As a long-time user of Reason, no keyboard controller I've seen has even come close to the integration and ease-of-use as the new Nektar Panorama P4. Nektar has built it specifically for use with Reason 6! When I have some precious time in my home studio, the work and creative flow is extremely important to me. The P4 takes that flow from drip-drop to full-blast!
Using this with Logic, Cubase, and Reaper is such a pleasure. This is my first integrated controller, and it actually works! Makes me enjoy using these DAWs more than ever before.
Excellent Cubase integration and plugin control
I love my Panorama P4. It is excellent at both DAW integration and plugin control. I have gone through a few controllers in the last few years. I've had a Novation Impulse and Axiom Air. I also just sold my Komplete Kontrol, which never worked properly with Cubase. On neither of those could I get plugin control to work as I wanted. Oh the Panorama, it's a matter of minutes to set up a plugin just how I want it and it just works. You get four pages of eight rotaries each for effects plugins, and the four pages of rotaries plus eight sliders for instruments. I assign the sliders to the macros of my synths. It's a pleasure to have fine and expressive control over these parameters.
As for DAW control with Cubase, it's well thought out. I use it mainly to set levels, pan, sends, and EQ. It's great to be able to just listen to the music and adjust all these parameters with sensitive dials. For send levels it's especially good because Cubase's send controls are fiddly and imprecise. The transport section is also well done and easy to use. For example, you can jump to the locators with one button.
The one thing Komplete Kontrol and Akai Advance have over the Panorama is preset browsing from the controller. To me, the DAW integration trumps that. Also, I wouldn't argue for those keyboards being much better as a plugin controller because it's easy to set up the Panorama just how you like it n
Intuitive DAW control
Like learning any new piece of equipment, there is a little bit of a learning curve when it comes to understanding the navigation and controls. But even then, it's not steep at all as everything seems to be very well thought out and intuitive. My workflow in Reason sped up considerably. There's nothing better than having that hands on control of Reason, from the transport, to the sequencer, mixer, individual devices... it's a much better medium than a mouse, keyboard, and midi keys alone. Highly suggested.
This keyboard is amazing! If you use Reason you will be blown away!
The music gear biz is full of overpriced garbage these days from brands owned by other brands owned by people who don't care about music at all.
For the money this keyboard is on a build level I'd expect to pay a lot more for, 800-900 maybe. The screen is color and easy to read. The keys feel great. Not quite as good as hammer action if you're used to real pianos, but close enough that you won't mind.
It took about half an hour to get it registered and get the drivers installed to use with reason, but once it's setup the workflow is just incredible. Everything is mapped. Everything! You rarely need to touch your mouse or even look at the computer screen.
It looks great.
It feels great.
It plays great.
The Reason integration works as advertised.
The Search Has Ended! This Is Your Next Midi Controller!
Where do I start?!!!
Well, how about a little background on previous keyboards I have owned? Im primarily a drummer but over the last few years I had started to dabble in the computer recording world of using a DAW.. I have been using Cubase, recently Cubase Artist 7, for sometime and recently got hooked on Propellerheads Reason 6.5. Both are remarkable programs but both have their own bragging points. So I use both. Maninly Cubase due to my use of VST instruments and Reason due to the Rack Extensions.
I owned an Akai MPK 49 for a while and recently was using the new Akai Max49. Both are great keyboards but I was looking for the next step. Something that would give me better integration and workflow with my DAW of choice.
Well, I FOUND IT!
The Nektar Panorama P4 is superb in every way! Here are the key points I feel set it apart from the rest.
1) Build Quality
This unit has substantial weight and feels very rigid in its construction.
Although no metal is used all the plastic parts are heavy plastic with much thickness. Especially the top white area of the unit. I was very surprised at just how well it was built. Easily the most well built keyboard in this range. The Akai product was a good build as well but this is a step above in my opinion.
2) The keybed
Now this is subjective but let me say that the keys are not at all like the Akai MPK49 or Max49. Those keyboards have a very heavy spring action which can be fatiguing over long playing periods. The Nektar Panorama P4 has a very smooth, medium weight. The action feels equal from top to bottom of the note. Personally, it took some getting use to after using the Akai since it is so different but I now prefer the P4 and I now see how it helps you play more naturally. The black keys are a matte finish and not shinny like regular piano keys. I like the feel of this. Seems more tactile. If you have seen reviews of the keybed being cheap it is far from it. It is just different than anthing else out there. Ive seen where other have had a hard time explaining it and now I understand why. Its definately unique. Which a very good thing.
