This article describes using BLOCKS Dashboard to set up your Blocks with various applications. To ensure compatibility with your system see BLOCKS Dashboard’s minimum system requirements, and learn how to download BLOCKS Dashboard

For guides on using BLOCKS with specific applications, see Compatible synths, DAWs, and Instruments.

Connect your Blocks

Connect your first Block via Bluetooth or USB. Subsequent Blocks can be connected by DNA – simply snap them to the first Block to magnetically connect.


Your Blocks must be updated to the latest firmware before they can be used with BLOCKS Dashboard. Make sure you have updated each of your Blocks individually via NOISE or BLOCKS Dashboard, following the instructions here.


Visualizer represents your BLOCKS setup

new blocks dashboard visualiser

Apps and Modes determine the Block’s behavior

  1. Select a Block by clicking on it in the BLOCKS Dashboard visualizer.
  2. If you’re using a Lightpad Block, click on an app underneath the visualizer to load it onto the selected Block.
  3. If you’re using a different Block, the default app will automatically be loaded.
  4. Click the “Edit” button to modify the currently loaded app’s settings.

Mode

The Mode section determines how a Block sends MIDI by selecting a MIDI mode and on what channels MIDI should be sent.

MIDI Settings

This section can be used to optimize the Block for mono or multi-timbral or MPE compatible third-party software.

Multi Channel Mode

In Multi Channel Mode, the Block transmits data over multiple channels of MIDI. This setting makes it compatible with non-MPE multi-timbral synths.

MPE

MPE Mode optimizes the Block with any other hardware or software that supports MPE. When MPE mode is selected,  the global channel is always one channel lower than the range set.

Single Channel Mode

In Single Channel Mode the Block transmits all MIDI data on a single MIDI channel only. This makes it compatible with mono-timbral synths. Pitch bend, channel pressure, or Slide (MIDI CC 74) messages will apply to all notes equally.

MIDI Start Channel/MIDI End Channel

“MIDI Start Channel” and “MIDI End Channel” determine the channels that will send MIDI data for the notes you are playing. This range determines the expressive polyphony of your Block.

Lightpad Block Apps

All BLOCKS Dashboard apps for your Block are available in the scrollable list at the bottom of the window. After assigning the app of your choice to your Block, click “Edit” to the right of the app name to adjust your Block’s parameters and settings.

Ableton Live Control

The Ableton Live Control app lets you play, record and navigate clips in  Ableton Live projects using a Lightpad Block, as well as play melodic instruments and trigger samples loaded to a Drum Rack. See this guide for full instructions on using this app with Ableton Live.

BLOCKSvaders

Play our rendition of the arcade classic “Space Invaders.”

BreakBLOCKS

Our take on “Brick Breaker”. Let’s see those high scores!

Control Grid

A fully customizable grid of notes or CCs with or without pressure. By clicking “Edit,” you may control:

  1. The Drum Grid’s MIDI Mode settings and what the note bottom-leftmost grid should send;
  2. The size of the Grid (1×1 to 4×4);
  3. The minimum value of Strike;
  4. The response and MIDI message sent by the Slide dimension; and
  5. The color of each pad on the grid.

Drum Block

The Drum Block app turns your Lightpad Block into a drum pad, with a wide variety of LED layouts and MIDI modes designed for playing percussion.

Fader Block

The Fader Block app lets you use your Lightpad Block to control 4 banks of 4 MIDI CC faders each. You can change the banks by pressing the Mode button on the Lightpad Block. You can edit:

  1.  What MIDI channel the faders send messages on
  2. What MIDI CC message each fader sends

Mixer Block

The Mixer Block app lets you set your Lightpad Block to have 4 fader and 4 buttons each sending different MIDI CC messages. You can edit:

  1. What MIDI channel the faders and buttons send messages on;
  2. The color of the faders and buttons;
  3. The behavior of the faders and buttons: Toggle, Gate or Trigger; and
  4. What MIDI CC message each fader sends.

MusicGen

Create up to 4 note emitters by tapping the Lightpad Block’s surface. Your emitter’s placement and direction determine the chords and rhythms created. To reset, press the Lightpad Block’s Mode button.

Note Grid

This app sets your Lightpad Block to a grid of notes, ideal for using your Lightpad as an drum or instrument controller. You may edit the following settings:

  • MIDI Settings
    • MIDI Start Channel
    • MIDI End Channel
    • Pitch Bend Range
    • MPE on/off
  • Pitch
    • Octave
    • Transposition (in semitones)
  • Play Mode
    • Slide CC – the MIDI CC on which the Slide dimension of touch is sent (74 by default)
    • Slide Mode – Absolute, Relative Unipolar, Relative Bipolar (Relative Bipolar by default)
    • Piano Mode on/off – turns off Glide, Slide, and Lift
    • Glide Rate – how quickly Glide gestures are pulled toward the nearest semitone
    • Glidelock Enable
    • Mode –  the number of pads in each direction. For example, select 4 for a 4×4 drum grid, or 5 for a 5×5 melodic grid.
    • Scale
    • Hide Mode on/off – hides notes not in the selected scale
    • Chord
    • Glide Tracking Mode
    • Slide Tracking Mode
    • Pressure Tracking Mode
  • 5D Touch
    • Set the sensitivity for Strike, Glide, Slide, Press and Lift
    • Fixed Velocity on/off, Fixed Velocity Value – To make each note’s velocity consistent, turn Fixed Velocity on and choose Value (for example, choose 127 for each note to be as loud as possible)

RISE Controller

Use the RISE Controller app to emulate the Seaboard RISE’s Touch Faders and XY Touchpad with your Lightpad Block. You can navigate between the different controllers by using the Mode button. This is a great app to use with the Seaboard Block and Equator Player. See this article for more on using BLOCKS with Equator.

XYZ Pad

This app turns your Lightpad Block into an XYZ Pad sending MIDI CC messages. Click the “Edit” button to change:

  1. The MIDI CC messages sent by the Lightpad’s X, Y and Z axes,
  2. What MIDI channel the CC messages are sent on, and
  3. The color of the Lightpad’s LEDs.