Korg nanoPAD2
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Korg nanoPAD2

nanoPAD2, PAD Controller from Korg in the nano series.

TreDay 10/22/2014

Korg nanoPAD2 : TreDay's user review

« Not so good velocity pads, great XY pad! »
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The unit is USB powered with one mini USB port. It features 16 velocity-sensitive pads and a single X-Y pad. It's very small, light, and portable. It's entirely plastic and a little flimsy. The pads themselves are significantly smaller than full-sized drum controller pads, but still big enough to be played without accidentally hitting multiple pads. Unfortunately, the quality of the pads is not as good as other pad controllers out there. The pads are a bit mushy with a bit of play before they'll trigger a sound. This means you have to hit the pad fairly hard to trigger a sound reliably, which makes playing lightly to get very low velocity notes very difficult if not impossible.

It's pretty easy to get started with, you simply plug it in and play. There are 4 lights used to represent 4 scenes which you switch between with the scene button. Each scene can be customized to send different midi values or behave differently with the Korg Kontrol Editor software. Each pad can also be customized to send up to 4 notes per pad. The software itself has a nice layout with everything on one page and you can easily change each pad to act as either a standard drum pad or as a toggle for things like clip launching in Ableton Live.

One interesting function is the touch scale which turns the X-Y pad into a midi ribbon controller sending notes determined by where you press on the pad. With the Gate Arpeggiator enabled, your notes will trigger in sync with your host. The velocity sensitive pads each have a note and scale written above them on the controller and when you hold down the Scale or Key button and press one of these pads, the XY pad will be quantized to that particular scale or key. The unit has most of the significant musical scales including Chromatic, Major, Minor, Pentatonics, Blues scale, and it also supports one user made scale that you can define in the Kontrol Software.

The NanoPad2 doesn't generate sounds itself but Korg does supply a very nice software bundle with the NanoPad which includes Korg M1LE, UVI Digital Synsations, EZ Drummer Lite, AAS Ultra Analog Sessions, Lounge Lizard Sessions, and Strum Sessions.

I haven't tried other pad controllers in this price range, but while the velocity sensitive pads aren't very good compared to more expensive products that feature drum pads like Native Instruments Maschine or Akai MPCs, the touch scale feature of the XY Pad makes the NanoPad2 worth purchasing. It's a pretty cheap unit at around $50 USD and the build quality certainly reflects that, but with the touch arpeggiator you get a pretty fun and inspiring way of creating leads and arpeggiated melodies.