We put Nektar's ambitious foot controller through its, er, paces.
California-based Nektar Technology have made a splash in recent years, largely with their range of hybrid keyboard/controllers that offer a level of integration with certain popular DAW software and support of others through the MMC and Mackie Control Universal (MCU) protocols. The company's latest product, the Pacer MIDI Foot Controller, morphed from its initial conception as a hands-free DAW controller into a comprehensively-featured floorboard able to control DAWs, hardware and software preamps, amplifiers, effects units and the like, in both studio and live situations. With four relay-switching outlets, and the ability to connect up to two expression pedals and up to four footswitches in addition to its 10 on-board programmable footswitches, the Pacer offers significant control capability at a relatively modest price.
The Pacer's black, solid‑steel housing and 11 chunky composite footswitches give it not only physical weight, but also a real sense of strength. The footswitches are arranged over two rows, five on top and six below. A compact two-row, large-font display and a push-to-select encoder knob occupy the sixth pedal position on the top row. Each footswitch is equipped with a single 12-colour RGB LED bar plus illuminated fixed legends and/or icons denoting its core functionality as a DAW controller.
The rear panel carries a USB socket (primarily used for USB MIDI transmit and receive), a DIN MIDI out, separate quarter-inch TRS jacks for two expression pedals (such as Nektar's own NX-P) and a further four quarter-inch TRS jacks, two of which allow the connection of up to four footswitches, with the last pair carrying the Pacer's four relay-switched outlets that enable it to control external hardware switching functions. Power to the Pacer can be supplied either via USB or by an external, centre-negative, 9V DC power supply.
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