When you make a MIDI keyboard smaller, there’s always a danger that, as well as downsizing the form factor, you remove essential functionality. Hats off, then, to Nektar, which with the Impact LX Mini has managed to create a full-featured controller that fits in a backpack.
As with many controllers of this size, LX Mini comes with 25 mini keys, but these are just the start of what it has to offer. Other control features include (deep breath) eight drum pads, eight knobs, a large volume knob, two onboard hardware arpeggiators (one for the keys, one for the pads), a joystick for pitch/modulation control, and even a sustain pedal input.
That’s the kind of feature set that you’d expect to find on a full-sized keyboard, but it’s far from the norm on a model as compact as this.
LX Mini is USB class compliant and works with any MIDI software right out of the box. And the good news is it also includes dedicated DAW integration software for pre-mapped control of most popular DAWs. So, whether you’re a Live, Logic, Cubase, Studio One, Bitwig, FL Studio or Reason user, you can take control in no time.
This includes pre-mapped control over included instrument plugins in most DAWs from LX Mini's eight knobs. In order to make it easy to remember what's-what, LX Mini's screen printing is a guide to the assignments (Cutoff, Resonance, etc) on the Default page. Switching to the User page you have a second set of eight knobs at your disposal for additional assignments. All assignments can be easily edited and stored, and creating setups for your own third-party VST or AU instruments is also easy.
The LX Mini isn’t just for production use, though - there are also the Arpeggiators and Part 2 performance feature. Part 2 is designed for momentary setup changes, controlled by two dedicated buttons that can be used to instantly transpose the keyboard up or down, switch to another MIDI channel or layer another sound - just let the button go and you’ll return to your original setup.
The Arpeggiators are great fun, too, with the eight knobs providing realtime access to all parameters such as Rate, Arp Mode, Swing and more. As you have one engine for the keys and one for the pads, you can run two different arpeggiators at the same time, either on the same MIDI channel or for different instruments. So it is really easy to come up with inspiring and new lines that go beyond cliche.
This is yet another feature that takes the LX Mini beyond what many other 25-note keyboards are capable of. Couple all this with excellent build-quality and keys that you’ll actually want to play, and you’ve got the perfect take-anywhere controller.
Find out more on the Nektar website.