QuNeo 3D Multi-Touch Pad Controller
- 44 pads, sliders, rotaries & switches
- Pressure, velocity & position sensitive
- 251 multi-color LEDs give visual feedback
- Communicates via USB, MIDI, or OSC
- The size of an iPad, weighs just 14oz
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QuNeo is 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. 16 square pads provide 127 levels of Velocity response, X-Y location, and continuous pressure. 2 rotary sensors 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. 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. 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. QuNeo is the size of an iPad and can fit in iPad accessories such as mic clips, stands and more. 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. KMI MIDI Expander (sold separately) allows connection to MIDI hardware via 5-pin connection More than a pad controller, a revolutionary precision control device with dynamic playability that senses pressure, finger position, and velocity while providing LED feedback.
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It can output one or 4 note-ons with velocity (one per corner) for each of 16 pads, and map pressure to a selectable MIDI Continuous Controller (CC) in each corner (grid mode), or (in Drum Mode) map two CCs in x-y mode across the pad, and a single CC for pressure. Each pad can be either in Grid or Drum Mode. They light up automatically in colors, or you can send MIDI messages to directly control the lights. The various sliders and rotaries add a lot of possible CC messages you can choose(with the included editor), and some of the surfaces can be assigned multiple banks. That all together is a preset. There are 16 preset memories, and the editor can save/load them to disk.
There are options like "return CC value to zero" or "stay where released" for each sensor, and thresholds, sensitivity, ceilings, all the good stuff. It's really something, a something you have to integrate with your setup, and the bad news is that it takes creative planning and then using their minimalistic and confusing editor to set it all up. Some people complain that there aren't enough ready-to-go configs. Others complain that the company has not released enough of the interface specs so they could control the Quneo from their own programs and scripts. For the Quneo to be easy to integrate would require that the company put as much brainpower into the editor as they put into the hardware. And that hasn't happened.
But here's the bottom line. You can spend close to a hundred bucks for just a lightweight toy pad-thing with velocity sensing. ALL pads react to "touch" that way. But the Quneo also reacts to pressure, in so many clever ways. I use it mostly for percussive sounds in drum mode, 16 pads in a bank, with note+velocity on the hit, then pressure ("aftertouch") emits MIDI CC 11 (Expression), and the X-Y raises mod wheel values when I roll my finger up, and "foot controller" (MIDI CC 4) when I roll my finger to the right, and drop them both to 0 when I release. I use the sliders to control volume on 4 MIDI channels, and the big horizontal slider to control Pan. One of the round pads I use as a sustain (CC 64) "pedal". This is a very simple setup, copy-pasted from pad to pad, but it's very useful.
The point is this: you can make the Quneo do a LOT more than that (they are also coming out with new firmware soon). But given that it costs only a hundred bucks more than a toy pad-thing, and is cheaper than a serious set of pads, I think that even if you do nothing more than the above with it, and even if the company isn't exactly on the front line of customer service, and even though the little micro-USB jack is ridiculous, you'll have a good thing. The pads' response is very programmable, they really feel great, the Quneo itself is very sturdy (see Beer and 2 story drop test on YouTube). You'll find all sorts of uses for it.
One thing I don't believe is practical is to expect the Quneo to replace a Mackie Control type fader array. If you already have faders, continue to use them, the Quneo is for different purposes, like clip launching, being a tactile modeling clay type interface for a softsynth, controlling just a few specialized mixer parameters, etc.
As to the micro-USB jack, get a couple of better cables, and, preferably before one breaks off, attach a small plate, say 1" by 1/2", to the bottom of the Quneo sticking out under the plug so it can't be wiggled or snapped off when you put it down on an uneven surface. Then it's fine.
It's a great little unit that opens up a lot of possibilities. It's like our brains, they say, even at 1/100th of potential are OK. It doesn't have to be plug-and-play for EVERYTHING immediately.
Now, I used to think MIDI controllers still using an old standard like USB-B was kind of quant, but having tried my first controller using micro-USB I can see why USB-B is still the way to go. You can toss it around and it's not gonna have any issues. Micro-USB apparently is so fragile it's broken right out the box.
Anyway, I returned it and I dunno if I want to order another one. Hell, Amazon might just ship me back the one I just returned to them!
The cable it ships with is garbage, if I barely bump it from beneath the Quneo resets. Thankfully I have many micro USB cables around. I did kinda like the KMI-branded cable. Oh well.