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Seaboard, actually pretty good

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:08 pm
by steve
I had my doubts. Especially after I read their marketing material. ("It'll help you look real cool at the coffee shop." -- ewww, yuck! & I make my own coffee.) And it seems like an Apple product. ("This instrument product is disabled pending registration. Please tell us the name of your firstborn, for security purposes.")

Haha, please excuse my fun; it's all irrelevant to the actual instrument -- which has some mixed reviews, so I was ready to be disappointed. But it was immediately easy, and after a couple days, I can say I definitely like it. Impossible to play the English Suites on it; you'd have to be a technical genius, and the "white" keys don't go all the way up the way you'd want for proper ergonomics. So if you try to play something technical, it's a lot of wrist tweaking or a ton of practice to nail the white spaces between the black keys. However, if you approach it completely differently, it's a lot like playing fretless stringed instrument (fretless electric bass especially). Good for composing/improvising with a sloppy approach. Conducive to a different style from technical piano.

So anyway I'm still learning and setting it up. Tomorrow I'll interface it with a Behringer D, see how that goes. Then a Minitaur, that might be great. Sadly no Solaris yet -- I'm on the list for the next batch of Solaris synths.

If you're reading this and you've played a Seaboard with Solaris, please tell me how it works. I don't really understand MPE fully. (I just know it works partly with some stuff.) But Solaris is polyphonic aftertouch (though its built-in keyboard is not, right?)... Which I think means that you can do pitch & "brightness" bending per-note. Please correct me!

Anyway, the seaboard is great at doing per-note bends and vibrato and brightness stuff. It's really a great thing to bend one note and not all of them. (Like on guitar -- you know! Bend to unison.)


Oh and by the way I'm steve breslin, first time post. I do mostly video game stuff. (In fact, voice recording mostly.) A pleasure to be joining you!

Re: Seaboard, actually pretty good

Posted: Sun Nov 11, 2018 6:51 pm
by John Bowen

What you will have to do is re-program the sound you like to have Poly AT, since it’s not standard on the Solaris keyboard itself, and nothing in the factory preset sounds has been prepared using Poly AT. It will be a lot of work that way, but, for the moment, that’s the reality of it. You can route the Poly AT anywhere you want, so certainly you can do pitch bends, vibrato, filter cutoff, etc.

Re: Seaboard, actually pretty good

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:43 pm
by steve
Sounds like a fun learning experience. I will share my results (& questions!). Thanks John!

Re: Seaboard, actually pretty good

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 4:21 pm
by steve
Sorry I keep writing about stuff extraneous to Solaris. Actually I got the Seaboard specially for my Solaris! But now I'm talking about Seaboard+ModelD...

Anyway I plugged the Seaboard into the Model-D, as I mentioned last time. The glide works great! From a practical/conventional point of view, it's probably best and most useful for vibrato wobble.

Please note that the D also has its own glide, and if you try to use them both it seems pretty confusing. Anyway, I turned the glide on the D all the way down (off). So the Roli is handling all the glide stuff, and has a settings setup which works approximately like the "glide" dial on the D. (It sets how quick to we get to the target note.)

With the Model-D, the glide is limited to one octave. Which is a significant limitation, but on the other hand, if you slide past the octave it locks at the octave so it aims for you if you're sliding to octave. You always sound like you have perfect aim! :) But I'd rather have good aim and no limitation. But you learn to play the instrument and use its advantages.

"New" notes are exactly centered on the closest semitone.
Any "legato" note played a semitone or less in either direction becomes a slide.
Playing a full tone (or more) apart makes two different "new" notes.
You can slide to within an octave of the most recent "new" note.

However, other modulation of the Model-D is handled through CV, and all the modulation stuff exiting the Roli is MIDI. So you'd need one of these
(or something similar that converts MIDI to CV)

And the Roli delivers MIDI via USB, so you'd need a computer that converts USB to a standard MIDI DIN cable.