How to get the Korg nanoKontrol working with Reason 4

August 17, 2009

I recently picked up a copy of Propellerhead Reason 4. Reason is a software synth program, and it rocks my world. I am going to be away from my Korg Triton Extreme and my rack of sound modules for a while, but I still wanted to be able to make some sweet sounds. It took hours of playing with to find sounds that I like, and then I had to figure out how to mix them together like I do on my rack. With my rack, hitting a note on my keyboard triggers MIDI on all the sound modules. The audio output from the sound modules then goes into a mixer and I mix the sounds at whatever level I think sounds good. Reason has a cool 14 channel virtual mixer that I was able to run everything in to and mix perfectly, but it was not very friendly when it came to playing live and remixing sound per song, and sometimes in a single song. I began hunting around for a MIDI mixer and eventually ran across the Korg nanoKontrol.

The Korg nanoKontrol is a sweet little unit. Designed to be used with a laptop, it is slim and sleek looking. 9 sliders, 18 buttons, 9 knobs, and a transport section along with 4 programmable scenes. If you have not yet done so, hop on Google and check out some reviews. Stunning little unit. And super cheap too. I eagerly ordered mine, and impatiently checked for updates on the UPS website several times a day. When it finally arrived it joyously plugged it in and Reason 4 recognized it right off. Thinking I was going to be able to run with it I started messing around a bit. I could not get Reason to recognize any signal coming out of it. I scoured Google and could not find any info on getting it setup. I saw many people using it, but no tutorial on setting it up. I finally tried something I saw on a blog post’s comments about the nanoPad. Turns out that even though Reason 4 correctly recognizes the nanoKontrol, it cannot use the built in driver. Here is what I did after erasing it out of my list.

While in the Keyboards and Control Surfaces preferences:

  • Click Add to add a new MIDI device
  • Manufacturer: Korg
  • Model: Other MIDI Control Keyboard
  • Click the find button and wiggle a slider and Reason 4 should see the MIDI device
  • Click the OK button

Now Reason 4 should properly recognize your nanoKontrol MIDI device.

The fun part is assigning functions on the nanoKontrol to elements in Reason 4 to control. This turns out to actually be quite simple. As a demonstration, create a new Reason project and only add a 14:2 mixer. Hover your mouse cursor over the slider on channel 1. Right click the slider and select Remote Override. Check the Learn checkbox and wiggle slider 1 on the nanoKontrol. Save that and now you should have a happily moving slider in Reason whenever you move the slider on the nanoKontrol.

If you are like me and also want the buttons mapped to mute and solo you will need to download the Korg Kontrol Editor from Korg’s website. The Kontrol Editor allows you to change any parameters on the nanoKontrol that you would like. Change all the buttons to Toggle instead of Momentary and not only will they start working like real buttons, but they will also remain lit.

Have fun! If you have an questions feel free to leave a comment and I will try to answer it.

P.S. I assume above that you have the universal Korg MIDI driver installed already.

Edit Added on 01-13-2010:
Blinded Mice has made available a zip file containing everything you need to get rolling for Microsoft Windows. Blinded Mice Reason File
Blinded Mice also has an excellent video tutorial on assigning the nanoKontrol to your Reason elements. Blinded Mice Tutorial

Update 2012-01-04: It looks like the Blinded Mice site is no longer available 🙁

38 thoughts on “How to get the Korg nanoKontrol working with Reason 4

  1. Moriatti (September 16, 2009)


    Im guessing this may be a windows related problem…………

    I am trying to use a NanoKontrol pad with my dell p.c (xp)

    However, when i try to pair in Reason 4, and click “find device” and hit any button/fader etc it doesnt show!

    I have a Keystation 49e midi keyboard already installed and working, and i have tried my korg in Reason 4 on Vista and know the NanoKontrol works fine.

    I have checked windows preferences, and it displays as “This device is functioning properly” I have also installed the driver from Korg website.

    Any help would be fully appreciated! 😀

    Many thanks


    1. blobaugh (September 25, 2009)


      Sorry I did not respond sooner.

      ‘find device’ never worked for me. I had to click add device, select Korg from the list, and choose Other MIDI Control Keyboard. Then I was able to click the find button and it could see messages from the nanoKontrol.

      If you tried those steps have you checked all your connections? How is the nanoKontrol connected? Does it run through a USB hub? Try connecting it directly, hubs sometime interfere. Do you have any other MIDI programs you can test the nanoKontrol in? It is probably something simple. Mine was, and it drove me crazy till I found it.

