Nektar Panorama P4 49-key MIDI Controller Keyboard
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- Command Bitwig Studio, Logic Pro X, Reason, Cubase, or Nuendo from a single device
- Channel strip control
- Virtual Instrument control at your fingertips
- Software parameters being controlled are displayed on a large TFT display.
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Take control of Bitwig Studio, Logic Pro X, Reason, Cubase, and Nuendo like never before with the deep integration that's only available from Nektar Panorama controllers. Because Nektar Panorama controllers are pre-mapped for these 5 DAWs, every control feature in your DAW software is accessible via the pads, faders, encoders, and buttons on this 49-key portable keyboard. A large, clear TFT display even shows you what parameter you are controlling in real time. Take control of Bitwig Studio, Logic Pro X, Reason, Cubase, and Nuendo like never before with the Nektar Panorama P4 control surface.
From the manufacturer
Panorama P4 Keyboard Controller
With the most intuitive workflow, you have ever seen.
Spectacular and deep integration with Bitwig Studio, Cubase, Logic Pro, MainStage, Reaper and Reason puts the spotlight on performance and creativity. Keyboard and pads are dynamic, sensitive and balanced carefully with a solid feel that allows for complete expression.
All this, combined with 93 real-time controls available at any one time, makes Panorama the definitive keyboard controller for Bitwig Studio, Cubase, Logic Pro & Reason.
Keyboard Balanced To Perfection
Panorama's keyboard action uses weights to offset the otherwise increasing tension you would experience from the spring. This means the down movement
is as clean as possible and not heavy or fatiguing to play. We keep the down weight required within the heavy end of common standards for acoustic pianos. In addition, the dynamic range is much wider than what you experience on most controller keyboards allowing better control of both low and high velocity values. 5 velocity curves gives you choice just in case your playing style requires a different feel. Monophonic aftertouch, pitch bend and modulation wheels, plus foot switch and expression pedal jacks sets you up for performance.
The Displat Says It All
A crystal clear 3.5" color TFT display delivers the information you really need, for each mode or menu. Regardless of whether you are operating Reason or programming MIDI assignments in Internal mode, the display provides detailed information that makes your workflow fluent and fast. Panorama takes the hard work out of using a controller and makes operations that seem complicated and non-transparent on other products, straight-forward and simple.
More Controls Than Ever Before
An unrivalled amount of assignable controls makes Panorama the most comprehensive and fully featured MIDI controller keyboard around. 16 encoders, 9 45mm faders, 1 100mm motorized ALPS fader, 10 LED buttons, 28 buttons, 12 pads each with strike and pressure component, foot switch jack, expression pedal jack, keyboard after touch, pitch bend and modulation wheels gives you immediate control of up to 93 parameters at any one time. You can store settings in 20 presets with individually save and loadable keyboard, pad and F-keys maps. We could argue that it gives you access to over 1500 assigned controls, but that would be spinning it too far.
Pro-Console Control Within Reach
The motorized 100mm touch-sensitive ALPS fader gives you pro-console mixer channel control when operated with Bitwig, Cubase, Logic, Nuendo, Reaper or Reason. Watch the fader move when you change tracks and just move it to change volume.
Two LED buttons controls Solo and Mute so no matter what mode you operating Panorama in, you always have pro-console control within reach.
Multi Function Buttons that Double Up as Transport Buttons
It's hard to go places without transport so Panorama features an extended 11 button transport bar, positions right where you need it controlling: Return to L, Forward to R, Undo, Click on/off, Record Mode, Cycle on/off, Back, Forward, Stop, Play and Record. Using the shift button, these also double up as 11 function buttons each assignable to MIDI commands or QWERTY macro's.
Pads With Pressure
Playing drums or percussive parts on a keyboard can be a challenge, but luckily on Panorama you don't have to. 12 velocity and pressure-sensitive pads with choice of 7 velocity curves will inspire you to play in ways you would never do on the keyboard. The pads are unbelievably easy to program using the “Learn Note” function. Press a pad, press a key - it's that easy.
The “Velocity Spread” feature quickly spreads one note across all 12 pads, each with its own fixed velocity, making it easier to create consistent and nuanced dynamics.
The “Scale-Function” assigns each pad to pitches within any of the pre-defined 30+ scales. It's a quick and easy way to completely change pad assignments while freely changing intervals or transposing the whole set on the fly. Great for percussive performances with any keyboard sound as well as percussion.
Reason devices such as ReDrum, Dr. Octo Rex and Kong are of course automatically assigned to pads in Panorama P4's Instrument mode with an additional 4 virtual pads available, when needed.
Ports & Connections
On the back of Panorama you find the connection points you need for foot controls, power and data including:
1. USB Micro B for external power supply or additional power for the motorized fader (cable included)
2. USB port for power and data connection to your computer
3. 5-pin MIDI din output port sending data either directly from the unit or from your DAW (working like a MIDI interface)
4. Foot switch jack, assignable (pedal not included)
5. Expression pedal jack, assignable (pedal not included)
6. On/off switch
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
First off, I'm using the P6 with Ableton Live 9, not Reason. Actually, I think of this as a selling point for Nektar, that the device is perfectly useable in any environment, and can be deeply integrated. The Nektar website provides templates for various DAWs if such integration is desired.
Secondly, I'm using the P6 almost exclusively as a MIDI/VST controller, not a DAW controller. So I can't comment on certain functions, particularly the transport controls and motorized fader. This may not be a general sentiment, but I think it's a valid perspective: In my opinion, a 61-key controller is better thought of as a controller rather than a live arrangement or DAW control device, especially with Live+Push or Maschine serving those roles just about perfectly. So I bought this device for keys, wheels, faders, and vel curve/cc mapping and editing and all that fun controller stuff.
