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Nektar is a company that has been growing on me in the last few years. They have released a couple of different high-end MIDI controllers that are I really enjoy. One of their recent releases is the Nektar SE25 and this is a portable option that is meant for producers on the go.
Top of the line mini MIDI controller
Portability and user-friendliness are king with the Nektar 25SE. This is easily one of the best values you can get for a mini controller.
My overall opinion on the Nektar SE25 is that is a great choice for producers who are on a budget. This is one of the most affordable options as well as portable, as it only weighs .88 pounds. Nektar controllers work seamlessly with all major DAW’s and this is no exception for SE25. Let’s get into the reasons why I like this keyboard below.
- Extremely Affordable
- One Of The Lightest Mini Keyboards
- 3 Different Velocity-Sensitivities
- Awesome DAW Integration
- Includes Bitwig DAW
- No Pads
Check out these articles below as I wrote all of them and I think you will enjoy them.
Nektar SE25 Overview
The Nektar SE 25 is one of the most portable keyboards that you can currently buy. It comes in weighing less than 1 pound and it has been streamlined down to being a simple controller.
There aren’t a ton of bells and whistles with this keyboard, however, it works well for introducing beginners to MIDI controllers as it is affordable and it works smoothly with all DAW’s.
Some of the problems mini keyboards have are that their keys can be junk. Nektar has always done a good job with their key-beds and the SE25 has a surprisingly nice feel to it.
I believe the SE25 might be the best value that is currently available. The price comes in near the lowest for a mini keyboard, however, it also produces at a high level.
There are some other companies that have low-priced keyboards, however, I’ve found that a lot of them have serious issues, so I never really recommend them as you’ll end up wasting your money and buying another product.
This is not the case with the SE25. It’s great to wet your feet and get into producing music.
When I initially started to play on this keyboard I was actually a little bit surprised. Upon first looks, I thought that the keys were going to feel really cheap and stiff. This wasn’t the case at all. While the keys aren’t going to blow you away, they may surprise you, especially if you’re familiar with mini keyboards.
Those who haven’t played mini midi controllers before may not love the keys as they certainly don’t feel as good as a normal keyboard does.
For those of you wanting to see a complete guide to portable options, you can read my guide here.
Bitwig DAW Included
The SE25 comes with a Bitwig free version which includes 50 different instruments and effects. This is enough to let you check out the DAW and become familiar with recording and producing.
You can control your DAW directly from the SE25 and this is a big plus for me. The DAW integration overall with this keyboard is great. This is one of the main reasons I would recommend it for a beginner: it’s extreme ease of use and functionality make it a solid choice.
For best results you will want the following: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10 or higher. Mac OS X 10.5 or higher, Linux (Ubuntu).
- Windows XP
- Vista 7,8,10 or higher
- Mac OS X 10.5 and up
The SE25 is powered by a micro USB type B cable. These are pretty inexpensive and one also comes included in the box. I recommend having a couple of these just in case yours breaks.
VS Its Competition
I believe that the SE25 outperforms most keyboards near its price range. The only other keyboard that I would recommend that’s near its price would be the Akai LP25 wireless. This is a little bit more expensive though. I don’t believe any of the other mini keyboards near its price range really compare.
What I like most with this controller is that it works with every DAW right out of the box. While this sounds like a simple feat, it’s not for around this price range. I’ve found that a lot of cheaper controllers have latency problems and other functionality problems that can be frustrating.
I believe the design is user-friendly. There aren’t a ton of controls available on the keyboard, so it comes with a pretty slim and sleek design.
This button allows you to map it to octave, MIDI channel, transpose, layer, and or latch. Nektar created this button so they could put lesson buttons on their keyboard in order to streamline it.
- Keys: 25 mini velocity-sensitive
- Controls: Pitch bend, modulation, sustain, pan
- MIDI I/O: USB Type B
- Bundled Softare: Bitwig DAW
- Weight: .88 Pounds
- # Of Velocity Curves: 3
- DAW Compatiability: Works With All Major DAW’s
I was surprised with the durability of the SE25 overall. Typically, mini controllers are quite fragile and I worry about breaking them. This keyboard is actually built to be pretty durable and I really like this about it.
With this being said, you still want to baby it, because it still only weighs under a pound and I’m sure something could fall on it and break it quite easily.
I believe the Nektar SE25 definitely packs tremendous value into a small price tag. The main thing with this controller for me is that it’s easy to use and super user-friendly.
Beginners will find this as one of the choices they can make as it allows a ton of room to experiment for a really low price.
If you’re not a beginner, this can work as a great second MIDI controller option. Use this for when you’re traveling as it’s easy to pack and carry around. Since I’m often on the go, I like to always have a mini MIDI controller nearby.
For musicians on tour, this is a great option to use with your laptop. I simply place my controller under one of the seats in our van and it fits perfectly.
I am looking forward to this device, just ordered it online. Had a choice between this and Akai LPK 25 wired (yes its the cheaper version of wireless LPK 25) and settled with this as it looks more compact than Akai. I am just a beginner and would love to see how it integrates with GarageBand on my MacBook.
contd: So I received this keyboard and used it for an hour on GarageBand and it integrated without any effort. Only thing is that while shifting octaves there was an instance where only one key stroke was outside the board on the lower side. Its a bit annoying to play that one key by changing the whole octave when on the highest octave there are spare keys left out.
The device itself is very compact and handy and for me its perfect, I have no proper experience with keyboards and this comes as a pleasant surprise as I am able to play most of the instruments (including drums and guitar) easily.
I will learn better in due course of time and hopefully will be able to compose something worth listening to.