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Comparing/contrasting the apps and features

I'm new to production and I was learning Serum when I decided to buy a Block.  I have the block controlling Serum inside of Ableton Live with MPE, but I am still trying to decide if I should ditch Serum for now and focus on using the MPE synths you offer (assuming they will deliver a better experience for MPE).  I love the device, but I am totally confused about the Roli software (way too many options, but I think that's the point of the Studio Player?)  Anyway, my question is about how/where best to compare and contrast the purpose and features of each app?  for example, Equator, Strobe and Cypher do similar stuff (as far as I can tell without diving into each for hours, which I refuse to do for the purpose of product selection).  So when do I need one over the other?  Why 3 diff apps?  what's the main reason for going to one vs the other?  also,  do they share sounds, presets, projects, etc?  or are they isolated like Noise?  and now with the new Beta, I dont know if I am about to test a hobbled playback version of 3 merged apps.  The name says "player" and suggests a hobbled version, like the freebie Equator version that came with my Block.  It's not a good start to be completely confused by what each app is supposed to even be used for, how they differ, and what the tradeoffs are.  Im not about to learn 5-7 apps just to control my Block and see which I like.  it's daunting.  please provide more documentation to walk newbs like me through this.  With Blocks, you're surely going to attract a new generation of synth enthusiasts and with that, people need to know what software they should care about. (and maybe this a good time to mention that I bought the Block thinking on could compose on mobile as an extension of the desktop experience.  finding out after the purchase that Noise is just a toy now because it can't share projects, sounds, wavetables, etc.)  

Hi Aron, thanks for these questions - I'll attempt to address them all below.

Equator was originally developed by the ROLI team as the first dedicated MPE software instrument for the Seaboard. FXpansion originally developed Strobe2 and were by ROLI acquired in 2016. Since then, under the ROLI umbrella, the team was able to develop and release Cypher2 as well. All three products run as full versions either as a standalone application or as a plug-in within a DAW, which allows control over preset creation and sharing.

To describe the fundamental differences of each product:

  • Equator - A combination of traditional synthesis techniques with audio sample support for a realistic and diverse sound library.
  • Strobe2 - Originally modelled around the circuitry of classic monophonic analogue synths, but given polyphony and a number of other more modern synthesis techniques (hard sync, spread, detune of the oscillator, for example).
  • Cypher2 - A thru-zero FM synth at its heart but capable of a broad range of timbres.

There's no right or wrong way to approach these different sound engines - we recommend exploring and seeing which sounds suit your workflow the best. The three engines were created over time and cater to different sound palettes, which offers as wide a range as possible of sounds to explore and use.

ROLI Studio Player brings these three engines together in a simple interface to allow you to easily switch between the three engines, without having to actually switch products each time. Whilst it doesn't allow full access to every parameter of each sound engine, the core macro controls as well as chord and arpeggiator modulation is available, plus audio effects. We wanted to create something that was easy to approach without feeling daunting for anyone new to music software, so that they can take advantage of the power of these products with their ROLI devices.

If you want to get a little deeper and explore your own sound design, either tweaking parameters of existing presets or starting from scratch to create your own, the full versions of each product allow you to do this.

I hope that helps - we'll be updating ROLI Studio Player over the coming months to introduce even more features, functionality and sounds. We're also working to update the full versions.

Additionally, you can try the demo versions of both Strobe2 and Cypher2 to see how they can fit into your workflow - other than a timeout after 30 minutes and lack of saving functionality, the demo is identical to the authorised versions of these products.

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