TEST DRIVE: Roli Songmaker Kit

Within this edition of”Test Drive,” we take a peek at this Roli Songmaker Kit.

For the last few years, Roli has been redefining the usage of mobile midi controllers. Starting with the release of the Seaboard Midi Keyboard, the company has been reaching for new heights. One thing they’ve begun doing is putting together their controllers in various kits. 

Within this edition of TEST DRIVE, we take a peek at this Roli Songmaker kit. This kit include Roli’s Seaboard Block, Lightpad Block and Loop Block. We’ll give you our first impression of this kit and then an individual breakdown of its elements.  

First impression

Within minutes of opening the box, the music was being made. The easiest way to utilize the Songmaker Kit will be to connect it with Roli’s Noise App (free download).  When you enter the program, you make a new project and connect your kit into the program via Bluetooth. As Soon as You’re connected, the fun will begin.  

Because you can imagine, the Seaboard Block is initially setup to be used with the computer keyboard presets as the Lightpad Block is attached to a drum pad. If you want to modify their assigned presets, you are able to do so on the tab where you connected the kit. 

Each device is going to have a dropdown bar that allows you to modify its assigned preset. This attribute makes the Lightpad Block a very powerful piece of equipment. 

With the push of a button, the Lightpad Block can be used for anything from playing with melodies to acting as a mixer for the entire setup. This kind of versatility is a game changer for music makers on the go. Inspiration is moments away together with the dawn of this Lightpad and Noise program. 

If you would like to choose your project a step further, you could export what you created in the Noise App to anything DAW you’re using. 

Roli has yet another program, known as Roli Play, which is tailored to people who wish to explore the kit’s capabilities in program form. Both of the apps provide the consumers with an intuitive, enjoyable music making process.

Now we’ve had a moment to try the kit with its native music making program, let us take a deeper look at each piece of equipment.

Seaboard Block

With its own 5 Dimensions of Touch (strike, glide, slide, media and elevator ), Roli elevates the Seaboard Block as a computer keyboard with unlimited playing chances. The computer keyboard enables the player to play with an quantity of expression that few tools have allowed before. It is a wonderful idea in concept, but if put into practice, problems can arise. 

Depending on the player and their style, the Seaboard Block might supply either a creative spark… or a headache.   The Seabord’s biggest strength will double as a potential crutch to a few users.

Sometimes, you just need to play the notice as you usually would on a normal computer keyboard. The feel of this keyboard is too spongy for a few players’ taste. For that reason, it feels limited in serving its true purpose.  

With that said, the Seaboard Block is a fun instrument to play and can be used as a create tool to spark creativity in an unconventional way. 

Lightpad Block

The Lightpad Block packs a punch for a variety of reasons. For its size, the Lightpad Block can handle any function you throw at it within a music software. The piece of gear can toggle between clip launching, playing melodies and creating beats in real time. When paired with the Loop Block, the Lightpad Block becomes an”all in one” tune making device.   The Lightpad Block appears unlimited concerning its flexiblity.  

The feel of this Lightpad Block is soft, yet sturdy. Contrary to the Seaboard Block, the Lightpad Block surface provides the user with the right balance of sound yet delicate touchscreen.

All in all, the Lightpad Block provides the best value in the full kit. The dimensions and versatility of this unit makes it a powerful piece of equipment for any producer.  

Loop Block

Tying at the Seaboard and Lightpad together is the Loop Block. This piece of equipment has buttons designed to handle many different functions. These functions include play, loop, setting a pace and quantizing beats. To Put It simply, that the Loop Block is the glue that brings the kit together.  

Software Integration 

While creating music within the Noise program is convenient, a fantastic selling point for the Roli Songmaker Kit has been its ability to integrate with a bunch of distinct DAW’s. This can be completed in conjunction with Roli’s Dashboard program. Once the kit is connected to your computer, start Dashboard and choose which applications you’ll be using the kit inside. Depending on the applications, the kit can be used for a variety of different purposes. 

As an example, you could set up the Lightpad Block to command clip launching in Ableton Live. At exactly the same time, you could assign the Seaboard to deal with an instrument track. For further control of the applications from the kit, you can use the Loop Block to manage tasks such as play/pause, loop, etc..

Roli has also designed its software synth that perfectly integrates with all the Songmaker Kit. The Synth (named Equator) is designed to deal with polyphonic expression in MIDI format. That means that the synth is a perfect accessory for any user that likes experimenting with all the Songmaker’s free form sense and style of play.  

Verdict: The Roli Songmaker Kit supplies a fantastic balance of portability, versatility and fun for any music maker. The Seaboard will not be everyone’s beloved keyboard but it supplies the user with a playing experience that few keyboards have allowed before. 

On the flip side, the Lightpad is a fantastic piece of equipment that could be tailored to fit any of the consumers needs. Insert at the Loop Block and you’re well on your way into creating music in an instant.

To find out more on the Roli Songmaker Kit, take a look at the product page on their site.

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