After using it in my studio, Iíve found the Nektar Panorama P6 to be the ideal solution for controlling Reason. Every important knob and button is automatically mapped to the controller as soon as I select a device. The deep integration with Reason is so immersive and intuitive that it sometimes feels like Iím using a traditional hardware keyboard instead of a MIDI controller. Ultimately this means less time clicking around the interface and more time to be creative.
Perfect for REASON
Gives me that real mixer feel as a DAW controller!
Nektar Panorama and MainStage 3
When I first received the P6 the software to integrate MainStage 3 was not yet available. Sweetwater and Chris Leonard were amazing as always... best price, fast shipping, lots of support where needed. The keyboard is very well constructed, yet lightweight. The display is the best I've ever seen on a controller. The action was crisp and accurate and the sliders and knobs were as good as any in contemporary keyboard construction.
Without the integration, it is a really nice (if not somewhat expensive) controller. WITH the integration, it becomes a whole new beast! I exchanged a few emails with Nektar chomping at the bit to get the software I needed. The Nektar support folks were STELLAR (patient, understanding and very responsive). Within a week, the software was released and they sent me a personal email with the upload link. I loaded it and within minutes I was working with MainStage 3 like it was a part of the P6.
A Mac Mini ($500-$1,200), the P6 ($600) a nice interface ($200+) and you are out playing for $1,300- $2,000! That's a thousand less than a dedicated synth.
I've owned a lot of nice keyboards (Kronos X, Motif XF, Nord Electro 2, Roland RD300, etc.) this set up is the most flexible, best sounding, most fun rig I've ever played. If you want to use MainStage 3 live, this is your controller!
Nektor got it Right!
This thing was so easy to set up with Cubase 7.5. It's got more bells and whistles than I could use the first night, but I'm finding uses now. He keyboard is very sensitive to the touch all the way through the stroke. The Panorama 61 U.S. nice to look at to. I've never had a controller this nice and I know it will be around for a long while.
But Does It Work With Logic X?
I'm happy to say.....YES! I took a chance on this keyboard and bought it without having one local that I could try out. I was looking for a main axe to use with Logic X and this fits the bill perfectly for me. It works with many of Logic's parameters out of the box and the rest are easy to program. Feels like quality too. Keybed finally feels good to play.
If you're looking for a good keyboard controller to use with Logic X , this is a breath of fresh air.
Feels like using hardware again!
The Nektar Panorma P6 is by far the ultimate controller for Reason 6 and above. It is an elegant looking keyboard with solid construction and is almost fully integrated with Propellerhead's Reason software. For those that want the most of the Nektar line, this is the one to get. No difference (to my knowledge) with regards to the software programming but does have the extra octave over the P4 and the inclusion of a keyboard and pads over the P1.
On the Outside :
When I take a moment away from the joys of using this keyboard, I get fulfilled with its beauty. The panel is constructed of "smooth to the touch" plastic in black and white (White body, black panel). It is however susceptible to fingerprints over time and more visible on the black. The display is nice and clean and when on is laid out in white lettering on black with menus and labels in red. Controls are laid out visibly as a rotary knob or slider so there is no confusion to what needs to be grabbed. It is designed in such a manner that in dark lighting it isn't hard on the eyes. Rotary knobs across the panel are endless rotation and feel good. The sliders are ok though they feel a little "light" to me. I think I would have preferred that they had a little more "grab" to them like you would expect on a mixing board but they react well and are just as good (if not better) than I had on my Axiom. The motorized fader is a nice touch. It has to me, and a few others Iíve had discussions with, added a bit of confusion on first set ups. It uses its own USB cable and power to operate. Some laptop USB ports may not have enough power to operate it on battery power or even plugged in. I experienced difficulty in having it plugged in to a USB hub on a standard 2.0 port of a desktop PC. It likes to be used on a dedicated USB source with enough power. I don't believe this is in the manual and may confuse a new owner as to why isnít the motorized fader working. The semi-weighted keyboard feels good to me. It's response curves/setting may not be to everyone's liking straight out of the box but there are several settings to choose from that I'm sure meets just about everyone's liking. And the mod and pitch wheels are well made. In dark settings they are lit up in red and look beautiful. In operation, they feel solid and smooth operating like I'd expect in a quality controller.
