ROLI Reveals Seaboard RISE 49 , A 4-Octave MPE Controller


Music creation startup ROLI today introduced the Seaboard RISE 49, the four-octave model of its Seaboard RISE controller, during Media Preview Day at the 2016 NAMM Show. Featuring a larger playing surface, the Rise 49 introduction comes about four months after the debut of the two-octave Rise 25, and expands the family of Seaboard RISE controllers.


The Rise 49 comes bundled with digital audio workstation Bitwig 8-Track, one of many DAWs compatible with Equator, Roli’s software synthesizer and sound engine. Bitwig is built to take full advantage of Multidimensional Polyphonic Expression (MPE), an emerging category of music hardware and software that includes the Seaboard Rise. All Seaboard creators will now receive Bitwig 8-Track for free, helping them make and record multidimensional music right out of the box.

Also included with the wireless and portable Rise 49 is a soft carrying case for “making music on the go.”  For making “portable” music, the Rise 49 can be paired with Noise, Roli’s free app. Using MIDI over Bluetooth, Noise is a mobile sound engine that lets music-makers work wirelessly with just a Rise and a mobile phone. Available on iPhone, Noise will soon be available across other iOS and Android devices.

Roli_Rise-49_Soft-CaseUpdated Equator software synth. “Significant” updates to Equator, the multidimensional software synthesizer included with every Seaboard Rise, also launched this week. Over 100 new presets have been added, and startup times are now faster. In another update,  music-makers can now work with velocity-sensitive multi-samples as well as tempo sync.

Here’s the official intro video:

Roli Seaboard Rise 49 Hardware Specifications:

  • 49 Keywaves
  • 834 mm x 210 mm x 25 mm / 4.2 kg (32.8 in x 8.3 in x 0.9 in / 9.2 lbs)
  • Continuous pedal input (1/4″ jack)
  • USB 2.0-B port (MIDI out and power)
  • USB A port (for charging peripherals)
  • 9–12V 2A DC port
  • Internal rechargeable battery for up to 8 hours of wireless play
  • MIDI compatibility over USB and Bluetooth

System Requirements:

  • OS X 10.8+ / Windows 7+ / iOS
  • Intel Core i5 2.5GHz or faster
  • 4 GB RAM minimum / 8 GB RAM recommended
  • 2 GB available disk space for Equator installation

Pricing and Availability. Roli’s Rise 49 controller retails for $1199 (£949, €1299) and is currently available for preorder on the Roli website. The controller is expected to ship in late February 2016, and be available via Roli’s network of retailers in North America and Europe in the first quarter of 2016.

31 thoughts on “ROLI Reveals Seaboard RISE 49 , A 4-Octave MPE Controller

    1. I think because

      > Bitwig is built to take full advantage of Multidimensional Polyphonic Expression (MPE), an emerging category of music hardware and software that includes the Seaboard Rise.

      (So do Logic and Cubase, but Logic can’t be bundled. Cubase would have been the only other option then.)

    2. read up on it or play around with the demo and you’ll learn its core is the most future-proof out there, rather than a sad remnant of the 90s, its workflow facilitates endless ways to be creative with sound and manipulate anything with anything to your hearts content, and its mpe capabilities are a perfect fit for the new controllers and leading the pack. look out for version 2.0 when we’ll get modular system and real-time collab…

      then again, i totally respect if you’re happy with your daw and don’t wanna hear a thing, but more often than not looking around for new tools can really move you forward 🙂

  1. Oh man my instincts were working on this one. Was going to jump on the Rise in October but decided to hold out for NAMM go see if they’d release a bigger keyboard.
    Unless that Touché steals Roli’s thunder.

  2. No surprise about this coming out. Similar/lower price than Linnstrument.

    Wireless is a big plus and it’s prettier but is one better than the other?

    1. Linnstrument is probably better for musicians who are more grid oriented. As a guitar player my Linn was trivial to play what is in my head vs piano-style keyboards.

    1. You don’t need a computer to use this to control a DSI prophet, or other hardware, it has USB MIDI and Bluetooth MIDI and runs on batteries. So option one, get a Bluetooth MIDI receiver and stick it in the MIDI in port on the hardware. Maybe you don’t trust wireless, then get a Kenton USB to MIDI converter.

      But which hardware synths are worth plugging into an MPE? I don’t think DSI synths are MPE ready. My understanding of MPE, you have the global channel on 1, but then each note is set, round-robin style, it’s own channel. So if you want 8 note polyphony then MIDI channel 1 is set to global and 2-9 channels each get note data in turn. So you would need a 16 part workstation that can play 8-12 synths, all of the same preset, all at once on separate MIDI channels, for just one polyphonic sound. 8 X Volca’s would do the trick, Roland Integra 7, maybe a Korg Electribe – I have seen a Integra 7 do this, I wonder about the Korg capabilities in this regard?

      The reasoning for this set up is so that each note can have personal pitch and modulation over MIDI without effecting the global channel, so when you pitch a note you don’t pitch all notes.

      You could probably count the companies doing MPE software synths on one hand, growing but small. For a hardware analogue setup you would get a basic setup for around $1,200 – just for the Volca setup in hardware with midi routing and cables, a messy logistical pain, a lot to pay, mess and problems for a Korg Volca sound, with a bit of per note action – a worthwhile experiment all the same.

