Here’s a really quick tip, but it demonstrates something in one illustrative video: Keith McMillen’s QuNexus is a brilliant, mobile solution for MIDI and analog control voltage.

Of course, time was when the mention of control voltage would say to people either eccentric vintage gear collectors or expensive racks of modular. But CV’s appeal is fast spreading. On the modular side, prices are tumbling, and compact suitcase rigs can easily cost less than some pricey plug-in bundles (cough). On the used/vintage side, there’s just a lot of gear you might want to connect. And now, there are affordable units like Korg’s Monotribe.

What’s great about the QuNexus is that you get MIDI and CV in one very portable, very affordable box, with a keyboard attached. Add the MIDI Expander and you don’t need a computer, either. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical of the QuNexus when I first saw it, but it’s gradually become one of my favorite pieces of gear – enough that I always want it in my bag – just like those Apple video adapters, it’s always with me. It’s just stunningly playable for something so small and thin, and the connectivity makes it versatile.

Via Google+, I heard John Keston showing off a little Monotribe and Volca KEYS rig. It’s adorable and small, perfect for quick jams or mobile music making. He comments more on the setup:
QuNexus with Korg Monotribe and Volca Keys Demo

The mobility is thanks to using minijacks; it’s frankly a shame that we don’t have a “mini” MIDI standard, too, as hardware has gotten smaller. You’ll need breakouts, so look to the KMI CV cable kit.

This isn’t your only option. I’ve been playing lately with Akai’s MAX25 keyboard, which also features CV and MIDI (and a step sequencer, and an arpeggiator, and lots of controls). Even without CV, I think the MAX would be my top choice for a full-sized controller keyboard; with it, it’s the logical full-sized-keys alternative to the QuNexus here.

But such is the world we live in: MIDI, CV, USB, and OSC appear to be four connections standards we’ll be living with for a long time to come.

And there you go: it probably took you longer to read this article than it would to get the setup above up and running. (Hey, so, okay, maybe my writing isn’t always ultra-slim and mobile.)

Make the connection with this: the CV breakout cable keeps the QuNexus ultra-slim by plugging into 3.5mm minijacks.

Make the connection with this: the CV breakout cable keeps the QuNexus ultra-slim by plugging into 3.5mm minijacks.