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Akai VIP 3.1 90% off

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Often wondered about this software. Does it do what it says? Can you use it in your DAW or is it just a standalone app?

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1 hour ago, Grem said:

Often wondered about this software. Does it do what it says? Can you use it in your DAW or is it just a standalone app?

It works, and it does what it says, with a few limits and disclaimers.

Many VST plugins, but not all, can share their preset info with it so it can act as a giant patch librarian for many of your plugins. But some do not share any preset info with the host. So that's the 3rd party plugin's fault, and not VIP's. So it's not 100% universal out of the box. Is still a handy tool.

VIP is both a standalone app and a plugin, but it's still limited to working only with VST2 plugins. They never integrated VST3. So there's that... It gripes me that there's no VST3 support (and likely never will be), as more and more plugins are released as VST3 only.

But the real biggie is that it's another good product that seems to have gone down the same inMusic Brands rabbit hole with AIR and SONiVOX products, and hasn't gotten any recent love from their development team.

There is really nothing else quite like it, and I also have Komplete Kontrol and PluginGuru Unify.

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I agree with abacab's critique,  but I did not find VIP at all worth keeping on my system.  I got it "free" with my Alesis VX49 keyboard a few years ago, and had high hopes for a "poor man's Komplete" via hardware support in the VX49.    It has been more than two years since it was updated, so I expect it must be abandoned.  I cleaned all the VST-2 stuff off my system in favor of VST3 (except for VST2 only apps *cough* UJAM), so that was a huge strike against VIP for me as well.

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Posted (edited)

I too picked up VIP 3 bundled with an Alesis VX49 a few years ago. I never really got into the little keyboard screen and buttons, as I much  preferred using VIP with my DAW's monitor anyway, but it's a functional controller for VIP, as well as a generic MIDI controller. I got it to replace an aging M-Audio Axiom 49 that was like a first gen version.

But as for VIP 3 itself, I have 20,000+ presets installed in that (sadly stuck at VST2). It's obviously not moving into the future, but there's really no replacement for it yet.

I have really become obsessed with PluginGuru's Unify lately. It is another tool for building layers of synths and presets. A cool discovery is that I can load VIP 3 as a plugin (along with my 20,000+ existing presets) inside of a Unify layer, along side of any of my VST3 plugins that were loaded by Unify! Best of both worlds! :)

 

Edited by abacab
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12 hours ago, abacab said:

It gripes me that there's no VST3 support (and likely never will be), as more and more plugins are released as VST3 only.

But the real biggie is that it's another good product that seems to have gone down the same inMusic Brands rabbit hole with AIR and SONiVOX products, and hasn't gotten any recent love from their development team.

Wow, no VST3 support is like not having 64-bit support would have been not so long ago. Thumbs-down to them for trying to squeeze even $15 out of people.

Do you think that inMusic even has a "development team" as such these days? My impression is that they canned the last of the SONiVOX and AIR people right after the last new AIR synth shipped. Wasn't that a drum machine? Whatever the last product launch was.

The latest in a long line of their KVR support forum punching bags put out a call for beta testers back in February which I assume was for Catalina support on the Mac side and the big PACE installer issue on the Windows side.

How many $9 licenses do you have to sell to pay for one developer?

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58 minutes ago, Starship Krupa said:

Wow, no VST3 support is like not having 64-bit support would have been not so long ago.

I generally prefer VST2 to VST3 because I was under the impression from discussions I have seen online that VST3 plug-ins don't support midi program change commands. Not sure if that's true, if the VST3 standard has changed, etc., but for a number soft synths I tried in a couple of hosts, only the VST2 versions responded by switching patches.  So I am wondering if a VST3 version of VIP3.1 would have the ability to change patches of the plug-ins it manages on the fly via midi?

 

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Well new plugin developers are forced to use VST3 only, unless they already have a license from Steinberg for the VST2 dev kit.

And Steinberg has shut that off as far as issuing any new VST2 dev licenses.

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1 hour ago, User 905133 said:

So I am wondering if a VST3 version of VIP3.1 would have the ability to change patches of the plug-ins it manages on the fly via midi?

 

As far as I know, VIP does not use MIDI messages to change patches of the plug-ins it manages, as it is a plug-in host. I could be wrong, as that part is "under the hood" and not exposed to the user.

It can actually load a patch and play it without even opening the synth UI (which is optional). It's sorcery, LOL!

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Finnbogi Ragnar Ragnarsson said:

If you are only looking for something that can run number of plugins with a preset, you can check out BickTickAudio Zen.

Zen looks like a good idea if you are looking for a preset browser (discontinued by dev, use at own risk).

But the real power of VIP is the layering and mixing of up to 8 instruments together, in a mixer with busses and effects. The browser can allow you to bring all this together in a way that is really unmatched. Then you can save each of theses multis and create performances with them. :)

So you can drop just one instance of the VIP plugin into your DAW and have all this setup and ready to go. Then if desired, just add more tracks and plugins to your DAW for as much as your computer can handle.

Edited by abacab
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9 hours ago, abacab said:

It can actually load a patch and play it without even opening the synth UI (which is optional). It's sorcery, LOL!

This is what I was getting/understanding from the description on the sale page, but found it hard to believe!!

Think it would be worth it just for that feature alone.

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9 hours ago, abacab said:

Zen looks like a good idea if you are looking for a preset browser (discontinued by dev, use at own risk).

But the real power of VIP is the layering and mixing of up to 8 instruments together, in a mixer with busses and effects. The browser can allow you to bring all this together in a way that is really unmatched. Then you can save each of theses multis and create performances with them. :)

So you can drop just one instance of the VIP plugin into your DAW and have all this setup and ready to go. Then if desired, just add more tracks and plugins to your DAW for as much as your computer can handle.