        1. Intresting, this seems like an option: “Ample output options offer stereo and mono outputs as well as six additional individual audio outputs (1 for each voice) allowing you to use the Xpander as a stereo polyphonic 6-voice synth, as six individual monosynths or any combination in between.”

          So it seems ideal, that you can set it up as 6 monosynths rather than have 6 note polyphony, which is what you want for MPE. May run into issues using the global channel on 1, depending on the nuances of this routing – but stating, “…six individual monosynths or any combination in between…”, then that sounds flexible.

          I wish people got to testing and publishing this stuff , some synths/workstations will be better than others. But would be nice to find that some old workstation, you can pickup cheap on ebay, would make a perfect dedicated MPE station.

        2. i have a linnstrument and was interested in buying an Xpander .while i haven’t been able to try this setup, i’m sceptic :
          i get disappointing results with a Vermona Perfourmer mk2 in polyphonic mode ( “only” four voices , each one with its own midi channel )
          With the big midi data flow of the linnstrument i experience latency and stuck notes on the vermona .
          while setting the linn to control 8 different modules (with a simple midi thru box) would , of course, cause no problem at all , i believe many multitimbral hardware synths will have a hard time coping with the massive data stream of polyphonic playing on a single midi port ( might be even worse on an old machine like the Xpander ; my dx7 and dx100 scream “full midi buffer” on a single note of the linnstrument . ) .
          one of the really nice way to take advantage of those controllers’ fine midi resolution on hardware is to go modular with a nice usb-to-cv converter like the expert sleepers fh-1 ; the polyphonic adventure will be (very ) pricey but the results should be really impressive.

        3. The RISE has some backwards compatibility modes in it, so it can send on a single midi channel, or any range of channels – that should work well if your synth has an “omni” mode for example. I was recently impressed to see that the FutureSonus Parva, a new 8-voice analogue synth, has MPE support!

  3. They’ve got some Roli keyboards at Promenade Music here in the UK. They feel a bit weird to play at first, but you get used to them. Really good for Ondes Martenot kind of playing, as you can swipe your finger underneath the ‘keys’ and get that kind of effect. I know someone who bought the smaller controller version and loves it. Even though they do look a bit like rubberized chocolate fingers!

      1. iPad is also an instrument. Get with the times. I make music that I sell on iTunes and make money with certain apps on the iPad. Maybe you’re the troll? It’s about creativity my friend.

        1. Is the iPad an instrument? Maybe it is a machine?

          By definition an instrument is: “a tool or device used for a particular purpose; especially : a tool or device designed to do careful and exact work” See, an iPad isn’t a device used for a particular purpose, I am not saying it isn’t used by yourself and others for a particular purpose, but it isn’t created for that exact purpose. The idea of being an instrument means it is standardized and exact for a professional to control something, in this case music. Under this definition mini-keys isn’t even an instrument, as it isn’t an exact standardized form, it is sub-standard to keys, which is the standard form of that instrument. And the very nature of an artist needing the same tactile response doesn’t happen on the iPad, exact tactile control.

          You could argue that an app is an instrument. If the apps are standardized in layout, it gets tactile feedback and 3D touch then the potential to be a valid instrument is increased – but when a new iPad comes out that is 1/4″ bigger/smaller with new connections, then you are learning that professional tool again and needing new connections, which would stop it being a professional instrument.

          And it seems, Apple would like to remove the 3.5mm jack from products – which would make it even less standardized to qualify as an instrument – that is an audio technology that has been standardized for over 130 years.

    1. apples and oranges.

      there are af ew differences, the tactile physicality of the seaboard being the big one. that alone, for me, is worth the price of admission. I just got a rise25, btw.

      right now the ipad doen’t offer pressure, though it has been simulated in the past, and, of coarse there is the issue of the single purpose approach of the rise to a general computing platform, but those are small niggles relative to the physical aspect of roli instruments.

      If you really think that the ipad is better for this that the rise, I wonder if you also think the ipad is better than traditional keyboard controller too?

      well, do you?

  4. Yes, I am still looking at the Linnstrument, yet this is the first Seaboard version to turn my head. I also like the look and sounds of Equator, I hope they bring a generic MPE version to market – but I guess if they did this would turn my head less.

    They are doing great stuff at Roli – I’ve been hoping to see a British company hookup, Roli and Modal -I’d love to see a Modal MPE synth with a Rise keybed built in, with some Equator trickery – yet I wouldn’t like to see the bill of that.

  5. How stable is your Seaboard RISE Bluetooth MIDI connection? Mine breaks every couple minutes (or even seconds!). I was thinking it’s a software issue that will be fixed, but actually… All other Bluetooth devices in my home work flawlessly and always did. So, how is yours?

    1. No problems here with my Rise over BT….. very stable for hours… (2015 5K Mac)

      Has the updated Equator actually been released yet? I can only find v1.3 on the Roli website as part of the v1.2 bundle…

      1. Update:

        Roli have just released the updated Equator v1.7.x on their website as part of the v1.3.1 Bundle

        However, I don’t see 100 new presets.. maybe 50 at most…..

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