Seaboard Grand by ROLI

New musical instruments are hard to market and sell. Especially instruments that are a variation of or play on a classic. So when we heard about the Seaboard by ROLI we were a bit skeptical and unsure of whether there would be much of a market for such an ambitious instrument. But with a little investigation you’ll quickly find that some of the features of the ROLI Seaboard are so mesmerizing that we’ve certainly begun to think twice.

ROLI is a design-led technology start-up based in Dalston, London that started in 2009. Their objective is to make new musical products that transform the way that people and technology interact. They’re out to make products that are intuitive and feel like a natural and intuitive extension of the body.

Where the Seaboard stands out and differentiates itself from a regular keyboard is that keyboards of the past took their velocity from the pressure at the point of contact which would fade out over time. The Seaboard acts on gestures such as presses, bends and slides opening new avenues to musical expression.
Key expressions are:
Continuous Touch – enables you to sound a note and then modulate its volume and timbre through one continuous motion. Keywaves offer precise tactile feedback, making it easy to sense the slight changes in pressure, resulting in a far more organic experience than traditional aftertouch found on common electronic keyboards.

Intuitive Pitch Control – This adjusts the pitch in a glissando fashion, allowing the keyboard to function similar to a stringed instrument. Add vibrato to this performance and you have a mighty orchestral sound station at your fingertips.

You’ll notice that despite the sheer versatility of the Seaboard, there is only one button. This SoundDial is the only control you need to adjust the sound. Shift between sound presets using the continuous rotary control, while the subtle LED ring shows you exactly which preset is currently being played.

The Seaboard Grand ships with Equator, ROLI’s proprietary full-featured audio engine that provides multidimensional control over your performance.

ROLI has developed many intuitive products beyond just the Seaboard. To discover more, check out their Youtube channel or follow them on Facebook.