Keith McMillen Instruments’ QuNexus Controller Now Shipping

qunexus-keyboardKeith McMillen Instruments has just announced that they have begun shipping their QuNexus Smart Sensor Keyboard Controller to customers around the world.

The QuNexus features KMI’s Smart Sensor technology which transmits pressure, tilt, polyphonic aftertouch, and velocity. QuNexus also supports CV, MIDI, USB, and OSC, for maximum flexibility.

“QuNexus is the most important evolution in keyboards since the Erard Escapement was introduced to pianos in 1821,” said KMI founder, Keith McMillen. “QuNexus gives keyboardists forms of expression that were only available to string and horn players. Although playful in appearance, it performs and feels like a serious instrument.”

qunexus-connectivityQuNexus Details:

  • 25 Smart Sensor keys detect velocity, pressure, and tilt
  • Polyphonic pitch bend and aftertouch
  • 2 CV/Gate inputs; Gate and 3 CV Outputs (16-bit)
  • Pitch bend pad
  • Octave up/down buttons provide a 7 octave range
  • USB powered, receives power directly from iOS device or Mac/PC
  • Class compliant for iOS, Android, Mac OS, Windows and Linux, no drivers required
  • Portable: 3.3″ (84 mm) x 12.8″ (325 mm) x 0.43″ (11 mm), 0.76 lb (345 g)

QuNexus has a suggested retail price of $149.00 US. Learn more about QuNexus at the KMI website.

Read Synthtopia’s recent Keith McMillen interview to learn more about the QuNexus and McMillen’s approach to instrument design.

30 thoughts on “Keith McMillen Instruments’ QuNexus Controller Now Shipping

  1. How is this different from a keyboard that has aftertouch, mod/pitch wheels, and expression pedals? Besides being smaller and probably harder to play… Don’t get me wrong, I love innovation, but there is a reason the structure of piano keys has remained unchanged for so long.

    1. “there is a reason the structure of piano keys has remained unchanged for so long.”

      That reason is called ‘stagnation’.

      1. How is it stagnation if it actually works? I love all the extra bells and whistles that my axiom has, but the keys themselves are perfect. Organized, offer feedback, organic… You make them smaller, alter their physical appearance, or change them in any meaningful way, you alter hundreds of years of tweaking to perfection. Any ‘revolutionary’ developments of the keys never last long because they are never an improvement. I suspect that this equipment will fade into obscurity.

        1. “the keys themselves are perfect”

          The keys of a piano ARE perfect – for playing a piano.

          The traditional keyboard format is terribly limiting, though, for synthesists that want to play brass sounds, woodwind sounds, strings or any sounds that you want to play expressively over time.

          If you don’t think things like polyphonic aftertouch are important, or supporting four generations of synth control are important, then you’re not going to be excited about the QuNexus. There are a lot of synthesists, though, that want controllers that are as flexible as their synths.

          1. If you read the stuff at the beginning, you will see that I love my mod wheels, pitch bend, aftertouch, and expression pedals, all of which are sufficient to emulate a wind or string sound. Plus you are at an advantage or more complex passages… Hell, I was a classically trained trombonist, and believe me, I dislike the limitations of the traditional, acoustic keyboards (I even have a EWI for a more authentic sound), but the only thing that this keyboard has that makes it standout is polyphonic aftertouch, which you don’t really need if you are playing like a wind instrument. Not saying that this is a ‘bad’ piece of hardware, its low price is enticing, but it is hardly revolutionary, and definitely not superior to something like an axiom :/

            1. Yanhammer – finding a synth or even a MIDI controller with polyphonic aftertouch is just about impossible.

              It sounds like you may have not have played a keyboard that supports it, because once you’ve used it, it’s hard to go back.

              Polyphonic aftertouch is one of the main things that made the CS-80 great, but they cost as much as a car these days.

              There’s a need for better controllers. Not sure if the QuNexus is it or not, but I’m going to check it out.

              1. Ensoniq gives you poly aftertouch on the cheap. It’s not that wonderful or useful while playing traditional keyboards. I felt like it was a case of over hype.

                The MPC also gives you poly aftertouch. (Maybe Mashine does too?) In terms of finger pressure, positioning and overall feel, I find it’s much more enjoyable and usable.

                In my opinion KMI dropped the ball with the Queno in not thinking of the melodic or harmonic potential or playability. Thankfully, Ableton picked it up with Push!

                I’m all for better controllers, but I don’t see KMI doing a lot of innovating or deep thinking in terms of use and are only repackaging other’s ideas and not as well.

