ROLI Seaboard Rise Controller First Look


This video, via sonicstate, captures an overview of the new ROLI Seaboard Rise MIDI controller:

Nick Batt talks with ROLI product manager Manon Dave, who shares the technical details of the new controller and gives a brief demo.

Seaboard RISE 25 Features

  • Seamless hardware-software integration
  • Beautifully crafted using premium materials
  • Sleek, intuitive design accessible to music-makers of all technical levels
  • Completely wireless with MIDI over Bluetooth
  • Bundled with Equator, the world’s first purpose-built, multi-dimensional software synthesizer

The Seaboard RISE is available for preorder for US $799 at the ROLI site. It will ship and be available in store at retail outlets, throughout the world, from October.

29 thoughts on “ROLI Seaboard Rise Controller First Look

  1. Too expensive to my taste. Bring me a 49 keys for $399-$499 and then I will consider it…$799 for a 25 keys is way too short of keys and way too much of money…

    1. One can always dream. Compare this to other similar solutions like the Haken Continuum, The Soundplane, the Linnstrument. These things are not cheap for many reasons.

      1. Well, one can also dream to sell me this, but I’m not gonna buy it at this price and they won’t get my money… It works both ways.

        They might surely find some early adopters that will be OK to pay that much for a small 25 keys, but I don’t think it’s gonna become a mainstream product if they don’t adjust the price and size in the future. So, one can only hope they will get enough early adopters to bring enough profits to survive, stay in business and develop future models.

        Otherwise, it’s just gonna be “one more” vaporware (or barely produced product) like a lot we already seen in the past in the Music Industry (Hartmann Neuron, Chameleon, Vari-OS, Rhizome, etc…)

        As a consumer, I’m saying: It’s too short and too expensive; regardless how great it could be, no thanks. It’s not a dream, it’s a pure real fact. So, free for them to listen or not my money…

        And price is often related to the production cost which is not the same if you’re selling 100 000 units. If they can’t find a way to break the barrier, they will not attract enough people, and therefor won’t be able to mass produce it, and therefor will keep a high cost and price, which will of course avoid people to get interested… it’s a circle which often lead a company to stop business once they reach their first production batch for all early adopters they can reach.
        If you want to go on phase 2 and reach a mass market, you have to find a way to drop your price to be more competitive and more affordable by the mass population.

        It’s Business 101… something some people in the Music Industry don’t always understand because they’re only looking at from a creative and musical point of view. But on a long run, it just doesn’t work and is not a suitable solution.

        ROLI already failed once with their over-expensive large keyboard they were proposing few years ago (over 8 grand for a 88 Keys). Now they try again with a smaller version, more affordable, but still over-expensive in the eyes and wallets of some of us. Future will tell us if it was good enough for them to go from the Phase “Early Adopters” to the Phase “Mass Market” or if it just will be another commercial failing product.

        I don’t know and honestly I don’t really care. I’m just a consumer for them and at this stage I’m saying they won’t get my money. That’s the best power consumers can have in a capitalism based economy. The power to decide which company will get your money or not.

        So, let’s wait and see how it will turn out…

        1. I understand that you can do whatever you want with your money but you honestly think that all the features this device has do not justify the higher price?

          Polyphonic aftertouch alone is a very rare and expensive feature that is not easily find elsewhere. Add all the other expression capabilities and you have something more than a regular keyboard controller.

          1. Nope, to me, it just doesn’t justify the higher price… that’s it.

            Electronics cost is very subjective. What could look like a $1,000 cost of electronics today might not be worth more than $20. It has been several times already the case for some technologies (plasma screen, memories, CPUs, touchscreens, etc…). What you’re paying the most is the R&D cost… and it could become very low per unit if you know how to reach a large mass market.

            When you know how aftertouch really work, you understand it’s barely nothing from a technology point of view and cost. And it’s a shame that some manufacturer don’t even include monophonic aftertouch in some of the $1,000-2,000 synth they’re selling *right now* (Roland JP-50, Korg King Korg, etc…).

            Again, to each his own… the market by itself will decide if ROLI took the good decision or not. As said, personally, I don’t care and I’m not interested at this price. End of discussion…

            1. It’s $99 dollars because the only expressive part about it is the poly aftertouch.

              You won’t ever hear or feel a *click* on the Roli.

        2. This is a highly specialized device. I don’t think it will ever be in the price range you are hoping for. 4000$ guitars are being purchased by customers even though there is plenty of sub-500$ guitars available, just like there are people who will purchase the 1000$ iPad Pro even though there’s plenty of good sub-300$ tablets. Business 101 : different products for different crowds. Not every product is made for mass-market.

          If you really need more expression from a keyboard and really don’t want to pay too much you can always settle for the X-Key.

          1. Guitars are not electronics devices…

            And of course, ROLI can decide to place their products on a “high-end or specialised” market. Some brand do it and do it well… well enough to be very profitable. But definitely not all of them… not anymore. But that’s a choice and in that case, it won’t really change the whole industry and won’t become something very popular.

            For instance, we already had polyphonic aftertouch control keyboard for decades (custom made from boutique manufacturer), but it’s not yet very popular… It will stay a niche market, so niche it will become quite insignificant over the years.

            That might be the ROLI business model, I don’t know I’m not share holder. But not everyone is Apple.

            But again, to each his own… Future and market will tell us if ROLI made the right decision or not. So, let’s just wait and see 😉

            1. When did people get the idea that the only cost that should be considered is manufacturing/production cost? Ever heard of Research and Development? Marketing? Payroll?

              Manufacturing and production only become exclusively relevant to products that are ubiquitous (coffee machines, microwaves, etc.) Something everyone buys and that is essentially designed the same way no matter who you buy it from.

