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Akai Advance Keyboards & VIP Software

Definitely in the top five of my most proud projects is the Akai Advance Keyboard and accompanying VIP Software. It was the first solution on the market that allowed a musician to play their personal collection of virtual instruments and effects directly from a keyboard, and even better, without the need for a DAW.

At the time this was a big deal, and, in fact, still is. It's not uncommon for studios to amass tens or even hundreds of virtual instruments and effects. And each of these plugins may have hundreds of sounds! VIP, which stands for Virtual Instrument Player, was like the Google of VSTs. It allowed you to search for the exact type of sounds you needed and place them in a set list for quick recall.

As great as that is, it got even better because the Advance Keyboard controller worked in close tandem with VIP such that you could completely control your sound selection from the keyboard itself. This, of course, meant that you could now use your full library of VSTs in a performance without the need to be interacting with a computer, something that can quickly take the energy away from a performance.

VIP Today

VIP software is still in development today. Version 3.0 opened up the format to 3rd party plugin developers and included a MIDI Learn function which made it possible to use the software with any MIDI controller.

Still, the best solution for live performance remains the combination of an Advance Keyboard controller and VIP Software.

Where can I find out more about this?

A quick search on the net for Akai Advance Keyboards or VIP Software will take you to a huge selection of tutorial videos, demos, reviews etc.

The official VIP website is here:

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