Just got a Roli Seaboard... I'm in heaven!


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Folks, this thing is the real thing. Greatest "keyboard" I ever owned. It's so organic, it's completely changing my approach to keyboard playing. It's also astoundingly easy to pick up, considering it's differences, I'm about 72 hours in, and I feel like I've been playing it all my life. Here's a video I made playing a jazz fiddle tune:

- Run Full Speed Ahead - Seaboard Cover
 
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happyrat1

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Nice performance Eric...

So let me get this straight?

It's basically glide/aftertouch assigned to pitch bend and portamento?

Can the aftertouch be assigned to any other MIDI properties?

Also how much did the 49 key version set you back?

Enquiring minds wanna know :)

Gary ;)
 
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So let me get this straight?
It's basically glide/aftertouch assigned to pitch bend and portamento?
Can the aftertouch be assigned to any other MIDI properties?

Also how much did the 49 key version set you back?
Enquiring minds wanna know :)

Gary ;)

Long explanation follows:

Glide is assigned to pitch bend (with a +/- 12 semitone spread). In this case aftertouch is assigned to volume and bow pressure. I actually didn't customize this patch at all, it was a special preset that Sample Modeling created specifically to use with the Seaboard, and I just left it as is... as it just plays very naturally out of the box.

But like all synths, you can usually customize all the controllers and parameters. In the end, the Seaboard simply sends standard MIDI data, so you can do what you like with it. The only difference is that it uses what's called "MPE" which sends each note on a different MIDI channel, so you can get different controllers for each individual note independently (pitch bend and aftertouch per note). Some soft synths and DAWs play more nicely than others. There are a number of completely MPE-ready synths out there, but then others you have to create multiple instance of or just use them as mono synths. Kontakt can actually work because you can create multiple copies of an instrument inside the single Kontakt patch, and you don't have to worry about RAM use, because Kontakt shares sample loading between copies... though it does take a little more time to setup. It also helps if a patch is crafted specially for the Seaboard, as it maps the finer controls like aftertouch and slide (vertical up/down the keys) to organic performance modulations. Obviously you can do that yourself, and I plan on doing so, but I've barely scratched the surface of this thing.

Sample Modeling uses the SWAM engine, which is a modeling engine and fully MPE ready out of the box. I have yet to play with it much, I just bought it two days ago!

As for the price, it's $1200 for the 49 key version. Many people complain about the price, but I just flat-out disagree. It's a truly unique instrument that offers so many new and immediate possibilities that it really justifies it's cost. The build quality is also extremely impressive. It's heavy AF (for it's size), and just exudes this "we're not playing around here" quality vibe that I haven't seen in a controller for a very long time. 49 keys is actually a perfect size too. I'm a total 88 key guy, but I would never use this board for A) piano/keyboard parts that lend to two-handed full-range playing, and B) more than one part at a time. I think 49 notes is a very healthy range for any one particular part, and on the very rare occasion you need more, there's very large -/+ octave buttons.

You may have noticed, I find myself doing a lot more hand switching than one would normally do in piano playing. This is because, as an essentially "fretless" instrument, accuracy is a lot more critical, and I find myself wanting to dedicate a hand to a particular note in order to be able to achieve the best intonation and nuance. And I'm still far from perfect. I've never played strings, being a key and brass guy, so I'm only starting to learn the wrist motions for good vibrato. Curiously, I realized while practicing that my left hand tends to play vibrato a lot faster (even though I'm ambidextrous), so I'm trying to train that hand to be a little more subtle.
 
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happyrat1

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It sounds absolutely brilliant!!!

I can't really get past the price though. $1699 for the 49 key version in Canada!!!

I could buy a Roland Juno DS88 for $200 less up here!!!! :O

If I ever win the Lotto Max $50 Mill jackpot or 30 of my wealthiest relatives all suddenly drop dead leaving everything to me I'll consider picking one up though.

Or I could just be a bottom feeder and wait another 10 years for the patents to run out and the Chinese start making knockoffs for $300 a pop :D

I used to be a flute player so I hear what you're saying about the finger gymnastics as well. I do happen to own an AKAI EWI USB MIDI Wind Instrument but my lungs ain't in anything approaching the shape they were in 40 years ago. :p I may drag it out of its case tomorrow and try tootling away on it again. Now that I've quit smoking I may find myself getting more use out of it again. :)

Gary ;)
 
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I was born about 25 years too early. What fun! I carried 4-5 keyboards to make about 12 sounds back in the day. Back then we even used masking tape to hold long sustained string notes on one synth as we played two hands on another keyboard. And that was just late 70's early 80's. Eric you play very well also, impressive gear and player. Rock on.
 
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I can see doing that. I started piano around the late 80s but didn't get into synths until the late 90s. I've always been a single weighted 88 guy, and used to come up with byzantine slider and foot-pedal configurations in order to get multiple patches per multi-mix. I remember putting a small brick on my sustain pedal in order to hold notes while my feet did other things. Now that I've gone software, it's like a huge weight as been lifted from my shoulders. I can program the kinds of completely single-board "choreography" that I always tried to do, and fairly easily too. My setup is still totally crazy and byzantine (I've added a keytar, trumpet, seaboard, and accordion to the mix), but at least it's manageable now.
 

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