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June 2017 Giveaway

Nektar Impact LX61 61-key MIDI Controller Keyboard Reviews

4.5 stars based on 17 customer reviews
  • from Massachusetts June 9, 2016Music Background:

    New trick for Old Dog

    I replaced a M-Audio Axiom 49 (first generation) with this Nektar 61 because the Axiom was not working well with Studio One. This Nektar product is really good and the Nektar web site has integration software for most major DAWs so even an old cat (or dog) like me was able to get up and running in a short amount of time. Very cool to have a keyboard and DAW controller in one unit! I have to thank Mark Bruhn at Sweetwater for putting me on to this.

  • from Pittsburgh August 16, 2015


    I'm an old school recording dude or at the very minimum "Old". I felt like I needed to learn something new so I decided to add Native Instruments Kontakt to my repertoire. I soon realized that I needed a very capable Midi Controller Keyboard in order to fully appreciate Kontakts capability so I emailed my trusty personal Sweetwater guy Aaron. I explained that I didn't want to shell out the kind of money for NI's Komplete Controller and Aaron wasted no time recommending the Nektar Impact LX61 61-key MIDI Controller Keyboard. I'm so happy he did.

    A breeze to set up as it is premapped to use with my DAW of choice ... A couple buttons and I was instantly controlling my DAW with an ample number of knobs and sliders right from the keyboard ... You have no idea how convenient that turns out to be. As for the keys ... I find them perfect ... Just enough tension and right sized ... That is a personal preference so I can't speak for everyone in that regard but I give them a thumbs up.

    In a nutshell ... The keyboard is great ... It does everything I want and I score the purchase 5 Stars. Thank you Aaron for yiur usual outstanding service and Thank You Sweetwater for being there every time I need something new.

  • from May 24, 2015

    very nice controller

    Very nice midi keyboard does the job well i use it with logic the keys are nice have nice action i like how light weight and portable it is.

  • from Phoenixville, PA USA March 10, 2015Music Background:
    Composer, teacher

    Nektar Impact 61 MIDI Controller

    Excellent value, very flexible, keys have better feel than many expensive synths, though that's a personal opinion. Lots of features, really no comparison to any other controller for the money. Lightweight but feels very well made. Pre-mapped to DP and Logic, both of which I use. Bought ten for my teaching studio. Very impressed!

  • from December 31, 2014Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Exactly As Expected

    I was wanting a solid, straightforward controller for creating backing tracks in my home studio and the LX61 has met all my expectations. Excellent build quality and design. Key action is a good compromise with medium tension. Easy, intuitive setup with Cubase 7.5. It seems Nektar really looked at the competition when designing this product and put it out there on the market at a great price. Also purchased the NP-2 Nektar sustain pedal: hefty weight, solid build, and good design keeps it in place. Quick delivery and packaging from Sweetwater's unparalleled customer service.

  • from Grand Rapids, MI July 7, 2016Music Background:
    Studio owner, producer, engineer artist (hip hop), 20 years experience.

    Worth the coin.

    Bought this baby yesterday after finally parting ways with my beloved Ensoniq ASR-10. I'm mostly using Reason exclusively these days so the ASR-10 didn't make sense as a controller.

    First off this is an amazing controller with it's built in integration, but know you get what you pay for. At this price point know that the keys will feel cheap, especially if you are used to a classic keyboard with Fatar key beds.

    The Novation and Akai use much better keys (Fatar) but don't have the integration. For me this was worth sacrificing key bed quality.

    My recommendation if you don't like the key quality, but would like the integration is to buy the control surface and continue to use an existing axe where you love the keys.

    Overall though, besides the keys this is an amazing board. The pads seem great (need to tweak the sensitivity a bit) and the knobs and faders seem of good quality.

    This is my first controller since abandoning my tried and true love so we'll have to see how it fares after the honeymoon is over, but at less than $200 it's worth eloping.

  • from Ms. February 22, 2016Music Background:

    The Logic connection

    The Nektar Impact LX61 is a great midi controller to use with Logic Pro X. I don't know about the others because I have not tried ti with the pre sonus of ableton yet. I have a feeling it would work well with those also. Why the 4.5? because I am just getting started with it and I want to know..... how it is going to work.

  • from North Carolina August 21, 2015Music Background:
    Performing keyboard player

    Amazing value. Great tool. Understand its limits...

    The Nektar LX61 DAW integration and controls are well done. It's light, portable and the perfect tool for working out tracks and composing - just don't confuse this with a real instrument. Don't get me wrong, it is certainly worth more than the low $199 price. It is great for capturing ideas and working out songs at your desk or on a laptop virtually anywhere. It's so portable I'm taking it on vacation to work out a new tune that's been banging around in my head.

