Nektar Impact LX61 61 note Midi Keyboard Controller

Editor rating

4.5/5 on Sep 27, 2015

User's rating

8 reviews

PROS

  • Plug and play
  • A solid workhorse
  • Great DAWs integration
  • Good variety of controls
  • Affordable

CONS

  • Basic, not for the advanced pro
  • Limited number of keys
  • Not weighted keys

VERDICT

When you want a MIDI keyboard controller that you comes right out of the box with the basic controls you need and is easy to install, you will gravitate toward the Nektar Impact LX61 61-Note keyboard. It fully integrates with your DAW, and you can quickly transpose the keyboard with one button. Plus, you can personalize it by setting up any of the eight pads to any keyboard key, according to your preferences. Here is more about the pros (many) and cons (few) of the affordable gear.

Features:

  • 61 synth action keys
  • 4 velocity curves, 3 fixed
  • 8 pads with Note Learn
  • 8 posts
  • 9 faders, 9 buttons
  • Dedicated transport control
  • Pitch bend, octave, transpose, and mod wheels
  • Installers for major DAWs
  • USB bus power

Here are the main features of this MIDI keyboard controller:

Plug and Play

Rather than spend hours setting up your workstation, you can get right down to the business of music when you choose the Nektar Impact LX61. It comes pre-mapped for you and already configured for most DAWs (see the section below titled "Great DAWs Integration").

You get a full set of hand controls with the quality item. You don't have to worry about batteries or external power if you're in the studio for long periods of time either as it runs on USB bus power. The USB compliance also makes it a cinch to install as there's no driver; just plug the keyboard into a USB port on your computer. It has iPad connectivity too.

A Solid Workhorse

Get ready to key it up! You've got a stable yet lightweight keyboard controller here for your use, regardless of your playing style. It'll take your beating on it over long hours with its sturdy design. You've got 61 full-size synth keys at your disposal in a piano style. The keys are covered to protect against dust and dirt while you're using it on the go.

The pads are soft and comfy too, which is great for long jam sessions. Plus, if you want to change your playing style one day, just for the heck of it, the four velocity curves will adapt with you. You can also change where you're putting the keyboard and how you access it with its pitch bend and modulation wheels that are easily within reach. Simply shift the keyboard as you want or apply pressure to the wheels.

Great DAWs Integration

The Impact LX61's software integrations support most of the popular DAWs. One of the best things about this MIDI keyboard is it's all setup for you, and you just have to complete the installation process. The Impact LX software supports Nuendo, Reason, Reaper, Sonar, Studio One, Cubase, Digital Performer, Logic, and Garageband.

Yes, the controller serves each one of these DAWs! Once you've connected the software of choice, you can make it as unique as you want it within the central workflow. By the way, you won't see a bunch of complicated windows popping up during installation, unlike with other gear.

Good Variety Of Controls

It comes equipped with the basic controllers already. You get pitch bend and modulation wheels, two transpose buttons, eight velocity sensitive pads, three velocity levels, and nine faders. Then there are also the octave buttons and control pots. You get several playing options!

Affordable

When you look at the range of controls you get with this controller and its price point at about $200, it's difficult to deny its excellent value. Don't forget the convenience of its easy integration with leading DAWs. Plus, it looks and feels like a top-quality keyboard!

Some downsides of the controller are:

Basic

If you're more advanced in the controller realm, rather than, say, a musician based out of your bedroom, you might find the LX61 comes up a bit short for you. It is styled to make life easy, from its eight pads that you can assign a MIDI note number to the ability to use easily DAWs MIDI learn features. But perhaps you want to customize fully your experience by opening and closing filters, activating effects, tweaking parameters, and more. You might also want to launch clips or get colorful visual feedback.

These features are restricted with this model, which is meant for more of a beginner or for someone who wants a basic on-the-go keyboard controller.

Limited Number Of Keys

If you are planning to play live or want a bigger home production then a 66-key keyboard likely won't be enough for you. In this case then an 88-key model would likely be better for you (although it will come with a bigger price tag along with the extra keys). For complex melodies and if you want bigger real estate to play on, then you may look for a bigger size.

Not Weighted Keys

This Nektar MIDI keyboard controller has synth keys rather than weighted ones. For some players, weighted keys are the only way to go. This is particularly true if you are used to playing a real piano as the weight simulates that feeling.

While synth keys are great for runs, they are not so expressive or dynamic as semi-weighted or fully-weighted keys. Thus, if you crave more expression in your tunes, then this may not be the model for you. It all depends on what you want to get out of your keyboard controller.