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Roli Seaboard - New at Bax-shop

Bax-shop has added another brand to its ever increasing product range: Roli. And quite a brand it is - with their latest innovations, they are certainly making music history. The Seaboard Rise and the Seaboard Grand Stage are both revolutionary products that are incredibly fun to play.

Eyes widened and jaws dropped when our supplier came by to show us these brand new keyboards. Don't just take our word for it, though. Watch the following video now, and pay particular attention when you reach the 3:45 mark.

That's a saxophone you heard, played with the Rise. If you have some years of playing the keyboard under your belt, you'll know that it's incredibly hard to approximate an instrument like the sax, let alone create a realistic rendition. Even a breath controller won't do the trick, no matter how much effort you put into it. Take a look at the level of expression in the video, and the effortlessness with which it is achieved, however, and you'll begin to understand the possibilities of Roli's Seaboard.

Performance

Pay close attention to the musicians in the video, and you'll see the Seaboard basically functions as a two-dimensional ribbon controller. It's as if a keyboard and a violin have been merged into a single instrument! Sliding your fingers along the controls produces amazing sound: vertical slides allow you to create crescendos, while horizontal glides allow for glissandos. Aftertouch is also at your disposal, but at a far more organic level than you're used to. The Seaboard even registers the speed at which you release a key. Most amazingly, all of these expression effects are polyphonic.

Equator

If you know a thing or two about MIDI technology, the previous paragraph may have raised some questions. Pitch bends aren't polyphonic, after all, nor is aftertouch, in most cases. The Roli Seaboard Rise and Grand, however, offer a way of making it happen. It's a software package called Equator, and it comes with your Roli keyboard. This software synthesizer uses the expressive possibilities of the Seaboard to their full extent. Use the keyboard with a regular software package, and you won't be able to make the most of all these options. Luckily, Equator (Mac/PC) is a pleasure to work with. Combined with one of the Seaboards, it sends you an a true journey of discovery.

The Seaboards control ten MIDI channels - one channel per pressed key - which means you get a polyphonic effect for regular pitch bend and aftertouch. The concept itself isn't that innovative, but someone had to put it into practice, and Roli passed the test with flying colours!

Two models

For now, two different editions of the Roli Seaboard will be issued: the Rise that features in the video above, and the Grand you can see in the video below. Both models have a different number of keys, but there are other distinctions too. The Grand's keys are slightly different, allowing for a more natural playing experience for pianists. Additionally, the Grand comes equipped with built-in Equator software, which means you can use it as a stand-alone device. The Rise, on the other hand, features a number of extra controls on the left of the keyboard, and is therefore particularly suitable for use in the studio.

We could tell you a lot more about these remarkable new instruments, but nothing matches the experience of actually playing and hearing them. It's unlike anything you've ever done. If you're really lucky, and get one for Christmas, you'll know exactly what we mean!

 

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