M-Audio have used some interesting names for their MIDI controllers over the years and so “CTRL 49” sounds a little bit disappointing. However, hot on the heels of the “Code” range of controllers comes this striking new keyboard designed for DAW control and Virtual Instrument integration. The CTRL 49 is covered in colourful, glowing buttons, pads, knobs and sliders all begging to be touched and fiddled with. In the centre of all this control is a 4.3″ full colour screen which is designed to show the parameters of whatever virtual instrument you’ve selected on your computer. The purpose of all this is to give you complete control over a computer-based virtual instrument without having to refer to the computer at all – it’s all there on the keyboard. You can navigate presets, load sounds, edit parameters and play the instrument all from the keyboard. This functionality comes via the included Virtual Instrument Player (VIP) software which acts as a host for your VSTi instrument or VST effect. The VIP auto-maps everything to CTRL 49’s waiting controls and you’re off as if you were playing a workstation keyboard.
Other features include Mackie/HUI DAW control; semi-weighted action; continuous encoders; velocity and pressure sensitive RGB illuminated drum pads; transport controls; and fabuously orange pitch and mod wheels. Comes with a stack of software in the shape of the AIR Creative Collection, Vacuum Pro, Loom, Hybrid 3, Xpand!2, Velvet, Transfuser and Eighty Eight Ensemble.
The CTRL 49 will be available in the second quarter of 2016 priced at 349.99 GBP.
More information: http://www.m-audio.com