QuNexus Overlays From Oversynth.com

Oversynth.com has introduced a limited series of overlays for the Keith McMillan Instruments QuNexus MIDI controller.

All overlays feature labeling for the QuNexus version 2 firmware and will fit both the original black QuNexus and the new ‘Red’ version.

The overlay designs feature large fonts and high contrast graphics, wherever possible to help with viewing in low-light. They are printed on a sturdy polyester sheet, to help minimize reflections and glare.

They do not have adhesive backing, so they can sit temporarily over the QuNexus and then be removed if desired. They ship with a strip of optional adhesive, though, for a more lasting placement. The adhesive is low-tack and will not damage the surface of the QuNexus.

Pricing and Availability

Overlays for the QuNexus are available now for $25 USD.

Robkoo Intros Futuristic Wind Synthesizer R1

[embedded content]

Robkoo has introduced the Wind Synthesizer R1, a futuristic MIDI wind controller instrument, with responsive RGB light bars, motion control, Bluetooth connectivity, customizable hotkeys, onboard sound banks, and a dedicated app.

One of the most distinctive design feature of the Wind Synthesizer R1 is how its body lights up in response to the performer’s expression. The instrument responds to the player’s breath, glowing to the tune of over 60,000 colors — which can be customized in JamKoo, Robkoo’s performance app for iOS and Android.

Its inbuilt gyroscope lets Wind Synthesizer R1 players add expression with pitch bend and vibrato by moving the MIDI wind controller instrument itself. You can play in octaves beyond the limitations of acoustic instruments thanks to the triple-octave (-1, 0, +1, +2) keys (on the underside of Wind Synthesizer R1), while a mechanical pitch wheel lets performers pitch freely with their thumb — also customizable to trigger other controls like portamento.

It features onboard tones sampled from top performers from around the world — working with sound suppliers like Dynamix Audio (Serbia), Impact Soundworks (USA), Kong Audio (China), Sound Magic (China), and Versilian Studios (USA).

Whether wirelessly or cable connected to an applicable device, Wind Synthesizer R1 is also a capable MIDI controller. It supports MIDI input over USB MIDI (Type-C) and Bluetooth (BLE MIDI). Other connectivity options include a 3.5 mm TRS headphone output, 6.35 mm TRS audio output, and Type-C USB port.

Wind Synthesizer R1 also features a a (2600mAh) battery-running time of six hours (with the RGB light bars operating), extending to 10 hours (with the RGB light bars turned off).

Pricing and Availability:

Wind Synthesizer R1 is available now in mainland China for CN¥2,999.00 RMB, Robkoo is currently working to make it available worldwide, with a projected price tag of around $500.00 USD later this year.

Xjam USB MIDI Performance Controller Now Available

ESI has introduced Xjam, a new portable MIDI performance controller, featuring a solid aluminum chassis and pads with polyphonic aftertouch.

The compact unit (200 x 135 x 26 mm) is designed to match the Xkey series of MIDI controller keyboards by CME.

Xjam provides 16 RGB pads, with polyphonic aftertouch, in a 4×4 matrix, plus 6 endless encoders that can be used in 48 configuration scenes. Virtually any common type of MIDI messages can be assigned to each of these controls and editing can be done quickly and directly on the hardware.

ESI provides a powerful editing software for Mac, PC and iPad that helps to monitor MIDI data and configure Xjam to your specific needs. In addition to the editing tool, Xjam ships with a powerful software package incl. Bitwig Studio 8-Track, Cubasis LE (for iPad) and WaveLab LE.

While Xjam connects via USB-C to the computer and works as a fully bus-powered device, it also features a TRS MIDI output to send signals to any other MIDI gear. An additional connector for an optional foot switch is provided as well.

Pricing and Availability:

Xjam is now available, with a retail price of 149,- EUR.

Launchpad Mini and X Firmware Version 2.0 Update

Today Novation announced a firmware update for their Launchpad Mini and Launchpad X. This update brings more customization options to Launchpad owners, allowing them to explore new ideas and produce music with greater ease.

Firmware version 2.0 introduces the Custom Mode keystroke widget. Launchpad owners can “keep creativity flowing” while making music by assigning essential DAW shortcuts using Novation’s Components software for a faster, more intuitive workflow and endless creative options.

On the Launchpad X, the firmware update brings an additional four Custom Mode slots for a total of eight slots.

The Launchpad Mini and X firmware version 2.0 is compatible with Launchpad Mini [MK3] Launchpad X [MK3].

Launchpad Mini and X owners can download the (free) firmware version 2.0 from Novation Components.

Information about the full Launchpad range is available on the Novation website.