  2. Aviv (September 29, 2009)


    I bought the Korg NANOPAD about a month ago.
    i installed it on my pc, and on a friend’s pc aswell…
    everything was jolly fine, Reason recognized the NANOPAD on both pc’s automatically.
    now i reinstalled winxp on my own pc, and now reason doesn’t identify it at all. at my friend the NANOPAD is showing in the list under korg controllers.
    why is that? is there any update to the Reason controller list?
    btw i’m using 4.0.1 and my friend is using 4.0 and he gets them on the list and i don’t…

    1. blobaugh (October 11, 2009)


      Usually Reason will not just pick up on your hardware. Open your preferences and choose ‘Keyboards and Control Surfaces’. Here you can either Auto-detect, or manually add the device yourself. You can try the Auto-detect, but in my experience it does not work. I instead choose Add, then, following the steps in the article above, I choose: Manufacturer Korg, Model MIDI Keyboard (No Controls), Click Find and press a button. Your nanoPad should now be recognized.

      Notice that I used MIDI Keyboard (No Controls) in this example. I do not have a nanoPad to test for sure, but that is most likely what will work. If it does not try the other available options.

  3. Aviv (October 11, 2009)

    Hey Ben! Thank you for answering! i totally forgot about it 🙂 hehe
    I now realize that I didn’t explain myself.

    My point was, that before i reinstalled my PC, it identified the Nanopad as a nanopad in reason (instead of being identified ‘Midi Keyboard (No Controls)’).
    Now I see it just like you see it, but I went to my friends not long ago, and his PC still identifies it as a NANOPAD.
    must be something I installed and forgot…
    it’s more comfortable to work this way since Reason identifies the controls as X-axis and Y-axis instead of pitch wheel and mod wheel.

    if you have any idea tell me plz

    have a good week

    1. blobaugh (October 12, 2009)


      Do you have the Korg driver installed? Maybe that will cause it to show up. As far as the controls being X,Y-axis, if it will not show as a nanoPad you can download the Korg Nano Editor and tweak all the settings about your controller. It’s a fairly simple program to use. I used it to setup the buttons on my nanoKontrol as toggle switches so I could assign them to mute and solo.

  4. Jared (October 12, 2009)

    I just go the nanoKontrol all hooked up. I am new to production in general, but I am computer savvy. The sliders are the only functions on the nanoKontrol I can get to respond in reason. Reason will find the device, based off of the other controls, but when I want to map them to something, the only controls which will map are the sliders.

  5. Jared (October 12, 2009)

    nevermind. I was telling Reason (apparently) that it was a keyboard midi controller. Switched it to midi with no keyboard and it works like a charm.

  6. Aviv (October 16, 2009)

    Hey guys, some of you might have read my older posts, but anyway

    I installed Propellerhead’s Record, and it updated the controller lists in Reason aswell… so now my computer auto-identifies my Nanopad.

    cheers everyone! 🙂 hope it’ll help some of you


  7. Car Insurance Guy (November 11, 2009)

    Ah!!! at last I found what I was looking for. Somtimes it takes so much effort to find even tiny useful piece of information.
    Nice post. Thanks

  8. Chris Conflict (November 30, 2009)

    Ive worked out out to assign your korg nano series cotrollers with reason and have the same controls every time you open reason.
    Hope this helps.

    With reason you should have a file on the disk called MIDI Implentation charts. This supplies most of the MIDI CC numbers for the various faders,knobs, buttons etc, for all the devices in reason.

    Using the KORG KONTROL EDITOR, and KORG MIDI USB DRIVER software and you will need both. Availible from KORG.COM.

    You will need to pick which parts of your controller you want to control which parts of reason. If that makes sense. (Fader 1 on korg kontrol to fader 1 on mixer etc) And assign the CC#`s to it. IT WILL MAKE MORE SENSE WHEN YOU OPEN THE DOCUMENT AND KORG KONTROL EDITOR.

    Its still a long winded process, so hopefully they bring out a template soon.

    Let me know how you all get on.

  9. David Gross (December 2, 2009)


    I just bought the NanoKontrol and I’ve been having trouble assigning the mute and solo buttons, as well as the Loop button

    For some reason the buttons are assigned but wont stay activated

    I’ll press the mute button … it will only stay for as long as I hold it

    When I open the korg kontrol editor … I put in all the right info

    Can anyone help


    1. blobaugh (December 5, 2009)


      That is the default behavior of the nanoKontrol. In order to get it working you need to download the Kontrol Editor from Korg’s site and change the button type. If I recall properly it needs to be changed to toggle. It is a fairly painless and straight forward process. Plug in the nanoKontrol, run the Kontrol Editor, click the area you want to change, save.

