ROLI is back with the Seaboard BLOCK M, a $350 compact MPE keyboard – DJ TechTools

ROLI, the 2009-founded company known for its pioneering role in MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression), has returned with the launch of the Seaboard BLOCK M. It’s a refined and redesigned take on its flagship Seaboard RISE gear line, in a more portable – and notably more affordable, priced at just below $350 – form.

ROLI’s reappearance may come as good news to many, seeing as the company has had a rocky go in the last few yaers – they filed for administration in the UK back in 2021. The Seaboard BLOCK M’s $349.95 price point, compared to the RISE 2’s $1,400 one, makes it a more accessible kit addition for artists that may not be willing or able to chalk up thousands to purchase their next piece of hardware. Worth noting, too, that perhaps this price is indicative of the company’s interest in creating mass-producible gear – a step that could ultimately bode well for its long-term success.

Features to note

Along with a simple and clean black casing, a durable and compact build meant for easy usage and transport from your studio to the road and beyond, here’s the lowdown on the BLOCK M’s key features:

  • 5D Touch technology with sound shaping via gestures like Strike, Press, Glide, Lift, and Slide
  • New firmware upgrades, making fore more nuanced MPE control and advanced customization of keywave response on the keybaord’s soft-touch silicon keywaves
  • Functions with ROLI’s Studio software suite
  • 10 hours of wireless battery
  • 15-meter Bluetooth range capability
  • Ability to connect with other ROLI products via DNA connectors
  • A new MIDI Out port – for direct control of other instruments so your Block M can be the center of your gear setup
  • USB-C ports to link with other devices
  • Compatible with most DAWs, including Logic Pro, Ableton Live 11+, Cubase

The BLOCK M is looking to start shipping next year – starting in March 2024. Pre-orders are open now with a bundle that includes the hardware, access to ROLI Studio, and a voucher to the ROLI Sound Store.

ROLI’s Seaboard BLOCK M pre-order is priced at $349.95 USD / £299.95 GBP / €349.95 EURO. It’s currently shippable to customers in the US, Canada, UK, and Europe.