Nektar Map Files
A Nektar map file is at the core of a good plugin control experience. It not only maps plugin parameters to Nektar hardware controls but also allows for organization of assignments in a structured navigation system that makes it easier to quickly find and control any parameter.
Parameters can also be renamed to appear as clearly as possible on a Nektar hardware product’s display. Nektar map files have already been created for most of the popular plugins and can be user-customized or build from scratch.
If a plugin you own is not mapped but appears on our list of premapped plugins, it may be that your version of the plugin is different from the one we mapped for. Either update your plugin or if you are already running the latest version, contact us and let us know by listing the plugin name and version, and send it to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Once mapped, a plugin can be controlled transparently from your Nektar hardware, every time you load it
- Mapping is independent of patch selection, so even if you don’t have any patches for a plugin, you can still control it.
- If a plugin is not mapped, the Control tab provides tools for you to create your own or customize a factory map.
- Custom user maps are saved in the following directory on your computer: Documents\Nektar\Nektarine\Mapping Files. Saving a map does not overwrite the factory map. You can remove it, or move it to another computer, any time.
Assigning Parameters to Controls
Changing the default control assignments on a plugins Home page, is often the first reason to worry about customizing control assignments. There are two ways to do this:
- In Nektarine’s Control tab, Move a parameter from the left parameter list and drop it on the control it should be assigned to, within the page.
- Use your Nektar product’s Learn function to assign parameters by first moving the parameter in the plugin GUI and then moving the control it should be assigned to, on the controller. See the specific PDF instructions for how to operate Nektarine from your Nektar product.
Nektar Learn is in many cases the fastest option, particularly when it’s hard to identify specific parameters in a list with many parameters.
Assignments can be changed on any selected page using the above method. To select a page, either click on it in the right pane tree structure in Nektarine’s Control menu or select it from your Nektar hardware as described in the PDF instructions.
Customizing Parameter Names
With parameters assigned to controls, it’s often apparent that the default parameter names are not structured well for a hardware display.
The process of adding a custom parameter name is thankfully easy in Nektarine. In the left-hand pane you see the list of parameters. Double-click in the ‘Display Text’ column and type in a name. Press [Enter] when you are done.
The harder part is to avoid shortening the name so much that if it’s learned on the map file’s home page, you can still identify it correctly. For example, speed, rate or time can be used in multiple parts of a plugin including effects, LFO’s and envelopes. A good solution is to first name the parameter as it appears on the plugin’s GUI, then add the part of the plugin it controls. For example a parameter named Layer1_Env1_Attack looks better if it’s renamed to Attack Env1 L1.
As you build your map file, it becomes more obvious how parameters should be named in context and you don’t have to start by renaming every single parameter. It can be done a bit at a time as you see the need.
Map Page Options
The map files page structure evolves in the right hand pane of the Control menu. If a Nektar map file is not already present for the loaded plugin, you’ll see 4 pages listed (Page A,B,C,Fader Home). At the bottom of the pane are buttons with the following functions:
Move Up/Down: Moves the select page up or down in the current page hierarchy.
Add Page: Creates a top level page.
Add Subpage: Converts the currently selected top-level page assignments to a Subpage, as well as creating an additional empty Subpage. Click on the header page and the click the [Add Subpage] button again to add more sub pages.
Remove Page: Deletes the currently selected page.
Undo: Click to undo the last action.
Redo: Click to redo.
Save Changes: Save the map file to the following location: Documents\Nektar\Nektarine\Mapping Files. If you saved by mistake simply delete the file in that directory. Next time you reload Nektarine, the mapping will appear as it did before you made changes in the Nektarine Edit tab.
Add new parameters to current map: When ticked, this function will freeze the current mapping and allow parameters to be added. This requires an explanation: Some plugins do not expose parameters by default so you, the user, have to enable parameters for automation and control. Companies that use this approach include Spectrasonic, Steinberg, UVI and others. Because parameters for such products are not fixed, it can happen that mapping is lost when a new parameter is added. Make sure to tick this option when building or editing maps for plugins that work this way.
Sync Device Page Select: When ticked, page selection from your Nektar product or Nektarine will sync.
Naming a Page: Double-click on the page name and enter a new one. Press [Enter] when done.
Creating a Page Structure
Using the above tools, a page structure can quickly take shape. It’s a good idea to create the page structure as early as possible. Start by reviewing the plugin GUI, noting how many pages you might need for each section. Note how many control buttons you might need also since this affects how many subpages you are able to create. The process is of course organic and it’s typically in use that you realize which pages are needed and how best to structure the map but a little upfront consideration goes a long way to make it easy and straight forward.
Subpages can be navigated from within the top-level page structure but it needs to be set up first. Here is how:
- Click on one of the 4 display buttons in the Nektarine GUI, to select it.
- Click either ‘Cycle button’ or ‘Page button’ depending on what works best with your subpages.
- Cycle Button: Choose this option if you want the selected button to toggle/cycle through all the created sub pages.
- Page Button: Chose this option if you want the selected button to navigate to a specific page. Select the destination sub page from the popup field. A display button is needed for each page with this method so with 4 subpages, all 4 display buttons will be needed for navigation.
- Selecting a page template determines if the page contains assignments for fader or encoders. If you change the page template after assigning parameters, those changes can be cleared.
The image (right) shows a page button assignment to display button 3.
Display button 4 is selected and will be assigned to subpage ‘Osc 2’ if the ‘Page button’ is clicked.