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Seaboard Rise/Lightpad block M general feedback & suggestions


Recently I've purchased Seaboard Rise & Lightpad Block M. I'm really digging the concept of an expressive midi controllers, and so far I had many enjoyable moments with my setup, since it's really something new and unique for me.

However, I must admit, that for the amount of money paid, the experience is awfully unpolished, and this is true for both devices. I really want to expand my Roli device collection, but with such imperfect workflow, I might just end up selling them.

There's no particular importance order, but I've encountered following very irritating bugs/things:

1. Stuck notes. I've encountered this with both devices. On Mac this was somewhat tolerable, as I haven't encountered that too often (still much more often, than any other midi controller that I've used ever), but with my iPad and Block M, I've encountered this almost a dozen times within one session. The only way is to disconnect and reconnect. Notes got stuck just randomly when I play, and they continue to play when I'm recording and just browsing through the app. 

2. Very limited synth settings on iOS. I understand, that product's motto is to be very accessible, but with such limited amount of sounds within Noise app, tracks start to sound like each other in a very short time. This is more of a problem with drum packs, but 3 settings for melodic synths is just not enough as well. 

3. Connect process. It's not very seamless, and has pretty high fail ratio on iOS, especially within Noise app. Have to reboot device when fail cycle occurs.

4. Major one: can't change install path while using Windows. This is a plague for some other music software, but please, allow users to choose where we want to install our plugins. Doesnt' seem like a hard thing to do. People often limit their C drive to be just a system storage, so the space is really limited there.

5. Apple devices integration. I'm not sure, but from what I get, Roli has a pretty strong relationship with Apple. Still, many 1st party software features just don't work, or work  poorly. Most recent one for me: scale tool in Garageband. I have to set up scale in Noise app, which makes workflow just irritating. Devices just don't work with Garageband's Scale feature.

I'm also not sure whether something can be done here, since it requires interaction with other developers, but switching between MPE and regular MIDI mode is also frustrating and not seamless at all.

Even though Alchemy supports MPE, it has to be enabled manually every time.

6. Sometimes sound just disappeared in Logic Pro X while browsing through Alchemy synth. Never happened with other controllers.

There might be something else, but I guess that's enough for now.

Overall, this is still a fun experience, but once the feel of novelty will fade, I'm really not sure whether I am able to justify such price for such an unpolished product. From what I understand, the company exists for 10+ years, so it's really bizzare to feel like a very early adopter of some experimental sci-fi tools in 2020.


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