3) Faders, Knobs, Display, Pitch and Mod Wheel, Motorized Fader, Soft Keys.
I grouped these all together since its the main hardware control area of the board. This is where I am very picky. I hate loose faders and knobs. Like the Novation Impulse, especially their knobs. Wow, just junk.
The faders on the P4 have a very nice resistance to them. I would say it is medium but in no way is it loose. Feels solid to the touch. The caps are higher than most and have a little side-to-side play but its normal. The caps on the faders have a rubber type coating and feel great to the touch.
The knobs have a slightly less than medium feel but they are not loose. They also feel good. They have a smooth rotation but do not have the click marker feel to them. They also have the rubberized coating. A great feel.
The pitch and mod wheel are the best I have used. The pitch wheel has a nice tightness to it and the mod wheel is just a tad bit looser than the pitch wheel. They both light up red as well. Very cool.
The overall control and transport keys feel wonderful. They are a nice size and are made of very good dense rubber. Most of your main buttons have lights representing their current state. The transport controls are back lite on the play, stop and cycle buttons.
The display is gorgeous! Its not to big and not to small. Extremely clear and bright with great colors. It is also adjustable in brightness. The amount of information they have on the display is crazy. Several times when I play my monitor goes to sleep when working with my DAW. It is that integrated!
The motorized fader is a fun, nice touch. It follows the track you are working with and each time you turn on the unit it will self calibrate (move up and down) to find it correct position. The motorized fader is slightly loser than the standard 9 faders but has a nice resistance to it as well. I believe the cap is made of aluminum. Its definitely not plastic. I'm not 100% sure though. I just know its generally cold when I touch it. So i assume its not plastic. :) It has a nice concave cap which fits well into your thumb or finger tip for adjusting.
4) Integration with Reason and Cubase
I've included Cubase because I use it and Reason mainly. Nektar is currently working with a beta testing download for Cubase. Once you buy and register this keyboard on the Nektar website you too can be part of the beta testing. So far the beta testing is very in depth in regards to its integration with Cubase and they continue to improve before final official release. Since I use Cubase Artist 7 all the included VST instruments are mapped. Hopefully we will soon see the officially release for Cubase. I'm hearing possibly early May of this year. They are definitely on the right track. Its works great even in beta testing state. In regards to Reason, its simply astonishing! Works so very well. Its just all there, on the screen in front of you. Gives you completed hardware control of the DAW. Its so much fun!
On a side note. I have exchanged emails with Nektar and their customer service is incredible. I was in retail sales and management for 18 years and Nektar knows how important customer relations is to a successful business. I know if I have an issue, problem, or question in general they will be there to help. That's a comforting to know!
In regards to Sweetwater. WOW, WOW, WOW!
My sales engineer Carson was extremely professional and personal for that matter. Very knowledgeable and helpful when placing this order! Thanks Carson!
In closing, I know this was a lot to read but I hope this review was helpful. I hope I didn't leave anything off that was important to you in making your purchasing decision. If you do have a question with this unit I have included my email below .
There is honestly nothing like this keyboard on the market in this price range. So look no more. This is your next midi keyboard!
I have included my email for anyone who has questions about the Nektar Panorama P4. Please don't hesitate to contact me. I'm more than happy to help.
Great job Nektar & Sweetwater!
This controller is amazing. Allows for maximum productivity and exploration of Reason, and now, Cubase.
Thanks, Tharon, for helping us out and hooking us up with this piece.
My son is the main user and loves it.
Seriously the best keyboard for reason hands down. I've owned quite a bit of keyboards but none ever integrated with reason like this one has. The nektar site also updates the firmware often so it also integrates with the latest rack extensions. Buy it, trust me you will not regret this.
This is a great midi controller when using Reason, its the best that you can get for this program everything is all matched with the program and i find myself rarely looking at my computer screen, I recommend this!
This 49 key midi controller rocks, great investment, cuts the work in half!!!
Really enjoy this Toy.
