VIP - How to Build a Plugin Map

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VIP is a powerful application that allows users to control virtually any VST plugin from their Akai Pro Advance, Alesis VX49 or M-Audio CTRL49 keyboards. To do so, the application utilizes "Plugin Maps" to connect the hardware controls to software parameters, as well as manage presets and settings. This guide will walk through creating a personalized map for a plugin.



  1. Getting Started
  2. Control Mapping
  3. Tagging
  4. Importing Presets
  5. Saving and Exporting
  6. Additional Resources
  7. Further Technical Support



Getting Started

There are two reason to create a plugin map:

  1. The particular plugin does not currently have a map
  2. The user would like to personalize a map to better match their preferences

Start by checking your Plugin Manager (Settings > Plugin Manager) to see if there is already a map available. If there is an available map, you will see it listed on the right side of the plugin manager. Click on the box next to it to either activate or deactivate the map. In the example below, you'll see that the map for the AIR Music DB-33 and Blaukraut Engineering's Charlatan are currently activated:

VIP onoff

If the plugin you are mapping does not have an available map, you will not see any map listed in the right-most column (i.e. Carbon Electra). If this is the case, make sure to select the box to the left of the plugin name (in the leftmost column) to activate the plugin for use in VIP:

VIP PluginOn

Once your plugin has been activated, close the Plugin Manager and return to the main view.

To open your plugin, find your plugin in the plugin list and click on the Default patch when it appears in the patch list. You'll notice that the preset count (to the right of the plugin name in the plugin column) will be 1. I will be using the DB-33 plugin as an example, so I have turned the included map off in the plugin manager.

VIP Default

To view the plugin GUI once the plugin has loaded, click on PLUGIN at the top of the VIP window, or click on the VIP Popout2 icon in the upper right-hand corner to "pop-out" the plugin to it's own window. With the plugin open and visible, you are now ready to start creating your map.

Important Note: The following steps will cover what to consider before exporting your map, but the order is not necessarily important. VIP is designed to be able to communicate with your plugins whether there is a map or not. Although this may not work for every plugin, in a lot of cases VIP will be able to automatically find and import preset and parameter data on it's own. So, you may find that some of the work has been done for you

Please refer to the guide as a reference for what to look for and expect while creating your maps.


Control Mapping

Once the Default preset is loaded, you may notice that the knobs and buttons in the VIP Control Panel automatically assign themselves to parameters and jump into position like this:

VIP Controlauto

Depending on how many adjustable parameters your plugin has or the order that the parameters are assigned, you may want to change this before importing all of the patches.

Please Note: To edit the control settings for all of the plugin's patches at once select PLUGIN in the top right. Select PATCH to only edit the control settings for a particular patch.

  1. Start by clicking below the plugin control or on the parameter name to pull up the available parameters from the plugin. Here you can assign the control to a parameter in the plugin or a MIDI CC number:

    VIP Control

  2. Simply choose a new control assignment from the list:

    VIP Param

Continue assigning the rest of the controls to your preference. Keep in mind, there are 4 banks of knobs and buttons (total of 32 knobs and 32 buttons) available for mapping. Use the Bank option at the top of the Control Panel to change banks, or use the bank buttons on your controller. 

Important Note: You can always go back to change parameters and re-map knobs and buttons later.



Before importing presets, it may be important to consider your tags. The tags are used to sort your plugin patches into categories to make them easier to find from your controller. Categories include instrument type, timbre, style, and articulation for Instrument plugins and effect type, subtype, attribute, and source for effect plugins.

If you only have a Default preset for your plugin loaded, you may notice that there are no tags available in the main view. To display the tags, simply click on the small arrow at the top of each category:


If your plugin is selected in the Plugin Category, only the associated tags will be displayed until you click on these arrows. Once the list is displayed, you can click on a tag to highlight it and view all patches associated with that tag. If you only have the Default Patch for your particular plugin, chances are there are no associated tags yet:

VIP Tag0

Important Note: If you select a tag with '0 patches' all of your patches will disappear from the patch list. You've hit a dead end. If this happens, just de-select tags to back up. So if you suddenly notice that all of your plugins have 0 available patches, this may be why.



Auto-tagging is a feature that allows you to add tags automatically as a preset is imported. This may be important to consider before importing any patches and can be very useful if you'd like to add a few particular tags to a large quantity of presets, like an entire plugin or even just a particular bank. Please note: Auto-tagging may not work for every plugin but is worth attempting before resorting to manually tagging the patches.

The first option to Autotag can be found in the preferences:

  • Navigate to Settings > Preferences and turn on the option for Auto-tag Patches.

    VIP autopref

  • This setting will automatically find tags and labels made for the patches by the plugin and apply them to tags in the VIP software.

To add your own tags automatically:

  • Find the tag you would like to use, right-click on it and select Autotag on Import:

    VIP Autotag

  • The tag will now start flashing slowly, indicating that it's ready to receive patches. From here you may want to proceed to the next section to learn how to import a preset.

