Attention Reason heads… Have you peeped Nektar’s Reason controller, Panarama P4, yet? It’s said to be a deep Reason implementation with vast programming options that puts the spotlight on performance and creativity. Keyboard and pads are dynamic, sensitive and balanced carefully with a solid feel that allows for complete expression. All this, combined with 93 real-time controls available at any one time, makes Panorama P4 the definitive keyboard controller for Reason.
Nektar Panorama P4’s keyboard action uses weights to offset the otherwise increasing tension you would experience from the spring. This means the down movement is as clean as possible and not heavy or fatiguing to play. We keep the down weight required within the heavy end of common standards for acoustic pianos. In addition, the dynamic range is much wider than what you experience on most controller keyboards allowing better control of both low and high velocity values. 5 velocity curves gives you choice just in case your playing style requires a different feel. Monophonic aftertouch, pitch bend and modulation wheels, plus foot switch and expression pedal jacks sets you up for performance.
A crystal clear 3.5″ color TFT display delivers the information you really need, for each mode or menu. Regardless of whether you are operating Reason or programming MIDI assignments in Internal mode, the display provides detailed information that makes your workflow fluent and fast. Nektar Panorama P4 takes the hard work out of using a controller and makes operations that seem complicated and non-transparent on other products, straight-forward and simple.
An unrivalled amount of assignable controls makes Nektar Panorama P4 the most comprehensive and fully featured MIDI controller keyboard around. 16 encoders, 9 45mm faders, 1 100mm motorized ALPS fader, 10 LED buttons, 28 buttons, 12 pads each with strike and pressure component, foot switch jack, expression pedal jack, keyboard after touch, pitch bend and modulation wheels gives you immediate control of up to 93 parameters at any one time. You can store settings in 20 presets with individually save and loadable keyboard, pad and F-keys maps. We could argue that it gives you access to over 1500 assigned controls, but that would be spinning it too far.
For a Reason user, Panorama is a dream come true. The dedicated communication protocol ties Panorama and Reason tightly together so all you have to do is select the mode and menu you want to control. Panorama does the rest. 3 Reason modes allows you one button press to switch between controlling the Mixer, Device (instrument or effects) and Transport, with the 4th mode, Internal, free to control your ReWired DAW.
It’s hard to go places without transport so Panorama features an extended 11 button transport bar, positions right where you need it controlling: Return to L, Forward to R, Undo, Click on/off, Record Mode, Cycle on/off, Back, Forward, Stop, Play and Record. Using the shift button, these also double up as 11 function buttons each assignable to MIDI commands or QWERTY macro’s.
So QWERTY macro’s…… big deal, right? That’s right, its a VERY big deal. Your software has a ton of features and functions that can be activated using QWERTY shortcut commands. Assigning a command to a button so you don’t have to be near your computer makes life a lot easier. Assigning a string of up to 8 commands takes it to another level. With this powerful feature you could for example enter edit mode, zoom in and select a tool with just one button press. Or create an instrument or effects track and locate a folder containing your presets so you can select them from Panorama, all with one button press and without looking at your computer.
The motorized 100mm touch-sensitive ALPS fader gives you pro-console mixer channel control when operated with Reason. Watch the fader move when you change tracks and just move it to change volume. Two LED buttons controls Solo and Mute so no matter what mode you operating Panorama in, you always have pro-console control within reach.
Playing drums or percussive parts on a keyboard can be a challenge, but luckily on Panorama you don’t have to. 12 velocity and pressure-sensitive pads with choice of 7 velocity curves will inspire you to play in ways you would never do on the keyboard. The pads are unbelievably easy to program using the “Learn Note” function. Press a pad, press a key…it’s that easy.
The “Velocity Spread” feature quickly spreads one note across all 12 pads, each with its own fixed velocity, making it easier to create consistent and nuanced dynamics.
The “Scale-Function” assigns each pad to pitches within any of the pre-defined 30+ scales. It’s a quick and easy way to completely change pad assignments while freely changing intervals or transposing the whole set on the fly. Great for percussive performances with any keyboard sound as well as percussion.
Reason devices such as ReDrum, Dr. Octo Rex and Kong are of course automatically assigned to pads in Panorama P4’s Instrument mode with an additional 4 virtual pads available, when needed.
On the back of Panorama you find the connection points you need for foot controls, power and data including:
- USB Micro B for external power supply or additional power for the motorized fader (cable included)
- USB port for power and data connection to your computer
- 5-pin MIDI din output port sending data either directly from the unit or from your DAW (working like a MIDI interface)
- Foot switch jack, assignable (pedal not included)
- Expression pedal jack, assignable (pedal not included)
- On/off switch
With Panorama we planned to set a new benchmark for how a controller keyboard should work with software. More daringly we also decided on an ID that’s unlike anything else and yet retains many of the design characteristics of legacy electronic keyboards. A fusion of future and retro in one. To achieve this we had to design all parts from scratch. Nothing is off-the-shelf, not even the keybed which had to be custom designed to achieve the effect of the control panel floating in to the white keys. Sure, there are some compromises but we compromised deliberately and with what we think as the right trade-offs creating the best keyboard controller instrument in its class.
More about the Panarama P4 at Nektar’s site