Nektar Panorama P4 Review – the Best Keyboard?
Is the Nektar Panorama P4 the best keyboard for Reason? This review of the Nektar Panorama P4 tries to be nuanced, because the keyboard really does succeed in most ways. But it's not going to be for everybody. I really respect what Nektar was trying to do here, and if you're more of a producer than a musician, I think you'll enjoy it.
It depends on your needs. It does a great job acting as a DAW controller, and if you're just using stock Reason devices or the occasional Rack Extension, you're probably making a good choice. But its basic keyboard functions are average. And if you're mainly using VSTs, like those by Native Instruments, it leaves a lot to be desired.
So I'd give it a 4 out of 5.
Why does the Nektar Panorama Get a 4 Star Review?
My honest review of the Nektar Panorama is that it saves me a lot of time, but it still has a lot of short comings. Once you integrate it into your workflow, using it to mix, tweak effects, and even record becomes much more streamlined. I especially like that it has 9 faders that easily map to a mixer. Or to instrument controls - like on a draw bar organ.
I honestly believe that the Nektar Panorama is probably the best keyboard for Logic or Reason if you're focused more on controlling your whole DAW. It takes about five minutes to install the firmware and drivers, and the process is very easy. The LED screen in the middle of the keyboard, while not super HD, is clear and conveys useful information even in bright sunlight.
But as a physical keyboard, the Panorama has some issues.
But the drum pads on the Nektar Panorama are garbage. So bad as to be nearly unusable at anything other than fixed velocity, and even then, it just doesn't feel right.
The keyboard keys are good on the P4, but I would't say they're inspiring. The entire unit is very deep, which makes it impossible to access all the controls when its under my mixing desk. I'd definitely think that it is too bulky for gigging, though it's not too heavy.
The knobs on the Nektar keyboard all feel pretty good with a nice amount of resistance, as do the sliders. The Nektar Panorama also features a great mechanical fader for more detailed mixing rides. It does inspire nice mixing performance.
Nektar Panorama Review in Conclusion
I mainly use Native Instruments sounds, so if I was starting over again, I would seriously consider getting a Komplete Kontrol. The difference in Komplete Kontrol vs Nektar Panorama, it seems to me is, that Komplete Kontrol gives you a much sleeker way to interact with instruments based on Native Instruments platform, but not nearly as much power to interact with your DAW.