  • Once a preset is imported, you will see the patch number for the tag go up and a check mark appear to show that the currently selected patch is tagged:

    VIP Tag1

  • To turn off Auto-tagging, simply right-click on the tag again and de-select the option. Make sure to turn the Autotag off when you're finished to avoid accidentally tagging other patches!

Manual Tagging

Manually tagging patches is always an option and is useful to further categorize certain patches.

  • Click on the patch in the patch list, find the tag you would like to apply, and click to the left of the tag to add a checkmark:

    VIP Manualtag

  • Similar to Auto-tagging, the patch number for the tag will go up by one.

  • To un-tag a patch, simply click on the checkmark again to turn it off. Make sure that the correct patch is loaded when you do this to avoid accidentally un-tagging the wrong patch!



Importing Presets

If VIP does not automatically recognize and import your plugins presets, either because the plugin does not have a map or you are importing your own user-presets, you can still import these on your own. Before doing so, you may want to consider turning off duplicate patches. This can help you avoid accidentally importing the same preset multiple times. To do this:

  1. Find the VIP setting icon in the bottom-right hand corner of VIP and click on it to display the plugin settings.

  2. De-select Allow Duplicate Patches. This is set individually for each plugin.

Importing a Single Preset

  1. Select your plugin from the Plugin Category, and open the Default preset. Click on PLUGIN at the top of the VIP window, or click on the VIP Popout2 icon in the upper right-hand corner to "pop-out" the plugin to it's own window.

  2. Use the plugin GUI to select the preset you would like to Import. If importing all of the presets in the plugin, start with Preset 1 in the first bank (if applicable).

  3. Click the Import button (above the patch list) to import the currently selected plugin into VIP:

    VIP Import

  4. You will see the patch appear in your patch list and the name of the patch appear in the top-right, highlighted blue. Click on the patch name on the right to rename the patch if necessary. You can always right-click on the patch in the patch list and select Rename if you would like to rename patches at a later date.

    VIP ImportName

    Important Note: The patch name is taken directly from whatever the plugin communicates to VIP. In some cases, this may look unfamiliar or may not be ideal to search through. Use this opportunity to rename the patch if necessary.

  5. Once the patch has been imported, use the plugin GUI to change to the next patch and repeat the process!


Auto Import

The next available option is Auto-Import. This will automatically import presets as you cycle through them in the plugin GUI. So, as you switch to the next preset, VIP will see the patch change and import the new patch. No need to click on the import button. 

  • To enable Auto-Import, simply open the plugin's Default preset,  right-click on the Import button and select Auto-Import.  You will see the Import button flash slowly to indicate that it is ready to receive presets.

    VIP AutoImport

  • Now, simply open your plugin GUI and start cycling through presets. You'll notice the patches start importing automatically to your patch list.

To be safe, make sure to wait until the current preset is loaded and imported before moving to the next preset.


Import Bank

The Import Bank option allows you to automatically import the entire plugin bank. This may respond differently depending on the plugin and may not work for some plugins.

  • To enable Import Bank, simply open the plugin's Default preset, right-click on the Import button and select Import Bank:

    VIP Importbank

  • Upon selecting Import Bank, VIP will jump to a load screen and begin importing the presets. When it's finished, you will see the imported patches displayed in the patch list.



Saving and Exporting

Now, that your presets are imported, the controls are setup and the patches are tagged, your map is complete! VIP will automatically save all of your work for the next time you open the software, but you may want to transfer your work to a second VIP rig, share it with friends, or even just back it up to be safe. Here are a few steps you may want to consider:

Export Plugin Map

Exporting the plugin map is an easy way to transfer your changes to a different computer or just back up your work in case you ever need to reinstall VIP.

  1. Find your plugin in the Plugin Category. Assuming there are no tags selected, you should see the full number of patches listed to the right. This may be +1 or more than the standard amount for the plugin because of the Default patch.

    VIP Patchnumber

  2. Right-click on the plugin name and select Export Plugin Map

    VIP Export

  3. The window that appears to save the file will automatically be directed to your User Maps folder. Take this opportunity to name your map and save it in the location of your choosing. Saving the map to your User Maps folder will automatically import it into VIP.

  4. Once the map is saved in your User Maps folder, you can go to your Plugin Manager and you'll see it listed below any other maps for that plugin:

    VIP User

Please note: All of your work is already stored inside of VIP so you do not need to activate the map in order to continue. Any changes you make to the mapping, tags, transposition or patches will be saved to the activated map, so only do this if you plan to continue making changes.


Back Up

One option you may want to consider, especially after importing a large amount of presets, is the Back Up option. You can find this under the File menu. Simply select File > Back Up to save all of your current VIP settings, patches, tag, controller settings, etc. It may be a good idea to do this periodically.

To load a stored back up file, simply select File > Restore Back Up and find your back up file.



Additional Resources


Further Technical Support

Whether you are a customer or dealer, if you already own an Akai Pro product, or if you just have pre-sales questions, the Akai Pro 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.



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