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NAMM Show Report

Synth Tricks: The Artistic Joy of Polyphonic Aftertouch

DanAtKeys

There are many reasons that make Sweetwater a great place to work. One fun reason is that you get to meet people who are as passionate and knowledgeable about gear and music as you are. And when you visit their basement, you get to play with lovingly maintained vintage equipment right alongside the latest technical innovations.

For example, in one friend’s basement, I got to experience how amazingly expressive the polyphonic aftertouch is on his late-’70s Yamaha CS-80 synthesizer. I could hold down a handful of keys and then open the filter on a single note just by pressing down on that key. Sadly, a used CS-80 goes for more than $10,000.

Now, you can experience the artistic joy of polyphonic aftertouch with the QuNexus Smart Sensor keyboard controller. Along with velocity sensitivity, it can also send pitch bends from a dedicated pad, plus standard channel aftertouch, and so much more.

If you’ve discovered the joy of analog synthesis, then you’ll go crazy with the QuNexus’s CV (control voltage) I/O and gate. The CV outputs can control pretty much any analog synth parameter that has a CV input, and the CV gate will trigger your envelopes. The CV outputs can often work on your guitar pedals that have an expression jack as well.

The entire CV concept is so well thought out that you can even use the QuNexus as a MIDI-to-CV converter and a CV-to-MIDI converter! (Try to find either of those on eBay for less than this.)

The unit is powered and lit by USB, making it a no-brainer to connect to your computer. The free QuNexus Editor software (Mac and PC) allows you to fine tune your performance in ways you probably haven’t imagined. For example, imagine having a unique pitch bend for each note just by tilting each key forward and back. Or changing aftertouch to any continuous controller you want.

You can even break free of the computer with the KMI MIDI Expander, which gives you a power supply as well as MIDI in/out jacks.

Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that this is the perfect MIDI controller to play a Rachmaninoff piano concerto. It has 25 keys and octave -/+ buttons to cover all 128 notes of MIDI. What it is perfect for is giving you soul-satisfying expressive control over the notes you choose.

There are so many more features found in the QuNexus that you’ll have to call your Sweetwater Sales Engineer to learn more about this miraculous controller.

Daniel Fisher

About Daniel Fisher

Sweetwater's synth guru Daniel Fisher is one of the most sought-after synthesizer sound designers in the industry. He graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelors Degree in Music Production and Engineering as well as Cum Laude with a Bachelors Degree in Music Synthesis from Berklee College. He is Sweetwater's Director of Product Optimization, having created dozens of libraries and synth programs for Kurzweil, Alesis, Korg, E-MU, Yamaha, TC Electronic, and many others. He is also currently an Adjunct Professor of Music Synthesis at the University of Saint Francis and teaches Music Synthesis and Sampling at Indiana University/Purdue University.
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