Erae Touch Sensitivity

How does the feel of the Erae Touch compare to Roli lightpad blocks? I love being able to use roli dashboard to customize my Lightpad blocks, but have never loved the feel of the instrument. It just often requires too much force to get the response I’m looking for.

Is the Erae touch more sensitive? How would you compare the sensitivity to Lightpad blocks? Sensel Morph? Linnstrument?


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Yes, the Erae Touch is fortunately much more sensitive than the Blocks (itis nor very difficult!). It is more like the Linnstrument, not as much as the Sensel Morph, but very good.

On the other hand, the pressure progression is rather short which make it difficult for nuances.
With the Roli, or the Morph and the Linnstrument, you have a wider pressure range to go from 0 to 127. Here you can reach the maximum value very fast.

But my main concern is the touch range differencies according to where you press.
In the Morph the variation is about +/- 15 values max, in the AT it can go up to +/- 60!
Calibration seems to adjust only the threshold and do not improve it.

I had my first unit replaced by Embodme, but the second one presents the same amount of variations, thus in places that are a little less annoying.
I am currectly waiting either for a way to adjust the pressure curve for each touch zones (which may not resolve the problem of places where we need a lot amount of pressure to reach the max value), and/or a firmware update that will help to calibrate the range.

Since the pressure is for me the main interest of the AT compared to a large tablet, my AT is waiting in its sleeve.

You can look at this video I made with my first unit to show the problem to Enbodme (sorry in French, but it must be self explainatory) :

I am curious to know how it behave with other units …


I agree, that the Erae Touch is much more sensitive, than the Roli Block.

Regarding the touch range issue you are describing @PrS: I got a replacement unit from embodme as well, because the first one had similar issues. The second unit i got is much more consistent in that regard. I did not notice any major variations, but i did not test it as thorough, as you did. Also the second unit was much more responsive to light touches. Feels more sensitive than the Linnstrument to me, i am very happy with it now. I never had a Sensel Morph, so i can’t compare it to that.

I was in contact with embodme via mail, after the last firmware update and they told me:

“The Expert calibration was apparently not very intuitive so we decided to remove it for now and thinking of a smarter UX/UI for it. The auto-calibration should help better.”

So i think they are actively working on improving the calibration system, maybe that includes your issue as well.

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Yes, I suppose that it is something that future evolutions of the firmware will help, since it seems to confirm that there may be some important hardware variations between the units and inside the units. It is very understandable considering the number of cells!

It may also depend a lot in what gestures users will do.
Some things like moving a finger across an XYZ pad while keeping about the same pressure value are always difficult to achieve both for the harware and for the muscles, but it is very valuable with MPE :wink:

But there is room for improvements, and since the Embodme people are very nice and helpful I suppose that it is only a matter of time (and there product will not become an abandonware like the Sensel!).

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I’d also say sensitivity of the Touch is good. Morph is on another level (with it’s feather to sledgehammer detection range), but the Touch is obviously bigger and you can switch layouts with the press of a button instead of switching overlays. And the Linnstrument is wider and offers a tactile grid - so it’s more specialized but really good in what it does. Think there is no universal “best” between those three.

Haven’t tried Lightpad Blocks yet. Are these even still available? Read that the Seaboards are supposed to return in 2022 - good news in that regard!

P.S.: One big difference between Touch, Morph and Linnstrument is the current options regarding pitch rounding behavior. On Morph and Linnstrument you have quite a number of possibilities to affect initial and target rounding. On Touch it’s currently always rounding both on initial touch and on target (with a modifyable “return force”), so it currently plays a little more as with the Seaboard, so for deliberate playing outside the 12 tone scale Morph/Linnstrument/Continuum are currently better suited out of the box.
Probably this isn’t a hardware restriction on the Touch and the rounding options can get more configurable in future firmware versions.
That said: On Morph my most used mode is hardcore all pitch rounding off “train your intonation” mode :slight_smile: That one should be easy to implement I hope (but currently isn’t available, initial rounding is currently always on on Touch)

@PrS Good test! Tries on my device: First I tried a subjective test with a synth sound that has the filter cutoff assigned to pressure. Don’t hear as extreme differences as you but some areas seem to need a little more force to reach the same filter opening than others. But in a range that can be compensated. At least I can reach all CC values on all places.
Then tried to replicate your test by putting an object on the pad. But it’s hard: When slightly putting the object on the pad and then removing the hand vs pressing it firmly on the pad and removing the hand I get radically different final CC values (when the hand is away already). My guess is the material is a little flexible and stays in the position it was pressed in until the weight is removed again?
So quantitatively I’m a little puzzled, but qualitatively it works as expected most of the time :slight_smile:

Wow… thanks for the detailed response and video. That is so strange how differently it reacts to pressure.

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Thanks for sharing. Good to know that the 2nd unit didn’t have the same issues.

Yeah, E.T is too hard for me too, would love it to be more sensitive. I let some time so I might be used to it, but if not, I will sell it…I,love many things in it though.

Yes, it is very sensistive to how the finger (or the object) crosses several cells. If they have different sensitivity ranges a little move can result in very different values.
I have done later more tests with my second unit and most of the time this variation is contained between a dozen values, so that is not a big problem for some kinds of modulations.
It is here where the Morph overlays also help to smooth out the values inside an area. In the AreaTouch it might be done perhaps in software?

