Electronic musicians are always trying to find new ways to create music, and natural human expression has always been at the forefront of that discussion. Whether it’s a typical MIDI keyboard and grid style controller or even glide/touch based input device like iPad, these devices all change the way we perceive and compose music.
A few years back a company called Roli dropped a very unique approach to the typical MIDI keyboard set-up with its Seaboard Grand. The device uses a series of touch and velocity based sensors in the form of a not-so traditional keyboard. It allowed musicians to play electronic instruments with an unprecedented amount of human emotion and expression by way of a series of what the company calls keywaves. At the time, the sky high price tag on the Seaboard made this level of creativity somewhat unattainable to the average musician, but now the company is back with a smaller, more affordable version of its touch/velocity based controller:
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Known as Seaboard Rise, the smaller counterpart brings much of what the older brother has, but in a much more practical package. This time around, we are doing away with that annoying USB cable in favor of full wireless Bluetooth MIDI that will connect to your DAW and Mac no problem
Along with a series of completely customizable faders, the X/Y pad and more, those odd looking keys are the heart of the operation. We can play them like a typical piano, but they are also extremely sensitive to the velocity with which you play them, drastically altering the sound and expression of a particular instrument. Along the top and bottom of the rubberized keys, there are two tracks that act as glide controls, allowing musicians to smoothly slide between notes, create more natural trills/bends and more. You can see it in action above.
Now, when I say affordable, I mean affordable for a piece of premium (and unique) recording gear, so it isn’t cheap. But at $799.99, it is certainly more doable than the Seaboard Grands, which range from $1,999 to as much as $8,888. The Rise is now up for pre-order with an expected ship date of October 9th.