Returned Erae Touch, looking for alternative

Yeah I have seen those, I think the 25 key is on my list as a controller that I might get as a standard alternative to the Linnstrument down the line.

I have settled on the Linnstrument, (between large and 128) I think it will serve many more use cases for my composing than the striso. It also will make use of my guitar experience.

I think I can see myself picking up a Striso and Xkey 25/37 in the future as alt controller but I will wait on that and dedicate myself to the Linnstrument for now.

Going to go and try one in london next friday then will make the purchase. While I wait for that, anyone have opinion on 128 vs original?

I believe its just a trade off … size/price.
16 vs 25 columns

functionally they are the same (afaik) … so its a bit like 49 key vs 61 key…
25 columns gives you a bit more range (octaves).
however, if you want to use splits (to play two parts) then the 200 will really shine then…
(as basically you can have the full 16x8 (128) on one split, and still have another 9x8 for the other side)

generally, Id say…
if portability is a major factor e.g. want to put in a backpack , 128 is best option.
(also I guess 128, if physically, you don’t have space on your desk)
if not e.g. spending most of its time on a desk, then the larger playing surface will always be better esp. if you want to use splits

and of course, budget does come into it too.
the 128 is very usable, the above, is just about preference assuming budget is not the driving factor.

note: again, I dont have a linnstrument, but have used things like eigenharps of different sizes… and yeah, it does matter :wink: … Id definitely go for the 200 if I was getting one…

I have gone with the 200. I used geoshred play on the ipad to get a feel for the layout and realised that I would want all the extra playing surface.

Also it sold me on the 4th isomorphic layout for jamming and composing along with my guitar and voice. It was so fun and that was on the ipad with a not massively responsive app.

I truly cant wait to get it in and really learn the instrument and I think it might just make me a better guitar player at least on the theory side.

Thanks everyone for your wonderful help.


Just for the record, I wanted to enter into the mix how much I love my Roli Seaboard RISE 49 (original version). I’ve never had any regrets getting it and wouldn’t want to be without it. It’s really held up well over the years and I seem to always coax something beautiful with it when I use it with MPE synths.

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As I read your positive comments regarding the Roli Seaboard, I was playing the Roli Lumi Keys, with the iPad GeoShred and a little earbud, and realilzed that it is so much more fun than I even hoped for when I “gambled” my $256 a couple of months ago! No latency problem with Bluetooth and very responsive keys. I now play it as much as the Striso, and if I had started (and gotten somwhere) with a piano keyboard in my youth I’d just buy another Lumi to have four octaves default, as folks have suggested here. It’s well-built and seems sturdy as can be, and the goal of Lumi/left and Striso/right hand seems a reasonable one for me.

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Has your LinnStrument (200) arrived yet?

After emailing Roger, he suggested I order from a UK dealer so I could try it out and have an easier returns process if it wasn’t quite for me (I was unable to demo it when in london) So I ordered after checking with the dealer it was wokay to try out and return if I didn’t feel it.

I played with it about 2 hours every evening for 10 days straight.Using it while composing alongside the CME XKey25 I got used for cheap. And honestly I’m sorry to say I really did not enjoy it at all.

Now I know for certain more time and practice would have yielded more enjoyment, but what people say is true, it is an instrument that needs time and mastery. And Iit clarified what I was looking for. an MPE controller to help me compose and sound design, and not a wild and brilliant ne instrument that I would have to invest a ton of time into to get real results from.

Considering the price and that im a new Dad, I made the sad decision that it was just not for me at this moment in time and so returned it. I am considering the Strido Board, but am wondering if I might run into the same thing, and I should just stick with my guitar and mini keyboard.

PS: (details on why I struggled with it)
My main problems were getting control over the initial velocity and the pressure, it just felt like I could not get that smoothness that I needed for playing orchestral dynamics, and general filters sweeps in my synths. Again im certain this would come with practice, but my joy comes from generating ideas, and the ten night I spent with the Linnstrument that joy just wasn’t there at all.

I agree, I have had the Linnstrument for just over two years and I am still overwhelmed by how much work I have to do to transfer all of my piano/keyboard skills towards it.

The Striso makes much more sense, especially if your idea of composition is the diatonic scale. It is not well designed for other scales, especially if they are exotic.

If you want to compare against a comprehensive list of MPE hardware controllers, I have compiled one below on KVR Audio.

You can adjust the Touch Sensor Prescale value to accommodate the velocity/pressure range you are most comfortable at.

great that you got an opportunity to try and then return it.
none of these things suit everyone, we all have different taste / needs etc.

if you have keyboard skills, then the Osmose would be a very good choice… I love mine.
(but not readily available at the moment, also quite expensive… probably early next year, there will be general availability)

the Roli Seaboard layout is similar, but feels very different to play keys… so you may or may not like. it wasn’t personally to my taste, but many like it.

their Lumi is a cheap alternative, some seem to like, some not… there’s some users on this forum, so can read comments here - I personally cancelled mine, as I had fears on quality.

Striso, I tried, and really liked… due to its size, form factor, and built in sound engine, I found it really relaxing to play… its the kind of thing, you could build up skills with by ‘noodling on the couch’. also the layout (similar to wicki) meant I came up with different melodic ideas.
… even though, I have a few expressive controllers, I still feel tempted to get one :wink:

And, I’d say, well you should! It soothes and excites every day, and works great with low-cost synth apps and headphones for quiet play among others! Now that I bought AUM I can mix instruments from, say, GeoShred, Noise, and the venerable ThumbJam, and make sounds I could only imagine before! And, Lumi and Striso play nicely together now, too!

