ROLI Intros Kung-Fu Inspired RZA Sound Pack & More

ROLI has introduced 9 new sound packs for its Blocks controllers and Noise iOS app.

The RZA (Wu-Tang Clan) Spoonful of Grit soundpack is inspired by kung-fu movies and the atmosphere of 1990s New York. 

Steve Aoki’s Neon Future soundpack ‘channels the energy’ of his house sound.

The collection of nine soundpacks triples the number of sounds available for BLOCKS and NOISE. The new soundpacks are designed for control with the five dimensions of touch on the Lightpad Block, the central Block in the BLOCKS system.

Pricing and Availability:

BLOCKS is now available at,, and Apple Stores worldwide. The system is powered by NOISE, a free music creation app for iPhones and iPads.

Soundpacks are available as in-app purchases within NOISE:

  • RZA’s Spoonful of Grit: 3 Drum Kits, 13 presets. $6.99, £4.99
  • Steve Aoki’s Neon Future: 16 presets. $6.99, £4.99
  • 5D EDM: 2 Drum Kits, 14 presets. Free when a Block is registered.
  • Giant Dubstep: 2 Drum Kits, 14 presets. Free when a Block is registered.
  • World Colours: 1 Groove Kit, 3 Drum Kits, 12 presets. Free when a Block is registered.
  • Video Games: 3 Drum Kits, 13 presets. Free when a Block is registered.
  • Hybrid Acoustic: 12 presets. $3.99, £2.99,
  • Expressive Electronic: 16 presets. $3.99, £2.99,
  • Synthetic Leads: 11 presets. $3.99, £2.99

23 thoughts on “ROLI Intros Kung-Fu Inspired RZA Sound Pack & More

  1. I bought when it came out. Returned it 3 days later. It’s so limited in what you can do outside the software. The pad itself is stiff, very very stiff, and not very responsive. I fiddled with the settings and had no luck. Update the software all day long, but the hardware is the problem.

  2. This kind of marketing is suitable for the same customers buying Apple computers because it’s Apple, without looking at the practical features of it. I also had the chance to try it out and I agree, it’s a rubber surface that needs a rather tirering amount of velocity to trigger the sound. Basically it’s hurting your hand when you try to play a drum pattern and forget the ghosts notes, The pad isn’t responsive enough so you are limited to straightforward rhythms with no groove. Also the software is the biggest limitation here. Just 25 presets available and you can’t tweak the sound. It’s either play, change the scale, tempo, and switch to another preset but you can’t morph the sound or add your own. Frustrating as hell. Also, if only the blocks were usable as external controllers for VST instruments, then it would be interesting especially for those “guitar lead” “synth lead” sounds or why not “flute” where you could play with after touch and slides and so on. But no. You can’t. You just CAN’T. No thanks Roli.

      1. This is exactly how people would justify spending 180€ of such device. But when it comes down to compose something on it, it just sounds like this clinical presets with no soul. I can’t argue that it’s okay for electronic commercial stuff (even though there are better instruments out there) but even the sound bank is limited because you can add effect or tune each sample. You’re just doomed to reproduce the Steve Aoki or WuTang stuff. What’s the point then ?

    1. “This kind of marketing is suitable for the same customers buying Apple computers because it’s Apple, without looking at the practical features of it. ”

      Your comment makes absolutely no sense.

      If it blows for making music, Apple users will reject it – just like they rejected 10 years of Windows machines and Android.

      The reason musicians have taken to products like the iPad is that they’re awesome for music making. The reason those same users are complaining about the latest MacBook Pros is that they’re expensive and they’re not substantially better than 4 year-old MacBook Pros.

      1. Chelsea, I am not saying that Apple users are stupid consumers, I am saying that people buying stuff because it’s appealing without looking at the practical features of it, are probably Roli’s target. It could be people buying Apple because it’s Apple, or people buying Microsoft because it’s Microsoft (even though the last one is less likely to be witnessed)
        I actually use an iPad for the Moog app and it helps to capture inspiration during travel so I really like this device. I just find Roli’s marketing annoyingly boring and phoney. They should stick to the seaboard which is a promising instrument.

    2. “But no. You can’t. You just CAN’T. No thanks Roli.”

      But yes. You can. You just CAN.

      MPE compliant controller, can use a wired connection. I know that Roli is banking on the casual users and IAP to make most money, but it astounds me that they aren’t releasing more visible demos of what this thing can do.

      So many forums, sites and comment sections where people are loudly complaining about missing features that are actually there. You aren’t the only one. This isn’t a hardware fail, but a marketing one.

      1. The reason that they haven’t generated any buzz with serious musicians is that ROLI is specifically targeting these to mainstream users, who want something that’s easy to use, but that also offers room to grow.

        For experienced users, what do these really offer? Existing MIDI grid controllers are cheaper and more powerful, and when it comes to MPE controllers, there’s also a lot of competition there.

        I just don’t see what these offer to somebody that’s used a LaunchPad or an MPC – or even how they’re significantly better than just jamming with an iPad alone.

        1. It’s the cheapest MPE controller on the market by a mile, is heavily programmable in Max and does the whole “bi-directional” dance with LEDs.

          They should be marketing this as a cheap, modular MPE Monome. That’s the value for real musicians.

          1. How the hell? I tried and never found a practical reliable way to use it with Bitwig… that failed

            Tried with live… that failed..

            If someone made a max patch to take this thing beyond their software, I’m in.

            1. Wrote out a big comment, sent it… and I think the internet ate it.

              In short, yeah it looks like MPE support isn’t standard or totally implemented in many DAWs. Google around about MPE support for some interesting threads on KVR/MW/etc. This is made me wonder if this current situation is the reason why Roli may have backed off a bit in terms of presenting this as a fully baked pro/commercial product.

              But take a look at this for notes on MPE setups:

        1. Np, I did the same thing. Even the sonic state podcast guys were trashing it when it first came out, because at first release there was absolutely no info on any of this stuff. Only found out about it weeks later through the Cycling 74 mailing list.

          It does make me wonder about the broader strategies for music gear companies. I don’t blame Roli for trying to get more casual user money. They are a smaller, innovative company and I think it’s a smart move to try and get a diverse cash flow. I hope they get that sweet, sweet IAP money. It’s just not for me.

          But how do you position a device as simultaneously noob friendly *and* a decent music hacker tool? And do both at the same time? I can totally see marketing people saying, “Let normal people understand that level of the product and get their money. The nerds will figure out the greater possibilities later”.

          I’m paying attention to their strategies, here. I think a boutique gear makers could use it as a case study.

  3. Cool Idea, nice surface / interface… but i will never join this “pay a lot for a few cheesy presets” thing… Are the kidding? We are in the open source century… For me, they killed a nice gadget at the beginning… If they open this one up and when I can load my own stuff, preheaps i will buy one…

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