There’s nothing more exciting than a new USB MIDI Controller Keyboard and Nektar have given us two, at once – I know – I can hardly contain myself. These ones of course will be overflowing with never-before-thought-of features and controls to make your workflow, life and the future of the planet more fun and creative than ever before.
So while I get a grip on myself here are the facts. They are called the Impact GX49 and GX61 – I’ll let you guess what the numbers refer to but it’s unclear what the “Impact” bit is about. Maybe its the good looks, or perhaps the keys are really heavy or maybe you turn them on and they make a “tada!” sound – I don’t know. But suffice to say that these are expressive and dynamic instruments which apparently are for composition and performance (would you believe it). They come with pitch bend and modulation wheels, foot switch socket and octave up and down buttons. Not only that, there are also 8 buttons dedicated to important DAW functions such as transport controls – but these can be mapped to anything you like because, well, it’s MIDI. One of the buttons is actually a shift button boosting the number of available commands to a whopping 14.
Apparently they work with most DAWs, and they’ve tested loads with a helpful chart on the website. It comes with a cool 8-track version of Bitwig in the box to get you started. And finally, as is the style these days, it has a class compliant MIDI driver so it will work with iOS on an iPad with the right cable or adapter.
Controller keyboards tend to come with tons of buttons and flashing lights these days and in many ways can be a bit over-featured. Putting my thinly veiled cynicism aside for a moment these Nektar keyboards are actually refreshingly simple, unfussy, and don’t take up too much desk space for a full sized keyboard. So although I’ve poked some fun at them they are well priced and probably a pretty good choice.
The Nektar Impact GX49 and GX61 will be available from May for $99.99/£74.99/€99.99 or $119.99/£82.99/€109.99 respectively.
More information: http://www.nektartech.com/n/impact-gx49-61.html