If you need a polyphonic multidimensional controller (PMC), you must check out this baby. If you create music, you should check out this baby.
ROLI is a very hip music technology company. They have created a line of innovative music creation hardware and software, from the NOISE modular app, the BLOCKS modular music studio to the Seaboard series of keyboards; the RISE 25, RISE 49 and GRAND.
The Roli Seaboard Rises . . .
The Seaboard RISE 25 MIDI Controller is a two-octave device, with a contoured silicone surface in place of the physical keys, knobs and sliders of a more conventional device. It is beautiful, in a stark modern way. The surface invites your caress. This elegant piece of sculpture is unmarred by cables (optionally), thanks to Bluetooth and battery. It weighs just 2.8 kg (6.2 lb) so it’s highly portable. Tuck it into your messenger bag with your laptop and work anywhere!
The Seaboard RISE 25 comes with ROLI’s Equator control software, for Windows or Mac. It gives you an incredible level of customization of your RISE 25, and acts as a software synthesizer and sound engine.
That means you can turn on your RISE, fire up the Equator software on your computer, and start making and modifying music. It comes with over one hundred preset sounds. It won’t run on your pokey old iMac – it needs something like a 2.5GHz i5 processor or better, it prefers 8GB or more of RAM and you want to have several gigabytes of hard disk space available.
Do you compose? Do you play? Do you mix? the ROLI Seaboard RISE 25 MIDI Controller is a fabulous addition to your arsenal. Whether you want to throw it in your gig bag or keep it at home, you’ll appreciate it’s compact robust design.
this beautiful device is made in the UK at the ROLI factory, so you can be assured of excellent quality and a beautiful finish and feel. The included lithium-ion rechargeable battery gives you up to eight hours of play using Bluetooth, or you can use the power, midi/USB connectors as well as a 1/4” jack for (e.g.) a sustain pedal.
The silicone surface is all black, just begging you to caress it. there are white lines on the tops of the ridges that define the black keys (yeah, I know; mark the black keys with white lines – a little counter-intuitive), and a handful of LEDs.
You may have guessed that there are 25 keys – two octaves – in this model. The connector ports are tucked neatly on the left side. the built-in lithium-ion battery recharges when the device is plugged into USB or an external DC power supply.
The Bluetooth feature lets you operate the device wirelessly. You many not want to strap it over your shoulder, but the freedom of no-cables sure does reduce studio or desktop clutter. You may be concerned about latency compared to MIDI cable, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised. If you’re in a noisy RF environment, stick to the cable.
You have great sensitivity of control with the RISE 25. You don’t just bang on (I mean ‘strike’ of course!) the keys like a piano; you get different treatments for strike, glide, slide, press and lift. that’s right – you can move your fingers sideways or up-and-down too. There are three faders that let you control these parameters – they are touch-sensitive (of course) and backlit. There’s a touchpad too. It lets you modulate sound as you create it, responding to two-dimensional finger motion.
There’s an optional flip case, kind of like the iPad’s, that let’s you tilt up the controller and prop up a tablet or phone, as well as protect the playing surface when you’re on the go.
The Equator software is amazingly capable — there are too many features and controls to catalogue here. You’ll want to start playing the RISE 25 out-of-the-box first, gradually exploring the customization capabilities as you grow comfortable with the systems capabilities. There are rich multimedia tutorials to help you along.
You can enjoy the RISE 25 and Equator combination whether you are creating acoustic or electronic music.
There are other devices out there, from the conventional to the outright weird. If you’re in the market for a RISE 25, you might also look at the Haken Audio Continuum Fingerboard. You might go old-schools and get a Roland A-300PRO, but then you’re looking and plain old black and white keys, and physical knobs and sliders. On a tight budget? consider the Korg microKEY Bluetooth and USB MIDI Controller.
You may also consider the Seaboard RISE 49, which gives you four octaves instead of two, or the Seaboard GRAND, which effectively reimagines the piano keyboard to give you incredible richness of control. both devices are easy to migrate up to, and come with the same software.
Wait! there’s more! ROLI provide A digital audio workstation (DAW) program called Bitwig. You may already have your own DAW, but you may be quite happy to see how well this one integrates with the Seaboard for MIDI recording, editing, and playback.
The ROLI Seaboard RISE 25 MIDI Controller is a rich, versatile device that gives you incredible control over the music creation and editing process. It is intuitive, elegant and robust and highly portable. the companion software gives you a wonderful level of customization of the controller as well as a rich palette of preset sounds. You won’t be able to keep your hands off it. Go check out some videos of the RISE 25 in use (or its sibling instruments) to get a feel for the incredible degree of control you can achieve. There’s a long learning curve but you will be rewarded every step of the way. it’ll be hard to go back to a conventional keyboard.