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If you’re thinking of adding a new keyboard to your music production or live setup, Nektar is an excellent choice. Here are the best options from this prolific brand.
Hailing from the USA, Nektar has emerged as one of the most promising keyboard and MIDI controller manufacturers in recent years.
The brand has released several highly successful keyboard models and ranges at affordable prices.
Considering that Nektar was only founded in 2009, they produced many high-quality instruments during that time. With the release of the flagship Panorama keyboards, Nektar increased its popularity considerably.
With such a vast selection of Nektar keyboards available, figuring out which would best suit your requirements can be overwhelming.
In this article, you’ll find the standout keyboards produced by Nektar, with options to suit all budgets and needs.
What are the Best Nektar Keyboards?
How we tested:
By running these Nektar keyboards through a series of specifically designed tests, we could get a clear idea of their strengths and weaknesses. This involved assessing the comfort and expressiveness of the keys and the convenience of the control layout.
We then moved on to analyzing the connectivity option provided with each keyboard and tried to determine whether the operation of the instrument was smooth or overly complicated.
Nektar Keyboards Reviews
Choosing a keyboard that facilitates the ideal amount of expressive playing that you require while also ensuring that it is practically sized and can fit into the space, you have available can be a challenge.
A Nektar keyboard with 49 keys is an excellent middle ground between the most compact instruments offered by this prolific manufacturer and the most significant models that are explicitly designed for keyboardists who like to utilize the full range of notes.
The Impact LX49+ is inspired by Nektar’s Panorama keyboards and is designed to provide you with complete control over your recording and performances.
Intelligent mapping means that you don’t need to spend hours assigning each control and parameter to a specific function, and therefore you can start using the keyboard with your chosen DAW as soon as you take it out of the box.
With a total of 8 assignable performance pads, each of which has customizable color schemes, this keyboard is ideal for triggering samples.
- Nine onboard faders
- Eight backlit LED pads
- Synth-action keys
- Ideal for playing in synth parts
- Compatible with all major DAWs
- Comes pre-configured for convenience
- Limited custom mapping and control assigning
This compact Nektar keyboard is an excellent choice for musicians and producers who often travel around and would like to have the option to create in various different locations.
With 25 synth-action keys, the Nektar Impact LX Mini is surprisingly comfortable to play. You can stretch over two octaves, playing bass notes and chords without any issues. Indeed, if you’re looking for a piano-style keyboard-playing experience, this probably isn’t going to be a big enough instrument for you.
However, what the keyboard lacks in size, it makes up for in controls and features. Coming pre-mapped for convenience, the Impact LX Mini includes eight onboard backlit pads, which are velocity-sensitive, making it ideal for beatmakers.
Then there are the eight rotary knobs that can be assigned to any function in your DAW, and on the left side of the control panel, you’ll find all of the classic parameters for pitch bending, modulation, and octave shifting.
- 25 synth-action keys
- Octave and pitch bend controls
- 2 onboard arpeggiators
- Compact and easy to transport
- Ideal for music production
- Great for inputting drum beats
- Limited number of keys
Music producers and performing keyboardists who like to play across 7 octaves, utilizing all of the bass, midrange, and treble frequencies that the keyboard can offer, will require 88 keys.
The Nektar Impact LX88+ comes equipped with semi-weighted keys, which respond to the slight nuances of your playing. This makes it easier to control the dynamics of every note or chord that you play on the keyboard.
Nektar has used the extra space that is made available wisely. Rather than simply cramming more controls onto the LX88+, the manufacturer has retained the minimalistic approach used for all of the instruments in the Impact range.
A range of faders, knobs, and pads allow you to control every aspect of the keyboard’s performance, without things becoming too complicated.
If you’ve got enough space for this 88-key keyboard, it is an excellent tool for composing, recording, and performing your music.
- 88 semi-weighted keys
- Mixer, Instrument, and Preset modes
- 8 assignable performance pads
- Allows for expressive keyboard playing
- Comes with Bitwig DAW software
- Roadworthy design
- Difficult to transport due to size
The Nektar Panorama T6, with its synth-action keybed, allows you to easily input MIDI information into a DAW. The second-generation keybed is a significant improvement on the first, and it also comes with the potential for assignable aftertouch.
The T6 also has an excellent performance pad section. Eight pads are available and can be assigned to drum samples so that you can play your beats into your recording software.
This keyboard works seamlessly with the vast majority of popular DAWs, so no matter whether you prefer Logic, Ableton, or FL Studio, you can easily connect the T6 to your sessions.
Another exciting feature of this 61-key keyboard is the repeat function that is located above the modulation wheels and pitch bend control. This can be used to change the rate of the sounds you use, allowing you to create arpeggiator-style sounds and rhythms.
- Synth action 2nd gen Panorama keys
- Eight T6 velocity-sensitive pads
- Ten-user preset slots
- Ideal for beat-making and sampling
- Wide range of assignable controls
- Works with most DAWs
- Lacks weighted keys
With a TFT display screen, the Nektar Panorama P6 makes it easy to track its various aspects in real time. This instrument has 61 semi-weighted, piano-style keys, making it ideal for expressive playing.
With an abundance of connectivity options, you can use this instrument for basically any purpose. Furthermore, advanced features like a motorized 100mm ALPS fader provide you with more control over the keyboard’s operation.
It also has 12 performance pads for controlling VST instruments in your DAW, and you can tweak many of the settings by assigning them to the controls installed on the keyboard.
Overall, the Panorama P6 is an excellent choice for music producers who want a central hub for all of their mixing, producing, and composing tasks.
- Semi-weighted, piano-style keys
- 12 performance pads
- Ten onboard faders
- Suitable for every aspect of music production
- Expertly controls virtual instruments
- Easy to input drum patterns
- TFT display may be distracting
Nektar Keyboards Buyer's Guide
Whether you’re a music producer, or a keyboardist in a band, choosing the right instrument that can do everything you require is essential. Nektar keyboards are highly reliable, but there are many different models to choose from.
It’s easy to get drawn in by the features and controls of a keyboard, but sometimes it’s worth taking a step back and determining exactly what you need. The great thing about Nektar is that they offer various advanced and more simplistic options.
You’ll find the information in this buyer’s guide helpful if you’re still unsure which Nektar keyboard to choose.
Things to Consider When Buying Nektar Keyboards:
Number of keys
The number of keys that a Nektar keyboard has will impact how you play it and its dimensions. Expressive keyboard playing may require more keys, but this will also make the instrument harder to store and move around.
Nektar offers keyboards that come pre-assigned, and others that leave more room for you to custom assign the controls and parameters. The first option is less hassle, but for advanced music producers, being able to assign different functions to controls is likely to be important.
If you like to input drums or other samples into your DAW, a Nektar keyboard that comes with touch performance pads is worth considering. These pads are sensitive to velocity, so you can create more authentic and natural-sounding loops.
How to Choose a Nektar Keyboard
Whether you’re looking for a keyboard predominantly for music production and DAW control, or you’d prefer one that can be used for live performances, you’ll find multiple suitable options in Nektar’s vast selection.
To ensure that you acquire a Nektar keyboard that can do everything you need it to, it’s essential to look at each main aspect of the Panorama and Impact ranges.
Keys and Playability
Nektar’s keyboards are available in a variety of sizes. The most common are:
- 25 keys
- 49 keys
- 61 keys
- 88 keys
There are advantages to having more keys, but also potential drawbacks. While this will allow you to input more complex and substantial MIDI information into your DAW, you also need a lot more space in your home studio or practice room.
A more compact Nektar keyboard, such as the 25-key model, can be easily placed in a carry bag and transported from one place to another.
This means that if you’re traveling, you can take your studio set up on the road and act on any inspiration as soon as it occurs.
The type of keys installed on the keyboards also affects their playability. Synth-action keys are the least expressive, while Nektar also offers semi-weighted, piano-style keybeds that feel more realistic to play.
Controls and Parameters
One of the key reasons that Nektar is such a popular keyboard brand amongst music producers is its excellent control layouts.
The more faders and knobs you have to work with, the more instant control you can have over the various aspects of a DAW. These can be used to alter the volume of certain sounds, adjust the pitch and modulation, and apply effects.
Many Nektar keyboards come with pre-assigned controls, making them easier to set up and use immediately.
If you’re experienced with mapping and assigning controls, you might want to choose a Nektar keyboard that allows you to customize the functions of the various knobs and faders.
Performance pads are another staple feature of Nektar keyboards. The standard number included on most models is eight, but more advanced keyboards offer twelve pads for triggering samples and inputting MIDI.
Nektar Keyboard FAQs
Which DAWs can Nektar Keyboards be Used With?
Nektar keyboards can be used with the majority of popular DAWs, including Logic Pro, Cubase, Reason, or Studio One. These DAWs can be integrated with Nektar keyboards for ultra-smooth operation.
You can also use Nektar keyboards with most other DAWs, but the integration feature will not work, which may cause some limitations to the functionality.
Do Nektar Keyboards Need Software?
If you want to use your Nektar keyboard for music production, it must be paired with a DAW that supports MIDI. You can download the Nektar DAW integration software after registering the device on Nektar’s website.
Other than that, the Nektar keyboard may require you to download some drivers to ensure that it runs smoothly when connected to your computer or laptop.
Do Nektar Keyboards Work With FL Studio?
Although FL Studio is not included in Nektar’s DAW integration package, you can still use the instrument as a MIDI controller with this software. Different aspects of FL Studio can be assigned to your Nektar keyboard’s various controls and parameters.