Nek­tar Pacer

Nek­tar’s Pacer Con­troller puts com­mand of your DAW and MIDI de­vices firmly at your feet. Jono Buchanan gets stompy

Future Music - - CONTENTS - CON­TACT WHO: Nek­tar Tech TEL: +1 818 771 9886 WEB: www.nek­tartech.com KEY FEA­TURES 24 user pre­sets, 10 pro­gram­mable footswitches, pre­set footswitch, two-row LED dis­play, push switch en­coder, <16 ac­tions on pre­set re­call, <6 ac­tions for each con­trol, MIDI

Mu­sic tech­nol­o­gists tend to be pretty tac­tile peo­ple. Most of us favour MIDI key­boards for note in­put which fre­quently of­fer rafts of dials, switches, knobs and sliders to al­low our fin­gers to per­form pa­ram­e­ter changes too. The clos­est you prob­a­bly come to us­ing your feet as part of the cre­ative process might be if you have a sus­tain or ex­pres­sion pedal con­nected to your con­troller key­board. Foot con­trollers, as a re­sult, have largely re­mained the pre­serve of guitar play­ers, with ef­fects ped­als – of­ten con­nected to multi-ef­fects hard­ware or soft­ware – a pop­u­lar ap­proach. That said, more ad­vanced op­tions for stu­dio-based gui­tarists who’d like to keep their hands free, while oper­at­ing a DAW, are also more lim­ited than you’d ex­pect. Nek­tar’s Pacer could well pique the in­ter­est of both camps.

Pacer’s main USP is that it al­lows you to con­fig­ure MIDI con­trol mes­sages which you can tar­get at the pa­ram­e­ters of your choice. A ba­sic ex­am­ple: you can as­sign start­ing/ stop­ping on your DAW to one pedal switch, with the next one al­low­ing you to step through pro­gram changes from one song to the next while fur­ther ped­als trig­ger MIDI notes or phrases. For a gui­tarist us­ing, say, Guitar Rig, this is self-ex­plana­tory, but you could equally cy­cle through synth pre­sets or move from one sec­tion of your live set to an­other. Pacer goes fur­ther, let­ting you build re­lays of con­trol mes­sages, so that a sin­gle pedal click can in­stan­ti­ate a num­ber of mes­sages trig­gered at once. This has mas­sive po­ten­tial; use it to switch mul­ti­ple sounds or sound pa­ram­e­ters across a pro­duc­tion si­mul­ta­ne­ously, or as a ‘mu­si­cal di­rec­tor’, switch­ing patches, elec­tronic drum con­fig­u­ra­tions, guitar ef­fects set­tings and even re­verb for a lead vo­cal, at once, for a whole band per­form­ing live.

Round the back, you can con­nect fur­ther con­trol power in the form of up to four ex­ter­nal foot switches and two ex­pres­sion ped­als. For non­gui­tarists, th­ese lat­ter two op­tions are sig­nif­i­cant, as they put the po­ten­tial for con­trol over 128 steps of MIDI data at your feet. Lit­er­ally.

Gui­tarists whose amp so­lu­tions are soft­ware-based will love that they can nav­i­gate Record Mode in their DAWs with­out moving their hands from their guitar strings. Equally, it will ap­peal to live elec­tronic mu­si­cians who want to add a pow­er­ful col­lec­tion of MIDI con­trol op­tions to their rigs whilst keep­ing their hands free to per­form. It’s not such an im­me­di­ate so­lu­tion for non-guitar play­ing stu­dio-based mu­si­cians, who have less of a need for the kinds of real-time switch­ing at which Pacer ex­cels. If your work­flow would ben­e­fit from putting foot con­trol front and cen­tre, though, Pacer mer­its a se­ri­ous look.

Puts the po­ten­tial for con­trol over 128 steps of MIDI data at your feet. Lit­er­ally

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