Wow This product is awesome.It is something I ve always wanted to have.I think P4 is a must for all REASON user because everything becomes comfortable combining them. Also the interaction between software - hardware is excellent and the work flow is easier now.I really love this toy!.
Thanks SWEETWATER for being all time worried about delivering were done correctly.
It doesn't get any better than this
I won't rehash what all the other reviews have said, except to say...this is IMHO the perfect integration between software and hardware...my workflow has increased to warp speed! I rarely even look at the screen of the computer while I'm creating...the build quality is excellent, the key bed is just right...this is heaven in controller...well, it's not actually a controller it's now part of the Reason app....there is no line between the two
WOW...NOTHING SHORT OF AMAZING...
I WILL NOT ADDRESS THE SAME THINGS LISTED IN PREVIOUS REVIEWS BECAUSE THIS CONTROLLER DOES EVERYTHING THE PREVIOUS REVEIWS RAVE ABOUT...THE EASE OF USE AND WORKFLOW YOU ACHEIVE WITH THIS CONTROLLER MAKES YOUR TRACKS FUN, AND ALLOWS FOR MORE TIME TO DETAIL...AND THE ABILITY TO EDIT YOUR VOCALS AND INSTRUMENTS FOR 499 IS UNHEARD OF....I HAVE A 1299 DOLLAR MACKIE UNIVERSAL PRO, AND I HAVENT PLUGGED IT IN SINCE I RECEIVED THIS....NEVER USED A REASON PRODUCT UNTIL THIS CONTROLLER AND REASON 6 ARRIVED....TOOK AROUND 10-12 HOURS OF LEARNING BEFORE MY SKILLS WERE SHARPE ENOUGH TO NAVIGATE AROUND, BUT IT TOOK ME WEEKS IN SONAR...SO, WELL DONE
The year of Reason!
First came Reason 6.0, then 6.5 with Rack Extensions. Now, the Nektar Panorama P4 arrives and carries on with the innovation! As a long time Reason user, I've composed two of my albums and countless remixes using that incredible little DAW. With the Panorama, the line between hardware and software blurs even more! From it's nicely weighted keyboard with aftertouch, to the easy to read (and use) screen, and the motorized fader, this is one piece of gear that every Reason user should have. Also, it's an excellent controller for any other DAW, as well as for all physical rack gear. The only way that my self-proclaimed "year of Reason" could get better is if they suddenly introduced native MIDI support. Excellent job, Nektar!
This allows creactivity and inspiration to flow
Man this keyboard is nice.. want an even better experience attach a mini 7 in touch screen monitor to the back of this thing.. you'll forget you even have a computer..
I love this controller,my work is so much faster. I think anyone who wants to take their skills to the next level,should invest in the P4.
Nektar Panorama P4
This keyboard controller is truly AMAZING! I can record,control, mix and master in Reason 6.5 without ever touching the mouse. Pairing this with Reason 6.5 is a truly great experience!!
Simply THE BEST controller for Reason!!!!
Rock solid quality, great action on the keys, and the motorized fader is AWESOME! But the best part is the 3.5" TFT LCD - the feedback and information allotted is simply amazing. Also, macro commands are super powerful - create instruments, tracks, save projects, open favorites - whatever you want! Highly recommended!!!!
Wow, The ultimate reason midi Keyboard
I had been waiting for someone to utilize Propellerhead's ReMote protocol and it is finally here.
The keys feel great on this, they aren't weighted but feel a lot better than most midi keyboards I've played. The pitch/mod wheel and the keys all feel very similar to moog's little phatty.
The real treat with this keyboard is I no longer have to look at my laptop live. with the screen and the controls it provides I have access to anything I could want to use at all. This means I can rack mount my pc and not have to worry about the druken/insane crowd surfers knocking down my laptop and ruining the show. The motorized fader is a nice touch to the keyboard but the fader itself has a great feel to it when doing swells and general mixing.
I had a small problem on the installation but I called support and they fixed the problem within minutes. Such great service by the way. The guy I talked to was equally excited about using the keyboard as I was.
If you use Reason you will not be saddened by this keyboard.
Came with some CANDY!!!
