M-Audio CTRL 49 Review

M-Audio CTRL 49 review


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My name is Brennan Galley and I was the Canadian Technical Sales Manager for inMusic Canada. I toured Canada coast to coast to show musicians how to use innovative instruments, DJ and Music production equipment.  One of the companies I represented was M-Audio.

My M-Audio CTRL 49 Review

The M-Audio CTRL 49 brings the in depth midi mapping of the Axiom series to the VIP integration of the Akai advance series.

When I am producing tracks I always know what my favourite sounds are.  Unfortunately, this means that the songs I make are starting with similar sounds to one another.  VIP was designed to address this issue.  VIP takes any VSTI and VST and identifies the content.  This is included in third party plug ins.  It then allows you to search for Virtual instruments or effects based upon their sound.

01.  Navigating VIP to your plug in folders

When you first get your CTRL 49 register it at M-Audio’s account sign in page.  This will than provide you with all of the content.  There’s a ton of content so my suggestion is to get your computer downloading overnight. Once you have everything installed plug your CTRL 49 into the computer with USB and plug in the provided AC adapter.  Launch VIP and set up the file locations for the plug ins and their maps at the plug in manager. This video shows you where to do the set up.

02.  Controlling and finding sounds with VIP

With all of your virtual instruments navigated to your sounds in VIP, now you can use the CTRL 49 interface to find the perfect tone for your project.  When you are running VIP in standalone mode you have a powerful workstation for live performances. This video shows you how to quickly dial up the perfect sound.

03.  Stacking VST’s

To find the perfect sound sometimes you need to stack multiple different plug ins.  VIP allows you to load 8 plugins simultaneously on top of each other.  Each of the 8 channels contains 4 places to put your effects processors.  The CTRL 49 comes with a ton of content.  However if you have any content from 3rd party manufacturers it will also work in this environment.  This video shows you how to quickly stack many plug ins on top of each other using VIP.

04.  Volume mute and solo

Now that you have many plugins stacked on top of each other you need a way to quickly have volume control, mute control and solo control over the various virtual instruments.  When you press the Multi button on the CTRL 49 the section on the upper right hand side will now control these parameters.  This works great as a live tool to introduce and take out different sounds.  When you’re in Multi use the knob to select your sound.  Press down on the knob.  This will give you control over splits, sends, transposition and midi channel.

05.  Carving out your sound

Every virtual instrument in your library has multiple controls to make the sound more suitable for your song.  The CTRL 49 with VIP allows you to access all of the parameters of your plug ins.  Use the Mutes in the Multi section to listen to the sound you want to control.  Use the knob in the middle to highlight the sound you want to change and press Control.  Now the knobs in the top right are mapped out to all of the Controls of the selected Virtual Instrument.  Use the page left or page right buttons to select one of the four layers available.

06.  VIP with Ableton

In the previous video’s I’ve shown how VIP works in standalone mode.  This environment works great for Live performances and for quickly dialing up sounds.  However, VIP lacks the ability to record your performance.  This video shows how to integrate VIP into Ableton live.  VIP will load into any DAW.  VIP loads in VST’s into it’s environment.  What this means for people using Logic or Pro Tools is that VIP will act as a VST wrapper and will allow you to use content that you’ve never had available in your choice of DAW.

07.  Mackie Hui in Ableton Live

A benefit with the CTRL 49, compared to other controllers that include VIP (Advance series from Akai and VX49 from Alesis), is that it has a Mackie Hui control section.  Located on the left above the keyboard it instantly maps up to controls with your favourite DAW.  This will allow you to have fader, mute, solo and channel select control in your DAW of choice.  This video shows how VIP integrates with Ableton Live.

08.  VIP audio routing

VIP gives you audio routing on all eight of the channels inside of VIP.  What this means is that every channel can have it’s own virtual audio out which can be recorded into your favourite daw.  This means that while you perform down your parts, you can record all 8 different layers separately on their own track in any DAW.  This will give you much better control later when when mixing your music together.  This video show you how to set up the navigation inside of Ableton Live.

09.  VIP with MPC Renaissance

VIP can be loaded into any major DAW.  One of my favourite ways to work with it is inside of MPC.  MPC allows you to quickly record loop based performances.  The combo of VIP in MPC means that I have the speed of recording in MPC with the speed of selecting and controlling plug ins with VIP.  MPC is liberating because I can quickly play back loop performances with seamless control.

My main goal in the studio is to dial up my gear quick.  The way my brain works is in two different modes. The technical mode is for setting up and the creative mode is for getting a killer performance.  The CTRL 49 with VIP lets me dig into my content very easily and allows me to spend more time writing music.


To set up a SKYPE lesson please send an email to fiercemule@gmail.com