The new Alesis VI49 controller adds to the brand’s impressive range of great value master keyboards. Pitching itself as a keyboard capable of controlling your DAW and all of your plug-in instruments and effects, it’s certainly well equipped with controllers….
The VI49 is based around a 49-note, full size keyboard. This means that the keys are the same size that you would find on a piano keyboard. Unlike many keyboard controllers, the keys here are semi-weighted. Piano keys have a fairly substantial weight, unlike keyboard keys. A semi-weighted action adds resistance to the keys so that they feel more like a piano action.
The keys are velocity sensitive, meaning that they replicate dynamics- play had and notes will be loud, play soft and they will be quiet. Remarkably for a keyboard of this price, it also has aftertouch. For the uninitiated, this allows the player to control sound parameters by pressing the keys further, when already depressed.
To the left of the keyboard, there is an impressive bank of sixteen trigger pads. These are both velocity sensitive and pressure sensitive, too. RGB backlights provide a great way of indicating pad status and function – very useful. The pads are an intuitive and expressive means of programming drums and samples.
Across the top of the keyboard is a large collection of knobs and buttons. In total, there are 12 assignable knobs and 36 assignable buttons. These are a perfect means of getting some real, physical control over software plug-ins or a DAW mixer. Though assigning these is typically pretty straightforward within in a DAW, Alesis has included a MIDI editor, which makes setting up your own unique MIDI maps and saving them a very easy process.
At the centre of the front panel, a bright LED display provides keyboard parameter feedback, with transport controls and navigation buttons located next to this. The USB socket is located to the rear, along with a MIDI out, too, providing the means to connect to sound modules and other MIDI hardware.
The Alesis VI49 is a keyboard that packs in such a ludicrous number of features, it’s hard to believe the price. Compatible with both Mac and PC.
Manufacturer Alesis Model VI49 USB Controller Keyboard Keyboard 49 velocity-sensitive keys Inputs Sustain Pedal USB USB MIDI Port Controls Pitch Blend and Modulation Wheels 16 velocity and pressure sensitive trigger pads with RGB backlighting 8 assignable rotary controls 24 assignable buttons Power USB bus powered Included Accessories Ableton Live Lite Alesis Edition MIDI Editor Software QuickStart Guide USB cable
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