ROLI RISE 2, next generation of their innovative Seaboard MPE controller

SYNTH ANATOMY uses affiliation & partner programs (big red buttons) to finance a part of the activity. If you use these, you support the website. Thanks! 

ROLI has announced Seaboard RISE 2, the next generation of their innovative MPE controller with a re-engineered playing surface featuring new precision frets.

ROLI, a company that was briefly out of business and then got up again under the new main company LUMINARY. Then in February the first big sign of life. They teased a new Seaboard RISE 2 for March.

And today they officially unveiled it. The RISE 2 is back. For the beginning only in a 49 key version.

ROLI Seaboard RISE 2

“Today is a major milestone in our journey with the Seaboard,” said Lamb, CEO of Luminary ROLI. “RISE 2 is easier to play, more durable and a more beautiful, expressive experience than ever before. It is also an experience transformed by over a decade of development in Equator2, the world’s leading dedicated MPE synth, plus the creation of a whole ecosystem of compatible software and workflow solutions across the industry.

ROLI Seaboard RISE 2

Seaboard RISE 2 is “the long-awaited, next generation model of the world’s leading MPE controller”, says ROLI in their press release. Tests will have to say whether this is the case. Optically no longer in all-black but now with a platinum blue aluminium case design finish. So you can immediately recognize the RISE 1 and 2 version.

Technically, the Seaboard RISE 2 comes with a new Keywave2 silicone playing surface that promises to be more intuitive and effortlessly expressive than ever before. Exclusively on the new RISE 2 are the new precision frets that help players to feel the exact position of their fingers on each key. ROLI says these are similar to a string on a guitar fretboard enabling tonally precision and natural performances.

According to ROLI, playing in tune and modulating sounds without the fingers slipping off the keywaves was one of the biggest challenge Seaboardists have face so far.  The new precision freets should ensure a better playing experience. Admittedly, that was also my problem every time I get the chance to play with a Seaboard. I’m curious how different it is in the RISE 2.

Then, it comes with a new generation version of ROLI’s Dashboard featuring enhanced 5D visualizers to customize your settings to perfection.

The rest stays the same: Seaboard RISE 2 comes with a MIDI port over mini jacks and USB-C connection. Unfortunately, an opportunity to bring MPE into the analog world with CV/gate connections was missed here. It retains the touch fader hardware controls, integrated battery and MIDI over Bluetooth support.

New Software Bundle

ROLI ships the new Seaboard RISE 2 with a “more powerful, comprehensive, and versatile suite of bundles software”. It includes the mighty multi-engine Equator 2 Synthesizer plugin which is tailored to MPE down to the last detail. It features multiple highly flexible engines (VA, granular sampler…), deep modulation capabilities and over 1400 ready-to-use patches. A modern MPE flagship synth.

Roli Equator2

Plus it comes with Ableton Live Lite with MPE support and the ROLI Studio which is an all-in-one production suite.

It’s nice to see that the most famous MPE controller is back. It’s a bit pity that the whole concept hasn’t been bigger further developed. And that there is no small 25 version yet.  The precision frets are a nice innovation and if they deliver what they promise, it’s definitely a good move forward. And one can only hope that the “overhyping” marketing of the past few years will not regain the upper hand. For me, that’s what got the company to where it was in 2020.

ROLI Seaboard RISE 2 is available now for pre-order for 1299€ in a limited first batch. They guarantee a delivery in 2022. If you are ROLI creator, you probably got a coupon code with which you can save $300 USD OFF (£230, €275) on RISE 2 when you preorder today.

More information here: ROLI 

Audio & MIDI News

1 Comment

  1. Ever since Roli stopped even relpying to my emails about repair, I have two non-functional rise (25 and 49) sitting in my closet. I would love to have a functioning one, they are really one of a kind. But I don’t think I will take the plunge again for an instrument that might well be impossible to repair or service one or two years down the line.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.