    But I'm old-school and some things require a real, responsive keyboard. I use a Kurzweil PC3 88-weighted keyboard and Hammond SK-1 to gig with The Jill Goodson Band. The keys on the LX61 are, well, toy-like. You cannot intuitively control dynamics or play expressively, so I can't recommend it for laying down final tracks. It's terrific at doing what it does, just know what you are buying.

    The Nektar LX61 is a great value and the control surface integration and manufacturer support site are excellent. If you're thinking this is a performance keyboard, you're wrong. But if you're looking to be creative and need a keyboard and control surface to mess around on and quickly capture your musical ideas, it is a great value and a must-buy.

  • from Des Moines, Iowa September 8, 2014Music Background:
    Live Playing, Home Recording

    A nice lightweight contoller!

    I was looking for a lightweight controller and was looking at another brand, the Sweetwater rep suggested this instead and I have not been dissapointed. If you are looking for an affordable lightweight controller, this is a great choice.

  • from Sylmar, CA August 29, 2014Music Background:
    All around Sound Guy

    Nektar Should be a Premium Company with this Hit!!!

    Iíve tested a lot of keyboard controllers over my years in music. Some good, some great, and some, well, they should go back to the drawing boards. There is times, however, a small company creates something soo great, that they will have me singing their praises. That time is now, and that company goes by the name of Nektar
    I needed to replace my old broken 61 Key KORG K61. KORG, whom Iíve been a little disappointed in lately due to the lack of keyboard controllers (theyíve recently have a few new ones out now), was a company I use to stand behind, but their vision hasnít been clear for the products that Iíve been looking at. About two years ago when Iíve visited NAMM, this company Iíve been reading about, Nektar, A new company, and actually local to me, have this new product called the Panorama Series controller, which is supposed to integrate into Propellerhead Reason seamlessly. Now, Iím a HUGE operator of Reason, which Iíve been using it for years, and I have yet to meet a controller that would completely feed my needs. The Panorama, for the two minutes Iíve tested with, felt real good. So I know to watch out for this company. They also had a line that they was working on that wasnít on the market yet, which is the Impact Series. This is what I will to focusing on today.
    With the ďdeathĒ of my K61, Iíve checked out my options online, researching everything. Iíve tried some of the new controllers. Spent extensive time with the new M-Audio Axiom AIR and the Novation Impulse, but Iíve made my decision and went with the Nektar Impact LX61, and MY, what a great choice that ended up being!!!
    For starters, when you take this thing out the box, it is SEXY!!! Not just looking at it, but the build of the product. For $200, this didnít feel like a $200 controller. This is more on par with something that could have cost about $300-500. I really was wondering if they packed the wrong product in. Iím not sure why if Nektar can make something feel so good, why canít others? This is well made. They keys are Synth action, but they keys are on par with how my KORG Kontrol49 feels like as far as the white keys are concerned, and the black keys feels even better than the former. The modifiers, the Pitch and Mod wheels feels SOOOOOO good!!! They have a nice, rubber feel to them, and wonít slip, or seems like I would have a quality control issue with them. There is also nine faders, each with buttons under them, an LED Readout to give you a quick message on what youíre doing. Under the readout, there is eight buttons under those, which will serve as your modifier functions and shortcuts. You then have eight encoder knobs, with the transport controls under those, and eight, beautifully done velocity pads to the right of those controls. In the rear, it is very minimum. There is a Kensington Lock slot, Pedal, USB, and power ports. There is no MIDI port to be found, which is fine with me, as I donít remember the last time I needed to plug in to one. The unit can be powered by USB, which I am doing from my USB hub, which is great for not needing the power brick to plug in.
    As for function, this is a lifesaver for me. I now not have to program a million buttons to get to a shortcut I want. So far, I feel like Nektarís keyboard mapping is just fine. I love how, for the price, the integration feels so natural. The [Shift] button for me plays a huge role in many features that I do. Hit [Shift] + Snapshot or NULL will give you . With Pad Learn and Setup and [Shift], you can change your patches. This is great, as it is more natural when Iím more focused on playing on a single controller, than with two, as it doesnít force me to have a hand on two controllers if it isnít the right feel. I can do it all from one controller. The Transport also have shortcuts under Shift. You can turn on/off the click track, Go to the beginning of the session, Undo your last pass, set quantization, and even set the markers, all without having to touch the mouse or keyboard. This gives me a fully functional ďKeyboard WorkstationĒ feel and workflow, while still having the flexibility and power of my workstation and DAW. Above those, there is a MIXER, Inst. (Instrument), and PRESET button. So far I havenít found use for the preset button yet, but the MIXER and Inst. Buttons switches function of the encoders and faders. In Mixer mode, those will control the Mixer. In Inst mode, those will become parameters for that instrument youíre on. This is possible due to the Impact coming up as two controllers inside the DAW itself, which is a smart idea. And on the LED readout, it will indicate what mode youíre on by a decimal. It will be in front of the first number if it is on mixer mode, and right of the number if it is on Inst mode. Again, saving a couple of second reaching over to change the track or reaching for your mixer controller if you have one.
