We last heard from ROLI when it introduced the new, more compact Seaboard MIDI controller. The company’s unique 5D keywaves along with the modular nature of its Block hardware/software system are some of the most interesting and musically expressive out there. ROLI just recently unveiled some updates to its platform including an updated version of the Lightpad Block touch controller and more…

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Much like its predecessor, the new Lightpad Block M acts as the main hub of your ROLI music production setup, working in conjunction with apps on your Mac, iOS devices or Windows machine. It is fully compatible with the rest of the modular Blocks system allowing producers to customize their control surface, even on a project-by-project basis.

This time around ROLI has enhanced the top-mounted surface of the small touch controller. Along with being a much more tactile and responsive experience when inputing notes and other commands, it is a much softer and easier to play silicone-like material, according to ROLI. The Lightpad M’s 225 microkeywave surface is also 50% brighter than the original with a much deeper contrast and color range.

Speaking of the touch surface, ROLI has implemented its five dimensions of touch control known as 5D Touch. Essentially you can tap notes out the way you might imagine, but you can also employ a series of other gestures to create tonal and dynamic variation in the parts you are playing: Strike, Glide, slide, Press and Lift.

ROLI has a pretty nice lineup of known producers creating sound packs and instruments for the Blocks platform. Those include 5D Touch libraries and sounds from the likes of Wu-Tang architect RZA, Grimes and EDM legend Steve Aoki. Plus you can expect more every month on top of some major new updates for the Noise software platform that supports ROLI’s hardware. Some standout updates coming in that department include full Garageband and Ableton Live Lite support as well as a bunch of new acoustic instrument packs (cello, violin, clarinet, saxophone and more).

The original Lightpad Block is still in the lineup at $179.95 (currently $10 off on Amazon) and the new Lightpad Block M is now up for sale at ROLI for $199.95. You can expect it to appear in retailers worldwide including Apple “soon”. The ROLI Seaboard Block Controller goes for $300.

More from ROLI:

The Lightpad Block M is the next generation of the Lightpad Block, a surface for sonic control, that launched in November 2016. Music-makers can recreate the sounds of drums, cellos, flutes, synths, and hundreds of other instruments just by touching the Lightpad Block, which is both a palm-sized music-making device in its own right and a piece of the expandable BLOCKS system. The Lightpad M creates an even more sensitive and precise playing experience that is on par with ROLI’s premium instruments like the Seaboard RISE.

NOISE 3.0: The newest version of ROLI’s free app introduces improvements to clip launching, clip editing, and user-interface navigation as well as new acoustic sounds. Together with the recent introduction of Seaboard View and Mixer Mode, the updates make NOISE 3.0 a powerful mobile sketchpad for creating music on the go. Download NOISE to explore.

Just looking for a standard MIDI controller? Here is our list of the The best MIDI keyboards for Mac and Logic Pro 2017 Edition.

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