LIGHT HER UP
I was quick to plug this unit in and get it all lit up as soon as it was out of the box. I have been waiting to test the Advance 49 out for some time now and I had big hopes for it. I can tell you right now, it didn’t let me down. This is a really well designed and constructed keyboard that does so much more than send MIDI note data to your recording software. Everything about the build is beyond what I expected. From the sturdy frame with metal end caps, to the large rotary encoders that a firmly seated on the top panel, it’s clear that this isn’t a quick throw-together unit that Akai have put out to fill a gap in the market. This is a serious piece of kit. Even the USB cable that came packaged with the unit is built better than any other one I have in my studio right now. I really should do something about that.
AFTER A MOMENT OF AWE
Once I got over the build, I was able to see that the unit had already installed on my machine and the full colour LCD was awaiting my input. You can select from a number of predefined DAWs which are already mapped in the system, or build your own user-defined setup if you want. I jumped straight into a Cubase template and was working within the software in a flash. What the Advance 49 offers when working with your favourite DAW, including Logic, Cubase, Ableton and Bitwig, to name a few, is a two-way information path that not only sends information to your DAW, but takes it back as well to show you on the keyboard’s screen what functions are being initiated and what values result. But that is just touching on the full capabilities of this unit. Think about not needing to look at your computer half the time, nor needing to touch your mouse, yet still achieving a creative workflow. That’s what this unit is all about and until you get into it, you’ll never properly understand what you’re missing out on.