• 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

    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