Seaboard RISE Creator Manual

1 Introduction

Hello creator, and welcome to the Creator Manual for the Seaboard RISE. We think of the people who buy and use ROLI’s products as creators more than customers. Our products are designed to expand the bandwidth of creative expression and thereby empower people as the creators they are. Everyone who buys and uses a Seaboard RISE is investing in this vision of creativity and therefore is also a co-creator of ROLI.

You may already be playing your Seaboard RISE and discovering its creative possibilities. This comprehensive Creator Manual covers the RISE 25 and 49 and explains all of the details about your Seaboard RISE to ensure that you get the most out of it.

The Seaboard RISE is a multi-dimensional MIDI controller whose touch-sensitive interface and Equator software synthesiser open new possibilities for musical expression. While most conventional keyboards offer one dimension of touch to control sound (initial velocity, or what we call Strike), the Seaboard RISE offers five dimensions of touch, or 5D Touch for short. These can be mapped to a variety of sound parameters. Three Touch Faders and an X/Y Touchpad add another layer of expressive control, allowing you to tune the touch responsiveness of the keywaves to match your personal taste in real time.

On the next page we have included a short list of terms specific to Seaboard instruments. We will refer to these terms throughout the Creator Manual.

Please note that this is a digital manual updated regularly to reflect software updates and other improvements. Be sure to check for updates on My ROLI. This Manual is current up to Equator v1.9.7, ROLI Dashboard v3.2.7 and RISE Firmware v1.1.5.

Support and Feedback

We want you to have the best experience possible with our products and would love to hear your feedback. Should you have any questions, experience any problems, or just want to say hello, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

The easiest way to reach us is to send a support enquiry from: support.roli.com. We will respond as soon as possible.

2 Glossary of Selected Seaboard RISE Terms

Equator: ROLI’s custom-built, multi-dimensional sound engine and software synthesiser. Equator is designed to communicate with Seaboard instruments and take advantage of their real-time dimensions of touch, maximizing your ability to express yourself using just the motions of your fingers on your Seaboard’s keywaves.

Expression Mode: The mode of operation in which the three Touch Faders of the Seaboard RISE control the dynamics of the Glide, Slide, and Press dimensions of touch. Expression Mode is designed to let you modify the expressiveness of the Seaboard RISE to suit specific sounds and your individual playing style.

Five Dimensions of Touch (5D Touch): The feature of real-time control and modulation of sound through the basic finger gestures of Strike, Press, Glide, Slide, and Lift.

  • Strike: The velocity and force with which a finger makes contact with a keywave.
  • Press: The pressure and continuous touch applied to the keywave after the initial strike. Known as “aftertouch” in traditional synth terminology.
  • Glide: Horizontal movements from side to side on a keywave or along the ribbons located above and below the keywaves. This typically controls pitch and allows smooth movements from one pitch to another. It also lets you bend notes and add vibrato by moving your finger.
  • Slide: Vertical movements up and down the Y-axis of a keywave.
  • Lift: The release velocity or speed with which your finger lifts off from a keywave.

Keywave: A wavelike element of the keywave surface that corresponds to a single key on a standard keyboard. Each of the Five Dimensions of Touch can be accessed on a single keywave.    

Keywave surface: The entire playing surface including all keywaves and the ribbons above and below them. The keywave surface corresponds to a keyboard.

MIDI Mode: A mode of playing the Seaboard RISE in which the Touch Faders can be assigned to any MIDI CCs for additional customisation of sound.

MPE : Multi-dimensional polyphonic expression (MPE) is a protocol for using standard MIDI messages to communicate with and enable the operation of multi-dimensional instruments such as the Seaboard RISE and GRAND. MPE enables these instruments to control multiple parameters–such as pitch, brightness (usually via filter cutoff frequency), vibrato, and much more–on a per-note basis. You do this with playing gestures such as velocity, aftertouch, and sliding up and down the keywaves–what we’ve called the Dimensions of Touch–and importantly, a gesture you perform on one note affects only that note, not all of the others along with it, which is what happens on most conventional MIDI controllers and synthesizers.