So although it's billed as a dedicated tool for Reason-based dubstep/trance/dnb creation, I'm using it in another DAW in very different styles, which if anything should simply reassure the reader that this is a versatile, professional product. So, moving on.
The Nektar P6 is replacing a 17 year old Roland XP-50 as my main controller, and working alongside a Roland XV-88 which I still turn to for dedicated playing and difficult sequences. A brief pause out of respect for the XP-50, which is still one of the finest controllers available.
Overall build quality:
The unit feels sturdy and generally well-constructed. Nothing shifts or rattles, nothing flexes, and it is definitely not light or flimsy. The case itself is entirely plastic, but satisfyingly chunky and durable (also quite handsome, in my opinion). I'll cover each interface component individually below, but in general, they mostly feel good, with the exceptions of the fader travel (loose) and the MPC-style pads (definitely not up to par with Maschine).
Interface and control:
The TFT is extremely bright and clear. Without checking the manual, I was able to get the CC assignments and velocity curve I wanted and save that to a new default profile in a couple minutes without a single problem or complaint. That's not about as intuitive as it gets, that actually is as intuitive as it gets. Full marks and a heartfelt "thank you" to Nektar for the internal interface.
The P6 has the nicest modwheel I've ever used. It's not the impossible paradise that is the wooden pitchbend control on the Nord Lead 2, but for my purposes, I actually like it better. All of the controls on the P6 have a silky rubberized or textured coating (except the rubber buttons), and that texture in the divot and the overall motion and response of the wheel are an astonishingly high-quality combination. I am doing mostly orchestral work, where the modwheel typically controls dynamics and gets quite a workout on every layer to add realism. It's really a joy to use, every time.
The closest thing to a weak point on the P6 is the faders (the main bank on the left side, not the motorized thing). The caps themselves are allright, but the stems rock around quite a bit and the travel is fairly grainy, nothing like the smooth ride of the modwheel, and nothing like the action on older workstation faders. Neither of these problems are something you'd really notice if you're working in a studio, as there's no way they'd distract you from the music. But, objectively speaking, in the context of controllers, these are not particularly strong faders, and are just about the only reason I can't give the P6 the 5 stars it otherwise deserves.
All of the buttons are made of a heavy rubber that does not deform much, but is pleasingly tactile. Menu selectors and DAW transport keys are also backlit, which is extremely helpful. Although there is some rocking in the larger buttons (transport, mostly), all buttons get forced into a clean vertical travel when depressed and land solidly if you bottom out. Generally high quality and more than serviceable, very nice.
The pads are "fine". They are dense, and have a nice texture. They feel very tight, and don't wobble or have any obvious issues with pressure on the corners or anything like that. They feel pretty nice. However, it has to be said, they are definitely short of the standard set by Maschine. They don't feel as nice under the fingers (to me), they are definitely less tactile and also less accurate and responsive. I'm sure, however, that a talented player can use them perfectly well. But again, objectively, it's easy to point to better pads. But this isn't a mark against the P6 so much as a reason to consider keeping your Maschine/MPC/whatever that has dedicated pads, as the P6 pads definitely do work on their own.
Now, to me, this is pretty much the centerpiece of a controller. But in the forum discussions I could find about the P6, not a single person mentioned or even asked about keys! I'm not sure what to make of that. I'm especially not sure what to make of it when you consider that the P6 has incredible keys, and is really the only device of its kind I'm aware of in this category.
The P6 has semi-weighted, "piano" style (as opposed to "diving board"/traditional synth style) keys. Semi-weighted means different things between manufacturers, with the major differentiator being that the keys don't extend past a pivot as they do in a fully-weighted keyboard or in a real piano. That aside, there have graded action, a soft bottom-out, and a tight, very responsive but not "excited" keyboard.
Overall, their quality is exceptional. The materials themselves feel wonderful, particularly the brushed, more tactile approach taken on the matte black keys. The action is glass-smooth and the bottom of travel is not a plastic WHACK, and not quite the WHUMF of a fully-weighted bed, but pretty nice. They are very tight and do allow for good velocity control, in general.
The keys look a tiny bit short in the pictures, and they are in fact about 3/4" shorter than the keys on the XV-88. This, coupled with being semi-weighted and possibly having something to do with their unusual and high positioning, results in a more immediate travel, with less fine control in the middle or upper portion of the key. So although they are generally fine and very accurate, soft-dynamic playing of any complexity may result in some weird variation as some notes go down way harder or softer than you'd be used to on a real piano. It does take a little getting used to.
For average chords or sequence work, these keys are basically the Cadillac of available options right now, handily blowing past offerings from M-Audio and Novation that I am familiar with, easily competing with affordable workstations. For more detailed, live recording, they are still exceptional, although may require some getting used to. For dedicated piano performance, I would strongly recommend just getting a proper, fully-weighted 88-key controller, definitely including B-stock workstations from Roland/Yamaha/Korg. You wouldn't expect an affordable 61-key controller to compete with a dedicated 88-key behemoth, and well, it doesn't. But it does excel at everything else and does make a truly amazing day-to-day controller.
With an extremely intuitive and powerful internal interface, exceptional construction quality, magnificient keys, arguably the greatest modwheel of all time, and inspiring, exotic looks to boot, the P6 seems an easy and somewhat obvious choice for a day-to-day studio controller. For anybody on the fence about this product because there isn't much information on forums about playability or non-Reason usage, I don't think you'll be at all disappointed after taking the plunge.
It gets one star dinged for dropping the ball a bit on the faders, perhaps overextending itself as the expense of maintaining its otherwise very high standard of quality across all components. But in practice, it is exceptional. I smile every time I see it and have nothing but positive things to say when it's in use.