Lumi Keys keeper?

Well, the hobby continues apace…just got delivery on the Lumi Keys from Roli, and have generally positive first impressions. While I know the pressure/touch response is inconsistent at times (and well documented by reviewers) it is quite nice in most ways, although I am not yet sure I’ll keep it. Here’s the logic for keeping: It came with many very nice Roli voices/instruments/features, and all work great with my other controllers (Striso, QuNexus, and XKey) and the whole deal was about 250 USD. I could have spent most of that on software alone, and not had the extra MPE controller, which I suspect will prove fine to play on once I am used to it and it’s set up the way I like it. Logic against: I really don’t care about the “cool” key lights, and it isn’t as great to play as the Striso. (Jaygalfo you were right…it’s more likely to get as much use as the QuNexus does.) Oh, and it does have a very nice chord feature, that lets me adjust the strum from nothing to quite stretched out. That would be good, I think, for my portable iPad “busking” system; one hand with chords on the Lumi controller, and the other with main melody on the Striso. Of course, 2 ipads. But the hole thing won’t weigh more than 5 pounds, even with a small speaker. Probably gotta get the new iPad anyway, since the old one has only 16 gig and won’t load recent software updates.

I have the rest of 30 days to decide, and would happily hear anyone else’s experience and thoughts.


I can partly answer your question. I have not played much on the Lumi Keys but I have bought two of them as a gift to someone. Before giving them away I tried them to know that they worked, and I can tell you that I sometimes think that it would be nice to have a pair myself.

This is the first thing I would like to emphasise: the modularity works really well if you do not have a very hard standard on sensitivity or latency. To be able to have a two or four octave keyboard with polyphonic after touch and x-axis bend, and that can snap together and work with Bluetooth, to e.g. and iPad, is not bad at all. Especially for sketching on a familiar layout, and the keys are large enough to feel playable for me.

Good for portability with 2oct and a case and for small spaces with 4oct range. But I would get two, not one, and then the price goes up.

The lights are not important - to me - other than perhaps being good in dark environments or if you want to visualise scales et cetera.

I would not use it with Roli software synthesisers, but primarily with other sound sources, and the reliability that the Lumi has on the company software bothers me. It works with any synthesisers but is pretty closely tied to the Dashboard which to me makes it less flexible. Is it still like this?

This point may be different for you, as you mention the synthesisers specifically.

The upper/highest C key felt loose compared to the rest of the keys on both the keyboards. I figured it may be like that on all of them. Do you recognise this? To me, it felt noticeable and I hope it is not like that for you. Other than that, I pretty much liked the feel of it for being a - comparatively - affordable keyboard. I would have liked a 3.5 mm MIDI out or input for expression. But what can you do sometimes? :slight_smile:

I personally find the Linnstrument a more interesting and versatile instrument, beautifully built and very open. It has no BLE or battery but it is very immediate. And with a direct line of communication to the designer. It is wonderful, compact in the 128 key version and to me worth the extra ca 400 EUR compare to (two) Lumi. But it is different. And it is more expensive.the Lumi is 300 EUR, right?

So, if you would consider two Lumi and a compact and portable solution is important - for both travelling and with a small static work space - I would recommend the Lumi. Especially with an iPad or something like it and you also like playing standard keyboard.

And if you like Roli synthesisers.

If you would consider another key layout - you have a Striso? - and can increase the budget, the Linnstrument is stable and very well designed and still being developed with passion. I think instruments like the Linnstrument and the Continuum are really timeless, simple but extremely immediate and able to be complex.

There is also a hexagonal MPE instrument/controller from a French company at around the same price as a Lumi. I will look it up for you!

If you want to use one Lumi as the primary way of playing or interfacing with an iPad, I find it harder to recommend. This is up to each and everyone’s taste and need, and here mine is a broader range with more sensitivity and larger surface. And less reliability on software.