ROLI Dashboard: An application for modifying and customising the internal settings of the Seaboard RISE. (See “ROLI Dashboard Creator Manual” for more information.)

Touch Fader: A control for adjusting the sensitivity of the keywave surface to dimensions of touch.

3 Getting started

3.1 System Requirements

Macintosh

  • Mac OS 10.9 (Mavericks) or later
  • Minimum RAM: 4GB
  • Recommended RAM: 8GB
  • Processor: 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 or faster
  • Bluetooth connectivity: OS 10.10+

Windows

  • Windows 7, 8, or 10
  • Minimum RAM: 4GB
  • Recommended RAM: 8GB
  • Processor: Intel Core i5/equivalent or faster

3.2 The Seaboard Software Bundle

Before making music on your Seaboard RISE, you need to download the Seaboard RISE Software Bundle.

To access the Seaboard Software Bundle you should first register your Seaboard by following the instructions section 1.3 below. After registering you can download the Seaboard Software Bundle from your account page on my.roli.com.

3.3 Register on My ROLI

Visit my.roli.com and sign up with a user name and password of your choice. When you have signed up and logged in, the website will ask you to register your product. Use your Product Registration Code. The code is printed on the Registration Card. This card is in the box marked Make Music Now, which comes in the package with your RISE.

3.4 Log In and Download ROLI Software

Now that you have created an account on My ROLI, you can log in and download the latest RISE Software Bundle. The bundle includes ROLI Dashboard and Equator. Click either “Download Software Bundle for Mac,” “Download Software Bundle for Windows 32-bit,” or “Download Software Bundle for Windows 64-bit” depending upon which operating system you use.

3.5 Installation: Mac and Windows

When the download is complete, open the Downloads folder on your computer. Follow the on-screen instructions and choose the location or disk where you want to install the software.

The install will require approximately 1.0 GB of disk space.

Mac: Control-click or right-click the installer from a Finder window and select Open.

Windows: Right-click on the installer ZIP file and click on ‘Extract all’. This will create a new folder next to the ZIP file, which contains the unzipped items. Double-click the installer inside the new folder to begin the installation.

You may see a message to say that Windows has protected your PC by stopping an “unrecognised application” from opening. Don’t worry. The software is safe to install. You can bypass this message by clicking “more info” on the message, then the “run anyway” button.

4 Software: ROLI Dashboard and Equator

The Seaboard Software Bundle includes ROLI Dashboard and Equator. Below is a brief description and summary of these software applications. Please refer to the “ROLI Dashboard for RISE Creator Manual” and “Equator for RISE Creator Manual” for a comprehensive explanation of all that you can do with Dashboard and Equator.

4.1 ROLI Dashboard

The ROLI Dashboard is an application  for managing and customising your settings for the RISE and other ROLI hardware.

You can edit many settings through ROLI Dashboard, including:

  • Channel Mode: MPE “ON” or “Off”; Single or Multi.
  • Channel Range: 1-10 for Multi Channel Mode.
  • MIDI Channel: 1-16 for Single Channel Mode.
  • Settings for five dimensions of touch: Strike, Press, Glide, Slide, and Lift.
  • MIDI Mode Settings: Assignable MIDI CC’s for Touch Faders and X/Y Touchpad.
  • Pedal Settings: Assignable MIDI CC.
  • Connection Status Indicator: USB or Bluetooth.

4.2 Equator

Equator is ROLI’s custom-built, multi-dimensional sound engine and software synthesizer. Integrating seamlessly with the RISE’s touch-sensitive surface, Equator opens new possibilities for multi-dimensional expression. In Equator you can assign the modulation sources controlled by Strike, Press, Glide, Slide, and Lift to a variety of parameters in the synth, such as filter cutoff, LFO frequency, and many, many more. See the Equator Creator Manual for detailed information on Equator’s possible modulation destinations.

4.3 Software and firmware updates

The RISE’s software and firmware are updated regularly. ROLI Dashboard is where you get the latest updates. Connect your RISE to the computer and launch ROLI Dashboard for RISE. Under the Dashboard Menu at the top right-hand corner of the screen select “Check for updates” to update your software and firmware.

