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ROLI Seaboard RISE Review

ROLI’s Seaboard RISE looks like something you’d find Darth Vader personification in his downtime on a Death Star, yet it uses a force in distant some-more engaging ways. The company’s initial product was a much-lauded Seaboard GRAND behind in 2013. That debuted a company’s surprising stretchable “keywave” surface, a covering that could be prodded and poked into delivering not customarily particular records yet well-spoken glissandos, formidable elaborating sounds, and more.

GRAND was, many who attempted it agreed, astonishing. It was also outrageous and expensive: ROLI followed adult a initial run of singular book 88-key models with 61- and 37-key versions, yet with prices from $1,999 (topping out during $8,888 for a biggest, customarily 88 of that will be produced) it was out of a strech of many musicians.


Had a story stopped there, ROLI would’ve assimilated a prolonged list of would-be instrument innovators whose vast ambitions didn’t supplement adult to mass-market adoption. Happily, a association went on to emanate Seaboard RISE, a $799.99 solution of many of a GRAND’s sorcery in a some-more affordable, some-more unstable form.

RISE has 25 keywaves, that means a whole thing can be smaller; it also has a built-in battery for standalone use. The cost puts it within a grasp of home song enthusiasts, while a portability creates it a legitimate behaving apparatus for gigging musicians.


Though we frequency play now, like many kids we had piano lessons flourishing up. That set my expectations for what regulating RISE would be like, and so maybe unsurprisingly we finished adult disillusioned. Would ROLI’s much-vaunted keys finish adult a low-pitched homogeneous of a laser-projected QWERTY keyboard, attention-grabbing yet ergonomically comical?

A tiny additional play unbarred a reality. Yes, if your primary idea from a controller is to get unchanging piano or synth records into your sequencer or other program of choice, RISE is not a best approach to do it.


The miss of tough splits between a keys, not to discuss a monochrome tone intrigue – ROLI combined white lines to a what would ordinarily be a black keys, apparently formed on feedback from a GRAND – creates it wily to play as we competence a normal keyboard.

Flip that on a head, however, and we have a some-more impending question: who pronounced that a normal keyboard would be a best approach to play any probable music, digitally? Flutes, cellos, oboes, trombones, and many, many other instruments don’t force we into a singular note; that we design to be means to accurately indication their play with an interface that does is honestly myopic.


ROLI’s answer to that is a control aspect that nods to keys yet thereafter melts them into any other. The deeply pleasing – trust me, we won’t be means to stop poking, jabbing, pinching, and wiggling it – silicone covering is dripping in sensors, blurring a act of attack an particular pivotal into something some-more like 3D Touch on an iPhone 6s.

RISE breaks any press down into 5 components, dubbed Strike, Press, Glide, Slide, and Lift. Strike is a many traditional, a force with that your finger hits a key, thereafter Press is a magnitude of a vigour practical following that initial strike. By mixing a light Strike and thereafter varying your Press force afterwards, for instance, we can emanate a soothing voice carol that swells over time.


Glide is a plane transformation of a finger, possibly opposite a keywaves or along a likewise touch-sensitive strips that run above and next a keys. Done expansively, we can emanate well-spoken runs like a swooping shriek glissando; simply stagger your fingertip atop a keywave, meanwhile, and we can obey vibrato practical to a singular violin string.

Slide is effectively a same thing, customarily flipped 90-degrees: a transformation adult and down any keywave. Finally, Lift is a speed with that we lift your finger off a keywave: a remarkable lift competence bravery a string, while a some-more indolent one could let a note blur out some-more gently.


Adding to a coherence – and a complexity – is a fact that any cause can be customized or incited off altogether.

It competence be smaller than a GRAND, yet during 19.88 x 8.27 x 0.9 inches RISE is still flattering large. It’s also built like a tank, with a steel framework that adds adult to a not-inconsiderable 6.17 pounds. ROLI includes a clamshell case, yet we can fundamentally forget dropping RISE into your backpack: a satisfactory volume will hang out of a top.


Part of that length is down to a additional closet of controls on a left side. There, we have an X-Y pad, 3 sliders – mapped generally to control Glide, Slide, and Press – and a integrate of other buttons for skipping octaves and stepping by presets.

