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Old 10-23-2018, 12:25 AM   #3
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: San Diego, CA, USA, Earth, Sol System, Milky Way Galaxy
Posts: 26

I'm working with Blocks rather than a Rise (I have 4 of the 24 key blocks controllers arranged into 2 48-key keyboards so I can have accompaniment)... my understanding is the Roli Dashboard app is basically the same between the two systems. It allows you to configure a given keyboard in one of the following modes (from the Roli website):

MPE Mode optimizes the Block with any other hardware or software that supports MPE. When MPE mode is selected, the global channel is set to 1. Global messages like from a sustain pedal are sent on the global channel, while note information is sent on channels with the range set by MIDI Start Channel and MIDI End Channel, by default 216.
Multi Channel Mode
In Multi Channel Mode, the Block transmits data over multiple channels of MIDI. This setting makes it compatible with non-MPE multi-timbral synths.
Piano Mode
In Piano Mode the Block will behave like a conventional MIDI keyboard by turning off the Glide, Slide, Press, and Lift dimensions of touch. The Block transmits all MIDI data on a single MIDI channel only, making it compatible with mono-timbral synths.
Single Channel Mode
In Single Channel Mode the Block transmits all MIDI data on a single MIDI channel only. This makes it compatible with mono-timbral synths. Pitch bend, channel pressure, or Slide (MIDI CC 74) messages will apply to all notes equally.
So, in short, depending on your settings in Roli Dashboard it should support any of the configurations you described. You'll have to open the Dashboard and change the mode setting if you want to switch between them.

With regard to using it as a primary keyboard, I have rapidly adopted it as my go-to because of how expressive it is... there really isn't anything like it. However, I still prefer a regular hard keyboard for instruments that you don't expect to pitch bend, like a piano. The weight of real non-squishy keys gives a different kind of physical feedback... if you're like me you'll switch between the Roli or a traditional keyboard depending on what instrument you're playing.

With regard to my experience with MPE instruments... I own Equator, Strobe 2, Auras and the free Cypher2 player... I've fallen in love with doing slides, glides and pressure changes so much that I want every synth VST I own to be able to do the same thing (hence this post). It really has changed my entire approach to music creation, no more endless envelope tweaking... I can now do what used to take an hour of screwdriver tweaks and get the same expression in realtime.

With regard to managing the number of voices, you can configure in the Roli Dashboard how many MIDI channels to use in MPE and Multi Channel modes, so if you know you're never going to use more than 10 fingers at once (probably a reasonable assumption) you can trim that value back.
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