Almost a year after ROLI released their modular Blocks control-surface-disco-dancing-squeezy-sense-pad-music-making thing they’ve decided that they can do better (see our previous coverage of Blocks here). The Lightpad Block M is a “next generation” version to make it an even more precise and sensitive playing experience.
Lightpad Block M
It’s the same thing, only better. A palm-sized controller with a squidgy surface. This time it has 225 undulating “microkeywaves” which add more tactile feedback to your touch. It’s inspired by the keywaves on the surface of their Seaboard instruments. It’ designed to give you a deeper, more resistive experience and is coupled with a thicker, software silicone layer. The light show is 50% brighter with high definition colour and a higher contrast display. It says that this is so “you can move more quickly between notes, instruments and scales” – but I’m not sure why.
The Light Block M is the same size as the original, just a little bit taller, and fits into the same modular system.
Along with the new Light Block comes an updated version of the accompanying app. NOISE is where the Light Block gets it sounds. It’s a place for sketching ideas and creating beats and melodies that can be used with or without the Light Block. It comes with a load of library and this update concentrates on adding more acoustic instruments to the range. NOISE is also now an AU plug-in for Garage Band making it easier to take your sounds into a wider music making package. Ableton Live Lite, which comes with every piece of music hardware known to humans,
Ableton Live Lite, which comes with every piece of music hardware known to humans, now comes with every Light Block M. You also get a “player” version of ROLI’s MPE synth Equator, Strobe 2 Player, Tracktion Waveform and Max MSP.
The original Light Block is still available for $179.95 whereas the Light Block M is $199.95 – 20 dollars for some extra thickness and sensitivity doesn’t sound so bad.
ROLI Light Block M webpage.