Artiphon Intros Orba 2 Synth, Looper & Controller

At the 2022 NAMM Show, Artiphon introduced the Orba 2, the second generation of their Orba synth, looper, and controller.

Here’s what’s new with the Orba 2:

  • Play any sound – Artiphon redesigned Orba’s sound engine from the ground up so that it can play sampled pianos, guitars, found sounds, and more.
  • Create your own instruments – With the Orba 2 app, you’ll be able to record any sound from the real world and transform it into a playable musical instrument.
  • Loop songs in seconds – Orba 2 has an integrated looper that allows you to record loops right on the device itself. Using Drum, Bass, Chord, and Lead modes, you’ll be able to combine these sounds to create songs. Orba 2’s new quantize feature will keep everything in time. And since Orba 2 has more memory than its predecessor, you’ll be able to make songs up to 128 bars

Pricing and Availability

The Orba 2 is available now for $149.99 USD.

Robotic Cameras Get MIDI Control

[embedded content]

PTZOptics, a manufacturer of broadcast-quality robotic cameras, and the MIDI Association, have announced a joint project to bring fully configurable MIDI control to the PTZOptics line of robotic cameras.

This means that you’ll be able to control video cameras from your keyboard, sequencer, MIDI controller or other MIDI device.

Starting with the PTZOptics 12X-NDI and SDI cameras, PTZOptics will roll out direct MIDI control to their current generation camera line via a free firmware update. Users will be able to map camera commands including setting presets, call, pan, tilt and zoom.

“Live streaming has become extremely important to musicians and creatives, from performers and worship leaders to bloggers and DJs,” says Geoff Robinson, Product Manager at PTZOptics. “With this new feature set, users can control a live video production, without any additional dedicated hardware – just the devices or even instruments they already have.”

“The MIDI Association is very excited to have PTZOptics as a member, because we have already been working on remote collaboration using Web MIDI for our MIDI In Music Education and MIDI In Music Therapy Initiatives,” says Billias. “The ability to remotely control PTZ cameras over Web MIDI shrinks the world in a very significant way.”

Owners of current generation PTZ 12X cameras will be able to unlock MIDI control by downloading and installing the latest camera firmware from the PTZOptics website in early June. MIDI control will roll out to all current-generation PTZOptics PTZ cameras by the end of 2022.

Novation’s Launchkey Series Adds 88-key Edition

Today Novation announced Launchkey 88 – Novation’s first 88-key MIDI keyboard controller.

They say that the Launchkey 88 “elevates musical performance and song writing” with 16 velocity-sensitive pads and an 88-key semi-weighted keybed designed to capture the player’s expression.

[embedded content]

The entire Launchkey range has deep integration with Ableton and a continuum of sizes including the portable Launchkey Mini, 25-, 37-, 49-and 61-key models. An 88-key MIDI keyboard has often been requested by the Novation community, and now Launchkey 88 fulfills this need and brings a premium 88-key keybed, created with Novation’s 30-year history of MIDI keyboard design.

Premium keys. Launchkey 88’s premium semi-weighted keybed sets it apart from the rest of the Launchkey range. Launchkey 88 features Novation’s best feeling keymech to date, which developers say is “the result of meticulous refinement and testing.”

Versatile connectivity. Launchkey 88’s connectivity makes for dynamic live performances when controlling external synths and hardware. Performance eatures include the powerful Arpeggiator, Scale mode, and three Chord modes.

Deep integration with Ableton Live, Logic Pro, Cubase and more allows creators to work uninterrupted, and essential mixer, transport and navigation controls aid in easy music making for all other major DAWs, including Studio One, Pro Tools and Reaper, via HUI.

With a comprehensive software bundle – including Ableton Live 11 Lite, virtual instruments, plug-ins and sample packs–musicians can start creating immediately.

Pricing and Availability

Novation Launchkey 88 is available now and is priced at £379.99 (Inc. VAT) / €369.74 (Ex. VAT) / $399.99. Product specs and additional information is on the Novation website.

SoundForce Introducing MIDI Controller, New Modules at Superbooth 2022

For Superbooth 2022 this week, SoundForce is introducing several new products:  the updated 2022 prototype of the SFC-8 MIDI controller (pictured, above); uDCO, a compact version of their popular DCO module; and the S-LD, a 4HP 6-channel LinnDrum sample player.

The SFC-8 is a MIDI controller designed to primarily control Jupiter-8 style software plugins, such as the Arturia Jup-8 V and TAL-J-8, but it will have built-in support as well for hardware synths.

It has USB-MIDI but also 5-pin MIDI out and in (for the user’s keyboard or sequencer). The incoming messages are merged with the controller messages. SFC-8 is a USB-powered device.

Release date and price for SFC-8 are still to be determined.

