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Roli Seaboard Grand customer review

Posted on October 1, 2015 by Pete Shergold There have been 0 comments

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 This is a strange product to review and may not be suitable for everyone, however it is a must try it instrument. My initial play left me unsure but returning home and watching some of the excellent tutorials I decided to give it another go. I really enjoyed playing it this time and purchased one.

Back at home the first hour was spent with mainly off pitch notes due to finger placement on the keys. The spacing is the same as a standard keybed but to get clean notes you have to hit the centre of the key. Another area that you may have to adapt your playing to is strength of pressure when striking notes as the Seaboard really benefits from a light touch  although it is adjustable. Play it as lightly as possible and increase pressure to change sounds. Synth players use this aftertouch a lot but it is much more powerful on the Seaboard and after 3-4 hours playing, the Seaboard starts to show its potential.

Software and Mac connection, it just worked! You simply load software, plug in and go. Equator is a powerful application with plenty of sounds and more on the way. The other software that comes is OK but don’t update it as you will break it (the software, not the Seaboard) but that’s easily fixed by re-installing.

Construction is excellent, it feels very solid, packing is excellent and it has a case included that is suitable for transportation.

I have been told that guitar players love it and keyboard players are unsure: I would agree. I play both (badly!) but as a guitarist I have always bent/pushed/pulled/slid and explored ways of getting more expression out of my instrument. As a keyboard player I have to use a joystick/wheel/ribbon but am limited in that these effects are applied to all notes or we stack keyboards and then run out of hands. The Seaboard (for me) was the instrument I have been looking for for a long time. I considered a Haken some time back but found it too complicated and expensive. I also considered a Linnstrument, but I struggle with playing buttons.

Can it be used to control my Synth? Yes, with a little setup on the synth. I contacted Roli and asked how to set it up to control my Kronos and was emailed a simple set of instructions and an offer to talk me through via phone if required - excellent support!

Any Negatives? - The sound dial is not so good, not easy to select the correct sounds and when rotating past 12 o’clock the next bank is selected, octave shift is not quick to use, and I’m not sure how it will stand up to extended use (only time will tell). It seems to attract dust and there is a warning to keep it out of sunlight but that’s probably the same for most instruments. It is an expensive instrument and maybe the new Rise will be the better product, but if you are like me and love playing, but hate having to stare into a computer screen, the standalone Seaboard Grand was the only option.

Final thought - As you have guessed I love this instrument, I look forward to playing it more than I have with most of my instruments. I think its a studio instrument rather than a tool for playing live (the occasional off pitch note could be a bit awkward live).

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This post was posted in Blog entries, General News, In-Depth Reviews, Keyboards & Synths and was tagged with keyboard, ROLI, roli seaboard, synth

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