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M-Audio CTRL49

Controller Keyboard
Published February 2017
By Simon Sherbourne

M-Audio CTRL49

M-Audio’s CTRL49 takes the Akai Advance control keyboard concept and adds DAW control.

We’re used to seeing many similar music tech products competing within certain categories, but some lines are not just similar, they actually share the same components and code. The InMusic group seems to be taking inspiration from the automotive industry, where brands like VW, Skoda, and Audi produce competing models within well-defined product classes, while sharing many of the same parts from their parent company. Now Akai Pro, M-Audio and Alesis each produce their own ‘Sub Compact’, ‘SUV’ and ‘Luxury Executive’ models of MIDI keyboard controllers that share technology from their various engineering and design teams.

M-Audio’s CTRL49 is one of three ‘VIP Powered’ keyboards, the first of which was Akai’s Advance 49, which I reviewed a year or so ago. Alesis also have their own version: the VX49. There are notable differences between the three but they share the same concept: a keyboard controller that connects with a plug-in host, providing a global interface for all your VST instruments. All the keyboards use the same plug-in control centre, VIP, which works stand-alone or in the usual DAWs, and all three have the same colour-screen interface.

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Published February 2017