On the modular side, SoundForce is also announcing the uDCO, a compact version of their popular DCO module. The design has been compacted from originally 16HP down to 10HP. The module has the exact same core oscillator and features set, to the exception of the FM attenuator which has been removed, along with a little change in the PWM (pulse width modulation) control. In addition, the uDCO sliders have been replaced by small rotary pots.

The uDCO will ship around the end of this month and the price is ~ €259 euros (depending on your local VAT), and €214 for non-EU customers. For more information on the uDCO go to the SoundForce web shop.

SoundForce is also extending its compact drum samples range with the S-LD, a 4HP 6-channel LinnDrum sample player. The three jacks at the bottom of the S-LD have an alternative sound bank, thanks to a slide switch at the back. The user can choose whether to trigger either the tom sounds or the percussion sounds.

SoundForce developers add: “Please note, all three sounds change at once and you cannot select between tom or percussion on a per-channel basis.”

The S-LD can be pre-ordered now, and will begin shipping later in May. The module is priced at €119 for EU customers, and €98 for non-EU customers. More information is available here.

Sensel Discontinues Morph Controller, Focuses On Laptop Touchpad Market

Sensel has announced that it is discontinuing the Morph, it’s expressive multi-function music controller.

The Morph is a highly sensitive multi-touch control surface that can sense overlays, letting it ‘morph’ to be used as a keyboard, drum pad, x/y controller and more.

The company says that challenges of manufacturing the Morph have forced them to pivot to focus on their enterprise business solutions.

Here’s their announcement:

“Ever since we sold out of Morphs in 2021, many of you have been eagerly awaiting updates about the availability of the Sensel Morph. Today, we can provide some closure and announce that unfortunately, Sensel will no longer be producing the current Morph.

Like many of you, we feel like we were able to only scratch the surface of the potential of the Morph, and we’re disappointed that we can no longer produce it. Production challenges were myriad: the unavailability of what was once a widely available microprocessor, the lack of supply of the resistive ink that was used for the Morph’s pressure sensor, travel restrictions, and internal competition with the rapidly growing demand for Sensel’s enterprise solutions.

Over the past year, we explored many avenues to restart production: pitching investors, partnering with other music companies, creative arrangements with high-volume manufacturers, and redesigning the Morph. In the end, we had to make the difficult decision to shift our focus to our core enterprise business, especially in the laptop touchpad market. Sensel’s technology is currently being used in the haptic touchpads of Lenovo’s X1 Titanium Yoga and Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Studio, and will be featured in several other models in the near future. We’re thrilled to enable the next generation haptic touchpads for Windows laptops, and to get our tech into the hands of millions of users.

For those of you who backed the Morph on Kickstarter or purchased one after, we sincerely thank you for being a part of the Sensel journey and helping us get to where we are today. We still can’t wait to see what you create. And for those who signed up for our back-in-stock notifications while we’ve been sold out, we apologize for the long wait and for not being able to fulfill your requests.

Making the Morph and seeing what creative people could do with it was incredibly rewarding. From the same controller, we saw virtuosic finger drum jams, slick productions, tripped out visuals, and interactive installations. The creative minds that got behind the Morph were just awesome. As we move forward with our enterprise business, we hope to influence those markets with what we’ve learned, and work with innovative tool-makers to bring the creativity and richness-of-interaction of the Morph to everyday consumer devices like laptops and phones.

Down the road, we will also rethink the Morph product line and potentially bring another consumer product to market. While there are no plans to do so right now, we welcome all feedback and suggestions.”

Sensel has a FAQ page on their site for Morph owners.

Cre8Audio NiftyKEYZ Keyboard Eurorack Case In-Depth Review

[embedded content]

In his latest Sonic Lab review, Sonic State’s Nick Batt takes an in-depth look at the new Cre8Audio NiftyKeyZ keyboard Eurorack case.

NiftyKEYZ combines a full-sized 49-key synth-action MIDI controller keyboard with 112hp of space for Eurorack modules, so you can house all-in-one synths like the Moog Mother-32 and use them as keyboards, or create a custom keyboard-controlled modular rig.

“This is actually pretty cool for setting up performance patches and, not withstanding the issues around tuning and dedicated voice control (Osc, VCF, VCA, Envelope), allows for some really complex setups to be created,” says Batt.

Check out the video and share your thoughts on the NiftyKeyZ in the comments!

Topics covered:

00:00 Intro and sound demo
02:26 Functions and Top panel connections
03:46 Patch breakdown and voice mode
7:00 connecting modules
08:15 LFO and mod connections
10:34 Voice modes and split
15:20 Arpeggiator and transpose
18:44 Wrap and conclusion