              We are part of a specialized market that DEMANDS innovation. If you want innovation, you have to pay for it – and perhaps MORE importantly, all the failed attempts to innovate as well.

      2. compare this to a Qunexus for 150$…. 😛

        you gotta streamline the production somehow to get this price down. that’s not a demand, just a suggestion, to get everyone’s money.

        – and btw on technology’s advance, i’d bet a million that some new touchscreen in 3 years or less will be a FAR more high-resolution polyAT device than this, and come standard on phones and ipads you get for free for signing up to a bank or something. reality check guys. You can’t always defend the idea that there’s a place for expensive stuff, when a better cheaper solution is literally almost already done in many other forms.

        1. Have you actually used a qunexus?? I have one and I love it but it’s not in even the same solar system let alone ballpark in terms of quality and usability. The qunexus is a lovely device that is certainly the best portable keyboard I’ve used but it does still feel like $150 bucks. The poly aftertertouch works but it’s very crude when the keys have no give, and the tilt controls are very very crude as well, good for maybe opening a filter or applying an effect but no where near usable for pitch bend, on top of that the cv implementation is so poor it might as well not be there (I’d suggest buying just the k board to anyone who wants one). It’s got slew on the pitch and unless you turn the LEDs off it injects a loud high pitched whine into anything it plugs into via CV. This sounds like a faulty unit but after doing some research it is an inherent problem with the device.

          I say all of this not to dump on the qunexus, I love the thing! But it is not a precision made expressive instrument in the same way the ROLI is, I’m sure ROLI could make something for $150 bucks but it would be just as poor quality as the qunexus, just the same way in sure KM could make something as good a the ROLI for $800. Different products for different price points and uses.

    2. That will probably be possible in 3-5 years.

      I just hope that there’s still room in the market for pro gear – it seems like all the companies are starting to to cater to noobs that buy cheap gear vs gear that will last.

  2. This world of the innovative, expressive new controllers really appeals to me. It addresses the shortcomings of keyboard instruments generally, and of MIDI controllers especially; namely, that there are limited ways to influence the note after attack. Velocity, Poly AT, a vertical ribbon per key, lateral expression per key, release velocity, a giant pitch ribbon and other LH controls are a very nice evolution.

    Players of acoustic instruments are willing to spend thousands of dollars for a professional grade expressive instrument. But they don’t buy them BECAUSE they are expensive. They buy them because they aren’t satisfied with cheaper instruments with inferior sound and build quality.

    The price of this type of controller is obviously higher because of the additional components required, and because of the lower volume of units they will sell, etc. etc. This is not going to be like a “pro-sumer” product. Also, with lower cost equipment, lots of corners are cut to bring the product to market at a lower price.

    This particular product doesn’t appeal to me, only because I don’t imagine I’d like the feeling of that type of keyboard. However, I don’t fail to see the value and purpose of creating innovative controllers that push boundaries and are more expressive.

  3. I wonder how precise the roll actually is. It looks like the players press pretty hard into the silicone (with bending fingers) to get higher velocities.

    Will a very light touch even trigger a note?

  4. I can’t wait to get mine. I don’t think this will be for everyone but for anyone still being bothered about the price just don’t buy it. For those of you on the fence about it keep in mind what you are getting for the price versus a regular MIDI keyboard:

    -the special keywaves which is a continuous surface
    -continuous polyphonic pressure Aftertouch (not just an on/off type Aftertouch), pitch control, and Y-axis control PER key
    -Midi over Bluetooth and it’s own battery power
    -An aluminum body instead of another plastic frame
    -Roli’s Equator Synth
    -a fitted case!

    Again, I don’t think this will be for everyone but for those that are looking for a multidimensional Polyphonic instrument this one makes a lot of sense right now. If you wait, the price of these devices will go down over time.

    And finally, I think it’s important to note that this won’t be the kind of controller you’ll play just like your other keyboards, there will be a learning curve and the new amount of expression opens up a whole new territory that still needs to be explored.

  5. Logic has always and still does support voice-per-channel and therefore ‘allows’ MPE compatible plugins to work within Logic and through to your MPE enabled device… Examples of such plugins would be Omnisphere, Aalto and almost all of the U-HE range . along with five of it’s own built in plugins… that work great with a MPE enabled controller… when instigated inside of Logic..

    Ableton Live on the other hand.. doesn’t work fully when used with a MPE controller… The reason being…

    All channel information is removed from MIDI messages when they are received, so voice-per-channel operation is not only impossible on Live’s internal sound generators, but also on other voice-per-channel plug-in instruments used within Live.

    See the following website for more info on what does and doesn’t work in terms of Plugins and DAWs and why….

  6. this is a product for professionals. professionals are people that actually earn money with the gear they use. so buying is not a question of price. it is a question of return on investment.

    this is why keith emerson could easily play a yamaha GX1. and anne-sophie mutter can play a million-dollar stradivari violin.

  7. I really hope their “GRAND” model will reduce the price… 88 key model now costs $9000 and it’s certainly out of most people’s reach.. This “instrument” looks very promising in many ways so I really want to try it…

  8. After receiving my Roli I want to express how well this instrument is made. It feels like a solid aluminum MacBook Pro made into a wondrous thing from the future. It has a lot of heft and the key bed is extremely soft and sensitive.

  9. I just received my Roli Rise today and it is absolutely worth every penny. It plays great, sounds amazing and is of solid, durable build quality. I was on the fence considering the price but decided to make the investment and do not regret it one bit. Equator sounds stunning and pairing the Rise with Noise is also fun. This is a fine product which is actually an instrument unto itself. You can buy another basic midi controller if you want but if you can afford this piece of gear and are thinking about it I say go for it and you surely won’t regret it.

Leave a Reply