Reviewed: Nektar Pacer MIDI DAW Footswitch Controller

Sound & Music | sound-music.com | Expect To Pay: $399

Foot controllers are usually something that you associate with guitarists and to be honest, when I first had this unit land on my desk, I thought it was just another MIDI controller for an effects rig. Then I actually looked at the product and saw what was on offer. I am, of course, talking about the Nektar Pacer, a new foot controller that has been brought out by the innovators at Nektar, who originally delivered the Panorama keyboard that changed the way in which Reason users could interact with their software. With the Pacer, the team at Nektar has again changed the way in which musicians, producers and engineers can interact with their DAW of choice.

Of course, many guitarists will have used MIDI foot controllers over the years for controller effects and amp rigs, and it isn’t unusual today for most people working in a home recording setup to play guitar anyway. The two really go hand in – well, foot. With so many guitarists now recording and producing their own music, it makes sense to offer them a solution for interacting with their chosen software in a more tangible manner. After all, if you’re playing guitar, you don’t have a spare hand to operate the computer when recording by yourself, so this is the perfect solution. It’s so simple in concept, I’m amazed we haven’t seen something like this more readily available in the past. But here we are, and DAW control now takes just a tap of the toes to master.

 

 

Straight out of the box, you know this is a solid piece of kit, and it needs to be with the punishment it is likely to endure. The casing is solid, heavy and doesn’t move when seated on the floor. The buttons, of which there are eleven, are solid too – slightly firm on the press, with a good spring back to their non-latching operation. The controls can be individually assigned for specific tasks if you like, but they are set up to achieve the most obvious of functions, including transport controls, bank selections and preset options. A large LED display shows you what is going on as far as function and patch options, and each control has an RGB colour option to show what is in operation. The rear of the unit allows for a pair of expression pedals to be added, along with a host of other footswitches to further add to your control.

 

Using this as a guitarist, it all makes sense, but I can say this too: just sitting at the computer with the Pacer on the floor, set up on an angle to my left, it was all too inviting. I found that it made a range of operations even in editing a breeze, and allowed me to use fewer keyboard shortcuts and ride the mouse more when needed. It’s like having a third hand to speed up the editing and recording process, and it works. It’s a great idea and something that any home recording setup could benefit from, with or without a guitarist in the room.

Hits and Misses

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Clever design

Solid build

It just works, and works well

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I wish they had come up with it sooner

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