Akai Fire Review | The Must-Have Controller for FL Studi0
Fruity Loops Studio (often referred to as FL Studio) is one of the finest DAWs on the market used by both professionals and beginners. With nearly limitless options that it offers at a very approachable price tag, it’s only natural that you’ve picked up on it as well.
However, you might have noticed that this digital audio workstation isn’t so easy to navigate…
That leads us to the topic of the day; if you want to make the best use of your FL Studio, you might want to pair it up with a controller device. Although there are hundreds, and perhaps even thousands of controller units, not many of them are as suited for Fruity Loops as AKAI Fire.
Over the last years, FL studio DAW has raised in popularity. Many famous DJs such as Deadmau5, Martin Garrix, and David Guetta produce their music with this software and so should you.
Today we’re going to talk about all the little details regarding what AKAI’s Fire is, how it can help you master FL studio, and why you should at least consider investing in it. Without any further ado, let’s get straight to the review.
The Best MIDI Controller for Fruity Loops
AKAI PROFESSIONAL FIRE
First look & Design
AKAI’s Fire is, even at first glance, a big controller. It’s not huge per se, but it’s definitely bigger than Reloop’s AMS Mixtour, and Denon’s DJ MC6000 MK2. Fire’s dimensions measure 0.91 inches by 6.52 inches by 12.44 inches. In a nutshell, it’s roughly the same size as an average PC keyboard, so it should fit nicely into your desk’s main drawer. Plus, it will fit in any DJ backpack if you are often on the road.
For all its worth, it does look marvelous. The black finish makes the RGB pads look even greater, and it would be a huge understatement to say that the red lines give it an exquisite, elegant touch. Even still, despite the dozens of bright flashing buttons and keys, it’s a relatively simple controller.
Durability-wise, it’s made of rugged materials, and it will definitely be able to serve you for quite some time, given proper maintenance, of course.
The only thing that we didn’t like about its design is that the rotary knobs are a bit too big and overly exposed. A slight tumble might make it fall face-down, in which case the pads and most settings will be perfectly fine, but you might end up having to replace one or two knobs.
Overall, AKAI’s Fire is one of the most wonderfully designed FL controllers out there. It boasts a rugged, durable construction that has got both the looks and the feel of quality about it.
Ableton Live controllers have overtaken the market of DAW performance controllers. AKAI has been in the market for a long, and know-how to create super user-friendly and great quality DJ and studio gear.
AKAI Fire Specs:
Akai’s Fire comes supplied with a plethora of premium quality features, which is just one of the reasons why it’s the go-to controller of many professionals. In a nutshell, the core features of this FL Studio controller are the midi controller, the brightly lit OLED display, and the software that backs this beauty up.
It sports 64 velocity-sensitive RGB-backlit pads neatly organized in four banks. Each row shines with a different light, allowing you to memorize the functions it offers in a much easier way; of course, you’ll be able to customize the colors, but the default colors are ‘red’ for the first row, ‘teal’ for the second, ‘green’ for the third, and ‘yellow’ for the fourth.
Each row of MIDI pads features a neat little ‘mute’ button that you can use to cut off the sounds or effects you don’t need during a particular time. They really come in handy for live performances and studio work as well.
AKAI Professional Fire is the only dedicated MIDI controller for the FL studio music production software with seamless plug-and-play USB connectivity.
Furthermore, Fire FL Studio controller sports four assignable rotary knobs. Their initial settings govern the volume, pan, filter/EQ, and resonance. Obviously, these knobs are completely adjustable and customizable as well.
You’ll also be able to use the additional controls located right below the pad banks, including step/accent, note/snap, drum/tap, perform/overview, shift, and alt. Most of these features are meant to simplify Fire’s performance and allow you to access the main FL features via the controller itself.
Now, we should also mention a thing or two about the OLED display. It’s located right between the main rotary knob on the right and the last rotary knob (performance/EQ) on the left. Even though it’s slightly smaller than one might think, it’s brightly lit and it shows all the important parameters that are at play.
The Fire In Use
Akai’s Fire performance is exceptionally versatile, and it’s suited for pretty much everything; from toying around with your first tracks down to professional DJ at some of the fanciest parties. Due to its extreme popularity, the abundance of features, and top-shelf well-roundedness, we should delve a bit further into details.