      That should get you going. If not post back here the steps that you took and I will go through mine and compare them.

  10. Willy Hernandez (December 16, 2009)


  11. Chris (December 22, 2009)

    Thanks–it got me from nowhere to working in 2 seconds flat. The step I missed is that you have to choose “write scene” from the korg software for it to do anything!

  12. Token (December 25, 2009)

    Thanks alot, was stumped. Something that had me puzzled for a while that someone may find useful – after you install KORG’s USB driver, you have use the USB utility to install the Kontrol device before you can use it with Kontrol Editor. Seems simple but easy to miss.

  13. da3 (January 5, 2010)

    Thanks for the tip! Works perfectly.

  14. ozcorps (January 13, 2010)

    I made this vid to kinda clarify the setup also the files i used to fix this error so to speak, ONLY thing that stands now is REASON WILL NOT RECONIZE the change of a scene so theres no point setting scene one KNOBS then going to Scene 2 and setting them as scene 1 will be destroyed

    Hope you like
    BloBaugh Great information via text sorry i hope this doesnt step on your toes.
    link me up if you like and ill do the same

  15. ozcorps (January 18, 2010)

    Update to information on Scenes with nanoKONTROL,
    i finally figuered that each scene even though isnt reconized directly, i was wrong.
    I will be posting later a video explaining this,
    Scene 4 at the moment is the only problem due to the CC#’s being identical to other scenes. but in a nut shell if you cant wait for the vid
    CC#02 is slider 1 on the KONTROL as we set in the first vid for Reasons Mixer #1, now if you go to scene 2 and choose lets say Inline 6 mixer and set volume knob that it will be CC#42. which allows now you to use Slider 1 for 2 different devices Mixer and Inline mixer.
    i must admit though unles you set this correctly and remeber what everythings for its not to easy to jump from 1-2 as you still have to go through scenes 3-4 to get back to 1.

    anyways thanks for all thoughs who viewed the site and vid and Thanks BloBaugh for keeping them posted

    1. blobaugh (January 20, 2010)

      Thanks for the info.

      The main issue that I have found with the scenes is that I mix my sounds live on the fly and obviously the sliders don’t automagically move back to where they were the previous scene, which can make things really screwy. Eg: You look at your mixer and the slider is all the way down but the sound still plays, and when you touch the sliders again it jumps to the new position of the slider.

      I think it could be great for recording, but I have yet to fully utilize it. I would love it if the sliders moved for me like a digital board and it remembered where each was at in a scene. That would open up tons more potential for me.

  16. ozcorps (January 20, 2010)

    I see what you mean BloBaugh mixer 1 is set to half way on scene 1, i go to scene 2/mixer 2 and set that full volume. then once i get back to scene 1 the volume jumps to were mixer 2 was set due to the nanoKontrol (what you actually touch) Hardware setting.

    i think this would only be done if it was a remote based mixing desk.
    i dont think for the price the nanoKontrol cost we would ever get that with this, and it is a shame.

    i did try to record 1 mixer in reason with automation and then go to the second mixer and use the nanoKontroller and this did work, it seems you are going to have to cut up your work into 9 slider records (on the first mixer) per time.

    Long for realtime mixing but it did work for me to a point of having to prioritize things instead of OFF the fly recording.

    chat soon

  17. dandy dan (January 28, 2010)

    i got to korg nanokontrols how do i use them both in reason 4 it keeps saying conflict please help me 😉

    1. blobaugh (January 28, 2010)

      Dandy Dan,

      I’ve got two ideas for you.

      Have you added both of them individually in Reason? I would assume that multiple MIDI devices might send the same MIDI message, but that Reason would be able to differentiate between them. So try making sure they both have individual entries in your device preferences.

      If that does not work, have you run the Korg configuration software yet? It may be that you simply need to set them up and they will work with my first idea just fine. If you have set them up and they are still conflicting I would guess it is because they are sending the same MIDI message. Load up the Kontrol Editor again and it has the ability to modify the message that is sent. Make sure that they are sending different messages and try it again.

      Let me know how that works out.

  18. dandy dan (January 28, 2010)

    sorry i meant 2 nanokontrols 😉

  19. yovany (February 6, 2010)


    the nanokontrol works good with the reason mixer… BUT… how it works about channel 9 to 16…????

    scene 1 works on channels 1 to 8..(9 allways is the master channel)
    what happen wiht next channels???

