Akai Fire Controller is the first hardware controller for FL Studio with flawless midi integration with channel mixer, rack, browser, keyboard, and performance mode. Here’s our honest opinion of the device.
It comes in a compact package, and the backside of the box provides you an overview of all the key features it has. Within the box you’ll find :
- USB cable that charges the device and also connects it to your computer.
- Software download card from Akai to download free instruments and plugins.
- A cheat-sheet listing the main functions of the device.
The console is of the right shape and size. With rubber feet, it stays put on your desk, and you don’t have to worry about it sliding off the surface. The design and quality are good. What we particularly liked about it was that the device was detected automatically by FL Studio, saving the pain of going to the media settings to configure the hardware device. By simply selecting the browser and using the ‘Select’ rotary encoder we can preview and load content and devices within FL Studio.
Although the device is packed with innumerable features, we’ll talk about two of the favorite modes that it has.
Stack Mode: This is a basic mode that can do wonders. It lets you program beats at your pace and with ease. They have these cool pattern cursors where you can select a new pattern and program your custom beats. Add in kicks, snags, and snares if needed. You also have an option to repitch the stack and change its velocity.
Note Mode: This mode basically lets you to choose an instrument and map it to the keypad. And then you can play/create new beats with it. Say for instance you pick a harmonica and map it to the keys to create a song. And you can do all this just by selecting Alt+Scrolling. The drum mode is a finger drummer’s delight. When you choose the drums from the list of instruments, the left and the right pads are distinctly illuminated on the keypad. So now, you can simply add melody and harmony to your tune with just a touch of your finger.
Akai Fire is a fantastic midi controller for FL Studio. It gives a hands-on control to the users that we’ve been wanting for over the years. You have control over all the channel properties be it volume, filter resonance or the channel rack. What’s impressive is the fact that all these can be done with simple gestures. For instance, you just have to select Shift+Scroll for selecting a new mixer track. It is built to last. The plastics don’t look cheap. It not being too heavy makes the device travel-friendly. Also, the ease of use is a big advantage. Be it simple gestures for most functions or the auto-config that makes it an usable device even for an amateur. The size of the device is perfect, although the display could have been bigger.