On the Inside:
This thing is smart. This comes from brilliant minds in my opinion. As a standard controller for most software DAWS and instruments, itís great. Specifically programmed for ReasonÖ. it is fantastic!!! And I believe they are developing the same line of control for Steinberg. I expect more DAWs with a larger level of control in the future. It is clearly known how this controller is divided into the three windows of the Reason Architecture (Mixer, Rack and Transport) so I don't feel I need to discuss that but it is Godsend of how seamless switching is between them are and how mapping of controls is. When in Mixer Mode, it is dedicated to the mixer. When in Rack View, everything is dedicated to the device you are focused one. And the support is there for not only Reason native devices but 90% of the 3rd party REís for Reason 6.5 and higher. Newer ones generally arenít but Nektar continues to add support for them frequently. The keyboard is supported through updates on Nektarís site that adds more every couple of months or so. Programming synths that have multiple levels of control are intuitively laid out using menus easily accessible on the right side of the display with dedicated menu buttons and knobs. Quickly navigating to sub menus brings up a new set of maps clearly labeled and easy to understand. This controller leaves you hardly ever having to grab for your mouse again.
In Closing :
Several years ago I left purchasing dedicated hardware for software. I loved the close feel of hardware but what you got in the box was all there was. If you wanted more you got another piece of hardware leaving you with duplicate sets fo keys, more pedals to buy, mixers and so on. Joining the software world you got to catch up on the newest stuff without having to buy new sets of keys. But you lost that "oneness" you developed in how you control the sound modules you use. The "hands on" experience started to feel like "hands off". In many cases you find yourself only programming the control(s) you want to use most and not bother with the rest. Some companies would include presets but it still didn't feel like it was enough. Programming is a pain and leaves you having to remember "how is that programmed again?" In comes Panorma...... and now things just seem to come to center again. The joy I had for hardware is born again through my software back into hardware. The level of integration into Reason and it's virtual hardware makes me again feel like I have all the hardware again only this time not having to compromise the storage space. It is a wonderful feeling.
This unit is highly recommended.
Nektar makes up for lost time.
For years, us Reason users were limited in our use of aftermarket equipment and software. Then came Reason 6.5 and its rack extensions and open source connection. The question was: "Will we get dedicated controllers as good as those for Ableton Live, Cakewalk, Pro Tools, etc."
Drop that question. I bought the Panorama, and it's BETTER! Imagine Novation's or Akai's Launchpads fused with Avid's mixers, Native Instrument's Maschine with one of the best quality real piano feel weighted keyboards. It damn near acts and feels like a dedicated hard synth workstation rather than just a soft synth controller.
If you're worried that it looks cheap in the photos, relax. It's much, much nicer looking in real life. In fact, it looks like a piece of minimalist modern art. That doesn't come across in the pictures. Nice stage presence.
The greatest thing to me, so far, is that it treats the Reason Combinators that you create as instruments, so not only does it use the aftermarket extensions, but the custom instruments you make yourself, so calling up the right settings or effects with connections immediately is a breeze. In other words, modular stuff you create with the Combinator gets used like other VST, RTAS, AU plug-ins.
The only problem I've encountered is that my laptop cannot handle using the P6, but that's not the Nektar's fault. It's the laptop's. It's barely able to use Reason anyway. Meantime, my i5 studio computer is waiting a new motherboard, so I'll report more later when that's back up.
Trust me, if you're thinking bout getting this, and are just a little concerned about the price, don't be. It performs like a much more expensive synth. I'm a wage slave at the moment, but I have zero regrets bout saving up to get this. It kicks absolute ***.
One small, but very nice detail for those of you into MIDI over USB or with limited sockets; the Panoramas both give you choice of USB or MIDI connection. There are two USB connections, one dedicated to the power, but that's easily left off the computer by getting a USB power adapter.
The total package!
Since I've decided to make Reasons my first choice for my (DAW). This control surface is heaven sent.... It just makes my workflow a lot smoother. I also use Cubase occasionally so having this controller is another BIG plus! The keys feel nice, It looks awesome! And being able to tweak the instruments in Reasons right from the controller is Huge.....Love it!
Works very well with logic x and flawlessly with bitwig. Half a star off for lack of ableton implementation.
After having a cheap midi keyboard for the last year, I decided to look for a replacement. It was between the P6 and the Native Instruments. The fact that I use Cubase for my DAW and that I use a lot of Steinberg products, it was the best option. After consulting with my awesome sales rep Carson, he assured me it was the best way to go. He was right. Cubase works amazing with this controller. My work flow increased in creativity and reaching for the mouse was happening less.
I have read and heard that many people have problems with the action on the P4&P6. If you are a piano player, this will not feel like a piano. If you are a keyboard player that has played top equipment, it may feel odd to play. Not bad, just different. Keep in mind that this is not a Flagship Roland, Korg, or Yamaha. But after a little while, playing became a bit easier and the response was right where it needed to be. The longer you use the controller, the better it will be to get great tracks out of it.