I can’t find a good thing that would be similar, though, except for the above. The Sensel Morph is not sold any more and the Arturia synthesiser with capacitive keyboard is quite another thing.

If it is for chords and polyphonic aftertouch is important, I really understand if you want to keep it.

And if you get another one, for sure get it with a case if you do not have one already! :slight_smile:

The hexagonal MPE instrument: Exquis from Intuitive Instruments.

Actually, have you considered the Erae Touch? It covers quite a lot and I find myself using it alot.

The price is quite high (I was an early backer of the Kickstarter so I can not compare, as to me it feels like very good value) and the support has been a bit shaky. But it is a new company and it is not fair to compare them to someone with the experience of Roger Linn.

Some have had problems with uneven surface sensitivity. Is this fixed? Maybe someone can tell. I have found it a very nice surface to play. It suits me! :slight_smile:

I use it in more situations than the Linnstrument and it is very customisable, but it does require a PSU which makes it less portable. But with the Erae Touch, the LED lights are integral to the instrument!

Thank you, svarta.kusten, for your thorough and thoughtful response…I will read again and then another time or two. Basically, I have read all I could find about the Erae, the Sensel Morph, and Linnstrument some less, as well as the Dualo and Joue. The notion of MPE was so intriguing to me that I have bought, in this order, the QuNexus, Striso, and now the Lumi. And while I imagined I might learn the piano keyboard, the actual truth is that the Striso is, to me, easy to finger and the same in any key, like Linnstrument and other isomorphic arrangements, but the “Wicki-Hayden” layout is tops in my book. Couple that with the very nice tactile (silicone) buttons, and the 3.5 octaves in one hand easy reach, and it is my “main” instrument. So, back to the Lumi…No need for another module, since I already have more than I need if I add it to the Striso. Don’t notice the “looseness” on the top note, but I do pick it up and play by accident that note when I move it. I do appreciate what you say about Roli making sure you don’t go far from Dashboard, but I don’t know how that impacts me yet. So far, the extra instruments may be worth it, hardware aside. Striso works great with Studio Player. I could probably really use it as the “right hand” and use the Lumi or other small keyboard as the “left” for chords. I do like the Lumi chords function and want to try a new iPad with enough “juice” to run both controllers, with different software for each hand. Have you done such with one iPad?

More to think on…And thanks again!

Dualo is their older product. Not Lumi sized at all. You’re thinking of Exquis.

Yes, that’s correct: Exquis. I made an edit to my message. Dualo is an accordion like object.

This was the last thing I did before I fell asleep next to a 5 month old baby yesterday, so my critical mind was not entirely awake. Not even enough to scroll beyond the first title of the webpage! :slight_smile:

You know, I think the iPad, Striso, Lumi combination sounds pretty good!

Someone with more/longer or different experience with Lumi may disagree, but from what you describe I think it sounds like a quite nice solution.

I learned to play piano with an 8 octave range, so for me personally I feel trapped when I feel there is not enough space. This is probably why I am more drawn to Linnstrument or Erae Touch, which can be whatever, and would get two Lumi.

I have not used the chord function on Lumi so I can not quite say. Is one key representing one chord here?

And if you do not want to get another iPad, could you not just use the internal battery of the Lumi? :slight_smile: or du you mean computing juice, maybe.

Last first: Yes, I did mean computational power, since the “new” “basic” iPad (version 9) bills itself as able to run multiple apps with ease. I imagine running Striso through any combination of ThumbJam/Roli patches or GeoShred with the right hand, and whatever (Lumi or QuNexus or even the simple but elegant XKey (only poly aftertouch, but probably OK for chords/counterpoint stuff.) The advantages of ThumbJam include the ability to pick any key in hundreds of scales (like Phrygian Dominant when I sit in on Klezmer jam!) and when I am lucky and can remember how, to get that combination to run the even cooler voices in GeoShred, where the Geo Oboe, Clarinet, Sax sound great to me, as do the Naada Bansuri and others. By the way, so far I have not been able to do that sort of “routing” trick with the Lumi, probably 'cause the old iPad can’t handle it. I think the new iPad comes soon, so I can better evaluate the Lumi as I might use it.

