ROLI has announced the comeback of its MIDI MPE controller Seaboard Block M in a re-engineered version with MIDI output support.
In 2022, a new chapter began for the company ROLI (Luminary ROLI). After financial difficulties, they restarted completely and showed the Seaboard Rise 2 as their new flagship product.
The company has been teasing the following product on social media for a week. I wrote about this in an article, and my speculations have been confirmed. ROLI’s most affordable MPE controller comes back with the new name Seaboard Block M and new features.
Founder and CEO of Luminary ROLI, Roland Lamb, expressed his excitement about the comeback of the much-loved Seaboard Block, saying, “The reintroduction of the Seaboard Block M marks a monumental step in making the revolutionary MPE and 5D Touch technology accessible to more music makers around the world.
We believe that this tool will not only foster creativity but also redefine the landscape of music production. It’s more than an instrument; it’s a gateway to infinite musical possibilities.”
ROLI Seaboard Block M
According to ROLI, it’s the most request product ever from its creator community. They followed the wish and have re-introduced the mini Seaboard, but not 1 to 1 like version 1. It has been completely re-engineered and expanded with functionality.
The compact, portable design of the new Seaboard Block M is no surprise. This has largely remained the same. There could be possible slight changes compared to the predecessor. But I didn’t notice any.
Like the previous version, Seaboard Block M features a squishy soft-touch silicon 24-keywave edge-to-edge-design keybed powered by ROLI’s innovative 5D touch technology.
It offers intuitive sound shaping through gestures such as strike, press, glide, slide, and lift. ROLI promises: “It captures every nuance of a performance with unparalleled precision and fluidity.” And, of course, all this supports MPE.
Seaboard Block M seamlessly integrates with modern DAW featuring MPE support, including Ableton Live 11+, Logic Pro, and Cubase. A new feature is the MIDI Output TRS socket, which opens the door to external instrument control.
You can now connect the mini Seaboard to your MPE-compatible hardware Synthesizer or groovebox, and play sounds more expressively. Besides the new MIDI output socket, it also has a USB-C port.
It also offers enhanced consistency and expressive control through the latest firmware, enabling users to personalize their velocity curve via the ROLI Dashboard. There are also various operation modes selectable in the dashboard for going computer-free: single channel, MPE, and others.
Expandable And Rechargable
A special feature of the small ROLI controller family is the ability to clip them together in a few seconds. The M version also has this clever feature. This is again done via ROLI’s DNA connector.
With this, you can connect and expand it with other ROLI products. For example, with a LUMI Keys Studio Edition or another Seaboard Block M for a 48 keywaves version.
And ROLI’s new old controller is also designed for making music on the go. It features a 10+ hours internal battery and 15-meter Bluetooth®, allowing you to be creative anywhere you want, even without cables.
Further, it ships with software, ready-to-use sounds, and a voucher for the ROLI sound store.
The ROLI Studio software suite is a comprehensive platform for creative potential, offering inspirational features such as Smart Chords, Multi-Layered Arpeggio, and Macros, all specifically tailored to enhance musical output and production. ROLI Studio Player provides a curated selection of 400 distinctive sounds and presets sourced from ROLI’s powerful sound engines.
ROLI Studio Drums is the perfect MPE beatmaking companion. This separate plugin within ROLI Studio has 15 drum kits, each with 16 distinct and highly controllable parts.
At first glance, a very welcomed comeback. The Seaboard Block M was on my wish list for a long time until the discontinuation. Maybe it will make a comeback also on my list, let’s see. It’s a bit of a shame that the keybed remains also in version M a bit strange with 24 soft keys.
ROLI Seaboard Block M is available now for pre-order for $349,95 USD/£299.95 GBP or 349,95€. Shipping starts in March 2024 to the US, Canada, UK and Europe.
More information here: ROLI