AKAI VIP 3.1 is a bold attempt at a new standard in MIDI integration
We all have plugins in our library which could use a boost in compatibility, Akai VIP attempts to do that.
Whether it’s the lack of MIDI learning capabilities, or less-than-perfect patch browsers, Akai endeavours to address these issues with each and every update of their VIP software.
One of my favourite features is the standalone VST player.
Often, I’m in a situation where I have a few moments to spare and a sound design idea in mind, having to wait for the DAW to load is not the best time spent.
Another massive feature, is the ability to create multi-timbral patches using up to 8 virtual instruments.
You can stack up all your favourite plugins to create layered soundscapes. You can then apply keyboard split functions to the layers, assigning bass to the lower keys and leads to the higher keys, for example.
Akai VIP also allows you to create effect stacks, using a multitude of effects plugins, and save the “racks” to recall at any moment.
Adding to the set of awesome features, VIP 3.1 introduces “Macro” controls, giving you the ability to assign multiple parameters to a single control in any plugin.
There is a slight set-back though…
For the time being, Akai VIP 3.1 only gives you the full functionality with a series of Akai, Alesis and M-Audio MIDI Controllers.
Hopefully other manufacturers will get on board and start using Akai’s new MIDI standard.
That being said, you can get a host of helpful features using a wide variety of other keyboards that use General MIDI standard.
Akai VIP 3.1 introduces advanced set-list functions; you’re able to create a list of programs to switch through for live performances, each program can have a pre-assigned BPM.
Also new in VIP 3.1 is the ability to filter MIDI messages to different parts of your multi, say for example you don’t want one of your layers to respond to sustain or pitch bend messages. You’re also able to assign velocity range individually for each plugin; this is great for making sure certain elements like bass or drums are always cutting through the mix, while creating dynamics in the other layers.
VIP 3.1 also sees the introduction of a new routing section, giving you the ability to route different layers of your multi to different physical outputs on your audio interface. This is particularly awesome for live performances, as you can hook up a mixing console to give you much more flexibility for mixing and applying outboard effects.
Registered owners of the following Akai gear – MPK2, ADVANCE, APCKEY 25, MPK 88 and MPK mini mk2, are eligible for free download, and a license costs USD$29.99 (About R350) for anyone else.
For more info, check out Akai’s website