Hot on the heels of TouchKeys comes a crowdfunding campaign for another innovative MIDI controller.
Update: thanks to Petteri Valtiala for pointing out that NDVR appear to have given up on the Note crowdfunding campaign. Simon from NDVR revealed in a post on the KVR forum that the company “are now concentrating on other things and are going to stop developing keyboards”. It’s a shame that what looked like a really promising project couldn’t meet its funding target, but an update on the Indiegogo page suggests there might still be hope.
NDVR’S Note master keyboard builds on the polyphonic aftertouch concept, allowing the tone of each note to be manipulated individually by the pressure applied to the key. However, the Note’s ‘key-swing’ movement parameter extends the range of values over the complete depth of the key through continuous digital monitoring.
“Incorporating the Key-Swing into the existing presets of a synthesizer takes their dynamics to a whole new level.”
Project lead Simon Kemper explains: “We saw overlooked potential in the movements of keys pressed while playing.” While conventional keyboards have been able to measure the velocity of the key stroke by recording the time taken for the key to travel between just two vertical points, the Note offers a “theoretically limitless” number of measuring points by using optical distance sensors which function continuously. Thus, the Note records the entire sequence of motion of the key, allowing an optimum variation in tone. As Kemper explains: “Incorporating the Key-Swing into the existing presets of a synthesizer takes their dynamics to a whole new level.”
Unlike with TouchKeys where the position of the finger on the key changes the sound, a keyboardist using the Note doesn’t need to adapt their playing style. While polyphonic aftertouch allows for a similarly natural playing style, there is little play once a key is fully pressed. With the Note variable pressure can be applied to a fully pressed key (see below).
The Note uses standard-size keys and is encased in an anodised aluminium housing. It can be operated as a standalone MIDI master keyboard and uses the polyphonic aftertouch MIDI command structure to read the Key-Swing.
NDVR have self-funded the Note up to this point; they state that their current keyboards are “pre-production devices” and their development is 95% complete. Pledges start from just $235 for a 25-key edition of the Note, and funds raised will go towards adding control elements (knobs, MIDI-compatible rotary encoders and digital displays), creating a manual and packaging, and refining the user interface.
With ten days left, Note is still $55k away from its funding target, so check out the video below for more info on how it works and click here if you’re interested in pledging your support to the project.