With the new SE61 USB Keyboard Controller, Nektar presents a sleek new MIDI keyboard with 61 keys. If you don’t need all the faders, drum pads, bells and whistles of the competition and all you want is a decent keyboard with basic DAW control, the Nektar SE61 has got you covered.
Nektar SE61 USB Keyboard Controller
The new Nektar SE61 joins the smaller SE49 and SE25, which came out a couple of years ago. Apparently, many users requested a larger version of Nektar’s entry-level MIDI keyboard, which doesn’t come as a surprise: If the keyboard is your main area of focus, chances are that you’d like a bigger one.
The SE61 is simply a larger version of the SE49 with 61 velocity-sensitive, full-size keys. Everything else is exactly the same as on the smaller model. You get two wheels for pitch bend and modulation, a single 30 mm slider and four buttons. These act as a remote control for your DAW’s transport buttons, but can also control octaves, transposition and a couple of other things – more on that in a second.
The USB port on the back connects to a computer and also supplies power. The only other connector is a sustain pedal jack. Thankfully, Nektar has included a power switch, so you don’t have to disconnect the keyboard from USB to turn it off.
That’s about the bare minimum that a keyboard controller should offer. But despite the lack of more faders and knobs, the SE61 offers a couple of clever DAW integration features. According to Nektar, it supports 12 popular DAWs directly, so you don’t have to go through a tedious mapping process. Once connected, you can control the volume of the current track with the fader and use the buttons to select tracks and browse through plug-in presets.
The SE61 comes with a copy of Bitwig 8-Track, so you can get going right away and jam with the included samples, loops and plug-ins.
Price and availability
According to Nektar, the SE61 is available immediately. The MSRP/RRP is $99.99 / €99.99 / £84.99.