    A feature I like considering the pots are finite and the faders isnít motorized, is that when you move to a different instrument or track, and then move the parameter, it doesnít move automatically if you are not exactly in position on the controller. The readout will read ĖUP or _DOWN, to indicate you have to move the control either up and down until you match up the control to what is matched up on the DAW. This is called Soft Take-Over. Then, you will see the controller change that and count numbers. This is what number you are on, on the MIDI messaging. This goes the same for the pads. Depending on what you are on, the display will read 0-127. So you will know what value you are on at all times! The buttons under the faders can work as mute, but hit the ninth fader button, and they work as solos. You can also hit Shift and the first two buttons under the fader to bank the fader group. Great way to maximize space and keeping a clean look while not losing functionality. The ninth fader will work as the master fader. The faders can also be locked to another mixer inside of Reason, or my favorite, the ReGroove Mixer, which is AWESOME as I finally can control ReGroove with my controller. No more mouse (or as I use Trackball and touchpad now a days). They may not be as good as motorized faders, but they are very functional for the price!
    As for the eight velocity pads, I must say, for me, they pretty much feel as good and firm as a MPCís Pads!!! YES I SAID IT!!!! I havenít used the pads on my Kontrol49 since getting the LX61. The pads have a quality, rubbery, stiff feeling too them, not a mushy feeling Iíve got accustom to with most controllers. This allows me to do rolls a lot easier without having to edit them later or playing between two pads. I put quantize on and let it rip! This definitely have a great feel to them, and even better response. Just make sure you mess with your buffer settings to get the right feel for them. Considering there are only eight pads, and in Reason, you have the ReDrum and Kong Drum Designer, all you need to do is hold [Shift] and then one of the four bottom pads to switch pad groups. So technically, while there is only eight pads on the controller, you virtually have up to 32 pads with using the banking feature. Currently, youíll be using mostly pad 1 and pad 2 to switch, since that is all that ReDrum and Kong has as far as pads are concerned. Also, when you put the Impact in Inst mode, you can hit a pad, then use the encoders to change parameters for that particular pad. Want to change the pitch on your snare in Kong? Hit the pad your snare is on, then move the first encoder. More is in the PDF that is with the Impact. The faders will control the volumes of each pad.
    Now for most controllers, the story ends here. Not for the Impact. There is moreÖ
    One option that Iíve came to appreciate is the ďGrabĒ feature. This sets a temporary shortcut on whatever parameter you have in your DAW. Hold SHIFT on the Impact, then with your mouse touch the parameter(s) in order (you can do multiple at once), then let go of Shift and then you can touch the controls on the Impact. When you program the last assignment, they are ready for use, and when you switch instruments, all settings will reset back to the default mappings.
    Then you have Pad Learn. So yes it may suck if you only have eight pads, but with pad learn, you can assign another pad on those eight without having to bank it. Press the [Pad Learn], then hit the pad you want to assign to the Impact, then play the keyboard for the sound you want (so far example, if you want the cymbal, which is on pad 13 on Kong, and want to assign it on pad four on the Impact, you play the keyboard to find that note), then hit [Pad Learn] again. Now you can play the cymbal on pad 4. Note, unlike the Grab function, this doesnít change back to default when you switch instruments. I do believe you can save these setting internally on the keyboard, but I havenít tried this yet. Check the ďSetupĒ menu on the guide.
    Now for things that I wish was on the keyboard. I really wish that the buttons had some LED lights on them. I play in the dark for the most part, and it would be nice not to squint or to feel around for the control Iím looking for. Once my hand notices it Iím good, but lights would have definitely helped on this controller. The only light youíll get is on the LED display. I also wish that the pots wasnít finite. It moves from 8-4 oíclock, but in a software environment, this would have worked better if the pots moved in a complete 360į circle. This would have made much more sense to me. You could still keep the same pots, just donít restrict the movement of them. Considering all things, I wouldnít have mind paying an extra $50-100 for those features because overall, the controller is worth that!
    Final Words? What else is there to say!? Nektar has knocked this into the ballpark with the Impact with its superior build, integration, and functionality, while still keeping a clean look, and keeping the cost down at a VERY competitive price point. I tried the new KORG controller not long ago, and I still pick my Impact LX61 over it. It is THAT GOOD!!! If you are in a market for a new keyboard controller, I HIGHLY suggest you check out Nektarís offering. They have the 25 key, 49 key, and 61 key (In the drivers there is an 88 Key, but Iím not sure if Nektar will release that in the foreseeable future). Testing the Panorama made me curious, and owning the Impact Made me a fan. I will end up purchasing the Panorama P4 in the very near future. And if the team at Nektar reads this, I highly, HIGHLY suggest you guys making a 16 Pad Drum controller, and SOON!!! I would like to see this go up against the offerings from M-Audio, Akai, and Native Instruments. I will come up and shoot you guyís ideas and even Beta test the device. Just do it. I believe it can sell. All in all, GREAT PRODUCT!!! Guys please research this, and if you find value, especially from a Reason operator, you canít beat the value that this controller can offer you!!!

