ROLI Introduces Seaboard RISE 2

ROLI today launched the Seaboard RISE 2, a refined and reimagined version of their Seaboard expressive MIDI controller.

Here’s what’s new with the Seaboard RISE 2:

  • A new Keywave2 playing surface, tested with piano and Seaboard players to be more intuitive and expressive, featuring precision frets which help players to feel the exact position of their fingers on each key.
  • A more powerful, comprehensive, and versatile suite of bundled software, including Equator2 synth (normally $249), featuring 1400+ presets. Ableton Live Lite and ROLI Studio are also included.
  • A burnished platinum blue aluminum chassis,
  • Expanded compatibility with other instruments with MIDI Port and USB-C.
  • A next generation version of ROLI Dashboard, featuring enhanced 5D visualizers to customize your settings.

Invented by Roland Lamb in 2009, the Seaboard is, according to ROLI, the best-Selling MPE controller of all time.

The Seaboard is designed to give you 5 dimensions of gestural expression, per note. Most of these options are unavailable on more traditional keyboards:

  • Strike to sound a note at different velocities
  • Glide from side to side to bend pitch or create vibrato
  • Slide up and down to add brightness or texture to a sound
  • Press into the Keywaves to deepen sounds or simulate the effect of breath on a wind instrument
  • Lift off at varying speeds to effect a sound’s resonance

ROLI says that the Seaboard RISE 2 is another big step forward in realizing the technology’s extraordinary power.

“RISE 2 is easier to play, more durable and a more beautiful, expressive experience than ever before. It is also an experience transformed by over a decade of development in Equator2,” according to Lamb. “This launch marks the transition of MPE from a fledgling, peripheral project to an established and mature category, which is becoming increasingly central to how digital music is made.

The Keywave2 silicone playing surface is at the forefront of the improvements to Seaboard RISE 2. Keywave2 provides tactile feedback with new precision frets, broadened surfaces, and articulated edges. Similar to a string on a guitar fretboard, this enables tonally precise and natural performances.

“The new precision frets on the RISE 2 address the biggest challenge Seaboardists have faced — playing in tune and modulating sounds without your fingers slipping off the keywaves,” notes Seaboard guru Marco Parisi. “Any piano or keyboard player will now be able to translate their skills more quickly than ever before.”

The Seaboard Rise 2 also has a new ability to pair with other MIDI instruments and devices via both MIDI port and USB-C. RISE 2 retains the Touch Fader hardware controls, integrated battery and MIDI over Bluetooth support of the original RISE.

ROLI Studio (worth $99, £79, €89), an enhanced ROLI Dashboard, and Ableton Live Lite are also included in the complete bundle.

ROLI Seaboard Performance Demo:

Pricing and Availability:

The RISE 2 is available to preorder now for $1,399 (£1,099, €1,299), with limited availability expected for 2022.

23 thoughts on “ROLI Introduces Seaboard RISE 2

  1. Apart from the MIDI output which is a welcome addition, there is literally nothing new worth mentioning about this

    Absolutely zero information on whether the pitch resolution or sensitivity of the surface has been upgraded

    It’s particularly vague about that so I’m guessing nothing has changed there

    It’s 99% the same as its predecessor

    Which is a shame because it’s quite a good instrument and I was expecting more

    1. They say that the keybed has been significantly updated, and the keybed is 100% why anybody would be interested in this.

      The original Seaboard Rise was an impressive instrument, but its excellence for MPE stuff was somewhat at the expense of being great for standard keyboard performance. If you just wanted to play some chords, it was tricky because the Rise sensed exactly where you put your fingers, unlike a standard keyboard, and it forced you to change your chops a bit.

      I’m very interested in this, because it sounds like it’s designed to be a little more friendly to standard keyboard chops. I hope that they get distribution in place, because I’d like to try this out before buying.

