Keith McMillen Intros QuNeo Multi-Touch MIDI Controller (Sneak Preview)

Keith McMillen has introduced QuNeo – a ‘different species of pad controller’ for electronic musicians, DJs, VJs and DIY hackers.

While it covers all of the functionality of other pad controllers, QuNeo adds the power of touch recognition in other dimensions. Each of the 27 pads, sliders and rotary sensors are pressure, velocity, and location sensitive. Even the 17 switches respond to how hard you press.

Here are the main features of QuNeo:

LED Light Feedback

A lumination scheme combines variably diffusive elastomers with 251 multi-color LEDs providing visual feedback that is immediately responsive and informative.

Trigger Pads

16 square pads provide 127 levels of Velocity response. And X-Y location. And continuous pressure. For each pad. Times sixteen.

Rotary Surfaces

2 rotary surfaces allow you to scrub, trigger, stretch, pinch and play phrases and sound files, manipulate continuous controllers and more . Each rotary sensor measures angle, pressure and distance from the center.

Multi-touch Sliders

9 touch sensitive sliders can be mapped to fader and effects controls. LEDs within each slider act as VU meters or remind you where you were. Multi-touch lets you select a length between two fingers to set stereo locations or filter resonances. Tapping a slider can mute or toggle any track or function.


The switches are located in smart groupings to select samples, fader banks, and transport controls. Each of the switches can scan up and down through files at speeds variable with your touch. Great for quickly locating that perfect fill or telling your looper you really meant it.

The Size of an iPad.

QuNeo is the size of an iPad and can fit in iPad accessories such as mic clips, stands and more.

Class Compliant and Open Source Development Kit

QuNeo works with USB, MIDI or OSC and will communicate with your favorite music software environments right out of the box. More advanced users and programmers can use the development kit and API to create their own code to respond to QuNeo’s sensor data. Hack away to control your world in ways never before possible!

QuNeo is under development as a KickStarter project. But McMillen has raised two thirds of the funds needed bo build the device already, and will probably be over the top after Synthtopia readers get a look at it.

It’s currently priced at $200. See the Kickstarter site for details.

Here are what McMillen’s endorsing artists, including Thavius Beck (DubSpot), Vernon Reid (Living Colour), Dr. Strangeloop, Dose One, and Tom Oberheim, have to say about the QuNeo:

22 thoughts on “Keith McMillen Intros QuNeo Multi-Touch MIDI Controller (Sneak Preview)

  1. I have always wished that my padkontrol could do this!
    I wonder what kind of pads they are using? Are they similar to Drumkat FSR pads?
    If it only ends up costing $200 it is a steal.
    Excited about this product!

  2. Love the looks of this (they’re definitely getting my money), and im glad synthtopia supports these oddball product startups, since they tend to be pretty fantastic.

  3. Another zero-content video. The product is never shown, so it probably doesn’t exist. The endorsements come from a bunch of ‘artists’ that I have never heard of, one of whom never speaks and another is barely coherent. I have heard of Tom Oberheim. The clips of him look as though words have been dubbed onto a video of him saying something else. A ten buck donation to kickstarter buys an ‘exclusive sticker’. Sigh.

  4. Thavius Beck I only know from tutorial videos and such online. Vernon Reid (the “incoherent guy”) is the guitar player for Living Colour (most famous for “Cult of Personality). He’s on Rolling Stones top guitar players of all time list. Tom Oberheim is a synth legend and one of the dudes to invent MIDI. Strangeloop is the VJ guy for Flying Lotus. Not bad. I wouldn’t say it’s “zero content”. I’m thinking of tossing 200 bucks at this. Way cheaper than a livid instruments box that does less (but may have better build quality).

    1. You’d toss $200 at something that you haven’t even seen yet? Wait until you see my new imaginary synthesizer! I have a great drawing of it, and it already sounds amazing.

  5. Right, so if I back them (they’re already way over the amount they needed) for $700 or $1000, I need to pay $100 for shipment since I don’t live in the US? Come on…

  6. The nature of capitalism and crowd sourcing venture capital mechanism. If you don’t believe in it, don’t send your money. Obviously it is a small company targeting a small market. I own a padKontrol and I love it. I just wish it was as smart as this toy. And I paid $150 for a “dumb” controller from korg, a very big , solid Japanese company. But even Korg had to start small one day. So yes the video could have been better looking, edited, etc…

    Thumbs up for the effort, making it totally open and hackable and VERY CHEAP!
    While i type my comment I see an ad for the VMeter.. How much is that thing again? compared to the quNeo project?

    I may not vote with my money yet but there is no doubt i am sending them..err.. positive vibrations for now at least!

  7. With those features and a price tag of merely $200 this thing almost looked like a big winner. And then I watched the video. The words “amateurish” and “dishonest” quickly came to mind.

    How about waiting until you have a prototype to show everyone? How about not cutting up what people are actually saying?! How about some basic courtesy and respect towards everyone voicing their generous opinions and everyone watching?

    Really, really disappointing.

    1. Just think that it cost and takes a long time (months) to develop such a thing and make a product that you can show without looking “amateurish”. By the time you still need to give a salary to your employes so they can live. Such as simple as that. And if you track record the compagny you understand they have already release good products…

    1. You will be able to use it with their MIDI Expander, which is a little device that you plug in via USB, and it outputs the data over a MIDI cable.

  8. Normally I’d say it looks like vapourware, too, but McMillen has done the Softstep (which I own) and the 12step, and this seems like it’s using many of the same concepts, so I don’t think it’s a stretch. I paid about $250 I think for the softstep, so I don’t think $200 is totally undoable. All in all, while I do understand people being wary, you do have to look at the company’s track record before totally dismissing it as a fraud.

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