Nektar Panorama P4 Overview – Dedicated MIDI Control for Propellerhead’s Reason 6

Propellerhead’s Reason music production software gets a new partner-in-crime with Nektar’s beautiful Panorama P4 hardware MIDI controller that hits the market later this year.

Propellerhead’s Reason 6 music production software is getting some hardware love these days. While the  music software is compatible with most MIDI controllers, the California-based Nektar has developed a full-sized keyboard controller that sports touch-sensitive motorized faders, a plethora of knobs and pads, and a graphic interface that tells you exactly what part of Reason you are controlling. Nektar has designed their own protocol to allow the P4 to slip seamlessly into your Reason 6 workflow. In addition the device is a fully functioning MIDI controller that can be used with other software packages. The Nektar Panorama P4 should launch in April 2012 and looks to be a wonderful companion to your Reason workflow for approximately $599 list price and $499 street price.

“Panorama is our vision of how a great controller should work. Yes, there are many ‘generic’ controllers on the market already but we have yet to find one that satisfies our criteria of operating the software, as if it’s hardware – That’s Panorama. The whole design is custom for Panorama including the keybed. Our communications protocol that handles interaction with Reason 6 is also custom. The main idea behind Panorama is to complement the computer ,so a user can have immediate access to areas of Reason where tactile control is an advantage without having to reach for the mouse which typically disrupts workflow. Or to put it in other words: Panorama is first an instrument and gives the user the experience of operating Reason, as if it was hardware.”

Nektar Panorama Press Release

Advanced Control, Advanced Workflow
Panorama P4 offers unrivalled tactile control and user transparency. From the outset Panorama P4 was conceived as an instrument intended to augment a computer music system through direct and tight integration.

Ergonomic Design
Great care and attention has gone in to the design of Panorama P4 with the aim to not only be functional but also inspire, set a tone and make the musician feel comfortable. Its unique design is both, comprehensive and sensible with seven distinct areas making Panorama P4 easy to operate in the studio and live. The front panel is angled, raising important controls so they are easy to see and reach. This also provides a great viewing angle for the centered hi-res display.

Expressive Keyboard
The 49-note weighted synth keybed is custom designed specifically for Panorama P4 to provide both a keyboard that plays great but also blends perfectly with the overall design. It offers a choice of 5 velocity curves, each optimized dynamically but with different response emphasis. Weather heavy handed or cultivating a light touch there is always a curve that works. Monophonic aftertouch adds another dimension and the zone function enables programming 4 zones that can be switched on and off during performance.

More Control
Panorama has a ton of controls, with 90 control elements assignable to a MIDI-message. In addition, buttons and pads can be assigned to ASCII messages which allows for sending shortcut commands to Reason. 20 preset locations store the assignments of controls for later recall. A preset is linked to a Pad Map, Keyboard Map and F-Keys Map so you can save and load these components independently of the individual presets. With this much control, you get the flexibility to load what you need, when you need it.

TFT Display
The high-resolution display feeds back the information the musician needs, including what each control does and which buttons to press to navigate around the menus. The 3.5″ full graphic display has a very wide viewing angle so it is easy to see what is going on from almost anywhere. Also, its sleek black appearance blends beautifully with the design of Panorama.

Amazing Pads
12 velocity and pressure-sensitive pads with choice of velocity curves make all the difference for percussive performances. The pads are easy to program using the “Learn Note” function and saving to any of the 20 Pad Map locations. The “Velocity Spread” feature quickly spreads one note across all 12 pads, each with its own fixed velocity, which allows for extremely nuanced dynamics. The “Scale-Function” assigns each pad to pitches within a defined scale for percussive performances with any sort of keyboard sound, while freely changing intervals or transposing the whole set on the fly.

Dedicated Reason Control
Panorama integrates and interacts with Reason like no other controller: Completely transparent and with unlimited access to all areas. Every single Reason device is mapped with parameters and their values clearly visible in the display. Switching between Mixer, Instrument and Transport mode reconfigures the entire control surface by just pressing one button. Even if you are not interested in tweaking sounds but prefer to use the comprehensive library of patches in Reason, Panorama delivers an experience like it has never been available before. Patch names are displayed clearly as you step through the current sound bank. To play Panorama adds an additional dimension and is the closest you get, to operate Reason, as if its hardware.

Specifications:

  • 49-note velocity-sensitive keyboard
  • Aftertouch
  • Weighted synth-style keybed
  • Pitch bend & Modulation wheels
  • 4 keyboard function buttons
  • 3.5″ high-resolution TFT display
  • 16 encoders
  • 9 45mm faders
  • 100 mm ALPS motorized fader*
  • 10 assignable LED buttons
  • 28 additional assignable buttons
  • 12 pads with velocity/pressure sensitivity
  • 4 LED mode buttons
  • 5 menu buttons under display
  • Pads and motorized fader select buttons
  • View and mute buttons
  • Sustain pedal jack (pedal not included)
  • Expression pedal jack (pedal not included)
  • USB port for communication with computer
  • USB Micro B connector for extra and external power*
  • Mac OS X and Windows XP, Vista & 7 compatible

*Two USB ports or external USB power supply required to power entire unit. One USB port powers entire unit with the exception of the motorized fader.

Pricing and availability
The Nektar Panorama P4 will be available in stores worldwide in March 2012 for Msrp US$ 599.99 Anticipated street price US$ 499.99

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