The ROLI Seaboard RISE 49
On a whim, I purchased a ROLI Seaboard RISE last week. You can see it in all its glory above. These are my brief notes - the answers to a bunch of questions I was asked, when I told my friends about it, and some of my own research to satisfy my curiosity about how multi dimensional MIDI input works.
The model I bought was the Seaboard RISE 49. The RISE is a MIDI controller that transmits MIDI over USB. (It does not have an in-built sound engine.) One key difference in the way it does that however is, that it transmits multiple channels of MIDI simultaneously. (See MPE below.)
Setting it up involved what I thought was a rather elaborate setup process on the computer that included creating an account and registering the product before I was allowed to download Equator.
I tried both the wired (USB) and wireless (bluetooth) mode. While I didn’t (and don’t) care for the wireless mode, I didn’t, comparatively speaking, observe an appreciable latency difference. In my experience the battery, on a full charge lasted for about nine hours.
I haven’t been able to get Equator to work outside a DAW at any sample rate other than 44.1 Khz. (I’m using a UAD Apollo interface.) The moment I set the sample rate to 96 Khz (which is normally the sample rate I use for all of my work) it starts buzzing. Equator works flawlessly within my DAW (Logic X) though.
I haven’t yet had the chance to hook it up to (say) Omnisphere or the like. Can’t wait to play Trillian’s acoustic bass using the Seaboard.
- MPE stands for Multidimensional Polyphonic Expression. It is a relatively new (what will, in the future be a) standard that is being worked on since late 2015 1.
- It standardizes how MIDI controllers like the Seaboard, that are able to control multiple parameters of a note at the same time, talk to MPE compatible software.
- MPE takes a backwards compatible approach by assigning every note its own channel, so as to be able to have fine grained control over the application of channel-wide messages such as modulation and pitch bend. It uses a range of channels, of which, the lowest is used for global messages while the remaining are used to transmit notes and expression data. On Equator these would be channel 1 for global messages and channels 2-16 for notes and expression data.
Here’s a short piece I wrote and performed on the Seaboard, based on the carnatic raga Senjurutti.