AKAI Fire FL Studio Controller REVIEW

For beat makers and home studio enthusiasts, there is no shortage of great controllers on the market. Whether you’re crafting synth-based toplines or putting an entire EDM project together from scratch, having a physical, tactile control to play with enhances the creative flow. We recently got our hands on the new Fire unit from AKI Professional, which was designed specifically for FL Studio DAW users.

One of the first things you’ll notice is the big knobs placed in the “can’t miss zone” along the top row. You’ve got standard knobs for volume, panning and filters, but also a great Browser that makes cycling through your sessions and samples a snap. The rotary dial was definitely a smart touch, and makes things go pretty quickly. Normally we abhor menu-diving on hardware units, but the OLED screen was clear as day and presented no issues.

The other obvious component to Fire is the large velocity-sensitive pattern grid, which is ideal for step sequencing and pattern development. The RGB color palette is implemented nicely and makes crafting tracks or beats from scratch pretty easy. For anyone who’s used another similar tool, like Circuit from Novation, you’ll jump right in with ease. The pads are cushy, yet responsive, and there’s never any latency issues or “dead” spots when you’re punching out a sequence. Finger drumming was no problem, and switching back and forth on the Fire between drums and ambient pads didn’t even require a trip to the manual. Now that’s nice.

Everything else you’d want in a hardware controller is on tap, as well, and implemented in a way that’s intuitive, yet powerful. Transport controls were simple. Mixing with tactile controls was a welcome touch, and meant we could essentially ditch the mouse for almost the entire project, allowing us to focus exclusively on the song. Which is exactly what you want to do, forget that you’re even using a piece of hardware and getting lost in the process. The Fire never gets in the way, and we can’t recommend it highly enough for an FL Studio user.

PROS:

Easy to use, great implementation with FL Studio, decent price.

CONS:

None to speak of.

STREET PRICE:

$199

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