There was a time when Image-Line’s Fruity Loops was essentially a meme and a motif for kids knocking out low rent dance music and calling themselves producers. But times have changed, and after a rebrand to FL Studio, and finally pushing out a Mac version, the hardware world has sat up and taken notice. And when production hardware giants Akai Professional decide it’s a brand worthy of being associated with then you know Imagine-Line has been successful.

And together they’ve made the new Akai Fire, a controller that aims at making the FL Studio workflow easier to wrangle, and offers a decidedly drum sequencer friendly approach. Many words:

AKAI PROFESSIONAL® TEAMS UP WITH IMAGE-LINE TO CREATE AKAI FIRE, THE WORLD’S FIRST CONTROLLER FOR FL STUDIO

New hardware product enhances production workflow, opens up new performance possibilities.

Cumberland, RI USA (September 27, 2018) — Akai Professional, a leading manufacturer of music equipment for performers and producers, today announced their newest product, the Akai Fire. Created in close collaboration with software manufacturer Image-Line, Fire finally gives FL Studio producers a dedicated hardware controller – designed to speed up the creative workflow and enhance the overall user experience. Released shortly after the successful launch of FL Studio 20, Fire celebrates the highly-anticipated arrival of FL Studio to the Mac OS platform, creating a completely new, hands-on way to interact with the popular DAW for PC and Mac users alike.

Featuring plug-and-play integration, at the heart of Fire is a 4×16 velocity-sensitive RGB pad matrix. Quickly input patterns on the Step Sequencer or switch over to Performance Mode for live playing and recording of notes and launching patterns. Bringing a tactile, mouse-free mixing solution to the FL Studio environment, Fire includes four banks of four touch-capacitive knobs, enabling the user to instantly see and adjust parameter values. This facilitates a more intuitive workflow, giving the ultimate control over channel, mixer and user-assignable parameters.

Features

  • Plug-and-play integration with FL Studio
  • Quickly input patterns along the timeline in the step sequencer
  • 4 x 16 Matrix of Velocity-Sensitive RGB Pads
  • Expandable up to four units, creating the potential for an 8 x 32 Matrix
  • Record notes in Performance mode
  • Graphical OLED display
  • 4 banks of assignable Touch-Capacitive Knobs
  • Instantly navigate the Channel Rack, Browser, Tool Bar and Playlist windows
  • Use dedicated controls to quickly browse audio and project files
  • Dedicated Transport controls
  • USB Bus Powered

FL Studio Fruity Fire Edition Included

Enter the groundbreaking, high-powered workflow heard all over the charts with FL Studio Fruity Fire Edition, engineered for and included with Akai Fire. FL Studio is a complete software music production environment, the culmination of more than 20 years of innovative development. The bundled Fruity Fire Edition features everything you need in one package to compose, arrange, edit, mix and master professional quality music. With access to FL Studio’s piano roll editor and step sequencer, 500 tracks, VST & DXi instrument support, full automation functionality, plus 18+ virtual instruments and over a dozen built-in effects and processors, FL Studio Fruity Fire Edition provides the ultimate platform to create fully-produced, great sounding music.

“We are extremely excited to be working with Image-Line,” said Dan Gill, Product Manager for Akai Professional. “The production power of FL Studio 20 combined with the hands-on hardware control Akai is known for makes for a powerhouse combo.”

U.S. retail for Fire is $199.99 Availability is September 27, 2018.

For more information, visit akaipro.com.

Akai Professional Fire FL Studio MIDI controller Fruity Loops (4)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

This is certainly an interesting unit. It strikes me as definitely being more of a production tool than performance piece. I certainly wouldn’t want to try hitting those buttons in the heat of the moment, bu they’re very much in line with other drum boxes like those from Roland for example.

But what the Akai Fire does offer is a focussed construction workflow for FL Studio. And given that it’s appears to be mappable, the Akai Fire could well be useful for other software too, although the screen is unlikely to show anything.

I’ll stop wobbling on about something that’s not my strong point. There’s a LOT of videos for the Akai Fire, but these give you a basic and then detailed overview:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dbVsu5BBsg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeYIZQ2grq0

FINALLY RIPE

Being a decade deep Mac user, I haven’t so much as looked at FL Studio. The lack of version for my chosen OS combined with not strictly being within my own creative remit has meant that the product has passed me by somewhat. The reputation of Fruity Loops had also put me off showing even a vague interest.

But a casual glance of what FL Studio can do now shows that it is now earning its seat at the pro DAW table, something it was never going to do with the Fruity Loops moniker, no matter how capable it might be. You only have to look at some of the VIPs happy to give Image-Line a quotable to see how times have changed.

GALLERY