This guide will show you how to load a multi-timbral instrument like Equator into Reaper.

Short answer

Create an instrument track receiving on all channels, select a multi-timbral plugin such as Equator, and select the Lightpad or Seaboard Block as the input.

Detailed answer

The Lightpad and Seaboard use multiple channels of MIDI to achieve polyphonic dimensions of touch. Reaper is very compatible with BLOCKS because it accommodates multiple MIDI channels on a single track which can host a multi-timbral plug-in like Equator.

Step 1: ROLI Dashboard Settings

  • Connect your Blocks and launch ROLI Dashboard
  • If you're using a Lightpad Block, load the "Note Grid" app and then click the "Edit" button.
  • Ensure that the MIDI Settings in ROLI Dashboard are set as shown below.

We have selected:

  • MIDI Mode: MPE
  • MPE Zone: Lower
  • No. MIDI Channels: 15
  • Pitch bend range: 48 semitones

Step 2: Create an Instrument Track

Open your Reaper project and insert a new virtual instrument track.

Insert ➝ Virtual Instrument on new track

Step 3: Add a new virtual instrument

A pop-up window will open giving you the option to select the virtual instrument you wish to use.

In Reaper you are able to use VST and AU format plug-ins. As there is no particular advantage of using either, it is up to personal preference as to which one you choose. Navigate to your desired plugin (Equator) and click OK.

Step 4: Setup routing

Depending on the plug-in you select, you may see a message like this one:

Reaper multiple audio outs message

Some multi-timbral instruments have multiple audio outputs. This message is asking if you would like to route those audio outputs to separate audio tracks.

In the case of the Seaboard the answer is almost always no. The Seaboard assigns each new note to its own channel, so separate audio outputs – which is most often used for drums – would be confusing.

Step 5: Set BLOCKS as MIDI input

All that’s left is to set the input of your instrument track to receive all MIDI channels from the Lightpad or Seaboard Block.

Click the input tab on that track and navigate to:

Input: MIDI ➝ ROLI Ltd. – Lightpad/Seaboard BLOCK➝ All Channels

Reaper selecting MIDI inputs Seaboard

Step 6: Equator’s MIDI/MPE Settings

By default, Equator's MIDI/ MPE Settings will already match those that we selected for ROLI Dashboard in step one. But since a mismatch of settings in Dashboard and Equator can cause silent notes or incorrect pitch bends, it's worth double-checking them now.

  1. Open the Equator plugin from your instrument track in Reaper.
  2. Click on menu (☰) in the top right and select MIDI/MPE Settings.
  3. Ensure that Equator’s MIDI Settings match the ones we set in ROLI Dashboard in Step 1 (by default they should already be correct). Now that Equator is listening for MIDI on the same channels that the Seaboard is sending it, there will be no missing notes.

Equator MIDI MPE settings page standard MPE setup

Step 7: Recording and Playback

You are now ready to use your Lightpad or Seaboard Block with a multi-timbral instrument in Reaper. Record-arm the track to enable MIDI input and record as normal.

Step 8: Editing

  • Double click on the MIDI clip you have recorded to bring up the piano roll editor
  • Use the drop down menu to the right of the controller lane to choose which controller you are seeing/editing (e.g., pitch bend or channel pressure)
  • Use the drop down menu on the bottom right of the controller lane to select which channel information you are seeing in the controller lane.

Reaper editing MIDI in piano roll