ROLI’s Blocks controllers might just have become a whole lot more useful

ROLI Blocks Studio Editions
(Image credit: ROLI)

When ROLI launched its Blocks range of hardware controllers, the emphasis was very much on their use with iOS devices. With the announcement of the new Studio Editions, though, the focus is on desktop musicians.

As of 31 October, anyone who buys a Lightpad Block, Seaboard Block or Songmaker Kit will get ROLI Studio, a new software suite that’s designed to unlock the power of these MPE controllers.

At the heart of this is the ROLI Studio Player plugin, which puts hundreds of MPE sounds from ROLI’s Equator, Cypher2 and Strobe2 synths in one place. There are specially tailored effects in here, too.

There’s also the ROLI Studio Drums plugin, which promises to enable MPE beatmaking on your Lightpad Block. As well as being able to create grooves, you can also shape and warp drum sounds from the Lightpad’s surface.

There are new features for songwriters, too. Smart Chords suggests chord progressions on a per-note basis, and there’s a multi-layered arpeggiator.

ROLI also says that the Seaboard Block and Lightpad Block M hardware has been improved to offer better finger tracking, MPE expression outputs, multi-Block connectivity and Bluetooth support.

All of which suggests that the Blocks could now be much more attractive to users of desktop DAWs, and the good news is that all existing Blocks owners can download ROLI Studio, too.

Prices are as follows: Songmaker Kit Studio Edition $649.95/£599.95/€679.95; Seaboard Block Studio Edition $349.95/£299.95/€349.95; Lightpad Block Studio Edition $199.95/£199.95/€229.95.

Find out more on the ROLI website.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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