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Feelings on the Seaboard Block velocity sensitivity?

In certain ways I love the seaboard block, but in other ways it's driving me a bit crazy.

  1. I feel like the velocity sensitivity is really strange with the device, especially when striking the keys instead of slowly pressuring them. Sometimes a note will be really loud and sometimes it will be really soft. I can't really seem to reliably get a good velocity curve.

  2. This problem is aggravated when using it to control other instruments not made by ROLI. I find it almost impossible to get anything but super loud / super quiet notes / sometimes no notes at all with Kontakt for example.

Does anyone else experience this sort of thing?

I have been feeling sometimes like maybe I have defective unit.


Best Answer

Hi Cosmos,


You might find that after a period of playing you adjust and become comfortable with the most effective playing techniques, although please feel free to get in touch with our support team if you have continued questions. And we'll certainly continue to make any feasible optimizations with further firmware updates.


Regarding using your Seaboard Block with instruments besides Equator and Strobe2, indeed Equator and Strobe2's 5D touch curves have been specifically designed for MPE controllers like the Seaboard and their 5D presets have been tailored to give the most expressive response with ROLI instruments. 


Besides modifying the general 5D touch settings in ROLI Dashboard, if you're feeling intrepid you might experiment with using MIDI modifiers to apply curves to the 5D data, as as some creators have done create custom Max/MSP patches to tailor the response to one's individual taste when using third-party instruments.


Thanks,


Red


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I have noticed this on my Seaboard Rise 25 and Seaboard Block.   Seems to be issue in the firmware software of the boards.  I hope ROLI would make velocity detection more user controllable in future firmware versions.  


From my experience the current algorithm seems to use the instant pressure when you press the surface. That solution has low latency but the result is very often poor in accuracy because of the dynamics of the actual physical surface.  I have had much better result by ignoring Seaboard's midi velocity and using only pressure information as velocity with slight (0.0 - 0.1s) delay after note detection.  Latency is larger but accuracy is much better. Its not ideal to do that in a DAW. It should be done in the firmware.

 

ROLI could use a slightly longer time window of pressure data and the average that as an velocity (maybe with some custom window function). Then give users control of choosing the old algorithm or this new algorithm and its parameters (like length of the time window / delay / latency). That could be a quick fix to the firmware. 


More advanced solution could be done by recording large amount of key press data with a robot with calibrated force sensor and and use data to better evaluate how pressure data would best work as velocity. Data could also be recorded by human player inputting each set of data with different levels of force and use that data to improve algorithm if such robot is not available.

Answer

Hi Cosmos,


You might find that after a period of playing you adjust and become comfortable with the most effective playing techniques, although please feel free to get in touch with our support team if you have continued questions. And we'll certainly continue to make any feasible optimizations with further firmware updates.


Regarding using your Seaboard Block with instruments besides Equator and Strobe2, indeed Equator and Strobe2's 5D touch curves have been specifically designed for MPE controllers like the Seaboard and their 5D presets have been tailored to give the most expressive response with ROLI instruments. 


Besides modifying the general 5D touch settings in ROLI Dashboard, if you're feeling intrepid you might experiment with using MIDI modifiers to apply curves to the 5D data, as as some creators have done create custom Max/MSP patches to tailor the response to one's individual taste when using third-party instruments.


Thanks,


Red

It's a common problem across keyboards, weighted and unweighted, that designers consider that if you can get soft and loud, you have dynamic sensitivity.  You can see that in the ROM sounds too, where for instance a rhodes sample is sampled at p and f.  I have a casio digital piano where the rhodes was sampled at mp and mf, and it works much better.


The most important aspect of velocity control is to be able to reliably get a mf dynamic.  I invariably use my daw to create a plateau or sweet spot in the midrange, so it's more possible to play in the middle dynamic consistently, something real pianos do very well!


It's the dynamic equivalent of the 'smiley face' EQ.  Hey, you have top and bottom, what else do you need in your sound???


I've requested elsewhere in these forums, that the dashboard be improved to allow the kinds of curves found in Equator.  For now, yes, I will be using my daw to adjust velocity curves.  That doesn't help in NOISE, though.

Hi Red,


I do hope the driver developers up their game soon. It's obviously much better to have a controller that can adapt to the playing technique of different players than for you to be put in a position of constantly telling players they need to try to adapt to a controller that can't properly manage note-on and note-off triggers, velocities, and aftertouch values.


Cheers,


Brian


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