Gearank – Music Gear Information for Live Performance or Studio

Nektar SE49 49-Key MIDI Keyboard Controller

90 out of 100. Incorporating 1300+ ratings and reviews.


  • Lacks control options – just 4 buttons, an assignable mod wheel, and a fader


  • Good feeling, full-sized synth-action keys with velocity curve options
  • Quite affordable for a 49-key MIDI Controller
  • Stylish yet subtle red accent on lower panel

The SE49 from Nektar is a simple plug-and-play MIDI keyboard that covers all the basics. It features a stylish red accent on the bottom panel – subtle and tasteful – reflecting the boldness of my music visually without being a distraction.

This is a minimalist keyboard when it comes to controls, sporting only 4 buttons (Octave Up/Down, Transpose Up/Down) and a 30 mm volume fader. This is a bit of a letdown for me where other options give you more. But at this price, you can’t expect too much.

On a higher note, the included modulation wheel and fader are MIDI assignable. It even comes with a pedal input jack that can take a sustain pedal or switch that’s also MIDI assignable.

Where this keyboard lacks in control options, it makes up for it with its smooth synth-action velocity sensitive keys. It has full-sized keys, a pleasant surprise at this price point.

Also with its 4 options of velocity curves (and 3 fixed ones), it didn’t take too long to cozy up to one that suited my playstyle.

The SE49 is all about simplicity. Great feeling keys at a great price. I see this working well for beginning producers and keyboardists that want to focus on their keyboard playing or for someone who already has another MIDI controller that can be relegated to DAW operation.

So if you simply want a quality 49-key keyboard you can hook up to your laptop without breaking the bank, this is the one I recommend.

Tech Specs

  • Keys: 49 Full-size, Synth action with 4 x Velocity Curves, 3 x Fixed
  • Pads: No
  • Arpeggiator: No
  • Motorized Controls: No
  • Bundled Software: Bitwig Studio 8-track
  • Power: USB powered.
  • Connectivity: USB and TRS input for sustain pedal.
  • Control Hardware Directly: No
  • Compatibility: OS X 10.8.5 or later + Windows 7 SP1 or later
  • Dimensions: 31.69″ x 7.75″ x 2.71″
  • Weight 4.85 lbs.

Rating Source Highlight

WebsiteSource*Rating Value
Audio MentorReuben Chng90/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm’s adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

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