Amazing Songmaker Kit has everything you need for making music on the go

Roli’s new
Songmaker Kit is a kick-ass portable music-making setup that
hooks up to your iPad, iPhone or Mac. It consists of a mini
version of Roli’s amazing Seaboard keyboards, along with a
couple of the company’s modular Blocks. Everything connect via
Bluetooth, creating a custom music workstation that’s easy to
use and extremely portable.

Let’s take a look at the Roli Songmaker Kit and
see how you can use it to make music anywhere.

Roli Songmaker Kit

The $600
Roli Songmaker Kit consists of one Seaboard Block (which
retails for $299.95), one Lightpad Block M ($199.95) and one
Loop Block production control ($79.95). It also comes with a
load of free software and a carrying case so you can cart
everything around.

Block keyboard

The modular Roli Songmaker Kit is wireless and extremely portable.
The modular Songmaker Kit is wireless and extremely
Photo: Roli

At the
heart of the Songmaker Kit, which launched this week, is
the Seaboard
, a 24-key version of the bigger Seaboard keyboards.
All Roli Seaboard keyboards give you a normal piano keyboard
layout, only the touch-sensitive keys are made of silicone.

If you feel
one when it’s switched off, it seems like it would be the worst
thing ever in terms of response — the rubber is soft and
flubbery. But when turned on, the keys feel as snappy as a
proper moving key, with the advantage that they support a kind
of multitouch. This lets you slide your fingers over the keys
to change pitch, timbre and other parameters (depending on the
app you have hooked up). You can also affect the sound by
pressing harder or softer.

I’ve tried
the big version of the Seaboard and I dug it. This little one
is the same, only much handier.

Lightpad Block M and Loop Block

Record loops with the Loop Block, included in the Roli Songmaker Kit.
Record loops with the Loop Block.
Photo: Roli

The Roli Blocks system is modular, so you can combine the
Seaboard with other units. In the Songmaker Kit, you get a
Block M
 and a Loop Block.
The Lightpad Block is kind of like a small, fat iPad without a
normal screen. It has a touch-surface up top, and you can tap,
whack, slide and press it to control various software
instruments. The surface lights up to show you where to tap.

The Loop Block is a basic controller module that can be
configured in many ways. You use it to record loops, so you can
build songs, layer by layer.

You will need music apps

And speaking of software, you’ll need some. The Seaboard is a
MIDI keyboard, so instead of producing sounds, it produces
computer commands that control other hardware and software
instruments (like the amazing Moog
Model D
). Roli makes its own apps, but you can use the
Songmaker Kit with pretty much any software around. The
keyboard hooks up to your iPad or iPhone via Bluetooth MIDI,
but you can also use it with a Mac, and connect to anything via

Price: $600

Buy from: Roli

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