Calling this product the future of music is probably an understatement. Think of it like what the electric engine technology did to the car industry. Think of the Seaboard as a revolution rather than an evolution.
Will it take notes?
When you play a normal keyboard based synthesiser, you hit the key, a note is struck, and the story ends. Here, pressing down on the malleable silicone touch surface only starts the journey. We will get to that in a bit.
Pick the Seaboard Rise up and it drips craftsmanship and spectacular build quality. Constructed from a black, milled metal body it feels nice to hold and weighs just about perfect. There are connections for connecting USB Type A and B ready devices. Coming back to the keypad, these will get a bit of time to get used to but once you do, there is no going back. We like the matte finish of the keywaves (as Roli likes to call it). To further bend sound in various concoctions you will also find capacitive pads, sliders and buttons. Space age? Yes.
The product we are talking about is the tiniest in the range with 25 keywaves. If you know your stuff and have the money for it, there is a larger 49-key version you can indulge in, or you can go the whole hog and opt for the Seaboard Grand and cut your new background score for an upcoming Hollywood flick.
Getting down to business, there are five dimensions of touch you can make use of when you are working with the Roli Seaboard Rise 25. These include Strike, Glide, Slide, Press and Lift and each of them are unique in their own way as they make use of MPE (Multidimensional Polyphonic Expression) specification.
The feel of playing is so real that you almost could imagine belting a guitar when you choose it from the vast menu of instruments via the Equater Software. Equator even lets you indulge in live playback from various preset sounds and gives you full control over how they respond as you play along. That’s the magic about the Seaboard Rise, because inspite of being futuristically digital, it gives you a proper feeling of playing stringed instrument, so to speak.
When you strike the keypad, the velocity and force at which you press on a keywave is measured by Roli and a equivalent note is produced. You can even Glide over a note as it tracks your fingers as they moves horizontally along the Seaboard’s surface. Tap further and the sound will be modulated or you can add a vibrato to individual notes.
Next comes Slide through which you can modify notes by moving your fingers vertically upwards or in the opposite direction. Once you get the hang of it, you can endlessly experiment and tweak settings and your production on the go. The Seaboard Rise is not only an enthusiasts dream come true, but it is also a proper professional grade studio instrument that lets you create production quality music.
The Roli Seaboard Rise lasts about ten hours on a full charge and works with both Windows and Mac based laptops. It truly is the future of music and we are heading back to our media room to spend more time with it.
Cover Image via llnwd.net