Up until now, controlling live midi with an external device has been limited to its hardware design. Expressing oneself by playing notes with a midi keyboard can only go so far, as the producer must rely on velocity, a separate pitch wheel, and a foot pedal. One’s true personality and musicianship can often only shine through after running the notes back through a computer, adding envelope after envelope of effects. Tech company ROLI, however, seeks to change all that with their new revolutionary piece equipment called the Seaboard GRAND.
The GRANDs are crafted in London and are offered in 37, 61, and 88-key models. The main feature is the versatility of the moldable, squishy keys. By wiggling your finger, you can create vibrato at the exact frequency of your movement. By pressing upwards or downwards, the pitch can be affected in half keys or even minute fractions. By sliding your finger along the strips located above and below the keys, you can slur between notes and create wide up or down-sweeps.
The keys are also pressure sensitive, meaning the player can control timbre and volume with the touch of a finger. The device comes with native synth presets, and can also be connected to a computer for use in production and live performance. All of it is compatible with Mac OS X and many third party tools.
Right now, the GRANDs begin at $1,999. The largest model goes for $8,888.
Visit the official website to watch more videos of the keyboard in action and see the technical details behind the device.