ROLI Seaboard Rise - new instrument and MIDI controller

ROLI has just launched the Seaboard RISE and it’s a dream to play. A groundbreaking, beautiful, and sleek piece of design with unique features, that’s the most affordable expressive MIDI controller and instrument yet.

Seaboard RISE - pic ROLI

Seaboard RISE launch

ROLI launched the Seaboard RISE to instant acclaim - people trying it out at the launch party at ROLI HQ in East London, became on-the-spot fans, praising it for its expressiveness, accessibility and new sound frontiers.

The RISE is loaded with sensors and they let you shape notes and modulate sounds in new ways all over the continuous surface.

Electronic music star and producer Emika unleashed a fluid and fabulous set based around the instrument. It’s designed for both performance and production, and it’s highly portable - less than an inch thick, battery-powered (with automatic recharging when connected), and you can use it wirelessly with MIDI over Bluetooth.

Emika at Seaboard RISE launch - pic Kitmonsters

ROLI founder and Seaboard inventor Roland Lamb introduced the RISE and said it had been six years in the making - “the world’s first accessible expressive keyboard instrument”, and for accessible read usability and price.

A trio of musicians gave the first public performance using the 25-keywave RISE with wireless, and it was an eye-opener to see their immediate performance areas were cable-free. They stormed through some of the different voices and expressions, finishing with a more band-like genre-spanning set that moved from rock through to bass music. Gerald Peter, Marco Parisi and Heen-Wah Wai were at the controls for the piece that was co-written with SOS Music, and it felt like they were truly sculpting sound.

Seaboard GRAND technology

The RISE is packed with groundbreaking features - not only multi-dimensional expression and wireless, but an integrated user control panel too.

It builds on the technology in the award-winning Seaboard GRAND, that gives you polyphonic pitch bend, vibrato, and the ability to change effects on individual notes. The original Seaboard has found fans among the likes of Emika, Jamie xx, A.R.Rahman, Cory Henry, BT, and Martyn Ware, who told us he wanted one a couple of Christmases ago, and says it is fantastic for performance and studio work.

“It’s amazing. Totally responsive haptic keyboard enabling per-note microtonal playing and slurring between notes.”

Seaboard RISE - pic ROLI

New surface design and intuitive controls

The surface of the new instrument feels different to the GRAND. Where that keyboard has a soft dense foam-like texture, the RISE sports a slightly tougher more rubbery feel and a super sleek compact design. The keywaves are also shallower than on the GRAND.

Controls are simple and intuitive, enabling you to adjust effects, pressure sensitivity, and scroll through your sounds. It has five dimensions of touch that are easily mapped and can be controlled from its touch faders. They are: Strike, Glide, Slide, Press, and Lift.

Playing the RISE is a joy. Anything goes and the exciting thing to do is free your imagination and let your hands explore. You start by playing notes and then let your hands roam, creating emphasis, effects and sound textures. Playful, unexpected interactions are part of the design philosophy, and it was great to meet many of the team behind it - they include songwriters, producers, DJs and product and software designers.

Seaboard RISE - pic Kitmonsters

Jordan Rudess

ROLI’s Head of Music Experience is Grammy-nominated Jordan Rudess who has been voted the greatest keyboard player of all time and is known for his work in Dream Theater. He is convinced the Seaboard will earn its place in history as well as musicians’ hearts.

“The Seaboard is not only making waves in the music industry. It is poised to be the most significant evolution of a musical instrument in the last 300 years. I’m personally excited about the release of the Seaboard RISE, and beyond my own obvious passion I expect to see it fully embraced by music makers everywhere.”

Seaboard RISE - pic ROLI

Equator software synthesizer

The RISE comes with Equator for RISE - a powerful software synthesizer designed for the multi-dimensional Seaboard world. Its preset library ranges from simulations of acoustic instruments, to synthesised layered effects, including Steel String Guitar, Pulse Bass and unusual instruments like the Duduk - a double-reed woodwind flute from Armenia made of apricot wood.

It is compatible with a variety of software and hardware synthesisers, as well as DAWs across OSX, Windows, and other platforms. ROLI provide templates for all major DAWs and many popular instruments,and have tested it with Logic, Cubase, ProTools, Reaper, Tracktion, Max MSP and a variety of plug-ins. You can manage your settings in ROLI Dashboard.

The RISE uses MIDI over USB, and has one pedal input, which can be set to behave as a sustain or expression pedal using the ROLI Dashboard software.

Tech Specs are:

25 Keywaves
505 mm x 210 mm x 22.86 mm / 2.8 kg
(19.88 in x 8.27 in x 0.9 in / 6.17 lbs)

Continuous pedal input (1/4” jack)
USB B port (MIDI out and power)
USB A port (for charging peripherals) 9–12V 2A DC port
Internal battery with 12-hour playability
Full MIDI compatibility over USB and Bluetooth
Bundled with Equator, the world’s first purpose-built, multi-dimensional software synthesiser
OS X 10.8+ / Windows 7+ / iOS
Intel Core i5 2.5GHz or faster recommended
4 GB RAM minimum / 8 GB RAM recommended
2 GB available disk space for Equator installation
USB 2.0+ port for USB compatibility
Bespoke storage case
Manage settings in ROLI Dashboard
USB cable
Quick start guide
Product registration card
User manual
Warranty information
One year full warranty

  • The Seaboard RISE is priced at £599 / $799, comes with Equator software synthesiser, ROLI dashboard, and a storage case. It is available on pre-order from Roli.