It did not work for me in Mainstage or Logic. It did not integrate with either so I will leave the set up for the experts. I tried setting it up with Mainstage and logic and it did not work. But here is something else to consider, I have no idea what I was doing. The board would probably work if I learn how to set it up. I gave it some stars only because there was candy in the box! Please note, this keyboard does not come with any instructions to set up with your DAW. So it can be frustrating if you new to this. It was to me but... It works as a general keyboard in Omnisphere and Keyscape. In any case, a big thank you for the "SWEETS" Sweetwater!
Wow, it works. :-0
Finally!!! a keyboard controller that actually works, simply and the very first time. With relatively minimal setup I finally have full control over my DAW. Even third party plugs appear on the screen with some pre mapped parameters. I'm using the panorama with logic x and it's smooth and seemlessly integrated. Feels solid and looks great.
Old Dog soon to be learning new tricks on New P4 ;-)
I have yet to take full advantage of my Cubase recording software using a Controller so I began a fairly industrious research and review of Controllers and Keyboard Controllers.
As I am looking to move from Windows to Apple and adding Logic Pro, what I eventually found was that the Nektar Panorama line was THE way to go and based on my budget and requirements, the P4 fit the bill!
I touched base with my Sweetwater Rep and Friend, Mark Bruhn, in this regard and he agreed that the P4 was a great way to go so I ordered it and it arrived the very next day!!!!.
This is a real nice controller! The only thing that I didn't like was, that it was somewhat false info on XP compatible, Because the guy from Nektar told me they meant to make it compatible with every window that Reason 6 used, but they didn't, but I also had windows 7 so its cool. But you can't find another keyboard so easy to use with Reason 6. The feel is good, and to be able to use without a mouse is also great. I also like the mixer!
First lets say that Sweetwater costumer service should be the industry standard. Thank you guys for being the best. The p4 integration with reasons is second to none. If nektar adds a balance interface then your just a pc or mac away from being a total workstation. The only short coming on this keyboard are the PADS...sad face. Being the owner of an mpc studio the pads fall short of being great. Those of you with a controller with good pads and keys should consider the p1 for your reasons control service. It is still a great addition to any production rig.
Enjoying It More and More
This is an update to my previous review. Now that I have windows 7 rolling I've had sveral long sessions working with the panorama and I've noticed an instant productivity bounce. Something as simple as scrolling through Line 6 patches while holding my guitar without mousing is great. I'm liking the keyboard and control feels more and more. Everything is well built and feels solid. There's a little bit of a learning curve which I'm still ascending and the documentation is scant but that's part of the fun I suppose. I'm finding myself getting more organic sounds because I'm more inclined to move and push the sounds in ways that are difficult with a mouse and keyboard.
I was a bit disappointed with the pad respoonse and I reached out to the company and it was a pleasure to get a response written by a real person, appreciating my concern. They seem to be committed to making the controller better. I still may try a mod we'll see.
Verdict Still Out
This is going to be a work in progress review primarily because I can't leverage the controller as with reason yet!
First things, first. Despite all the press and reviews of this product it doesn't support windows XP. It does say on the product website at the bottom in the specs that it does not, so shame on me. But every review and press piece on the controller clearly says otherwise. So big disappointment when I go to start tweaking knobs in Reason.
So while I wait for the new drive and windows 7 to arrive I've had a chance to use it simply as a midi controller without the tight reason integration. This is my first real controller with knobs, sliders, and pads and I will say it was exciting to have the extra creative control, even if still limited. The knobs, wheels, sliders, and fader and feel nice, smooth and chunky the way I like them. The keyboard will take some getting used to as it seems to have a little more resistance than the more synth like action I'm upgrading from.
However, the pads are a little disappointing. I'm started as a drummer and am still a drummer so this was a big deal to me. Pads are not sufficiently sensitive. If you want to do anything more nuanced than four on the floor the pads won't detect all your hits. Something like 16th's on the hats at a normal tempo just isn't going to work. The kicker is that apparently the for the P6 they made them more sensitive. Googling around it looks like this a common problem on other controllers and there is a fix on these other controllers, but it involves opening up the case, hacking the physical pds and voiding your warranty. Really? I can't imagine anyone wanting the pads to be this insensitive, so why ship it this way.
I'll update this once I've updated to windows 7 and had an opportunity to play with more of the feaures, maybe I will have voided the warranty by then too and I can report if the hack works for this controller
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