M-Audio have launched a new line of MIDI controllers, called Axiom Pro. Available in 25-, 49- and 61-key configurations, with a variety of assignable controls and a newly designed, semi-weighted 'TruTouch' keybed, they should appeal to users of almost all requirements.
But the most interesting thing about the new controllers is HyperControl, an automatic MIDI mapping protocol that communicates bi-directionally with the user's DAW software. HyperControl is compatible with host applications including Pro Tools, Cubase, Logic and Reason and, once configured and connected, it relays information such as plug-in and software-instrument settings to the Axiom Pro's LCD.
A numeric keypad on the controller transmits ASCII messages that translate into keyboard shortcuts in the connected DAW. These ASCII commands can be edited and customised, so if you usually use, Apple + L, for example, to splice an audio loop, this command can be assigned to the '0' key on the keypad. There are dedicated buttons to toggle between mixer and arrange screens, and a full transport section gives direct control of play, record, stop, loop, fast forward and rewind commands.
Other controls on the MIDI controller include a fader bank (with permanently assigned master fader) eight assignable rotary encoders, eight trigger pads, and a bank of assignable buttons. There are also pitch-bend and modulation wheels and octave up and down controls. UK prices for the new products were to be confirmed at the time of writing, but the US Dollar prices of $500, $600 and $700 respectively for the Axiom Pro 25, 49 and 61 should give you a good idea.