New Seaboard Grand – The ‘Evolution Of The Piano Keyboard’


ROLI has introduced the Seaboard Grand – a new music controller that they describe as ‘an evolution of the piano keyboard’.

The Seaboard has a soft three-dimensional surface that they say enables “unprecedented real-time, intuitive control” of the fundamental characteristics of sound: pitch, volume, and timbre


The Seaboard is designed to let you control a wide variety of parameters, through traditional techniques for expressiveness and virtuosity. As a controller, it can simulate guitar note bends, subtle string and horn swells and more.

Here’s a demo of the Seaboard Grand in action:

The Seaboard is powered by the SEA Interface, ROLI’s platform sensor technology. SEA Interfaces enable seamless transitions between discrete and continuous input, and capture three-dimensional gestures while simultaneously providing the user with tactile feedback.

A limited edition of 88 Seaboard GRANDs will be available for pre-order worldwide starting in April 2013. Each Seaboard GRAND will be hand-assembled to order in the ROLI studio in the heart of Dalston, East London, and, in recognition of its provenance, each will be named after a particular note on the piano keyboard, from A0 to C8.

For more information on the Seaboard, see the ROLI site.

Check out the video and let us know what you think of the Seaboard Grand controller!

36 thoughts on “New Seaboard Grand – The ‘Evolution Of The Piano Keyboard’

      1. Not just dust, finger gunk. No matter how clean my hands are, I still get that weird buildup of finger gunk on my mouse button.

  1. Please, more technical details! What motion/pressure/position is trackable? Are CC numbers assignable to any value or fixed? Is there a software editor to control its setup? Connections? MIDI/USB/other? Material of touch surface? Durability/cleaning/service? PRICE? Different models with 88,61,49 keys? Colours? This is a product that is HOT. it’s VERY expressive, it’s what i ‘ve been waiting for (i think).

  2. the after touch makes it a win! quite innovative. i never really like “sacrificing” one hand to the mod wheel. this could bring realism to wind or string instruments. good is not flesh colored. though i doubt i could pre-order given my current transient way of life, i’m optimistic this will soon be mass produced and continually improve.

  3. What a crap site though.
    Provide an email just to view a press release and instructions how to spell the brand name?
    Ok, so it’s rOlli from now on.

    Not bought!

    (ahem, well, there was nothing to buy y’see. Still slavering…)

  4. The only real problem I see with this… Ok 2 problems – Price and will the material it’s made from stand up to the abuse it will be put under. It looks expensive and I really doubt that it will retain its looks. But it’s cool and if I had the money I’d bag one. These multi touch/sensitive keyboards are most definitely the way forward.

  5. looks like a big sponge, horrible colour but I’m sure it’ll be fun to play, BUT it will cost I reckon £2000 of your earth pounds, So i’m getting a Prophet 12 instead!!

  6. Why describing it as an evolution? Something different for sure, fun maybe, but definitely not an evolution. A real piano is so powerful and expressiv… This looks like a toy beside a good piano. Perhaps an evoluated toy.

    I’m kidding, this is not a toy. But for expression, i probably prefer my real piano, even if this one provide good sounds.

  7. And no pricing anywhere. Maybe they’re just expecting us all to dig into our trust funds when this comes out, and have it delivered to our chateaus.

  8. Is the bottom area under the keysa flat ribbon controller? Looks pretty interesting. Seems like a keyboard designed for more breathy and less percussive sounds. An evolution? Sure. Evolution is just branches on the tree.

  9. Steady, Evolution is a strong description.
    Another toy that is overpriced and end up not selling.
    In this technological age where invention is rife, another expensive gadget?

    1. Mechanical pianos are dinosaurs for most people.

      All the ‘parlor pianos’ of 50 years ago are Craigslist giveaways now, just like the majority of old organs.

      That’s evolution for you.

  10. Although perhaps more elegant and extensive, the ROLI should be compared to the QuNexus when both are available. There will be no contest in price, I’m sure. The QuNexus promises polyphonic aftertouch and multiple connections at expected street cost of $150USD.

  11. i am an absolute sucker for new interfaces. from theremin to ribbon, hexagonal, semi weighted, portable mini-keys, studio keys, experimental multitouch – i test and follow enthusiastically everything i can.

    yet, i very often come back, wishing i had a simply mechanical, no matter how old, piano.
    for me, still nothing compares to actual hammers touching strings.

    i am not a pianist. my playing is crude. the direct feel however, the nuances, has yet to be machted and i don’t see it coming.

    i am slowly coming to the conclusion, that there will never be anything fully translatable into this age, like what a mechanical piano does make me feel, that makes the latter obsolete.

  12. Because its soft, players will have to change their approach, even though its clearly very responsive. I can’t say how it might feel to someone based in standard piano technique. It looks more like a boutique oddity than something that will take the field by storm. With that level of sensing, it won’t be cheap to buy and perhaps even less so to repair. Hard to say, until we see some specs. I don’t think I’d want one of these as an 88 or 61-key item, but 49, for superior solo and pad things, yes. I’m cautious, but it strikes me as the result of some serious design thought. I also don’t think it’d be your first choice for playing “‘Round Midnight.”

  13. It certainly looks very promising!!
    To compare it to the QuNexus is a bit weird, as that’s basically the same thing as we’ve seen from Korgs Micro-series… Even with the added features on the QN its mini-keys puts me off.
    This Grand however looks intruiging enough to give it a serious try…
    And if they’re made to order, you could of course try to change the colour to something that is actually clearly visible on stage! At least, I’m usually stuck in a dark corner since my name isn’t Jordan Rudess… 😉

  14. For those of you speaking from a strictly pianistic view, you have to remember, this is NOT a piano. This is a completely different animal. A real piano, under the fingers of a fine musician is one of the most, if not THE most expressive instrument ever created. For people that dont understand that, a real pianist works tirelessly on how to create subtleties in his/her playing in order to be as expressive as possible. Nevertheless, you can’t bend a piano key, you can’t apply modulation in realtime to a piano key like you can on a violin, guitar or other string instrument. So, if you apply a piano “sound” to the seaboard, sure….you have a piano sound in your Kontakt or other player. Its still not a piano. When it comes to applications of other instruments and live interaction, this is a completely different bird and a really cool one. The idea of not having to reach over for a pitch or mod wheel or change things with a button is pretty freeing if you ask me. I for one am excited about the chance to perhaps play one or even own one. Have to wait and see how realistic the price point is going to be. But I want one.

  15. At $3000, $4500, and $9000 for the 31, 61, and 88-key, the Future of Keyboard Synthesis is saying, “You can’t afford the Future of Keyboard Synthesis.” And there will only be 88 of the 88-key, so there will be plenty of opportunity for the die-hard fan-boiz to continue groveling at the feet of His Meisterzinger Jordan frickin’ Rudess.
    No, I don’t particularly like Dream Theater. Why do you ask?

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