Native Instruments' Reaktor is a powerful and flexible software environment for creating, modifying, and playing synthesizers, samplers, sequencers, drum machines, effects, and more. With just a bit of programming you can easily integrate the Seaboard RISE and GRAND into your Reaktor ensembles. (Click here if you'd like to use Reaktor with the Lightpad or Seaboard Block.)
Several uploads in the Reaktor User Library include support for MPE. The "Midi Polyphonic Expression" Reaktor Block, for example, allows you to use eight MPE channels in a Reaktor Blocks patch; simply set ROLI Dashboard's MPE mode to ON and a Channel Range of 2–9.
The ROLI Seaboard Aggregator includes support for up to 10 channels of the Seaboard's MIDI data, and MultiExp uses this to pair it with a semi-modular synth in an ensemble designed for MPE instruments like the Seaboard.
This tutorial will introduce a new Reaktor instrument that supports all of the Seaboard's MPE channels as well as the RISE's XY Touchpad and Touch Faders. We'll pair this instrument to a simple subtractive synthesizer, showing how to incorporate the Seaboard into your Reaktor creations.
Step 1: ROLI Dashboard Settings
Open ROLI Dashboard from your applications/programs folder.
Take a look at the MIDI and Pitch sections and select:
- MIDI Mode: MPE
- MPE Zone: Lower
- No. MIDI Channels: 15
- Pitch Bend Range: 48
Step 2: Receive and route the Seaboard's MPE data
Reaktor makes it easy to control synthesizers polyphonically, although to use it with the Seaboard we'll need to first receive and interpret the Seaboard's MPE data. To do this, we'll create a new "Seaboard" macro:
Download the Seaboard.mdl Reaktor Macro attached below.
This macro includes several instruments. One instrument receives MIDI Channel 1 of the Seaboard's data; this is the Global Channel, which the Seaboard uses for the XY Touchpad, Touch Faders, and pedal. The other instruments each receive one of the remaining fifteen MIDI channels (2–16), which the Seaboard uses to transmit notes and their accompanying 5D Touch data. The Seaboard macro combines the 5D Touch information from these MIDI channels and assigns each note's expressive data to one of fifteen voices in the Reaktor ensemble.
The Seaboard macro outputs the following information across 15 Reaktor voices:
- Slide (CC74)
- Glide (pitch bend)
- Press (Aftertouch)
- Strike (Gate)
- Lift (Release Velocity)
Additionally, the macro has outputs for the following:
- CC107 (Left Touch Fader)
- CC109 (Center Touch Fader)
- CC111 (Right Touch Fader)
- CC114 (XY Touchpad, X)
- CC113 (XY Touchpad, Y)
- CC64 (Sustain pedal)
Step 3: Map the Seaboard's data to a synthesizer
Now that we have received and routed the Seaboard's data in our Reaktor ensemble, we can map it to a synthesizer.
Download the ROLI-Seaboard.ens Reaktor Ensemble attached below.
We've chosen a simple subtractive synthesizer using a few basic Reaktor modules, including a Sawtooth oscillator, a Ladder Filter, and an ADSR Envelope. We've set the ensemble to use 15 voices so that the ensemble will respond to each of the Seaboard's MPE channels.
By using basic multiplication and addition modules we can easily map the Seaboard's 5D Touch to expressively control our simple synthesizer. For this demo ensemble:
- Strike controls amplitude
- Press controls amplitude and filter resonance
- Glide and pitch control the current note pitch
- Slide controls filter cutoff frequency
- Lift controls the envelope's release time
Also, we've edited the "Connect" tab for each fader ("P Cutoff," "Res," "Attack," "Release") to directly control these parameters with the XY Touchpad and Touch Faders.
Finally, to sweeten up the sound we've put in a couple of Reaktor's built-in effects, Chorus and Tape-ish Delay.
Use your Seaboard to play this ensemble and hear how your gestures can control this simple synthesizer expressively. To maximize expressive possibilities In your own ensembles, you may want to apply curves to the dimensions of touch, just like MPE synthesizers like Equator, Strobe2, and Cypher2 do.
Step 4: Create your own Reaktor ensembles for the Seaboard!
Armed with the Seaboard macro and a few pointers, you're now ready to add Seaboard support to your own Reaktor ensembles!