Yes, the less sensitive cells are more distributed on the sides so it is easier to put no touch zones on them :wink:

It turns out I have exactly the same problem. When playing piano I can’t help but notice there are some velocities are much weaker when playing with consistent force across the entire board. I’ve tried everything, powering off, automatic calibration. Nothing works to address the problem. I’ll probably need mine replaced too. :cry:

This sort of thing is a real annoyance and if I hadn’t been playing Pianoteq or other velocity sensitive synthesizers I may not have even noticed it. But I’m glad I did. I also noticed that the board doesn’t respond as smoothly with soft touches either. At least I can do something about it now that I know there is a problem. It’s like one key produces around 100 velocity and another one only produces around 60-65. I was quite surprised and upset when I realised what was going on. I wonder if there is a fix that won’t require sending it back, but maybe some of the force sensors are not working as well as they could in certain areas of the board. There are lots and lots of these sensors so it doesn’t surprise me.

Mine might need to be replaced. I was looking forward to Christmas time playing on my Erae, but now that looks like it won’t be happening heavy sigh.

I feel that there may be some variation too. Especially with my own experiences. I’ve been wondering as well if there is a fix that doesn’t require replacing the Erae. I am sure that my issue will be rectified. I would agree that there might be something that creates a variation in the velocity/touch thresholds within individual sensors. I am aware that calibration can sometimes work, but in my case I tried automatic calibration, removed all ghost notes, etc. Nothing seemed to rectify the issue.

Embodme are well aware of the question and are working on it.
I don’t know how they will deal to smooth the cells variations but it is a common problem with all touch sensitive surfaces. Here their number certainly make it more difficult than with a little Roli Block!
But calibration might be hard since it does not involve only the minimum threshold but the range.

On the user side, I think that a simple curve editor for each object will already allow to solve most of the big variations. It will not make the range wider but at least we will reduce the amount of variations between objects which will be great :wink:

I suppose it is worth keeping one’s unit until there is some kind of update.


Why keep the unit when you can get a replacement that sorts out most of the problem? As someone else mentioned here, the replacement was much better, and the sensitivity to lighter touch was also improved. This is most likely a hardware issue where the variations are more extreme, so I’m getting a replacement.

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Very good to know!
(Et tes explications sont limpides. :wink: )

Just to make sure, when you, @jaygalfo, and @fjasper talk about the ROLI Lightpad Blocks, do you all mean the original one or the Lightpad M? I have two of each, as well as a Sensel Morph. Never tried a Linnstrument or Haken Continuum.

In my experience, the original Lightpad Blocks were unusable for any kind of expressive playing. However, I find Lightpad M Blocks to be “sensitive enough”. In fact, I find them more playable than the Morph for certain uses (let’s say, “articulating notes in melodic lines” as opposed to “morphing a pad’s spectrum”).

As for @NothanUmber’s question on availability, it sounds like “ROLI” still sells the Lightpad M Block as a package with Strobe 2 for 200USD (technically, the company behind it is Luminary). The caveat emptor being: ROLI’s gone through so much financial problems that there’s little guarantee that they’ll support those devices for a long time. In fact, they’ve had multiple issues in Quality Control. So, yeah, buyer beware.

I used to carry a Lightpad M in my backpack at all times, along with an iPad Pro and headphones. I’d often do impromptu near-silent musicking sessions in cafés, libraries, etc. Haven’t done much of that since March 2020 and I changed my backpack recently. Still, I want to go back to that.

As @greaterthanzero knows, I’ve been dreaming about a larger version of the Lightpad M Block. On the Sensel Morph, I’ve tried a grid layout which almost gave me what I wanted. At the same time, there are several details about the Morph which make it less satisfying for the kind of playing I do on the Lightpad.
While I got pretty excited when I first heard about the Embodme Erae Touch, it’s way too bulky for my needs. Even on my desk, it’d take too much room.

So… Maybe my satisfaction with the Lightpad M makes me weird, which’d be fine. I just wonder if we’re all talking about the same thing.

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Good point. The Roli Lightpad Block i was refering to is the “Lightpad Block Studio Edition”. I owned it for a short while, but sent it back, because the touch threshold was to high for my liking.

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Hi Alex,
Yes, for me, like I suppose for a lot of backers, the Erae Touch was the promise to be some kind of a huge Block, if possible with better touch and features (but certainly less portable …), and it is well the case!

I have also the original Block and the M version, and if the sensations are different and globally the second version is more enjoyable, I was very dispointed with the touch sensitivity of the M. It is certainly softer, but a big part of the pressure is out of range. For instance the finger continues to sink in the fabric way after the maximum value is reached. In this case I prefer finally the 1st version where you know better what you are doing according to the strength you press.
On this point too the Morph is very well balanced.
But what is the most pleasant for me with both Lightpads is to have it in the hand and to move with it. I only regret that they have not included a gyroscope in them …
Like what it is difficult to exchange these kind of impressions and to give advices :wink:

Anyway, the Erae Touch is a wonderful device, heavy yes, and better on the desk in the studio than in the pocket!
I see it mainly on par with the Linnstrument, with a totally different approach but with the same quality and responsability of people behind it, which is important on the long term.
Alas I will not say the same for Roli and Sensel …

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Well said. And while I think Sensel has a pretty solid team, I get your point about corporate responsibility.

As for comparing impressions and preferences, it’s indeed quite difficult because they’re by their very nature subjective.
So it’s useful for me to realize that we might be talking about different things when we talk about sensitivity. Or, at least, from different approaches.

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Weirdly enough, with ROLI, it’s completely possible that the device itself was the original version. Two years ago, I ordered a package which was supposed to contain a Lightpad M Block (bumpy) and received the original (flat). When I told them about this, they sent me a Lightpad M.