  20. Fred (February 16, 2010)

    Hey! How do I make Reason understand the Korg Kontrol Editor?
    My problem is that when I rightclick on channel one I can only choose Breath. That’s fine but then when I try and do the same on channel 2, there is an error saying that I already have another Breath-thingy going on.

    I want to be able to rightclick any button or slider in reason and choose the functions I want. So, how?

    Thanks alot! This is new sheat for me!


    1. blobaugh (February 17, 2010)


      Reason does not “understand the Korg Kontrol Editor”. Reason uses the MIDI messages sent to it from the nanoKontrol unit itself.

      First off, and this may sound silly, have you added the nanoKontrol to your device list in Reason? If it shows then it should be ready to use.

      I am not sure what you mean by “Breath” can you tell me how you are getting to that? You should be able to click on just about any control in Reason and choose “Edit Remote Override Mapping” from the menu. A new dialog will pop up. Select the learn checkbox and start fiddling with controls on the nanoKontrol. Reason should see messages from the nanoKontrol immediately. Save that and you should be able to use the nanoKontrol on that control until you decide to erase the mapping or map that function to something else.

  21. Simon (March 17, 2010)

    Hey there! just got the nanoKONTROL in the mail today! What a neat little thing!
    I got it all working, and found out how to set the different knobs and sliders to different paramaters. But my question is: Is it not possible to assign eg. channel 1 (one knob, two buttons, and a slider) to one instrument, say the subtractor, then channel 2 to a thor, and so on and so on?
    Or is it only possible to use the nanoKONTROL on one ‘instrument’ or mixer at a time?
    If you are only able to use it on one device at a time, im seriously considering switching to Ableton!

    Please help!


    1. blobaugh (March 17, 2010)


      Welcome to the nanoKontrol club! I use mine all the time and an still tickled by it.

      To answer your question about multiple instruments, yes it is possible. Right now I actually have mine setup to control two separate mixers and my organ wheel. I have not had any issues with it. Just do the normal assignment thing and it has always worked for me.

      Enjoy 😀

  22. Simon (March 17, 2010)

    Hey There

    Thanks for the answer! but actually right after i postet the comment, i cracked the code! 🙂 So i did get it to work, just the way i wanted! 🙂
    But i do have one other issue with reason, a common one also. I use my sequenser to play live, but in a month or so, i’m playing a gig where i need for my drummer to have a click track! But is it in any way possible to make a click track come out in a separate channel?

    I got a tip, and tried using Redrum as the click, then panning it all the way to the left, and panning the rest of the music to the right. But the click from the redrum was still slightly audible in the right channel, where the music is. I’ve heard and read some stuff about the Spider Splitter, but i have no idea how to use it?
    Do you have a good solution for this?

    1. blobaugh (March 18, 2010)

      I don’t know about this one. I do not use a click track when I play live. I would assume panning would do it. Try connecting the output from Redrum directly to the hardware output channel. Maybe it is bleeding through with the virtual mixer somehow.

      The Spider Splitter may work, I am not sure as I have not used it before, but it would probably do about the same as above.

  23. Jules (June 3, 2010)

    Thanks man! That was very helpful, got Reason setup real quick.

  24. Peter (August 2, 2010)

    I installed the nanoKONTROL in Snow Leopard and suddenly I my CME M-key disappeared from my general MIDI-settings, can’t seem to get it back and I can’t figure out how you uninstall the KORG MIDI drivers 🙁

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  26. Switha (January 23, 2011)

    Hey, read this and found something interesting.
    Just got my nanokontrol, when using the nanoKontrol template in reason (got Reason 5) everything is set up just for scene 1 and the buttons are immediate, which means they dont light up. Because of this, I set it up as a korg ‘control surface’ , and painfully set it button by button fader by fader.

    Now everyting works fine.

    To the problem with scene 4 is because each of the the “stripes” is assigned to a different midi channel – 1 is on chanel 1 2 is on channel 2 etc. so by changing the channels to 1 on all the stripes should make this work.
    Thanks for the article and gl!

    P.S. would it be posibble to create a template for reason for nanoKontrol? I dont know to what I shouldassign the fx knobs, as there is nothing requiring just one and PAN is … useless for me, so I use the 9th knob as master volume (I think its better because you wont by mistake change it)

  27. Philip (January 31, 2011)

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  28. Peter
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