Akai Fire News:  FL Studio celebrated it’s twentieth anniversary this year, with the original Fruity Loops first released in 1998 commercially.  In all this time, and despite being one of the most popular pieces of software in the music production world, Akai have today released the first dedicated hardware controller for FL Studio – the Akai Fire.

Users of the Imageline DAW will be right at home as soon as they take the Fire out of the box.  The unit has been designed to replicate the step sequencer view that we’ve all grown accustomed too and, thanks to the RGB pads used in the 4×16 matrix, the visual feedback makes beat creation a breeze.

Usually we wouldn’t recommend that you touch Fire…

We were treated to a sneak peek of the Fire last week and were immediately impressed by the workflow enhancements that the controller offers. For many Fruity users, control and navigation is handled by a mouse and a MIDI keyboard – which isn’t the most intuitive beat creation set up.  When you consider that you can connect up to four Fire controllers to FL Studio, to extend the sequencer length by creating a larger matrix, you realise that power users will see a huge increase in productivity once they’re truly hands on.

In addition to step sequencer, the Fire has a few tricks up its sleeve. There’s a pad mode, which is perfect for users of FPC who need to lay down drums and there’s also a keyboard mode – so you can lay down melodies and basslines.  There are four pots along the top left-hand side of the unit, which can be assigned using one of four banks – each with different functionality.  Whether you’re in channel, mixer or either of the two user modes these pots offer just the level of control you need.

Speaking of controls, there are dedicated transport buttons on the unit.  You’ll also find that after a few moments with the Fire you’ll be navigating with ease thanks to the clear OLED screen. Whether you need to open a project or find a sound, Fruity’s browser has never been easier to use.

Playing with Fire!

The Akai Fire ships with FL Studio Fruity Fire Edition, which gives you access to up to 500 tracks.  There’s also support for VST and DX instruments (18 of these are included) and you’ll have a dozen of the most popular effects from FL Studio available. Given the software offering, it’s clear that Akai have created the Fire to suit users of all abilities – whether you’re a beginner or advanced user you’ll wonder how you ever used FL Studio without a controller.

In terms of alternatives, the Akai Fire is unique. While the Launch series from Novation is compatible with FL Studio,  it was conceived to serve users of Ableton – as such it doesn’t offer the same deep level of integration that Akai’s FL Studio controller delivers – even Steel Banglez was blown away by the improved workflow.

any real FL Studio user will know that this is a dream piece of kit that can be manipulated and give us more imagination in creating music – Steel Banglez

The Akai Fire is available now, with free next day shipping – grab yours while stocks last.

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