The original Seaboard Block revolutionized modern music creation by introducing MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression) technology in a compact form, making it accessible whether in the studio or on-the-go. Seaboard BLOCK M builds on this legacy with a dedicated MIDI out port, transforming it into a versatile hub for controlling hardware instruments. The addition of 5 Dimensions of Touch — Strike, Glide, Slide, Press, and Lift — places this unique capability at the core of any music setup.
Integration and expression
Marcus Levy-Chance, the Sound Team Content Lead at ROLI and known in the music world as Synthetic Epiphany, showcases the new Seaboard BLOCK M’s MIDI out functionality in our latest video. This feature unlocks new realms of control over synthesizers and hardware instruments. While Marcus demonstrates with his collection of MPE-enabled synthesizers, BLOCK M can control any synth. Non-MPE synths won’t offer polyphonic expression, but users can still leverage the 5 Dimensions of Touch for nuanced sound control.
In the video, Marcus’s creative journey with Seaboard Block M starts with the Moog DFAM, an expressive analog percussion synthesizer. He seamlessly integrates it with other synthesizers, such as the ASM Hydrasynth (an advanced wave morphing synthesizer), the Mother 32, and Subharmonicon, maximizing Seaboard's intuitive 5D Touch technology. By customizing the slide CC to match the Moog's capabilities, Marcus explores innovative sound modulation techniques, manipulating parameters like filter resonance, cutoff, and pulse width to craft rich, complex soundscapes.
The MIDI out functionality is a cornerstone in Marcus's workflow. It provides him direct control over his hardware, streamlining the creative process and enabling seamless transitions between synthesizers. The instrument's responsive keywave design and nuanced playability capture every detail of his performance, showcasing Seaboard as an essential tool for contemporary musicians.
Practical advice for producers
Marcus recommends continuous recording, especially when working with modular gear, to capture unexpected musical moments. He advises musicians to customize Seaboard to their playing style, like fine-tuning the pitch curve in ROLI Dashboard for smoother note transitions. This approach allows each artist to make the most out of Seaboard’s expressive capabilities.
Seaboard Block M is more than an instrument; it’s a gateway to endless musical creativity. Marcus's journey with this tool exemplifies its potential to forge new paths in sound creation and musical expression.