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A Futuristic Controller for Old-school Synths

From virtual instruments and DAWs to analog synths so old that they predate MIDI, no matter what you want to control, Akai Professional’s MAX49 keyboard makes it easy. With MIDI, CV, Mackie Control, HUI, and more, it’s hard to imagine how Akai packed it all into their MAX49 universal controller keyboard. In fact, the MAX49 looks like a fairly typical controller keyboard. Programmable touch sliders and knobs frame a delightfully responsive 49-note synth-action keybed and a set of 12 MPC pads. But that’s where the similarity between the MAX49 and a standard controller keyboard ends.

Under the hood, the MAX49 gets really exciting. First, there’s an awesome 16-step arpeggiator, which lets you create captivating patterns and rhythms. Next, a 32-step sequencer lets you add free-flowing parameter modulation to your sounds. You can even assign these sequenced patterns to your drum pads, making it easy to trigger complex sequences as you play. And the real icing on the cake is that every note you trigger with the MAX49 can send both MIDI and CV/gate information, allowing you to control complex synth rigs with the single stroke of a key.

If you’re planning to get a new controller keyboard this summer, you’ll want to keep an eye on this one. Even if you don’t have an analog synth yet, the MAX49’s extensive capabilities let you get the most out of your MIDI-enabled modules, virtual instruments, and other studio gear. And when you do pick up that analog synth, your MAX49 universal controller keyboard will be ready.

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