The Seaboard is a radically new musical instrument that reimagines the piano keyboard as a soft, continuous wavelike surface. Early fans of the Seaboard include celebrated film composer Hans Zimmer: “Having the Seaboard in front of me is inspiring. It has a sensual touch which feels intuitive and very human. The Seaboard shows us how to get beyond the boundaries of the keyboard, a technology that was invented hundreds of years ago. Many people have tried and failed to do this; Roland Lamb and his team are actually much closer than anyone else has ever come to doing so, and thereby establishing a new, truly expressive digital instrument.”
Following years of development and its debut public performance in front of a 4,000 strong crowd at the Royal Albert Hall in September 2013, the Seaboard Grand made its first public show appearance at Winter NAMM
2014, Anaheim. Next stop for the Seaboard will be Musikmesse 2014
, Frankfurt, Hall 5.0 D43. The Seaboard Grand is a new musical instrument based on the piano keyboard that - according to ROLI, an up-and-coming music and interface technology start-up based in Dalston, UK - promises to revolutionize the way music is made.
The Seaboard was invented by Roland Lamb, Founder and CEO of Roli. He commented, “After years of development, we are tremendously proud to be offering the Seaboard. It is a testament to the huge commitment of the Roli team that such a small group can offer a device so technologically advanced.” Lamb, a graduate of Harvard University and the Royal College of Art (RCA), conceived of the Seaboard as a result of a desire to extend the expressivity of the keyboard. Designer Ron Arad, who mentored Lamb at the RCA, is on the company’s advisory board.
The Seaboard Grand features a unique soft touch made possible with patent-pending Interface technology. Years of research and testing have created optimised materials and sensing solutions which offer a unique kind of passive haptic feedback, and an information-rich, high-resolution data stream.
As a design object, the Seaboard Grand brings together the best in traditional instrument craft and contemporary technological design. It has been precision engineered to measure 25.7mm– making it the thinnest full-size professional keyboard instrument ever made. The casing and stand are made from black anodized, precision-milled aluminium, and hand-finished.
The instrument has its own, embedded sound engine. The Seaboard is a fully standalone instrument, powered by 12v, it can also be powered by USB. The Seaboard has two USB ports and is MIDI class compliant. It has three inputs for expression pedals, two audio outputs (jack), and one headphone out. Using a USB-MIDI splitter, it is possible to connect the Seaboard with MIDI DIN devices, although the polyphonic pitch bend capacity can not be used, as most if not all hardware sound engines don't listen to multi channels of MIDI.
Roli is based in Hackney and integrates two seemingly disparate worlds: the tradition of craftsmanship and manufacturing in East London, and the emerging cutting-edge design and technology hub that is the ‘Silicon Roundabout.’ The Seaboard Grands are designed and hand-assembled in a pair of railway arches in Dalston, using a combination of traditional craft and high-tech manufacturing methods.