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Keith McMillen Issues Teaser K-Board Pro 4

It was inevitable. A few days ago, we announced the arrival of the Roli Seaboard, a sort of touchpad and keyboard in one. Innovative, definitely. But innovations seldom come alone. If anyone could come up with something similar, it would have to be Keith McMillen. The K-Board Pro 4 has a lot of the same features as the Seaboard.

Apart from the teaser video, however, there isn't a whole lot of information about it. The bit of speculation in this announcement is based on the video and the comparison with the Seaboard by Roli, their direct competitors.

Comparisons

  • Let's start with the price. The Roli Seaboard is state-of-the-art, and has a price tag to match. Considering the array of possibilities of the included Equator software, the current price of the Roli Seaboard Rise isn't bad at all. But for the rumoured amount of about 500 dollars, the K-Board Pro 4 wins, hands down.
  • What about availability? That's simple. The Roli Seaboard is here and available to order today at Bax-shop.co.uk. You'll need a bit more patience if you want to get your hands on a K-Board Pro 4, however.
  • Regarding possibilities, it's all down to speculation. The Seaboard offers full polyphonic expression, making use of several MIDI channels. The K-Board Pro 4 video, however, only shows a bit of a monophonic expression. Will it be polyphonic? We don't know. The Seaboard comes with special software (Equator), but whether or not the K-Board Pro 4 has its own unique software remains a mystery. If it turns out that the K-Board Pro 4 can only be played monophonically, it would then be a controller that works with any type of software because the horizontal movement can be assigned to pitch-bending, while the vertical movement can be assigned to any controller.
  • These two products also look very different. The Keith McMillen version looks a lot more traditional, even though there are no traditional keys. The Seaboard's keys, or rather 'keywaves', take some getting used to, but those who have played them will agree they are really very pleasant. One big difference is the number of keys; there are 25 on the Seaboard Rise and 49 on the Keith McMillen. A comparison with the Seaboard Grand Stage (with 61 keys) would possibly be relevant, but its price is substantially higher than that of the K-Board Pro 4.

The verdict

Judging by the evidence we have to work with at the moment, we assume the K-Board Pro 4 is not polyphonic. If it turns out that it is, however, we'll be pleased as punch. Even if it is monophonic, it's still an interesting product because you can have a direct impact on the pitch and dynamics by playing merely a single note. With a traditional keyboard, you'd need a pitch-bender and another controller - for virtual synths, that's usually a modulation wheel.

Maybe this isn't the time to get carried away by speculation., though. Whatever it turns out to be, this development means you'll have more options to choose from. It also means the competition will be keeping a close eye on one another, regarding possibilities and price, which is always beneficial to you! Regardless, we'll keep you updated with the latest developments. It could be, that the K-Board Pro 4 is exactly what you've been waiting for!

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