The Seaboard Block is back (pre-order)

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joeyluck
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Post 01 Nov 2023

https://roli.com/products/blocks/seaboard-block-m

Currently in pre-order for $349 and begins shipping March 2024.

As far as I can tell, the only differences from the original are the included 2.5mm MIDI Out and DNA connectors are only on the sides (no longer on the back as well).

[EDIT] from the FAQ:
What is the difference between Seaboard BLOCK M and the original Seaboard BLOCK?

Seaboard BLOCK M differs from the original Seaboard in that you can now control other hardware instruments with a new MIDI out. There is also advanced customization of keywave response through updated firmware, offering more nuanced MPE control.

Seaboard BLOCK M has a more natural, intuitive playing experience with an improved velocity response curve, and durable design that has been refined to withstand the rigors of touring and extended studio sessions.

Go computer-free with mode-switching on your BLOCK M, so you can change between Single Channel, or MPE and other modes once activated in Dashboard.

Switch between your saved Equator2 or ROLI Studio presets by holding the side button and pressing the octave left and right buttons. Select your own ROLI Soundpacks to get you started with MPE.
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DaveyG
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Post 01 Nov 2023

I'm glad they are back although it's not a product for me.
I can't believe they have gone with a 2.5mm MIDI connection though. 2.5mm jacks are just so fragile and have a vanishingly small contact area. It certainly won't withstand the "rigors of touring" mentioned in their blurb!

But definitely nice to see them back. I know they said they would be back but I really thought they had gone. They need to do some cost engineering to get that price down if they plan to succeed this time around.

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joeyluck
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Post 01 Nov 2023

I've had the original Seaboard Block for 6 years now (wow time flies) and it's still working perfectly. I think the price is good. It's the whole reason I got the Seaboard Block (mine was $299). I think it's the most affordable MPE controller out there with this level of expression. The Bluetooth and USB-C is enough for me on my Seaboard Block.

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DaveyG
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Post 01 Nov 2023

They went bankrupt so they have to do something different this time around. I believe a decent $150 MPE controller could storm the market. A $350 controller is likely to stay niche. MPE is one of those things that still has not managed to achieve mass market. Lots of people say that they want it, some DAWs support it, some VST synths support it but you don't see many people using it and there is more than a little confusion between MPE and MIDI 2.0.

But I do wish Roli well. The industry needs innovators.

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joeyluck
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Post 01 Nov 2023

Well they had the Lightpad Block before, which was around that price. And the LUMI has been successful and that might be what has kept them afloat before releasing the Rise 2. Although I much prefer the Seaboard over the LUMI keys because I like to glide between notes and not just wiggle them. And I prefer the Seaboard over the Lightpad because I prefer a keyboard layout. And that goes for any other MPE controller. It's really only the Seaboard that ticks those boxes. And yeah, I hope they are successful. They've been selling only from their site now. Before, Seaboards were available through other retailers and in stores. Managing that might've been one of the big challenges for them before. I'm guessing the books are a little simpler now.

Bes
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Post 01 Nov 2023

still no MPE in reason though right? these look so cute and i absolutely love the texture of the seaboard surface. i do have one synth that is MPE capable and i really want to get this
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joeyluck
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Post 01 Nov 2023

Bes wrote:
01 Nov 2023
still no MPE in reason though right? these look so cute and i absolutely love the texture of the seaboard surface. i do have one synth that is MPE capable and i really want to get this
Correct. I use it with other software, but inside Reason I use it monophonically. For the SWAM stuff inside Reason, it works fine since those instruments are monophonic anyways. And then it still works well as a portable controller in piano mode for Reason. But we really do need that MPE support...

Bes
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Post 01 Nov 2023

they'd want to make a big do out of it i assume. MPE + MIDI2.0 and a new MIDI focussed rack device
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challism
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Post 28 Nov 2023

I was pretty sad when I thought Roli Seaboards were gone forever. This was great news to see they were back. I preordered the Seaboard Block M. Unfortunately I have to wait until June or July to actually pick it up from my mom's house (next time I visit the US). Oh well, better late than never.

I would also like to get a Lumi, but I think it's a bit overpriced. Looks really cool, though.
Players are to MIDI what synthesizers are to waveforms.

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