There are still many situations in which cables have some advantages for control, as we saw in this week’s tutorial on iPad connections. But two separate crowd-funded projects are working on high-performance wireless solutions for music controllers. That could open up the chance for performers to move around, take advantage of tilt sensors and other location tools inside controllers, and work with gear in studio situations more flexibly.
Keith McMillen already has a track record using crowd funding to support projects – and they’ve been getting better at it. After the “3D” grid-and-ribbon QuNeo suffered production delays, the keyboard-style QuNexus shipped quickly to backers – and the QuNeo continued to mature as a product. Now, the QuNeo is getting an accessory called the Rogue (not to be confused with the Moog synth of the same name), an add-on that adds extended battery life and wireless connections.
The whole thing attaches via velcro, lasts 12 hours, and uses the 2.45GHz wireless band (not the crowded WiFi spectrum) to make connections. US$315-400 gets you the Rogue, with a QuNeo added in if you don’t already own one for $405-500.
KMI tells us they’ve just gotten a production prototype back:
Funding is on IndieGogo:
For a more general-purpose accessory, there’s the PUC, scene in the video above. In lab tests, at least, they’ve gotten stunningly-low latencies between hardware, as illustrated in a video:
The PUC is US$129 – a reasonable price for a wireless adapter, especially given what iOS accessories cost. What’s nice about the design is that it allows easy connections between iPad and traditional MIDI gear, without all the combinations of dongles. The hardware runs with USB power or via a couple of AA batteries. The project is the work of a Minneapolis-based team of mobile developers. (They work on Android, too, but it appears initially PUC is iOS-only. It’d be especially nice to see Mac/Windows/Linux support.)
In a refreshing departure for crowd funding projects, the team are giving early backers a steep discount on pricing – rather than charging them full freight and making them wait. That lowers the price to as little as US$79, with delivery due in December.
I’m surprised the project hasn’t been more successful, I think owing to the low profile of the developers. The campaign runs through the 9th of October on IndieGogo (which also seems to be generating less money than Kickstarter, perhaps also because of a lower profile).
Looks promising, though with any of these projects, there’s a risk on the hardware until you have it in-hand.
The KMI gear seems a safe bet – modest goals, unique wireless band, and a track record. But the PUC’s broader utility makes it just as interesting, too. We’ll be watching.
Any of you who have worked on similar projects, we’d love to hear from you – and to hear about what challenges these projects may face, or what opportunities they have.