5 Working with Other Hardware and Software

The RISE is compatible with any electronic instrument that can receive MIDI and produce sound in response. It transmits MIDI on up to 16 MIDI channels simultaneously, enabling polyphonic pitch bend and the other expressive modulations available via 5D Touch.

The receiving instruments that you use must be multi-timbral for you to experience the full expressive capabilities of the RISE. They should have a pitch-bend range of at least +/- one octave and be able to respond to aftertouch.

Note: A multi-timbral software or hardware instrument is one that can play multiple sounds at the same time by using multiple MIDI channels. Here, we’re using those extra channels for note-by-note expression as opposed to different sounds.

5.1 Multi-dimensional Polyphonic Expression (MPE)

The Seaboard RISE supports MPE, which is a protocol for using standard MIDI messages to communicate with and enable the operation of multi-dimensional instruments such as the Seaboard RISE. MPE-capable devices can control multiple parameters of each note independently such as pitch, timbre, and other nuances when used within MPE-compatible software like Equator. MPE accomplishes this by spreading MIDI data that pertain to each note across a range of MIDI channels and reserving one channel (usually the lowest) for global MIDI messages such as program change, pedal state, and fader positions. These global messages affect all notes equally. Since each note gets its own channel, it’s effectively its own sound “program” — even though you still see a single preset onscreen — and thus can be pitch-bent, filtered, and otherwise modulated independently of other notes.

Please refer to the ROLI Dashboard Creator Manual for information on MPE and how to alter the MPE settings for the Seaboard RISE. 

5.2 Working with Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs)

Equator is a stand-alone software synthesizer and sound engine that works seamlessly with the RISE, and no other software is required to create and modify sound. The RISE, however, also works with most DAWs, such as Logic or Cubase. Because the RISE transmits standard MIDI messages, it is also compatible with any other software instruments which you might also use in your chosen DAW.

In many DAWs, a single track can receive multiple MIDI channels from the RISE and send the MIDI data to a multi-timbral synth like Equator. Other DAWs are limited to a single channel per track, so configuring your project to take full advantage of the RISE’s dimensions of expression is not a uniform process. It depends on the DAW.

You can find detailed guides about working with most DAWS on our Support page at support.roli.com. We also include template project files. If you do not see your preferred software on the list, get in touch with a support team member through our Support page or through my.roli.com.

The following DAWs have simple workflows which are ideal for use with the RISE:

  • Bitwig
  • Cubase
  • Logic
  • Reaper

When working with DAWs, Equator can be loaded as a VST/AU plugin.

5.3 USB MIDI Class Compliancy

The Seaboard RISE is a USB Class Compliant device. It can be connected directly to other USB Class Compliant devices which receive MIDI data and produce sound in response, without the need to download and install special drivers.

Although the RISE does not have traditional five-pin DIN connectors, it lets you connect to hardware that requires these connectors. One option is to connect to a computer and transmit MIDI via a MIDI interface. Or you can connect a USB MIDI Class Compliant device that converts MIDI over USB to traditional five-pin DIN connectors.

6 Care and Maintenance

Basic care and attention will protect your RISE and help it stay in optimal condition for years to come. Avoid excessive force on the keywave surface, and try to keep the RISE away from direct sunlight, sharp objects, liquids, and especially oils — including greasy fingers after eating food.

To clean the keywave surface you may use damp, bleach-free, oil-free cleansing wipes. Do not use any abrasive cleansing agents on the RISE or its keywaves.

7 ROLI Support

7.1 My ROLI

Manuals and other resources on My ROLI should help answer initial questions about  your RISE. Visit our Support page at support.roli.com  for a wider range of resources that should help answer questions about the RISE and its software. The page includes frequently asked questions, tutorial videos, and guides for connecting the RISE with third-party plug-ins and DAWs.

7.2 ROLI Support

Contact the ROLI support team directly on support.roli.com  for any questions. You will receive an answer within 24 hours. Our support team is here to help you.