            2. Have you watched the video of Jordan Rudess using one of these? Playing Bach, I mean. Or playing another alternative keyboard the Axis-64? The M-Audio Axiom is just ordinary (and not quite as good as the Novations.) Any tool that allows greater control has got to be of benefit to the musician. And let’s not hear any argument that if polytouch is so good why aren’t more people using it? Mainly since there are only two being made now, this for one-fifty, and the VAX77 for two grand. There are lots of used models–Ensoniqs, Rolands, GEM S, a Siel, the Kurzweil MIDIBoard, and the Yamaha CS-80–which present risk of age and wear, or obscene pricing. And just plain finicky nature. QuNexus might finally reveal to the general public the benefits that only a few have come to appreciate until now.

          2. See, I think this seems too close to a keyboard in layout and that’s going to limit how useful it is. A v shape with 5 on one side and 7 on the other plus some extra would make sense to use all that expressive power. Maybe add a pivot point so the two halfs can be used to detect the tilt.

            As it is now, it seems like to use all the functionality it’s limited by sticking too closely to a keyboard.

            Sure it’ll do a lot, and I can see using it to test ideas, but when I want to play an instrument I’d turn to another interface, that’s tailored to work in a more specific manner.

            This just seems like the bland, corporate version of the Buchla Thunder!

            Good price though.

      1. I’ll give you that that is a nice set of features for a cheap package, but it is just so limited by the size and scope of the keys. If you are using this as more of a backup to a regular keyboard, I can understand it. Hell, I may get it because I need something a bit more like a drum pad, but it isn’t really anything beyond a slightly useful peripheral :/

    2. I agree… … In MY HONEST OPINION… the layout of Keys on a Piano are the most counter intuitive way EVER to play notes. My opinion.. and rather than just state how BS it is.. Having used an Axis 49 Controller which is laid out to the harmonic scale… This is a game changer for people just dont feel any connection to using piano keys..

  2. I myself like that it has a small footprint. means I can put it just about anywhere without having to re arrange everything. Although I do love real sized keys, this will be extremely useful to me.

  3. My sweetwater guy said that it will be available at the beginning of June. Dam I seen this post and got excited:(

  4. Seriously was/am considering getting one of these, but I chanced on a Roland A-50 for a hundred bucks and change. Can’t argue with a real full sized keyboard with polytouch. But having one of these in the backpack will be the smartest move for anyone on the move. Really, is there anything else that gives this much modulation for that little dough?

  5. Lol how did I know Jordan Rudess was going to make into the conversation? I swear that guy is the Rick Astley of iOS music. And for the record, I appreciate musical innovation. There’s always room for new ways of playing music.

  6. “QuNexus is the most important evolution in keyboards since the Erard Escapement was introduced to pianos in 1821,” said KMI founder, Keith McMillen.

    seems a bit hyperbolic.. at best

    im more interested in the planar/touch surface type instruments coming out. i wonder when Linn is gonna get his ass in gear and finish that thing

  7. C’mon, dissing the piano as old-fashioned makes you sound like a wanker. Its a rare person who doesn’t use that sound in their synths at some point. The reason it stays the same is because its a FULLY MATURED PLATFORM and needs no further enhancement. It takes extensive sweat and commitment to even halfway master it, so it can really separate the men from the whiners. If you’ve even pecked at a decent grand, you don’t badmouth it afterwards. Its as magical as any synth, with the exponential advantage of history. A 1974 MiniMoog is semi-old, but few would call it old-fashioned.

    Second, the Q really IS properly focused for the job(s) at hand, more than any other controller I’ve seen. I’d need 49 keys to take it on, but everything about it resonates in a positive manner. Clearly, you can play it with lickety-split precision as a keyboard or use it as a very emotive solo voice. I’m too old-school to peck away at just 2 or 3 octaves, but 4 has worked out fine, so I’ll be keen on seeing how it works out on the market. I’m impressed by the specs and it even has a good color scheme. I’m dying to play one. It rings all the right bells.

  8. “QuNexus…the most important evolution in keyboards since the Erard Escapement was introduced to pianos in 1821,”

    Comparing this to the mighty piano?
    This is a keyboard controller and not a keyboard right? A piano produces sound. A Casio VL-Tone also produces sound. This does not. In 50 years time that USB connection will be obsolete, then the above prediction will raise a smile, while the piano sits in the corner of the room out of tune (but having sound nontheless)

    1. the statement refers to a individual component of a piano, and its functionality – and how drastically it added dynamic expression upon invention and ‘mass’ implementation.
      it is quite a pompous statement imo – but you took it a bit too literal. its not saying its a better invention than a piano…

    2. “QuNexus…the most important evolution in keyboards since the Erard Escapement was introduced to pianos in 1821,”

      There’s certainly a bit of hype in that statement.

      But, on the other hand, how many important advancements in keyboard controllers can you think of since the Erard Escapement was introduced in 1821?

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