QuNexus is an ultra-controllable portable keyboard designed for both live performance and studio work.
Conceived and designed by Keith McMillen, who already has a vast array of innovative hardware credits, it was funded through Kickstarter and is now available to buy.
The 25-key (2 octave) controller keyboard features pressure-sensitive silicone keys with LED illumination. This makes it rugged (you may be more used to finding silicone in the soft case protecting your smartphone), highly tactile and mouldable, and with the ability to provide visual feedback for learning and performance.
Each key features pressure, tilt and velocity, sending unique MIDI control change information along with polyphonic aftertouch and pitch pend via channel rotation.
The versatility of its interface should please those with a large setup, particularly if it includes vintage instruments with voltage control rather than MIDI. Data and audio can be routed as required.
Here’s a rundown of the pertinent specifications:
Included: 1 QuNexus controller; 1 USB cable (USB 2.0 A to Micro-B, 1 m)
Dimensions: Width: 12.8” / 325 mm; Depth: 3.3” / 84 mm; Height: 0.43” / 11 mm
Key Pads: 1.18″ x 0.51″ / 30 mm x 13 mm
Weight: 0.76 lb / 345 g
Power: QuNexus is bus-powered via the USB port when connected to a computer or tablet. When using QuNexus without a computer, power can be supplied with a USB power supply or a KMI MIDI Expander.
- USB micro jack: 3.5 mm Pedal Input / Control Voltage (CV) 1-2 Input. This port can accept 2 CV input signals with a 3.5 mm TRRS plug.
- 3.5 mm Gate – Control Voltage (CV) 1 Output (16-bit): This port can output Gate and CV signals with a 3.5 mm TRS plug.
- 3.5 mm Control Voltage (CV) 2-3 Output (16-bit): This port can output 2 CV signals with a 3.5 mm TRS plug.
- KMI MIDI Expander jack
- 25 Key pads with velocity, pressure, and tilt sensitivity
- 2 octave switching buttons*
- 1 pitch bend pad
- 5 mode buttons
*QuNexus defaults to a note range of 48 (C2) to 72 (C4). The octave buttons allow you to shift up another 3 octaves or shift down 2 octaves for a total range of 7 octaves (C0-C7).
32 LEDs with 16 levels of brightness
Control Voltage Specs: All CV outs are 0V – 5.2V; CV ins are 0V – 5.0V; 1V/Oct, 1.2V/Oct, Hz/V
QuNexus Editor System Requirements
- Mac OS 10.5 or later
- Intel Core 2 Duo 2.3 GHz or greater
- 50 MB free hard disk space
- Windows XP or Windows 7
- Intel Core 2 processor or greater
- 1GB of RAM with 50 MB free hard disk space
While there are similarities in approach to the Seaboard controller, I think this is far more suited to the musician wishing to control a wide variety of DAW software and vintage hardware, whereas the Seaboard may be more useful as a unique expressive instrument in its own right.
Artists known to be using the QuNexus include Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), Kev Choice, and Jonah Sharp (aka Spacetime Continuum).
There’s a pretty exhaustive hardware comparison chart which gives a fair idea of how the QuNexus stacks up against a dozen other controllers including the Akai MAX 49, Roland MPU 101, Doepfer Dark Link and Phil Rees Little MCV.
It’s definitely worth checking out the demo videos too. Here’s the Kickstarter video for starters: