Akai Professional has announced the addition of VIP 2.0 software with the highly-acclaimed Creative FX Plus suite to its revolutionary family of Advance keyboards.

Advance keyboards transformed the MIDI controller market by including VIP 1.0 software that enabled artists to control their entire VST library directly from the keyboard using a fullcolour 4.3-inch display, providing real-time control and feedback of any and all virtual instrument parameters.

With VIP 2.0, musicians can now 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 hours of 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 for a full 1:1 workstation style experience.

The all-new AIR FX Plus collection features 20 premier classic audio plugins (formerly from Pro Tools®) in AU/VST formats, for creative production, mixing and mastering, including reverbs, compressors, equalizers, delays, filters and more. Plus, the FX Plus collection adds eight all new FX (in AAX, AU and VST), expertly created by the AIR team based on extensive feedback and requests from customers in the field.

The end result is 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 enormous 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 sonic possibilities of layering up to 8 different VST instruments, each with their own effects, are staggering. To be able to recall Effects Stacks or Multis with a single patch change from the keyboard makes the solution incredibly powerful for live performances or studio use. Artists can concentrate on their creativity, without being distracted by complex DAW setups.

Live and studio performers will also love the new Custom Control Mode, which enables users to map any plugin parameter from any VST (instrument or effect) to any VIP-enabled keyboard’s knobs or buttons. This gives musicians total creative freedom when playing and controlling sounds from small individual instruments to large Multis with integrated effects—further expanding the musician’s improvisational capabilities.

“By adding complete effects control in VIP 2.0, artists will now be able to control all their VSTs and effects right from their keyboard, without any distractions or slowdowns,” said Dan Gill, Senior Product Manager for Akai Professional.

He added, “The Advance Keyboards equipped with VIP 2.0 + AIR Creative FX Plus gives artists an unequalled array of creative tools. We’re not aware of anything that can match this new combination.”

Purchased separately, the Creative FX Collection Plus retails in excess of £100 GBP, but it is included 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 with MSRPs of £299.99 GBP, £399.99 GBP and £469.99 GBP respectively.

The Advance Keyboards and VIP2.0 will be showcased at Musikmesse 2016, 7-4.10.16, Frankfurt am Main, Hall 9.1, Stand #D61.

More information: Akai Professional / Advance keyboards