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29 Dec 2018

Review: Musical instrument innovation at its best with the ROLI Seaboard 25

producer/hardware Review: Musical instrument innovation at its best with the ROLI Seaboard 25

The ROLI Seaboard RISE 25 is a next-level MIDI controller that has won multiple technology awards. It’s one of the most innovative brands we’ve seen in the past years growing exponentially in a competitive market. ROLI managed to re-create a product from the ground up, and both piano players and media are in agreement, ROLI has achieved the next generation of digital innovation.

This keyboard is not cheap, though what you gain at a price are intricate musical details and an extra dimension to your workflow. It’s a new way of making music at your fingertips; with extreme flexibility. Musicians of all background are embracing this milestone in musical instrument innovation.

We can look at it as a combination of a keyboard and a violin. You will touch the keys, and at the same time, you can adjust sensitivity, using horizontal and vertical sliders. The Rise has 25 'key waves' as ROLI calls them. Since there is a silicone rubber layer over the internal contact strips, the keyboard has something of a wavy though fully functional set up.

Of course, the keyboard is touch-sensitive, and there is aftertouch, ROLI calls these two Strike and Press. Lift is a new parameter; it stands for the speed with which a pressed key becomes released. Also included are the previously mentioned, the Glide and Slide features of the horizontal and vertical sliders. All these features cumulated have a vast potential for music making, greater than any other existing MIDI-Keyboard on the market; it is the next generation.

The synth software, the Equator, comes with the ROLI and is specially developed for the ROLI keyboards. However, this does not mean that other plugins cannot be used with ROLI, depending on the synth your using you can adjust settings and make it work!

ROLI Seaboard Rise 25 at a glance

  • The ROLI Seaboard has a silicon rubber layer that and underneath contact strips
  • 25 key waves
  • Five dimension touch
  • 1000+ free sounds
  • Play wirelessly over Bluetooth
  • Software bundle: Equator, Strobe, Bitwig 8-track
  • Compatible with music production software such as Logic Pro X and Ableton
  • Portable

Our experience

We’ve played with the ROLI Seaboard for a few, and we do like it a lot! From the box until the software, it’s just a tremendous developed product! The design of the box, physical product design aesthetics, and software looks great and functions smoothly. All the details and the minimalistic design of the Seaboard itself integrates seamlessly with a studio desk. That’s the thing you want as a producer, a great looking and working MIDI-keyboard since it’s in most cases in front of you ;) 

'Brands and products like this are game-changers that we as artist and community need to keep going and innovating in the music industry'

The five dimensions touch is just a new level within music instruments that you can explore. We’ve noticed when we’re making music you just got more to play with and to try. It indeed becomes musical discovery once again with the adjustments made possible by the ROLI and the imagination of the artist.  The controller is sturdy, possessing a metal-casing and touch-sensitive buttons. It's somewhat hard to describe what it feels to play the ROLI. I do play the guitar and the piano, not an expert but still - it feels like you have the layout of a piano and you're fingers work like pushing and sliding guitar strings. You can push a key and move it to create a new sound on the release of the note, some kind of echoing effect in the end. It is truly is a unique instrument.

'We would advise everyone to go to your local music store and have a short play with it yourself - just for your own experience!'

Getting tired of all the studio cables on your desk? Yes! The ROLI Seaboard can also connect via Bluetooth.

With the ROLI Dashboard software, it's easy to adjust settings and get an understanding of how the software reads every touch and process it. All in all, it's just a very techy piece of hardware that's great for musicians!

Official Roli specs

  • Width: 505mm (19.88 inches).
  • Height: 23mm (0.9 inches).
  • Depth: 210mm (8.27 inches).
  • Weight: 2.8kg (6.17 pounds).
  • 11-hour battery life.
  • 3-hour charge time.
  • Pedal input (1/4" jack).
  • USB-B port (MIDI out and power).
  • USB-A port (for charging).
  • Full MIDI compatibility over USB and Bluetooth LE.

Interested in more affordable and portable products from Roli? Make sure to have a look at Seaboard Blocks.

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