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Nektar Panorama CS12

Channel Strip Controller For Logic Pro By Paul White
Published July 2024

Nektar Panorama CS12

The Nektar Panorama CS12 offers hands‑on control over Apple Logic Pro channels and any plug‑in you can throw at it.

Since the decline of the tape machine/mixer paradigm, various companies have designed control surfaces to bring back a more tactile feel to working with DAW software. One of the early pioneers was the Mackie Control system, which could be expanded to create a console‑sized surface with multiple banks of eight faders. Others went for a more compact solution providing transport controls, a single motorised fader and maybe a playhead position dial. Another alternative is a tablet linked to the host system to use as a touchscreen interface.

Nektar’s Panorama CS12 supports Apple’s Logic Pro and is an extremely sophisticated interpretation of the single‑fader DAW channel strip controller. Those already familiar with Nektar will know that the company have a long history building controller keyboards that include comprehensive control functions, such as the Panorama P6. The CS12 is designed to access all Logic Pro channel strip parameters including the selection and control of plug‑ins, for which the user has the choice of using the fader or the pan control to select and adjust parameters. Through the use of a generous amount of buttons and a Shift function, there is access to a number of Logic Pro transport, navigation and other functions — some 26 in total — and when it comes to plug‑in control, both Logic’s own plug‑ins and third‑party AU plug‑ins can be controlled. Essentially any plug‑in that allows for parameter automation in Logic Pro will work right away.

Power for the CS12 is via the USB connection to the host computer (though there is also a 5V power port for use with an external supply if a 500mA USB port isn’t available). Installation requires that Nektar’s ControlCore software be installed and a few system settings to be made, after which the CS12 shows up in the Control Surfaces setup menu and is ready to go. macOS 11.5 or later is needed along with Logic Pro X 10.7.8 or above. ControlCore can be downloaded once you’ve set up a Nektar account and registered the CS12 serial number. The full manual is also available for download, though there is a quick‑start guide in the box.

Things are pretty simple round the back, with just a quarter‑inch footswitch input, a USB‑C port, a power switch and an input for an external 5V power supplyThings are pretty simple round the back, with just a quarter‑inch footswitch input, a USB‑C port, a power switch and an input for an external 5V power supply


Because of its comprehensive control layout, the Panorama CS12 is necessarily much wider than most other single‑fader controllers, such as the PreSonus FaderPort that I use in my own studio. The tough moulded case, which measures 390 x 185 x 65mm, has a USB port on the rear along with the power switch and a barrel connector 5V PSU socket. There’s also a footswitch TRS jack (which can accommodate two footswitches via a Y‑cable) and a point for fixing a security chain.

The case itself is fabricated in two parts with curved front and rear edges, with a smooth metallic grey paint finish and clear white legending for the dedicated controls and Shift functions. In the Transport and Mixer Channel sections, the buttons are all illuminated and show either their name or icon on the top. There are 13 rotary controls that use ‘endless’ analogue pots rather than encoders, as that offers better resolution; there’s one for pan and 12 on the right with coloured backlighting to differentiate their function when controlling plug‑ins.

The fader is on the far left of the case, inviting it to be operated using the left hand while the right hand looks after buttons and...

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