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The first thing I noticed when taking the Block out of its box was its excellent build quality; it feels like a solid, premium piece of kit. Setting it up was super easy, and it paired instantly with the NOISE and ROLI Play apps on the iPad (both of which are intuitive and simple to use: great for having a bit of fun but it also seems like you can use them to create something more complex). The ROLI Play app has a great tutorial to get used to the 5D touch so it’s worth starting with that. The Block itself is very responsive to touches, and it’s easy to get used to the different ways of playing. It’s versatile: I’ve also used the Block as a drum pad on Ableton Live. Configuring and customising the Block as a drum pad is easy to do in the Blocks Dashboard, and there are a couple of ‘Easter eggs’ in there too, which kept me entertained for longer than I’d care to admit. It’s a shame the Block isn’t compatible with more Android devices, but this wasn’t too much of an issue for me. Overall this is a great product, and I’m looking forward to seeing what I can create with it in the future.
ROLI Lightpad Block M - Super Sonic Surface I bought this product as I am a drummer and I’m interested in combining digital software with performance, as well as composing my own stuff. I really like the Roli Lightpad Block M as it’s a very interesting product in terms of the different types of sounds and effects you can create from simply the way you press and move on the pad. The Pad itself has an intriguing ribbed rubber surface that is thicker than the original Lightpad Block, so it’s more sensitive to your touch, which creates more modulation on the sounds. Also, if you drag your finger whilst holding a note it changes the pitch and harshness of the note, so there’s lots to play with, and for me the drums sound nice and punchy. The product is quite easy to use, especially with some useful training videos if you download the ROLI PLAY app to get you started, so it doesn’t matter if you’re a musician or not it’s pretty fun to use.
However, I realised afterwards that I bought the product from a non-authorised Roli dealer from Amazon, who had already activated the product from its serial number, so I couldn’t even register it. I had to email Roli support proving my payment, then they wiped the records clean and I was able to activate it.
Moving on, with the Block it advises to download an app called NOISE which works as a loop station to record sounds from the block. You connect your phone to the Block via Bluetooth, which sometimes took a struggle to connect, and then you can record a multitude of sounds including drums, synths, acoustic instruments and more. The app itself took me some time to figure out, but once I watched some videos on YouTube I started to understand it.
Overall it is an exciting product that is very portable and useful for anyone who want to create their own music. It’s easy to use and great fun. If I had more money I would buy more blocks so you can attach them together to have more sounds, and if you own a Roli Seaboard then you pretty much have your own home studio. Worth the buy.
Bought this in a Roli sale period and very glad I did.
It’s a quality product and feels really nice in your hand, offers Bluetooth connection to apps and works as expected (near enough) as you might expect.
However, the down points are, it’s not as useful as you might expect, this is because the light lock is not as sensertive to light touches as I thought it would be, setting it up is somewhat a drag for midi, as each time you use it within a set/project you have to open the Roli dashboard to connect it up, I.e not just your DAW.
I’m exploring the light lock more with custom designs and Max for Live so in the future I will find a home for it, but out the box in a studio set up, you may very well have something better already.
Roli iOS apps work well with the block and are fun and different to use with the MPE mode’s of the lighblock, however I find iOS music production is often reduced to sketches of ideas rather than anything for the studio but that may change, especially if Roli make homebrew pack production and sample import available to the apps.
All in all, a nice product for fun and portability, but not really that useful in the studio.
Been checking out roli for a while. Im just finishing my mancave / studio and serioiusly excited to reclaim all my original hardware (1210s cdjs etc) and tunes from the loft! My eldest daughter (14) is getting into music production and having checked out some vids and seen roli blocks in action thought we can have some fun creating together. Also bought a seaboard block and went for the lightpad block m as I think the improved pad surface / response was worth the extra £30 odd. All arrived yesterday quickly and as described. Daughter couldn't wait and nailed the set up before I got home and has already nabbed it! She's already sketching out some interesting beats and melodies. Looking forward to blending some of my old school gear with roli and seeing what we can do with it.
I bought a Lightpad M and paired it with the free Play app and made my first song in less than 5 minutes! It was so fun and helped me discover how songs are structured and change parts I wanted to. The app had some beats built in for a few music styles making it really easy to get going. You can then layer on some bass, chords and lead parts. There are so many instruments to choose from and they all sound great. I am moving on to the Noise app now! It has way more options to make loops anywhere you go! This is so cool. One tip, make sure you use wired headphones. Bluetooth has a latency. The pad itself is so expressive and you can bend the sound any way you like! Up, down, left, right, in a circle. ANYTHING! Totally blew me away!
My son is the music technician and he had this Light Block up and running in minutes. I have to take his word for it that it is amazing. If you value the endorsement of a 15-year-old, this product is for you.
I just received this product in the post and after one evening of playing around with it on logic i made some interesting stuff. The block can work as a midi controller and as an mpc which beats smashing your keyboard in, not to mention the pressure sensitive surface means you don’t always have to go back to do automation. What is also great is that instead of needing certain software you can just plug it straight into the usb, load up samples, or drum machines synths and start making music on whatever programme, for me logic, i didn’t need to set anything up it worked straight away. I think as a tool in general this would be useful in any studio and for beginner producers its a great entry point as it makes producing so accessable. I’m yet to try it with the app yet but i very happy with how it worked in logic and how flexible it is as a production tool.
Another phenomenal entry to the ROLI lineup, great sensitivity and expressiveness. The Lightpad Block M is very portable yet sturdy and has an incredibly long lasting battery. DAW integration is very straightforward and so is mobile support on both iOS and Android.