• 5.0 out of 5 stars

    Probably the best portable keyboard in the world - even without the extras

    I've been traveling for a long time and I'm always going through keyboards, sometimes they break, sometimes they are big and bulky, and sometimes you get stopped for taking them on planes.

    And I have to say, even without all the amazing fancy 5D touch stuff, this is probably the best portable keyboard you can get. The form factor is amazing, the same height as the Macbook Pro base, and it looks and feels amazing. Plus the whole bluetooth connectivity - with zero latency which is fantastic - just makes it so easy to use with both the iPad Pro or Mac.

    Then if do add in the whole 5D touch experience, that is really like a whole other level. In fact on this side of things you could probably say it is the best keyboard ever because being able to add vibrato and modulations is just amazing. Actually I played the Moog Model D the other day and it was weird that it couldn't do all this modulation just on the keys :)

    I guess the best thing I can say is that I just went out and bought another :) So now I have 2 octaves for on the plane or wherever, but can then pull out another 2 octaves and either play one synth with each hand or snap them together with the magnets (pretty strong but you do need them to be on a table, they don't snap strong enough to hold on your lap) to get 4 octaves.

    Only bad point is that whilst Logic and even Garageband on iOS make full use of the keyboard, Ableton still needs to catch up a little - even with version 10 :)

    I also loved it so much I bought the Lightblock M which is also very, very cool!

    1 of 1 people found this useful

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars

    Amazing value

    I was very excited, years ago, to first lay my hands on a Seaboard Grand in a big music shop. The expressive potential was immediately obvious, and further exploration was hindered only by its price tag. Now, however, with the Seaboard Block, ROLI have made their expressive touch control available at an incredible reasonable price point. This does come at the expense of the extra controls of the Seaboard RISE, and the onboard sound engine of the Grand, but given how easily it pairs with other gear in the Block line, it hardly matters.

    Having played with a few ROLI products in the past, I was pleased to discover that the playing surface feels essentially identical, meaning it’s possible to play very expressively and accurately. The way this translates to software is very impressive, with next to no latency – it really feels like you have hands on control over the sounds you’re playing. Whilst a few software developers haven’t caught up with the MPE standard, it does seem to be catching on, so hopefully we’ll see native support for the Seaboard and other instruments soon.

    It’s a sturdily built bit of kit, and the integration with other ROLI Blocks is totally seamless, with data and power being shared across the magnetic connectors. My only gripe with the physical side of the product is that the bottom surface is not grippy enough, and so has slid around on most surfaces I’ve played it on. Easily fixed with some stick-on rubber feet though!

    All in all, this is a low cost way to get some next-generation musical expression into your arsenal. Highly recommended!

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars

    What I have been waiting for

    I played piano and keyboards for 10 years and every time I move from home/studio (like holidays or simply a day out) I always got problems getting with me my white and black keys. Finally, what I was searching for is arrived. A very compact and so powerful keyboard MIDI controller that allow me to play out of home/studio. It has a very good battery life and the 5D touch expression is something completely awesome! You don't need wheels or pedals to add effects to your sound: just slide your hands and finger up and down, left or right, to get everything you need!
    Well done, ROLI. Truly something every keyboarded/pianist need.

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars

    Innovative, sleek and exciting

    I've been playing with the Seaboard Block for a few days now and so feel reasonably comfortable talking about some of the features that, I think, really define it as not only a fantastic synthesizer, MIDI controller and general workstation tool, but also (more importantly!) as a digital instrument that is absolutely at the cutting edge of this field. This review will look at how it works in conjunction with my existing equipment (efficiency), and how it can perhaps revolutionise some of my composition practices (innovation).

    It plugs in really easily to anything I've tried, although it does require the app to act as a translator. This is obviously different to a conventional controller which is just plug-and-go, but it's really not hard to download the app. I presume the reason for this is that the amount of signals it gives out is many times more than most other synths I own (each note has several parameters with ROLI). These parameters are the most exciting part of the Seaboard for me - the level of control given to each note or chord is absolutely absurd. MIDI synthesizers used to be judged by how closely they could emulate sounds of real instruments, or by the quality of their synthesized electronic sounds. The Block can do this just as well, but crucially can do things that no other synthesizer or real instrument could possibly achieve through the pressure-, location- and touch-based controls. It's really new, really exciting, and I've only just scratched the surface of how these might be programmed into my music-making. I can only imagine this control becomes even more complete when combined with other Blocks using their magnetic system, though I've not tested it myself. As a side point, there is no noticeable latency when using the Seaboard, even through the app, which is obviously really important to live music-makers.

