ROLI Studio Drums v1.1.0 released

We’re very pleased to announce the release of ROLI Studio Drums, v1.1.0, which is now available to everyone with a registered ROLI hardware device.

ROLI Studio Drums is a new MPE drum engine, featuring 15 kits and 240 individual drum parts that can be swapped out to build your desired kit. With a Lightpad Block, you can achieve expressive control over each drum sound; add embellishments and modulate the sound of each pad using MPE gestures and macro controls.

The installation and authorisation of ROLI Studio Drums is very similar to ROLI Studio Player - simply log in to ROLI Connect, head to the Apps tab and click the “Install” button next to ROLI Studio Drums to begin the download and installation.

A prompt may appear to ask permission before the installation proceeds, and once this is complete ROLI Studio Drums can either be launched as a standalone application from ROLI Connect or as a VST/AU plugin in a supporting DAW.

If you encounter any issues with ROLI Studio Drums, pleased let our support team know by creating a new support ticket, or raise it in the Issues forum. If you want to discuss the features in ROLI Studio Drums with other creators or share your ideas on how ROLI Studio Drums could be improved, head over to the Feature Requests forum, or if you have any questions, you can ask them here.

Playing the Kit

To achieve the maximum possible expression for each sound, you should set up ROLI Studio Drums in a DAW that is fully MPE compatible, or configured using the required setup. However, ROLI Studio Drums also features a single channel mode for use with conventional MIDI controllers and DAWs.

When played with a Lightpad Block, the 16 pads respond to various MPE gestures, including Slide, Glide and Press. Our team of sound designers have carefully designed the modulation amounts of each of the 240 individual drum parts for the optimum experience, meaning that some pads may respond differently to others. It’s worth noting that Press will modulate the sound only when either Slide or Glide have also been modulated, allowing for the original transient of the sound to play as intended, without being unintentionally modified.

Each of these MPE gestures will modulate the sound of each pad in interesting, unusual and sometimes surprising ways. Subtle gestures and a quick flick-of-the-wrist can bring life to familiar drum sounds, or longer gestures can be used to create textures.

For those without an MPE device, the ROLI Studio Drums pads can be triggered by any conventional MIDI controller, with the bottom-left pad beginning on C1 and ascending chromatically up to D#2 (the top-right pad). Notes triggered outside of this range will not trigger pads in ROLI Studio Drums, so please ensure your MIDI device is configured correctly.

Hardware Integration

As with ROLI Studio Player, ROLI Studio Drums integrates with the ROLI Lightpad Block and Live Block to allow freedom of control over the ROLI Studio Drums interface directly from the Block. 

Lightpad Block - The mode button on the side of the Lightpad Block can be used to navigate between the drum pad, the macro faders and selectors, or the audio effects XY pads:

  • Drum pad - This is similar to the Note Grid in ROLI Studio Player, where sounds can be triggered and modulated.

  • Macro faders and pad selection - this view comprises two tabs at the top of the Lightpad Block:

    • Macro Faders (Left tab) - These control the three macro faders, where the middle fader is assigned to the pitch of the selected pad.

    • Pad selection (Right tab) - By selecting one of the small 2x2 LED pads on the Lightpad Block, this updates the Macro Faders tab to control the macros of the newly-selected pad.

  • Audio FX (XY pads) - This view is identical to that found in ROLI Studio Player, offering either the Single view of the selected effect or Multi view of all four effects at once.

Live Block - Various buttons on the Live Block can be used to navigate parts of the ROLI Studio Drums interface:

  • Mode button - FX bypass
  • Volume - Master Vol
  • Heart - Fav Kit or Part
  • Cursor arrows - Browse Kits or Parts


ROLI Studio Drums comes bundled with 15 kits, each containing 16 unique drum parts:

Crispy Funk

Dark Minimal Techno

Dimensional IDM

Dusted Club

EDM Extasy

Electro Chill Pop

Ether 808

Grime Warp Ultra

Hard Rock Reunion

Heavy Downtempo

Modern Pop

Parisi Drum Kit

Pristine 909

Trap Sixteen

Vinyl 90s Hip-Hop

We'd love to know which kits you enjoy, and what you'd like to hear more of in the future.

ROLI Studio Drums v1.1.0 features:

  • Windows 10 and macOS 10.13+ support (64-bit)
  • Compatible as a standalone, AU and VST plug-in
  • MPE drum engine consisting of synthesis and sampler
  • 15 bespoke kits created by our in-house sound team
  • Macro fader and XY control for each drum part (16 parts per kit)
  • Audio Effects to add further modulation to your beats
  • Hardware integration support of pads, macros and effects for Lightpad Block and Live Block
  • Compatibility with all other ROLI MPE devices and conventional MIDI controllers
  • Configurable behaviour for each connected Lightpad Block to either:
    • Update controls to the instance of ROLI Studio Drums in focus
    • Lock to a specific instance of ROLI Studio Drums

We're already working on more improvements to the engine and more drum content, so we'd love to hear your thoughts on what can be improved with ROLI Studio Drums - feel free to let us know in the Feature Requests forum.