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Okay I went for the striso and have recieved it today from Piers. And I have to say, it is a wonder to play. truly gorgeous velocity response and so much easier to control on the x and y axis.

I need to get used to the layout but right away I find I am producing the kind of expressive performances I was struggling to get anywhere near after ten days with the Linnstrument.

It feels like it is the perfect use case for what im looking for, something super expressive but also a midi controller not an instrument to learn and master. (although im sure more use will reap better performances)

Over the moon with it and I haven’t even figured out how the hell to make it work in bitwig yet. :smiley:

PS: What a fun journey, Erae Touch → Linnstrument → Striso.


Hooray! If you have half the fun I do, it’ll be a bargain!

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I am glad you have found a MPE hardware controller that works for you instead of the other way around.

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Thanks for your thoughts, I’d like to add that pentatonic scales are also very easy.

More exotic scales require some more practice, but I happen to play a lot with harmonic scales, and while they requires some practice I get much better feeling for them then with the piano, because you feel which notes are the more major and more minor notes. See @fkberthold’s Striso Explorer for an overview.

@FranklyFlawless Would you like to share which scales you have trouble with and which layout you find more suited for them?

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I do not have the Striso nor am I able to speak about exactly which exotic scales I was referring to, so an explanation is necessary.

There is a very similar LinnStrument project called Midimech on KVR Audio that uses the same layout as the Striso. The project owner, Grady O’Connell, has this to mention about the layout:

I did not press them any further about which scales exactly, but I would assume scales with semitones become more difficult in direct proportion to the amount of them. One particular one I had in mind is the Octatonic scale. You would have to diagonally move up-left in order to ascend, and down-right to descend.

This is one of the reasons I use the tritone layout instead of the 4ths string layout on the LinnStrument, as I always have a choice to move left or right if I want or need to when ascending or descending, as well as having easier access to exotic scales.

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I wasn’t familiar with that scale, and thought: that’s probably going to be strange, but let’s see. Turns out it’s really fun to play with! I even made a little video (that’s what deep night adventures can cause apparently). Thanks for pointing it out!

I do like the symmetry of the tritone layout too, really nice that is has the octaves straight above each other. It’s like the Wicki/Hayden layout with the semitones inbetween :wink:

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This scale is derived from Olivier Messiaen’s modes of limited transpositions, from which it is known as the second mode, among many other names elsewhere.

After opening the link, that “little video” states “Media is too big” and cannot be played.

This property of symmetry is useful for Olivier Messiaen’s modes of limited transpositions and their truncations, which is one of the many reasons why I chose the tritone layout as the foundation for my development of LinnStrument proficiency. There are other layouts based on factors of 12 that also share this property, but their usability is limited by vertical and/or horizontal note range. The less hand movement required, the better the layout is for ergonomics and my desired applications.

These modes are very easy to play on the tritone layout, but playing seventh chords, the diatonic scale and its various modes require some slight stretching depending on the position of the hand(s) and played note(s), and is the main reason why I wrote my tritone layout resources to address its challenges. In contrast, the Striso’s layout is excellent for playing common triad chords, the diatonic scale and its truncations such as the pentatonic scale, but struggles against the modes of limited transpositions and its truncations.

While of course now I can’t find the exact quote (nor quotee) it has been suggested by someone that the Striso was very well suited to chords and chord progressions, but less fluid for melodies. I should have written right away that I play it almost exclusively as a melody instrument, and can’t begin to tell you how much faster and easier I find it than anything else I have. Mind you, I did not grow up with piano skills (well, only the white keys) and my string experience is GDAE tuning only, so not bad in first position…But my main instruments have been Anglo concertina (2 hands of harmonica, so to speak) and recently Hayden Duet concertina, which led to Striso, which after 9 months I can play at or near session speed on any tune I really have in my head, and can play it with any sound my iPad synths have (and there’s a ton of ‘em) as well as the PC laptop with all the great sounds the Roli people threw in with the Lumi. As I have probably said here before, the entire setup, with a nice little external speaker, fits in a tiny form factor and weighs less than a concertina. This fall will be watershed for me, in that I am planning to take the little machinery to a weekend workshop for free-reed instruments (mostly accordions and concertinas) and, with workshop leaders’ permission, of course, play the Striso along with all those acoustic instruments. My guess is people may raise their eybrows (and or their noses) in some cases, but once they hear I sound “like them,” they’ll tolerate, perhaps with amusement. The fact of the matter is, it is absolutely faster for me to hear, repeat, and commit to memory musical phrases than any other way I have. I am hooked, and suggest many will be, too.


Ah, then that isn’t the right place for video’s, here it is again: Exploring the octatonic scale on the Striso board - YouTube

Thanks for pointing at those, interesting but complex stuff. I can imagine that with so many semitone intervals the tritone layout is a better fit indeed.

@colpitts Thanks for sharing your experiences with the Striso as melody instrument!

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Thank you Piers for reuploading the video to YouTube. In a jazz context, the octatonic scale is an option sometimes considered over a dominant chord, as the chord tones (root, major third, perfect fifth, and minor seventh) are part of the octatonic scale.

It is trivial using the tritone layout for most of those modes because they contain an even number of scale degrees, so you can split it between two rows. Since they are symmetrical, you can ascend and descend vertically very quickly.

The only mode that does not fit this criteria is the third mode, which has nine scale degrees. So to play that, I either have to move diagonally up left/down right every three scale degrees, or I play five scale degrees on the first row, and four scale degrees on the second row. Neither are ideal, and in this particular case, the major thirds (+4 offset) layout is more effective.