As far as the Lumi chording software goes, it isn’t (unless I am missing something) quite as adjustable as I had imagined, but something like this conceptually appeals to me…

Update: got the new iPad today, and still can’t make the Lumi Keys work with it…must need to have a new download and Lumi help won’t get to me for a day or two, but that’s OK. I actually managed to use the laptop in a very similar manor to the one I plan for the iPad, with Surge synth as one hand and Roli Studio as the other; it was simple. I knew there was a reason I still liked PCs! More to follow. Can anyone tell me they have run Lumi on both the PC and iPad?

For using Bluetooth BLE with Lumi and the iPad, I used a utility called midimittr which you can find on AppStore.

Have you tried something like that?

For MIDI via USB, have you tried using a MIDI/USB interface?

Thanks. I will check out the app you suggest. In fact, I was able to (sort of) get the Lumi to play via Bluetooth on the iPad when I went through the little Roli app (“5D”) I could previously use. I am not happy with the latency, although it isn’t terrible; just a bit but annoying some. And I guess I don’t know what the “MIDI/USB interface” is,for the iPad, if not the Apple Lightning Camera adapter that works with the other controllers perfectly. As you (and another) have said, I am frustrated by the indirect way to communicate with the Lumi through Dashboard, and then can’t seem to save settings from one play to another. But still, a few days to decide if keeping. And, it is rather elegant with the PC and two programs, but gotta try harder for the iPad, since that’s my “go to” portable setup. And, really, the main issue I have with playing it in whatever apps is that the key pressure just sort of “slams on” volume about 3/4 depressed, if I don’t very carefully pay attention to the velocity, yet the Dashboard curves don’t seem to fix that. Any thoughts on that part?

And, fresh new (small but critical) success! Thanks for “midimitter” tip! I thought it didn’t work any better than the one fluke time I had Bluetooth working with Roli, but then realized I still had the USB cable from the Lumi plugged in. When I disconnected that, the latency was inconsequential! Actually, quite a large success, now that I think about it! I then puttered around for a few minutes to try to get the connected Striso and the wireless Lumi to both play from different synths, which I got after some resetting and cable checks for the Striso. So, I had one instrument coming in from the Lumi and another from Striso. I had to send one as “network session” to keep 'em different instruments, I think. Now if the Roli people can help me get all the “Studio” stuff to work on the new iPad as well as the PC, I have a “keeper” pretty much. I might prefer the Exquis, but the bird in the hand…

Thanks again!

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Decision made! Keeper! Thanks to svarta.kusten here for the “midimittr” suggestion, which made all the difference. Now, with little hassle and quickly, I can have almost no-delay Bluetooth input to any of my iPad synths/sounds. When I combine that Lumi Key board with the Striso plugged in with USB I can then make them additionally contiguous octaves, or in fact (still figuring this part out for reliability and repeatability) use them as completely distinct instruments; e.g. “banjo” from Lumi on left hand and Striso with GeoOboes in GeoShred on the right. The only real “missing link” has to do with the inability to use the Roli Dashboard and Studio with the iOS devices, which is sad but not a deal-breaker. When I do a similar setup on the PC laptop, I can use all that Roli software with any keyboard input, and Surge for the other hand, if I like.

This morning I used QuNexus Red with Lumi in iOS setup, and was quite impressed with the collective expressivity, but since I play much better on the Striso keyboard, it’s part of the real mix.

Thanks to this group for providing a place to ask and learn!

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Anytime! :slight_smile:

I am happy I could help, especially since I had to think similar things through myself.

And I agree. This place, I have found, has the space and patience for both ideas and discussions. It is pretty nice! :slight_smile:

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