    I'm a big fan of the size of the Seaboard Block too. It's two octaves, which is a fantastic size for fitting onto the desk when working with a desktop computer, or for plugging into your laptop/iPad for workstation use. My previous setup used the Korg MicroKey, which is two-and-a-half octaves, but also physically bigger. I think the ROLI actually fits neater into the setup, although it depends on your needs. The size is also great for taking around with you in a bag to gigs, or just to doodle around with on the train with headphones.

    The software it comes with is a fantastic deal - it's basically worth the price for just the software (although of course, most people probably wouldn't have necessarily wanted ALL the tech). it's a real range too, all the way up to MaxMSP, which you could really use to go bezerk with the seaboard's 5D technology.

    Fantastic piece of kit overall, and it really feels like the future of synthesis and electronic music-making is here.

    1 of 1 people found this useful

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars

    Magic, brings joy back to music creation

    First off, I completely love it. It’s built fantastically well, it’s small enough to throw even a couple of them in the backpack and go make music anywhere with your phone or iPad. But there is a benefit to the sea board that goes way beyond a generic tech product. This is way more than a midi controller, to me it really is an Actual instrument. I say that both as a classical pianist and as a modern producer and songwriter. As a pianist the blocks line have helped me improve my technique In terms of finger accuracy and sensitivity to dynamics. As a composer however, this is where the Seaboard really shines. Suddenly I have full control not just over pitch and dynamic, but timbre, gliss, vibrato, strike and so many other parameters reserved for percussive, stringed or digital instruments. Really forces you to consider every aspect of your melody or chord structure, and has been a real musical awakening for me. All in all, I cannot recommend this product enough, it’s pretty magic.

    1 of 1 people found this useful

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars

    ROLI Seaboard Block - same great experience - SMALLER!

    Nothing in the keys world comes close to ROLI products in terms of playability & the sheer enjoyment you'll experience honing your vibrato whilst playing a double bass or sliding to simulate flute breaths - it's truly unique. Being a guitarist in a world more MIDI based than ever, I've struggled bringing performance expression into a more rigid electronic world. That ended when I discovered the SeaboardRise25 and since getting the SeaboardBlock it's pushed my performances even further and developed my sound.

    Beautifully packaged; every inch feels confidently designed for musicians that appreciate visuals. The feel is sleek and responsive whilst maintaining durability. Its smaller and less expensive than the RISE but the quality is still there, just lighter and more transportable.

    Initially the scale looks like you'd be hindered but quickly you discover the shorter scale makes everything closer and quicker. The scale's similar to the Akai mini, which before the Seaboard Block was my go to portable MIDI controller. Blocks Dashboard allows you to adjust the 5 Dimensions of touch to create a controller that knows YOU. This makes it a unique portable controller. It shines with DAW's & the experience continues with NOISE - ROLI's dedicated standalone BLOCKS app. I've performed live using an iPhone and SeaboardBlock - wirelessly with 0 latency! The astounding sound quality and variety in both NOISE and EQUATOR feels wonderfully authentic. The SeaboardBlock also soars with 3rd party and sampled sounds.

    You get a software bundle of Tracktion, Strobe2, Equator and Blocks dashboard for desktop and NOISE which allows you to sequence and perform using an IOS device and multiple BLOCKS live - EFFORTLESSLY.

    I'd recommend this product to anyone looking for something to push themselves creatively, enjoys music technology or someone who needs a composing tool that will match their creativity everywhere they go.

    2 of 2 people found this useful

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars

    Beauty AND Brains

    The Seaboard Block is the songwriting tool that i've been waiting for for years. It functions equally well as a portable, silicone springboard for my musical ideas while i'm on the move (when many of the best take shape but are the hardest to capture), as well as a centerpiece to my home studio when it's time to focus. In conjunction with NOISE, I can quickly and intuitively jot down these ideas using one amazing device, and then bring it all together in Logic at home. As a keyboard player who's struggled to break into a more modern production landscape, this is a game changer.

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars

    Excellent!

    In terms of musical expression, ROLI is definitely your best choice.

