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19 Nov 2018

Review: world’s first FL Studio dedicated hardware controller - AKAI Fire

producer/hardware Review: world’s first FL Studio dedicated hardware controller

Other DAW’s like Ableton have dedicated controllers like Ableton Push. Now it’s time for FL Studio to set-up the game and launch a dedicated hardware controller with Akai Professional. It’s a collaboration with Akai Professional and Image-line that develops FL Studio.

FL Studio is used by a lot of bedroom producers and producers that are just starting out. But don’t forget, FL Studio is also popular along almost all hip-hop producers and a few top-10 DJ’s in the world. The Akai Fire includes an FL Studio Fire edition; this is a light version of FL Studio.

Earlier this year FL Studio also launched on macOS which is a big break-through. People were having an Apple computer and still run Windows on it since FL Studio was not compatible with Apple computers, now it finally is! Let’s say it’s a great year at the FL Studio office with those two-big game-changing releases.

Akai Fire at a glance

These are the most important things to know about the FL Studio Fire controller by Akai.

  • Plug-and-play integration with FL Studio
  • Quickly input patterns along the timeline in the Step Sequencer
  • 4 x 16 Matrix of RGB Pads
  • Expandable up to four units, creating the potential for an 8 x 32 Matrix
  • Step sequencer, Note (piano), Drum pad and Performance Modes
  • Graphical OLED display
  • Four banks of assignable Touch-Capacitive Knobs
  • Instantly navigate the Channel Rack, Browser, Tool Bar and Playlist windows
  • Use dedicated controls to browse audio and project files quickly
  • Dedicated Transport controls
  • USB Bus Powered
  • FL Studio Fruity Fire Edition* with Lifetime Free Updates included.

Our experience

The Akai Fire is a one-of-a-kind controller that gives FL Studio producer the accessibility to improve their workflow with an affordable controller. It allows you to get more use of your creativity by combining software and hardware that integrates seamlessly. It’s a plug-and-play integration with no hard set-up included, very easy to get started! The lights are all over the controller, and it has a small display which indicated the pattern you’re in and other functions you trigger.

The main functionality of the AKAI Fire is as you can see the step sequencer in FL Studio. It offers the hardware version if it. So, when you want to make a loop of sounds, you can get your head over the controller and press and delete sounds on each step very quickly. And let's be honest, it's always more fun to combine software with hardware!

You can also control volume, mute, pan, filter, low EQ, resonance and high EQ with the controller. With the other selection of buttons, it’s easy to toggle a metronome, pause, countdown and loop recordings.

It allows you to browse to the right menu of FL Studio without needing a mouse. For example, you can scroll through the channel rack, browser, playlist toolbar. This all to create fewer click actions and stay in the controller. However, mixing features and more advanced actions still must be done in FL Studio itself. Basic functions as EQ and other assignable functions can be customized.

You can also use the AKAI Fire as a drum computer and midi-keyboard to create chord progressions. There is a connection possibility that allows you to link multiple controllers to FL Studio this so you can create the perfect matrix of hardware.

We think this is a great first step into the future of FL Studio and a great move by AKAI. It's not perfect yet which is understandable, but the controller is awesome, and we hope it will be extended with more features and functions over the following years. Anyway, great move by Image-Line and AKAI for FL Studio users!


Below more detailed specs on the Akai Fire.

  • Hardware controller for FL Studio
  • Plug-and-play integration with FL Studio
  • Enter patterns quickly via the step sequencer
  • 4 x 16 matrix of velocity-sensitive RGB pads
  • Record notes in performance mode
  • Graphic OLED display
  • Four benches assignable with 'touch-capacitive' buttons
  • Navigate directly to the channel rack, browser, toolbar and playlist
  • Quickly browse through audio and project files
  • Special transport control (standard functions)
  • Power supply via USB
  • Dimensions: 316 x 166 x 43 mm
  • Weight: 0.76 kg
  • included:
    • USB cable
    • FL Studio Fruity Edition (license code)
    • Manual

To get more insights into the Modes to watch this video:

To get more insight into automation that can be done with Akai Fire, watch this video:

Simple mixing with AKAI Fire, watch this video:


Link multiple devices to FL Studio, watch this video:

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