The favorite DAW (digital audio workstation) of producers like Metro Boomin and Mike Will Made It finally has a piece of hardware to call its own. Ableton got its first dedicated hardware controller way back in 2009. And Pro Tools has had them since… well honestly I don’t even know, but long before that even. FL Studio though, despite its popularity, has had to make do with generic MIDI controllers until now. The Akai Professional Fire changes all of that.

If you’ve spent any time tinkering in FL Studio (or Fruity Loops, for those of you who go way back) the Fire should look immediately familiar. Its 4×16 grid of pads look exactly like the ones you’ll find in FL Studio’s step sequencer, complete with little black notch. They’re not just simple on-off buttons though, since they’re velocity sensitive you can use them for finger drumming and even to play keyboard instruments in “note” mode.

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