Monday, September 9, 2013

Using the QuNexus Pitch Bend: The Ol' Point and Roll

I spent a frustrating afternoon trying to get the pitch bend control on the QuNexus working consistently before I stumbled across the following technique. Here's what works for me - curve your middle or index finger downwards towards the pitch bend pad, so the tip of your finger is pointing downwards at it. Rest the finger on the surface and with light to moderate pressure roll / tilt your finger right or left. It helps to have short fingernails.

Having your finger laid out flat then rolling sometimes works but tends to make values jump up or down. The curved point and roll is more consistent. Also, have the pitch bend set to maximum in the editor software, and then set the pitch range on the target synth. It's surprisingly usable once you get the hang of it.

Note: this applies specifically to the dedicated pitch bend pad in the lower left corner of the unit. There's also poly pitch bend using the individual note pads, but that's not what I'm talking about here.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

QuNexus Keyboard / Pad Controller

I got a QuNexus recently. Now that I have a small, responsive instrument with a traditional piano-key layout that I can keep plugged in and ready in my limited space, I'm realizing how important that piano layout is to my productivity.

Since the missus and I merged offices 2 years ago, I have about three feet by 1.5 feet of desk space and that's usually taken up by a computer keyboard, a mouse, a coffee and other officey items like papers. I can get the Maschine set up pretty quickly, and the QuNeo's always plugged in upended off to the side, but if I want a black and white keyboard with obvious sharps and flats, I have to haul it out of a box, clear some space and plug it in. You can guess how often that happens in this economy, with the days getting shorter and the nights getting longer and the zombie plague and the phone ringing every five minutes and the kid wanting shoes and food.

The QuNexus, on the other hand, is about the same size as my wireless iMac keyboard, and now I keep it plugged in all the time too. So when the urge to make music hits, all I have to do is launch Reaper and put on my headphones. Ya just flip it, stick it, see ya later bye.

And my goodness does it ever feel good under the fingers! The idea of pad controllers in a piano layout may sound stoopid until you try it. It feels a bit like playing two handed tapping on an electric guitar but with a more satisfying thump. I wouldn't mind a larger model with four octaves.

A minor quibble - it's too easy to engage poly pressure, if you have it enabled. More standard curves would be nice - like x^3 and x^4 curves instead of just an exponential curve option, so it would only engage if you gave it a serious press.

Aside from that I absolutely love the thing. The velocity sensitivity is superb and is helping me uncover new sounds and new ways to play my synth plugins. And it works great in combination with my QuNeo to control other parameters. Thumbs up to both.