Alesis vi49 MIDI Keyboard
MIDI keyboards (aka a controller keyboard) allows you to create new music like never before. While it looks like a typical digital piano with a few extra features, it is actually a whole lot more. An MIDI keyboard is equipped with a whole range of controls such as sliders, buttons, pads and wheels that create and distort a whole range of sounds when hooked up to a computer or sound engine.
What Does This Type Of Keyboard Feature?
Since a MIDI keyboard is such a diverse tool to own, they come in a variety of styles and models. Unlike digital pianos of digital keyboards, MIDI keyboards tend to have more diversity depending on their need and functions. This is because some are intended for studio use and some are tailored to be able to be moved around when on tour or when on the move. This, therefore, means that as well as looking out for features that a digital keyboard would possess, there is also a whole new range of things to consider.
- Size and number of keys – These keyboards come with a range of sizes and number of keys that have their own benefits and drawbacks:
- 25 key – This is the smallest size you would find. It is very portable and light due to the size. However, it is only suitable for playing one-handed parts e.g basslines.
- 61 key – This is considered the ideal size for playing two-handed piano parts. For size comparison, this is the same key count as a single manual from a classic organ.
- 88 key – This is the full range of an acoustic piano. While this offers more diversity and tones, it is the least portable and the heaviest of the range.
- Sensor type – Most keyboards determine the sustain, release of a note based on two sensors in each key. However, some more expensive keyboards have triple sensors which typically improve tracking accuracy which result in a more expressive and accurate performance.
- Controls – It would be unusual for MIDI keyboards to not feature button, knob, sliders and wheels and/ or pads as well as the keyboard keys. All of these features allow you to manipulate the DAW controls. Take a moment to look over assess what the keyboard’s controls are.
Is This Product Worth The Money?
Alesis put a lot of thought into their vi49 module. Using advanced MIDI technology, you have full control over the sounds you make as well as the editing you can do with those sounds. This control is translated into a 49 velocity-sensitive, semi-weighted keys with aftertouch technology, giving you more to play around with in editing.
With 12 assignable knobs and 36 assignable buttons, you are able to manipulate your sounds using multiple effects at one time. This paired with an octave up/down button gives you a full range allowing you to play bass lines, chords and melodies. 16 pads with RGB triggers allow you to experiment with different finger drum beats while being sensitive enough to pick up on every movement.
The wide range of knobs and buttons allow you to change:
- Volume levels
- Active effects
Recording and editing your sound is made easy thanks to Alesis’s seamless integration to any music software through the use of a single USB connection or MIDI connection. This allows you to easily set up your keyboard so that you can start making music right away. Compatible software includes:
- Eleven Lite
- Ableton Live 9 Lite
- Xpandi 2
- Mini Grand
With this model, Alesis decided that they wanted to give their musicians the opportunity to explore different creative opportunities using different software. They have provided an unlimited range of options with a specifically tailored software – Pro Tool First. This combines all of the software listed above to create a state of the art recording suit, providing more tools for any musician to use.
Who Are Alesis?
Alesis thinks about more than just designing and selling a product. They think of a product that can bridge the gap between traditional musical instruments and innovative technology while still fulfilling the dreams of musicians and producers. They empower the user with an unmatched innovation.
They focus on delivering an experience rather than just a product. They recognise the dedication that musicians, producers and engineers give to their art and they strive to match this dedication with their own products in any way possible.
Are There Any Common Issues?
Although this keyboard requires an adaptor, specific cables etc, none of this comes with the product. You are expected to buy these things separately. This may be fine if you are working in a studio or musical space where you may have these things on hand. However, if you are a beginner then you need to pay out for more than you think.
Another issue that has arrived is the complicated formatting of the recording software provided. While you can use other software with this module, one of the main selling points is the advance and combined recording suit. It does take some navigating so if you were planning on plugging this instrument in and recording straight away then you may be surprised.
Is This The MIDI Keyboard For Me?
This keyboard is perfect if you have the time to set it up and understand it. Sure, other modules may have easier to navigate controls and sound studio. But what this product lacks in ease, it makes up for in quality. If you want an instrument that will allow you to explore your skills in innovative ways, then this is the keyboard for you.
- The centrepiece of your studio - USB Powered MIDI Keyboard with 49 full-sized, square-front, semi-weighted keys with after touch; USB MIDI and five-pin MIDI out offer flexible MIDI connectivity
- Express yourself - Pitch and modulation wheels deliver expressive, creative control
- Make better beats - 16 velocity-sensitive trigger pads with illuminated RGB feedback for beat production and clip launching; pitch and modulation wheels deliver expressive, creative control
- Complete control - 36 assignable buttons and 12 assignable knobs interface with your music software; seamless visual feedback via LED screen and illuminated buttons and knobs
- Premium software included - Includes ProTools | First Alesis Edition, Ableton Live Lite 9 and Eleven Lite, plus Mini Grand, DB-33 and Xpand!2 virtual instrument software by Air Music Tech