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MIDI HD - new and improved MIDI coming
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  • I've been testing out a Roli Blocks Seaboard lately. So very interested in new midi improvements.

    Wondering if this will become a MIDI 2.0? Or simply use the same MIDI protocol?

    Currently Roli use MPE over current MIDI to transmit all the data. (1 channel per polyphonic note- maximum polyphony 16 notes = 16 MIDI channels)

    I don't understand why Roli hasn't gone with OSC, much faster, much more flexible, and Roli could easily supply software to convert OSC to MIDI MPE.

    It would be fantastic if Roli placed the firmware of their devices on GitHub, to allow developers to really get into the hardware.

  • @alcomposer

    What is your take on the Seaboard? I would be interested to hear your thoughts.

  • Right now a mixed bag. I really love the concept- and I really love the feel of the keyboard. I got the Blocks version, for these reasons:

    • Newest model made by Roli, (includes USBC etc, streamlined etc)
    • Same 2 octave range as Roli Rise 2 octave yet smaller
    • Easy to transport (smaller)
    • Modular - able to connect to other Seaboard blocks, or devices etc
    • Smaller keys so easier to play (I have played the Seaboard Grand and that felt like playing with silicone bananas under your fingers)

    So I find that there are some stuck notes, (something that I have read online). The bundled Equator Player software is good, but I wish it was the full version. It seams that Equator does some behind-the-scenes work to de-stick notes etc... but I haven't played enough with it yet.

    Running the Seaboard with Multi-Mono mode in Logic (can be used this way with other DAW's that don't understand MPE) was also problematic:

    Let say you place 2 fingers on the keyboard- and slide one finger up and the other down. Now sometimes the Seaboard can loose one finger- and reassign it to another voice, so you don't get a smooth glide- rather a glide for a bit- then a not re-trigger.

    I will play with it more and see if it is something I am doing wrong.

    Currently, I am 100% sold on how amazing this product is, and the concept. But it also feels to me that I want more resolution and response from the keyboard.

    I am also interested in using this device with CSound, and Supercollider. As there is just so much control and possibility one can achieve with those two projects, and the Seaboard looks like the perfect controller for them.

    Even Richard from CSound thinks its the perfect controller for CSound:

    Just need to work out the small issues. Will report back when I have a chance to play more.

  • Thanks. Look forward to your updates. The stuck notes sound like a deal breaker to me.

  • @Ralph_B

    Its not a deal breaker for me, just something to be aware of, especially when playing the instrument. I think that most of the technique of playing the instrument has to be developed to make sure to 'not' generate phantom notes- stuck notes etc.

    That said, the Blocks Seaboard is a really great introduction to MPE, especially considering the price of a Continuum!

    I am also really wanting to get this instrument working well with Supercollider & CSound. Unlimited sound potential!

    UPDATE: I have been playing a bit more, and I think there are a few settings I need to fully explore. Simple settings that make a big difference. Very excited about the possibilities!

    UPDATE2: Just found this video on YouTube... now I am really excited!

  • Have now had a chance to play with the Seaboard more, and I just have to say wow!

    • Equator player is nice, with lots of cool sounds.
    • Logic integration is ok (but I need more time to iron out a few small issues)
    • Supercollider works well- but I find MPE is extremely complex to set up and understand in SLang, however polyphony in supercollider is complex to set up regardless- let alone MPE

    Now for the really crazy remarkable news:

    • CSound is "plug-n-play" with Seaboard.

    This is just out of this world, as CSound is considered by many as a dinosaur in the electronic music world.

    However, because CSound instruments automatically are polyphonic, and instruments can also be set up to utilise all MIDI channels, the Seaboard with full MPE just works flawlessly.

    One can easily set up slide (Y movement) to control any aspect of a synth, waveform, sample, whatever.

    There is no "polyphonic packing" to be done, just plug and play.

    With a bit of CSound knowledge one could easily code an Equator clone- or create any sound imaginable!

    I'm just completely in shock that Roli don't advertise this aspect, as it's super cool for music hacking, experimenting etc... (And CSound is free)

    I have been using the Cabbage Audio IDE for CSound- which allows one to save VST instruments out and design interfaces.

    In regard to stuck notes, I am finding that CSound deals with these well, much better than Supercollider.

    Next I need to play with some sample libraries... Fun times ahead!! ;-)

  • @alcomposer

    What about post something to Seaboard topics (we have two actually, use search) ?