    PS Thanks Matt Masek. I'll be hitting you up soon on a few things.

    -Markeyse Jamar Mundy

  • from Los Angeles July 25, 2014Music Background:
    Music student, classical pianist

    Great product

    No problems with shipping, great keyboard. Got it hooked up in ableton and works great! (Have to do some deeper file things to get it in ableton) works easily on logic, too. Having a lot of fun! Love the drum pads.

  • from Oakland, CA July 14, 2015Music Background:
    Computer Music/Sound Art

    Covers all bases

    I was pleased to discover out that this keyboard turned out to be somewhat compatible with software older than itself (Logic 9). Not all DAWs are supported, but with just a little effort, it can easily control any DAW you throw at it. It can easily be configured to broadcast MIDI on different channels, do bank/pgm changes, and a lot of other things I likely won't use. The class compliance means it has no software issues to speak of, so on to hardware...

    It's not a single centimeter larger than it needs to be in any dimension, with enough bells and whistles to control any software instrument. I'm a big fan of the design on this.

    The keyboard itself has a nice feel; the synth action is more like the m-audio controllers, and less like that of a Roland synth (those are a bit stiff for me). I discovered on mine that the lowest 4 white keys have a different velocity response than the others-- they require a little extra pressure, but I think it's just a quality control issue with the sensors for those keys.

    The drum pads are more sensitive than on the Akai products I've used, and you can nerf them internally on Impact LX if they're too soft for you.

    I would guess that the quality of this is comparable to similar M-audio controllers, but with the added bonus of costing a bit less and looking a bit sleeker.

  • from May 23, 2015

    Great controller

    This controller has done everything it said it would. Two minor complaints though:

    1) The keys do not feel great. If that's a huge thing for you, you may want to look elsewhere.
    I use it for sketching ideas and basic playing, so it's fine.

    2) the color is not black. It sure looks black, right? well it's more of a bronze or dark browny grey.
    Not a huge complaint, but thought I'd point it out.

  • from April 10, 2015

    Nectar Impact

    Great as a controller.

  • from July 15, 2014

    Good bargain

    pretty decent build quality and feel for the price. Definitely an oversight on my part, but this controller doesn't have MIDI out, only USB. So you'll be limited to using it with a DAW, which may suit your needs nicely, but as it turns out I'll have to find another controller to control my hardware synth. Otherwise I'd definitely recommend it.

  • from USA June 27, 2014Music Background:
    Recording engineer/composer/producer

    Good value for the dollar

    This a really solid little controller. All the pots and sliders have a quality feel to them. Everything works as expected. Two things that I'm not completely happy with are the very stiff action on the accidentals and the fact that you can only change presets from the LX-61 within Presonus native plugs. I considered an exchange but I might just be too fussy!

    You will not find a better value in a keyboard controller.

  • from Central Florida January 5, 2015Music Background:
    Worship Leader, Lead musician, audio production hobbyist, and guitar teacher.

    Good build but issues with

    It is not intuitive at all. Before getting this Midi Key Controller I was using an old Casio piano with Roland drivers as a keyboard input for midi. I basically can only get that level of functionality out of this device. There is no documentation on how to use it, how to program and assign different controllers to specific functions in my DAW.

    The build quality is outstanding though. Very happy with the quality of the product itself. The only thing lacking is the explanation of how to use it.

    This is just my two cents. Great product Nektar but lacking in End User support.

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