    As professional producers, we must admit that the Seaboard Block has quickly become an essential music production tool for our daily studio life. Once you fully understand its unique potential, you won’t be able to replace it with anything else.

    Its technology is game-changing: the combined action of its five dimensions of touch along with the Equator software completely revolutionised the way you can write music. It feels much more intuitive and natural and sounds unbelievably real.

    The BLOCKS Dashboard allows you to find the best setting for your DAW workflow.

    And the best part is that you can do all of this by comfortably lying on your couch.

    Personally, before the advent of the ROLI instruments I used to be a key player, now I can be a guitarist, a saxophonist or a director of an entire orchestra.

    Because of these reasons we sincerely recommend the ROLI products to anyone who wants to create music.

    The future is the present.

    5 of 5 people found this useful

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars

    Excellent product

    Awesome keyboard! Hands down one of the best keyboards I have ever used. Integrates perfectly with the NOISE app on my iPhone and works well with Logic Pro X and Ableton. In my opinion this is the best keyboard for simulating the sounds and "feel" of real instruments - it has 5 ways of shaping the sound so you can add so much expression and simulate pitch bends etc. It's light and is a great size for portability, and even though it has mini keys it is still easy to play like a normal piano. It also has a great feel to it and sturdy build quality. I would definitely recommend this to both beginners and those with more experience, as I think it has great possibilities and potential - especially the fact that its a modular system so you can really easily add more hardware and it all connects together.

    3 of 3 people found this useful

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars

    The future of sound design is bright with Seaboard Block

    I've been in love w/ ROLI since the day they introduced the Seaboard Grand. The concept of 5D touch is simply genius. The Seaboard Block is PERFECT in every way. The stock sounds in Equator insane but the sounds that i've been able to design on my own make ROLI family for LIFE!

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars

    this is simply my favorite invention

    i have been waiting for this controller for fifty years. you mold sound like clay. the entire surface of the seaboard and the entire surface of your hands do a dance you can hear. i thank everyone who made this possible.
    i enjoy new ways of playing with sound. this allows me to start with a blank slate. you don't have to do anything that has been done before. you make up new ways to play.

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars

    Can’t go wrong with the Seabord Block!

    You really have to try this product to believe how incredible it really is. The touch and feel is remarkable and the quality of construction is very high. This is not a gimmick, it is truly transformational in what you are able to achieve musically. It’s portability makes it so easy to take anywhere. The fact that it is wireless allows you to create anywhere at any time. It is compatible with all of the software I use to create music – so also amazing for studio use.

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars

    Roli seaboard Block

    Very pleased with the Seaboard Block. It adds a whole new perspective on the possibilities of what can be accomplished on the keyboard. With the added ability to add vibrato and slide up and down the keys in one smooth action it is sure to add a new dimension to what ever song or piece you want to create.
    The bluetooth connection is quick and solid, for an on the go or relaxing posiotion to get youre groove on .

    The seaboard comes with Equator software that gives you the ability to add new sounds and control of different musical instrument.
    The Equator software can be used alone or as a DAW plug in and is powerful fun that will satisfy the urge to make use of new sounds.
    On the go music ideas can be played with the mobile app. NOISE .
    Could go on for hours. It's a great piece of kit for creativity and fun.

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars

    My favorite controller

    Once you've experienced the depth of expression you get from a ROLI keyboard, it's hard to go back to a standard controller. The Seaboard Block is now my main controller for my desktop Ableton Live setup. I use it with Equator, Diva, and Zebra. When I don't feel like configuring the five dimensions of touch for other softsynths or samples, I just put it in piano mode using the BLOCKS Dashboard software. I get all the added expressiveness when I want it, and can use it like a standard controller when I don't.

    Plus it's super fun for travel. I love playing around with the sax patch in NOISE on my iPhone. It's eerily convincing!

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars

    Absolutely loving its expressiveness!

    The Seaboard has changed my music production workflow. I keep it running in Equator on my laptop, while working on projects in my DAW (on desktop) so I have a range of amazingly expressive sounds ready to go. Often i will just record the audio into the project and treat it after or use the idea for a different sound.

    Its only downside is that most DAWs still can not interpret the MIDI protocol (MPE) required to use the seaboard’s 5 dimensions of expression.
    I hope this will be added in future updates of most DAWs! (For now it works as a regular MIDI keyboard though)

    7 of 7 people found this useful