So why not 5 stars? The registration process and getting the software up and running was not user friendly in my opinion. As a Maschine and Komplete Ultimate user, Installing software and updates from NI is a breeze. I spent over 2 hours getting my mac to recognize the P6 and getting the software to update. Maybe it is a bit petty considering how deep the P6 integrates with Cubase, but I think it should not take that long to get the controller to work. However, I am sure sweetwater will get me hooked up with their tech support(best in the business).
If you are on the fence, and you have Cubase, get this board. It is the best controller for the price hands down.
This is really a great controller, with a very solid build. It works at is best with "deep integration" which is unfortunately only available for a limited number of DAWs. Hopefully more will come with time. However, it also functions well as a generic MIDI controller for both hardware and software. The keybed is quite robust with keys shaped more like an acoustic piano. They use the term "weighted" to describe the action but I'd say its closer to semi-weighted. The knobs, sliders are buttons are all pretty firm and should stand the test of time.
My biggest gripe is that 22 of the button's configuration are saved globally and cannot change from saved preset to preset. I expected more flexibility at this price point. Fortunately there are ton of other controls and each can be configured to do a LOT of different things.
My second gripe would be with the documentation. There is no printed manual and no single full manual PDF. All you have is an online hierarchy of pages and a brief getting started guide.
So far my experience with support has been really good. They typically get back to me within 24 hours.
Back to Basics
I installed the Nektar with a little trouble. Using Cubase in a 64 bit environment, I had to manually transfer the driver into the 64 bit folder, since it only automatically installed the 32 bit driver (or vice versa- I don't recall now).. So that's all you have to remember if you're installing Nektar in Windows. I'm still playing around with it, learning the knobs and how to maneuver through. I wish there were more instructions for using it with Cubase. It is geared toward Reason users, but the interface works with Cubase. A little glitchy right now. It does not always toggle between tracks as effortlessly as I'd hoped. Still have to use the mouse with the keyboard gets stuck. Hopefully in time that wil straighten out. But once I get the hang of it, it will be a nice tool.
Nektar needs to step up their game
Let me start by saying Sweetwater is AMAZING, this review has nothing to do with them.
The keyboard casing is built like a tank out of quality parts (the only part of it that really is), but Nektar's packaging warehouse or third party company needs to get their act together. The first P6 I received arrived with a busted corner like the keyboard had been dropped from 6 feet on to concrete. The screen was smudged with finger prints and some of the accessories were either packed incorrectly or already opened. I was pretty mad as anyone would be, especially since there was no major damage to Sweetwater's shipping box or the box the P6 was in. I contacted Sweetwater and they over-nighted me a new P6 as soon as they got another one in from Nektar.
The second one arrives and I have to send this damaged one back. I open the second and thankfully NO DAMAGE to the keyboard. I was very happy, but upon removing it from the unsealed plastic bag around it I noticed there was smudging on the keyboard and a mold like substance on the drum pads in the upper right hand corner along with some other weird aspects. I may sound like a whiny fool to you for this, but when you spend over $500 on a MIDI controller I think it should be spotless, immaculate, and mint.
Once I cleaned off the yellow moldy pads, the smudges, the faders, and wiped down the keys this thing has been awesome. Like I said the case of the MIDI controller is VERY well built, I'm not sure about the other reviews but the keys definitely have the same "weight" throughout the whole board but the fader resistance varies for some odd reason. The motorized fader works perfectly with my DAW which is very nice. The pitch and mod wheels have a wonderful feel and just feel right. The LCD screen is nice at giving some info without having to look up at your computer screen.
The Nektar P6 is nice, but it's probably the last and only product I'll buy from Nektar. For the premium price you don't receive a quality product. You could easily replace the motorized fader with a PreSonus FaderPort and replace the faders and knobs with an Oxygen 61 for almost half the price at $360 versus the $600 you'll spend on this controller.
Once again, thank you Sweetwater for helping with getting me a non-busted one and over-nighting it as soon as you got a new one in.
Highly specialized, but also good for general use.
This unit is particularly suited for very specific software like Cubdase, Logic etc. but it does serve well for
general MIDI use. The keys are not piano or synth style; but somewhere in between. It has octave shifting selectors, this comes in handy when sequencing piccolo or tuba parts.
My main problem was the instructions. All I received was a CD sized pamphlet that used 4pt font. There is a PDF available online but it is cryptic. But after bugging the people over at Sweetwater, and an hour of interpreting the PDF, I got it working Ė for the most part.
This controller was a great idea and mapped to Reason fine, I just always had problems from day 1. It would ALWAYS take me at least 2 - 3 start ups for it to connect. No matter how many times I downloaded the updates. That's not ok at shows. It finally just died. I've only had it a little over a year.
Waste of money. There's a better controller.
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