  2. Already back ordered to November. Not much incentive to upgrade. Price for current owners winds up being the same price it was when the Rise first came out in 2016. If you already have one and Equator 2 it’s definitely not worth the hassle unless you want 2.
    However if you don’t have one and are looking to get it, definitely go for it. I love mine to bits esp after Equator 2 came out. If Equator2 was the only instrument on earth that would recognize the Rise, it would still be worth it.
    The midi out is nice. Makes hooking up to an OB6, Prophet6 etc less if a hassle.

    As far as being better for keyboardists, I suppose that’s ok too however as a keyboard player myself, I tend to find the layout more useful for familiarity than something I’m going to also play standard keys on. I have a friend who is a guitarist and she was nuts over the Linnstrument for the same reasons I was nuts over the Roli.

    I see it as a different instrument with its own unique style in a format I’m very familiar with. It looks like a duck but doesn’t act like a duck therefore it’s not a duck. You can dial up the touch sensitivity for percussion sounds and tap the keys which is esp great for mallet instruments like marimbas, vibes etc. Or take a cello or expressive lead and really push it all over the place. However when it comes to actual keyboard (pianos, eps, organs etc) I just use a normal keyboard controller. What sells it is how abstract it is.

  3. I greatly enjoyed getting to fiddle with one of the earlier models. Its seductive, but I’m wary of how wobbly ROLI has seemed lately. For $1.4k, I’d have to set aside a lot of time to at least halfway master it. I’m busy with a new string library, a Memorymoog plug and ongoing Chromaphone experiments. Too big a pile can start thinning out your progress with each instrument. I could still go for a ROLI, though. I have cello envy and it was killer to feed it that way for a few minutes.

  4. Impressive update. MPE interfaces that are automated to constrain to scales are remarkably helpful for visiting new worthwhile sonic vistas.

  5. Linnstrument is infinitely better in terms of quality and customer support at this price point. I like my rise25, but don’t love it… peopl3 who have the linnstrument love them… that says it all for me in terms of my next mpe purchase…

    1. It’s not an either or thing, it’s awesome that anyone wanting a more expressive keyboard now has a selection between the LinnStrument, Seaboard, Continuum, Osmose and Hydrasynth.

      The LinnStrument looks like an awesome piece of gear and I love the things Roger Linn has done for electronic musicians. But it’s also designed for people with experience with guitars or other stringed instruments. For keyboardists, the Seaboard or the Osmose seem like much better options.

    1. The Seaboard, the Rise and Rise 2 all have different feel & texture – my recommendation would be to try one out – when they become available somewhere!!

  6. Do you know Haken Audio (s46 or 70L6x) or McMillen (K-Board Pro 4)? Did anybody try them? These instruments seem very interesting as well but Haken ones are very expensive! What is your thought about them?
    Thank you very much!

    1. I was much tempted by the K-board Pro4 as a way into MPE, but the fact that sideways pitch glide is not possible stopped me. I would love an MPE controller for GeoShred, and it really requires that sideways glide thing. Waiting for the Sensel Morph to get back into production. Very difficult to try any of these controllers in person! I once played a Roli in a music store..while travelling to England! (Brighton). Expensive, and visibly a steep learning curve…

  7. Apart from the MIDI output which is a welcome addition, there is literally nothing new worth mention about this

    It’s 99% the same as its predecessor

    Which is a shame because it’s quite a good instrument and I was expecting more

  8. Well, take my money. I’ve always wanted one and the upgrades push it over the edge for me. I am a hardcore believer in MPE. Wish my MalletKat could handle MPE too.

  9. I’m really happy to see they have finally got the next generation out. There aren’t a lot of changes here, and honestly I think I may prefer the keybed on the Seaboard I already own. But I am excited that ROLI is continuing to get more of these controllers out there. I have a friend who has been waiting for over a year for the opportunity to buy one. I’m considering buying one as a backup as the one I own is probably the most important piece of gear to me in my studio, but I hesitate to do that if something better comes out down the road.

    ROLI was the company, imho, who really pushed MPE to the place where we see a lot of soft synth and hard synth companies implementing it with their products now. It has been a gamechanger for my recording and composing process and I will always be grateful to ROLI for running with this.

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