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 🙁