I do know, as I have both and Zen for many many years.

What really sucks with VIP is that the damn thing only allows you to specify 2 plugin folder locations.

Pretty bad for modern PC setups.

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2 hours ago, Grem said:

This is what I was getting/understanding from the description on the sale page, but found it hard to believe!!

Think it would be worth it just for that feature alone.

Here's a screen capture of the VIP interface, showing an 8 part multi preset down in the mixer section, as well as the instrument browser above with Dimension Pro highlighted, and preset selection focused for it listed in the pane at the left, and preset tags shown to the middle pane. Makes finding the sound you are seeking a bit easier.

The multi shown is an Akai factory preset using some AIR plugins. This particular multi has Hybrid (x5), Xpand!2, and Loom(x2) loaded into the 8 parts. Each part has an optional 4 insert effects slots and can send to up to 4 busses. The busses each have 4 inserts. It all mixes down to the master bus (which also has 4 inserts available) which outputs stereo to your DAW host, or stereo audio output if running standalone. 

VIP shipped a version with AIR instruments bundled, so it works very well out of the box with AIR instruments using the available factory plugin maps. You are in luck if you already have and like AIR instruments. I think the deal here is for the Standard version that doesn't include any instruments.

There are also some factory plugin maps provided for select 3rd party synths, and with luck and some work you can create plugin maps for any synth that communicates preset data to the plugin host.

For plugins without ready made patch maps, it's a mixed bag of tricks. VIP can import some plugin patches a bank at a time, some will import automatically one patch at a time as you audition the presets using the plugin GUI, and some will import presets one at a time with a 'default' patch name, and you have to rename each one as you go. Some plugins will not send any preset info to VIP.  Some plugins will crash VIP, as any DAW host can experience on occasion. Not 100% universal and compatible.

Is it worth $15? That's up to you to decide! But realize that it's not likely to get any more updates or bug fixes. But what does work, works well. :)

 

VIP Capture.PNG

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15 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

Wow, no VST3 support is like not having 64-bit support would have been not so long ago.

14 hours ago, User 905133 said:

So I am wondering if a VST3 version of VIP3.1 would have the ability to change patches of the plug-ins it manages on the fly via midi?

13 hours ago, abacab said:

As far as I know, VIP does not use MIDI messages to change patches of the plug-ins it manages, as it is a plug-in host. I could be wrong, as that part is "under the hood" and not exposed to the user.

On several occasions I have learned that what I could do on my PC others couldn't and vice versa.  This might be one of those situations.   Without going into the details of various mini-tests conducted before and after my reply to @Starship Krupa earlier, on my PC VIP3.1 receives and passes on midi program changes to the current plug-in. However, since different plug-ins handle program changes differently, the results vary.  

I tend to use legacy gear and legacy settings, so it is entirely possible that others might get different results. 

 

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9 hours ago, User 905133 said:

on my PC VIP3.1 receives and passes on midi program changes to the current plug-in. However, since different plug-ins handle program changes differently, the results vary. 

 

I think it might be doing that with some older legacy plugins, but it also changes presets in modern plugins that do not respond to MIDI bank/program changes.

So there is more going on under the hood than meets the eye. As you said, YMMV.

In regards to a VST3 version of VIP, I seriously doubt that will ever happen. inMusic Brands has quietly discontinued the top line VIP enabled keyboard controller series from Akai, M-Audio, and Alesis. And they have taken down the support pages that allowed VIP users to swap user created patch maps for their plugins. To their credit, some support pages seem to have been archived for future use, but they're no longer easy to find. Plus the current fire sale on VIP says going out of business...

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, abacab said:

So there is more going on under the hood than meets the eye.

Definitely! Last night I successfully tested (1) a soft synth instrument (2) within VIP (3) within a modular soft synth (4) inserted as an soft synth (instrument track) (5) within Cakewalk being played/recorded (and then playedback) using a legacy usb keyboard. 

The virtual midi led on the soft synth instrument (1) flashed on and off much like hardware connected via midi din cables and midi routing  circuits/devices but I have to assume each software package in the chain had its own midi data in / out / thru virtual "devices" [software code].  

BTW, the throughput was much faster and less problematic than daisy chaining mid hardware.  I have no idea how they make the virtual data chain so efficient, but I was impressed by VIP. 

4 hours ago, abacab said:

I think it might be doing that with some older legacy plugins, but it also changes presets in modern plugins that do not respond to MIDI bank/program changes.

Interesting.  I didn't explore whether the plug-ins VIP was controlling were VST2s or VST3s.  The ability to successfully switch presets for plug-ins that don't respond to MIDI bank/program changes has to be sorcery (to use your term)!!

I only have VIP preset maps that VIP magically came up with after scanning the two plug-in folders I listed, but I need to figure out how to create the maps for tons of other virtual instruments.

Thanks also to @cclarry for posting this and to @Grem for asking the question about VIP's abilities.  I got it in November as part of an Akai/AIR bundle (est. $8.00 USD for each item in the bundle) and only got as far as doing some test-of-concept presets using VIP as a sound source manager plug-in within a modular soft synth (January).  So, the discussion here has inspired me to get out my modular presets and  to go beyond what I had been doing.

Edited by User 905133
To add a paragraph at the end.
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20 hours ago, Finnbogi Ragnar Ragnarsson said:

What really sucks with VIP is that the damn thing only allows you to specify 2 plugin folder locations.

IIRC you can scan plugins from the 2 locations and then change to a new location and scan plugins there, it will keep previous plugins.

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5 hours ago, User 905133 said:

Interesting.  I didn't explore whether the plug-ins VIP was controlling were VST2s or VST3s. 

My main complaint is that VIP still cannot scan or import VST3 anything. VIP can host VST2 plugins only.

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