just a pet peeve.

  4. Christ! How many controllers are on the market right now? Now…How many useless controllers are on the market right now. Besides Akai’s MPk series which is pretty awesome with the key command buttons for things like undo and copy/paste as well as a ton of knobs and pads, and the Kontrol s- series for exclusively working with Native instruments which is awesome there with the light grib and scales and chords, every other keyboard controller is the exact same, give or take a few sliders and knobs.
    FYI, analog is back, hardcore. If you take into consideration the genres of music that are using electronic sounds, 60-70% of them are using analog gear. I’m pulling that out of my ass but its up there. The amount of DIY analog gear, to the Korg explosion, arturia, even Akai jumped on board with their shitty gear. Analog is doing something. Yes, its expensive, so is a good car or a nice vacation. Keyboard controllers are the six flags of vacations. Analog is like going to Hawaii.

    1. Keyboard controllers are like taking a yo yo and hitting someone in the face with it in a 90s Super Nintendo game about a “radical skateboarding dude.” Analog is like being in a full-on mech suit in a 2016 Playstation 4 game about saving the world from aliens that are actually angels or some shit. Did anyone see Battlestar Gallactica? I couldn’t make the through the whole thing, got too dark. You know, maybe I’ll buy a SNES… Those games were fun.

    2. Yes, analog has made a huge comeback the last 10 years, with the past 3-4 years being incredible when you factor in modular equipment. I love the power of analog and I have enough pedals/mixers/synths that can give me that quality. But the point is that it may be hitting its apex (i.e., saturation). I can feel it when I start to hear about new analog synths coming out. The OB6 would have blown us away 3-4 years ago, now its more like “cool, glad they made it”. Regarding the costs, I have one “nice” car, that’s it. And I take a “nice” vacation every few years. So I am only going to be able to afford to collect one or two “nice” synths, just like guitars or drums. And young kids starting out cant afford 2k for a synth, when they still will likely need a lot of other equipment for their studio or to play live.

      My real point is software has been a dog for a number of years because of saturation while the analog push happened and everyone loaded up on that gear. So a turnaround should be expected and welcomed as computers become more powerful. My Nave and Animoog apps are just incredible when you start to dig into them so this idea that you need all analog doesn’t fly with me, and that’s coming from someone who has played in live bands for 20 years and knows the quality of good sound. Either way, we all win if these companies continue to try and push the envelope with software and analog equipment.

      1. I think the turnaround happened around 18 months ago, a lot of people want pure digital synths at a good price, and not a digital synth pretending to be an analogue – likely take the companies another 5 years to realize it is all too little, too late. Been going down a rabbit-hole for 10 years of this retro-grade bullsh*t.

  5. Knobs far on the right side – extremely awkward when you just want to tweak a sound while playing. What’s next? Pitch wheel on the right side?

  6. A direct assault on the Nektar controller, which has a motorized fader, and, I suspect, much higher build quality than this item. M-Audio’s history of slow to no software updates make this a risky buy.

    1. Nectar doesn’t ‘use any wrapper …and thats the huge advantage they have above any other “smart” midi controller in the market atm

    1. I actually love the feel of the two Axiom controllers I have used. A little more stiff than some of the others I have played, felt more (but not) like a piano feel. I will say that their attempt at the Hyperlink (or whatever it was called) was a disaster, but I think the company was changing hands at that point, so someone obviously shelved that idea. But software is fickle in general sometimes, so that’s life in the world of efficiencies and progress.

  7. We are going to look back at all the rainbow bright LEDs no different than how we look back at 80’s fashion today. It will clearly define a moment in time.

  8. Neat. Another midi controller that 8 sliders with 8 buttons and 8 knobs with 8 buttons (because synthesizers are totally laid out that way, right?). Even better: on totally separate sides of the surface. Because, handy.

    Also handy: really bright multi-colored lights all over the place so the last thing your mind can think about is actually playing music.

    Let’s not forget: M-Audio is owned by InMusic which is actively ripping off Roger Linn. “Jack O’ Donnell is a bastard” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goKoUQSlNAE

  9. I will never own à maudio product anymore. Last time was the Air49. What a bad support from maudio. They never fix the problem with the 8 knob. You can only use them with Hyper V. If not, the precision was awful.

  10. Loving the VIP software from what I’ve seen sofar. Would be amazingly cool if they created an app for the iPad to add touch screen support.

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