Published on January 2nd, 2014 | by Greg
QuNexus: The Next Generation Of Portable Keyboards
It’s now been thirty years since the MIDI standard was finalized. Enough to see the rise and fall of so many other technologies- streaming video has made it easy to learn new instruments and share your songs, Spotify and other services have made most of the world’s music easily available. But the instruments themselves endure relatively unchanged.
The QuNexus, from Keith McMillen, is a keyboard controller with some serious upgrades. It looks fairly similar to your old electronic keyboard, only smaller and more modern- a sort of DJ-influenced illuminated musical tool kit, perfect for the enthusiast who wants something portable. Originally a Kickstarter project, there are 25 pressure-sensitive keys, each with LED lights with sixteen levels of brightness. Billed as a “a hub that integrates every synth protocol”, it can handle not only MIDI but also vintage CV analog gearvand audio production software, and works with Mac OS, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android with no software drivers required (except for Android). And it’s USB powered, so easy to take anywhere.
Of course, even the QuNexus won’t suddenly grant you music superpowers or training, despite it’s 7-octave range. But the keys are great, as is the build quality- some real thought went into the design, and there are handy dedicated buttons for most of the functions you’ll need. For instance, the pitch bending pad is pretty cool, and there is a sustain button along with a built-in arpeggiator. The layout might take some getting used to if you’re more familiar with a larger keyboard, but you’ll get used to it fairly quickly. Also, it’s small enough to fit on a laptop or easily inside of a backpack, and their durability video is an impressive testament to the beating it can take.
It’s feature-filled, lovingly-made, and certainly sensitive enough to take over duty as a controller for a wide range of duties. The QuNexus is available online and in stores for around $150.