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Akai Pro Advance Series and VIP - Setup with Logic Pro X

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Article updated 08-03-2017

Akai Professional's Advance Keyboards are like nothing else you've ever played. Along with the VIP software, the Advance series gives you unprecedented playability and unrestricted manipulation of any virtual instrument with an exclusive, interactive, full-color display, complemented by performance-friendly hardware controls. This article walks through integrating the Advance Keyboard with Logic Pro X. 




Synchronizing the Advance's Arpeggiator/NoteRepeat with Logic Pro X

The Advance keyboards have a built-in arpeggiator and Note Repeat feature which runs off a tempo set on the Advance keyboard. However, you can also synchronize the arpeggiator with Logic's tempo. Here's how!

  1. On the Advance keyboard, enter the Global menu by pressing the SHIFT and BROWSER buttons together. 
  2. Use the left/right directional arrows right below the display to navigate to page 3 of the Global menu. 
  3. Change the Clock Source to External. This tells the Advance to wait for a MIDI Clock signal from Logic, instead of using the tempo built into the Advance. Keep in mind that now the Advance arpeggiator or note repeat features will not function unless the Advance is receiving MIDI Clock from another source (Logic in this case).
  4. In Logic, from the top menu bar, go to File > Project Settings > Synchronization
  5. In the MIDI section of the Synchronization window, check any available Destination box. In the dropdown below that, select the ADVANCE USB PORT 1

  6. Logic will now transmit MIDI Clock to the Advance keyboard when it is playing and the arpeggiator and note repeat will follow Logic's tempo. 


Setting up the Transport Controls
  1. On the Advance keyboard, enter the Global menu by pressing the SHIFT and BROWSER buttons together.
  2. Use the left/right directional arrows right below the display to navigate to page 1 of the Global menu. 
  3. Change the Transport Format to MMC/MIDI
  4. In Logic, navigate to File > Project Settings > Synchronization window, in the MIDI section. 
  5. In the MIDI Machine Control (MMC) section, check the box for Listen to MMC Input

  6. The Loop button on the Advance controller is not part of the standard MMC controls (MIDI Machine Control). So, this is assigned in a different area of Logic called Key Commands. 
  7. From Logic's top bar, navigate to Logic Pro X > Key Commands > Edit.
  8. At the top right corner of the Key Commands menu there is a search bar. Type "Cycle Mode" here. The list to the left will reveal the Cycle Mode listing. 

  9. Click on Cycle Mode in the listing to the left.
  10. Click the Learn New Assignment button at the bottom right. It will highlight a blue color indicating Logic is now ready and listening for a control to assign.

  11. Press the Loop button on the Advance keyboard. You will see a new listing appear in the Assignments box of the Key Commands menu indicating you've made the assignment. Click the Learn New Assignment button again so it is no longer highlighted blue.

  12. That's it! You'll notice that the Advance's loop button will activate/de-active the Cycle Mode or Loop Mode or Logic. 

    Note: The Key Commands window can be used to assign a huge variety of commands for Logic to any controls of the Advance keyboard. For example, the buttons just below the Advance's 8 knobs could be assigned to various Logic functions using the same steps above. 


Mapping the Advance Keyboard's Controls with Logic Pro X's Smart Controls

There are several DAW presets on the Advance keyboard. The preset for Logic is configured for the 8 rotary knobs to talk to the Logic Pro X “Smart Controls”. With Advance you will be able to quickly switch between having the knobs, buttons, and pads controlling your VIP instruments and having them control these Smart Controls. 

Logic's Smart Controls can also be assigned to virtually any plugin parameter that can be controlled by MIDI control, including insert effects. Here are some articles to get more familiar with Smart Controls:

Follow the steps below to program the Advance's eight rotary knobs to the Smart Controls:

  1. Add a software instrument track with any built in Logic X instrument. The Classic Electric Piano is usually Logic’s default instrument to load.
  2. Open Smart Controls by pressing the “B” key on your Mac keyboard, or by clicking the Smart Controls icon at the top menu bar:

  3. You’ll see the current soft synth track's Smart Controls come up below. 

  4. From Logic's top menu bar, navigate to Logic Pro X > Control Surfaces > Controller Assignments. Somewhat similar to the Key Commands menu we covered in the previous section, the Controller Assignments section lets us assign controls from the Advance keyboard to continuous controls with Logic (knobs, faders, etc...). 
  5. Click the Learn Mode button in the Controller Assignments window so it’s highlighted blue.

  6. Click the first knob in the Smart Controls window (labeled BELL VOLUME in the pic above). You will see a listing appear in the Controller Assignments "Control" column, likely showing No message received
  7. Immediately after, carefully move the first knob of the Advance keyboard (don’t touch the other knobs accidentally). Move it all the way to the left then back to the right until the parameter in the Smart Controls window shows it’s moving along properly. You will see the parameter listing in the Controller Assignments window show the parameter has been assigned or Learned

  8. Click the next preferred knob in the Smart Controls window and repeat step 8 for the remaining eight knobs. I prefer to do the top row, left to right, then the bottom row. You'll see the Control list growing as you map new controls.
  9. You can also map the buttons on the Advance controller to any Smart Controls that contain switches. Some of the drum machines presets built into Logic Pro X have switches assigned to Smart Controls, like the drum machine instrument shown in the picture below. Follow the same process as above; click the button in Smart Controls and then the button on the Advance control to link them up. 

  10. When you're done learning the assignments, click the Learn Mode button in the Controller Assignments window again to leave learn mode. That’s it!


The Smart Controls mappings are dynamic, in that they will change depending on which software instrument track is currently highlighted. Whatever is up in the Smart Controls window, Advance will control. Logic lets you re-map Smart Controls to anything and save custom Smart Control setups, but you won't have to re-assign the Advance controls with these changes. 

If you have an instance of VIP open in Logic, the Advance keyboard will default to map its controls to VIP. However, all of you have to do to control the Smart Controls again is press the SHIFT+CONTROL button (MIDI), and the Advance will switch to MIDI control mode. This way you can quickly switch back and forth between Logic's Smart Controls and VIP control. It's a very powerful way to use Logic Pro X!

More information about the Control Mode vs the MIDI Mode can be found in the Advance series user guides.


Controlling Multiple Instances of VIP

You can open as many instances of VIP within Logic Pro X that your computer processor and memory can handle. The Advance Keyboard will control one VIP instance at a time, but you can then quickly change which VIP instance the Advance Keyboard is controlling.

Note: DAW Control mode will change which VIP instance the Advance keyboard is focused on for preset browsing/organization, and controlling plugin parameters via the 8 rotary knobs and buttons. However, MIDI note messages from the keyboard and pads are still routed through Logic, so you'll still select which VIP instance you'd like to perform on by highlighting or arming the track in Logic.


  1. Press the MAIN button and then press the left or right directional arrow, just below the display, once. You will see the DAW Control menu come up with all of the VIP instances and their current presets listed, similar to the picture below:

  2. Use the Data Dial on the Advance Keyboard to scroll through the available VIP instances, and push in the Data Dial to select it.
  3. Alternatively, this can be done from the VIP software interface as well. Open the VIP instance you'd like to control and click the Highlight to Connect to Hardware icon, which is located at the top right corner of VIP as shown in the picture below:



Using Multi-Out VST Instruments with VIP and Logic Pro X

Many VST instruments can send multiple separate channels of audio to a DAW like Logic Pro X. Consult your VST instrument's user guide for more information. VIP will recognize and open these multi-out plugin versions. Here are the steps to route these separate audio tracks with Logic Pro X. 

  1. Add a software instrument track and add the VIP > Multi Output (8xStereo) plugin. 

  2. From Logic's mixer view, you'll notice this VIP Multi Output track will have a plus and minus sign just above the Mute/Solo buttons. Press the plus button to add new outputs from VIP.

  3. In VIP, any scanned VST Instruments that have multi-out versions will be listed separately. Load one of the multi-out versions. 

  4. Route the audio outputs within your VST Instrument as instructed in the program's user guide. The individual audio tracks in Logic will receive this separated audio channels. That's it!  


Further Support

Whether you are a customer or dealer, if you already own an Akai Professional product, or if you just have pre-sales questions, the Akai Professional technical support team is available to help!

Visit the link below to connect with any of the following support options: online community support, phone support, email support.

Several other helpful guides for the Advance keyboards and VIP software are available on the Akai Pro Knowledgebase as well.