Let’s start with your expectations of this Fruity Loops controller. Whether you’re a musician who has just taken up recording their own tracks or a freshly graduated sound engineer, you are probably going to learn soon enough that FL Studio 20 is a vast system while Akai’s Fire is a very straightforward machine. So, how do these two worlds intertwine?
Basically, Akai’s Fire offers a couple of ‘shortcuts’, in a manner of speaking. You’ll be able to familiarize yourself with some of the most important mixings and recording features without having to go through thousands of drop-down menus and researching what each and every one of them means.
“It is time you take full control of FL Studio with the best dedicated MIDI controller.”
What’s more, most of Fire’s settings are pre-set, and even though they’re customizable, this controller is still quite capable and well-rounded as-is.
Furthermore, one of the best things about Akai’s Fire is that it’s quite affordable. This, obviously, means that it’s absolutely perfect for beginners, mainly because you won’t have to spend another month or two on recovering the budget you’ve expended on instruments, plugins, or other accessories.
If you are a beginner we highly recommend taking a course on how to use the Fire controller with the FL 20.
As an intermediate musician or sound engineer, you’ll find that Akai’s Fire has quite a few hidden gems that, once uncovered, will step up your game instinctively. It offers four banks, each packed with sixteen adjustable pads that you will be able to use simultaneously. This further means that you will have as much space as you need to program your loops and effects.
There are also features that skilled musicians and engineers normally search for in other software, such as tap tempo, metronome, and of course, the click track. You’ll have all of these, and then some, at the tips of your fingers.
Akai’s Fire is, by all means, a professional FL Studio controller; it was designed by professionals for professionals.
If your main source of income is DJ gigs or session work, you might want this beauty around to simplify your work.
Lastly, we should note that this DJ controller works perfectly well in a home environment, band rehearsals, DJing, live gigs, and in a studio. You can practice with it, make sonic masterpieces, experiment, and professionally mix tracks, bits, or pieces with it just the same.
All things considered, Akai’s Fire performs astonishingly well for a budget FL MIDI. In fact, most similarly priced models pale in comparison to it in terms of quality, versatility, and obviously price.
There are so many things that make Akai’s Fire one of the most sought-after FL Studio MIDI controllers on the market. What’s really difficult is to pinpoint the one that raised it on such a pedestal.
- First and foremost, this is a budget DJ controller that was specifically made for Fruity Loops DAW. Apart from the fact that there are a handful of controllers that are as specialized as the Fire within the budget section of the market, it’s pretty safe to say that not a single model is as versatile or as reliable.
- Secondly, Fire is laden with state-of-the-art technologies and features that are often equipped on much more expensive models. Aside from the metronome, tap tempo, loop recording function, and various PC-based settings, the sheer fact that it has 64 pads is pretty impressive.
- Thirdly, nearly all of the pads and knobs are completely customizable. You get to choose which end goes where, which button performs which function, and even which button lights in which color. It’s one of the most customizable controllers out there, regardless of the price range.
- Sadly, it also has a couple of downfalls that leave some room for improvement. Namely, the display is not nearly as big as it should be. If you’re performing in a poorly lit environment, you’ll hardly even be able to use it. Additionally, the rotary knobs are a little too exposed for comfort, but that’s pretty much it. Everything else about Fire is beyond great.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I use two Fire controllers with FL 20? You can use two or as many controllers as you wish to produce or perform music live with FL. However, two or more are probably hard to handle and not that practical.
- Can I use Fruity Loops without a controller? You can use FL studio without a controller. But the Fire is so affordable and easy to use that is a must-have for every Fruity Loops Producer.
There are other good MIDI controllers for the FL such as the Launchpad or the Arturia Minilab, but the Fire is a USB plug-and-play controller.
In short words, Akai Fire is one of the best-designed, most versatile, best feature-packed controllers that money can buy. If you are using FL DAW, you’ll never need another controller before you retire. At least, until we see a new wireless controller.
It is cheap, well-rounded, and it’s practically a steal, so make sure to check it out if you’re looking for a quality workstation emulator.
Before you go, check out how to build your home recordings studio while spending under $600.
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