Labeling is minimal, that helps with a thespian looks yet also means we have to remember what any does. Only a tiny handful are backlit, too, so low-light playback can take a tiny removing used to.


Still, you’ll have a arrangement from your laptop or smartphone to light a way, given RISE has no onboard sound engine. Whereas a GRAND was designed for standalone use, a smaller kin relies on an outmost audio engine, connected around MIDI over possibly USB or Bluetooth.

ROLI provides a soothing synth called Equator, accessible for PC or Mac, and that can run possibly as a standalone instrument or as a VST/AU plugin for your DAW of choice. Effectively Equator takes a mass of MIDI outputs constructed when any keypress has 5 singular factors attached, and wrestles it into something we can indeed play.


It looks a tiny difficult during first, yet Equator is indeed flattering straightforward. ROLI includes a few hundred opposite presets, orderly not customarily into a common categories like brass, organ, strings, and synth, yet how they’re articulated (sharp, sustained, bow, etc.) and their timbre (bright, dark, glassy, vintage, etc.) any with a possess set of Strike, Press, Glide, Slide, and Lift settings shown on a tiny graph.

Tinkering is easy: we can toggle a 5 gestural measure on or off altogether, or reshape how they react. Pressing a keywave gives a visible readout of how any parameter is being enacted; a same is loyal for a X-Y pad and sliders.






If you’re even some-more penetrating to get your hands dirty, we can examination with there 3 oscillators, sound generator, and span of representation modules any sound is done adult of, not to discuss things like chorus, delay, distortion, EQ, reverb, and more.

Equator won’t indeed record your playing, for that you’ll need a third-party DAW app. The unequivocally desirous can bypass ROLI’s synth program altogether and take a tender MIDI outlay from RISE and feed it into their sound engine of choice. The ROLI Dashboard app, also included, allows for granular control over a tellurian countenance parameters that outcome such use, as good as doing things like firmware updates.


NOW READ: ROLI Noise is a giveaway iPhone synth

Originally, RISE’s coherence on Equator meant that we unequivocally indispensable a mechanism to get anything from it. That altered with a attainment of ROLI Noise for iPhone, ancillary a MIDI tie over Bluetooth.

While we can play NOISE as a standalone instrument with a iPhone’s touchscreen – including holding advantage of 3D Touch on a iPhone 6S – it’ll also work as an outmost audio engine if we have a RISE, too.

RISE’s non-removable battery is good for as many as twelve hours of standalone play, ROLI says, yet given it recharges whenever connected around USB we never ran into a necessity of energy during my testing. I’d like to see a approach to spin off that auto-charging, in fact; plugged into a MacBook – around a USB-C to USB dongle – we would’ve elite to leave a notebook’s energy untouched.


Though it seems intimidating during first, a some-more we play with RISE a some-more a intensity is revealed. If you’re into weird, glitchy electronica thereafter a leisure of a keywaves allows we to simply emanate swooping, stuttering sounds that would routinely direct raging fiddling with X-Y controllers and more.

On a other hand, if your sound taste customarily sticks to some-more normal noises, a ability to beget healthy string, brass, and percussion with all a variations of an analog instrument is astonishing. Sure, we could collect adult a MIDI clarinet controller, or a MIDI violin, yet RISE gives we all of those same parameters though a complexity of a dedicated instrument analog.


If you’re a pianist usually looking for a best approach to get a records in your conduct into your laptop, a RISE is substantially not for you. Not customarily is is extremely some-more costly than a unchanging keyboard-based MIDI controller, it’s indeed many worse to play in a normal manner.


Treat a keys as zero yet a starting point, however, and RISE’s interest increases exponentially. Musical novices we sat in front of a squidgy aspect were shortly experimenting with sound in ways that many controllers don’t unequivocally encourage; we can customarily suppose what some-more skilful synth users competence be means to come adult with.

$800 competence seem like a lot for a keyboard controller, yet in existence RISE is zero of a sort. It’s an instrument in a possess right, a new and constrained approach of utilizing sound that borrows a best of a analog and digital worlds, and a sign that hold is about a lot some-more than usually a cold daub of a smartphone display.


Article source: http://www.slashgear.com/roli-seaboard-rise-review-18419179/

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