With only "2D" keyboard; still amazed

Still brand new to the electronics, MIDI, MPE, expressive stuff, but incrasingly surprised by what sofware geniuses have created. Most recently, have been using the CME XKey 25 keyboard, with GeoShred for various (sometimes fantastic) preset instruments/voices, and then to Roli 5D. It seems to me that the Roli 5D app includes the most responsive after-touch, which changes the sounds/instruments depending upon which I am using. I love “Xitar” from GeoShred into “Strings and Horns” from Roli. While the MPE is not implemented, the “Multi-touch” settings on GeoShred seem to do similar things, at least with aftertouch on the XKey board. The QuNexus has more ostensible communication with the newer MPE stuff, but the advantages of the XKey (more “normal” size keys and sweeping glissando) make it a tough choice, which or which?

I suspect I am still saving for a Striso or maybe saving a bit less for a Roli (Lumi) Studio. Any thoughts on the Roli board?

The Lumi really isn’t MPE. The lack of y-axis control makes a huge difference. With that said, the Lumi is really a really cool controller.

In the under $500 price rance i’d definitely go for the Striso. Another option could be 1-2 roli lightpad blocks.

Thanks. I will play with what I have, whilst saving, and then in a couple/three months, look and ask again, no doubt. The Roli, then, doesn’t have any more “dimensions” of control than the QuNexus, it seems, which when paired with the right software/preset/voice/instrument (I am probably not using these correctly, yet) still plays very responsively. I do have some concerns seeing so many tech-types referring to all the settings for the Striso; I may opt for something less powerful but more easily conquered, when the time comes.

I think for sub $1000, the Striso is arguably the best pick up n’ play expressive controller - simply because it has a built in synth … so you really can just turn on and play. No setup. …. And it feels great to play.

Expressive controllers generally have a lot of settings , mainly to be compatible with users and their software needs - however, often a lot of this can be ignored until you have more complex requirements.
Definitely KISS at first, and just play !

I’d steer clear of more generic ‘mpe’ controllers, unfortunately, most are pretty lacking when it comes to ‘feel’ … unfortunately, it’s a bit you get what you pay for.
( of course, they are fine for trying mpe etc, but most will end up wanting more - so false economy imho)

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Thanks for the useful information. I am glad to hear so many reports speak well of the Striso. I have a friend who got one last month, and when he returns from Europe with it in a week or two, I bet I can beg a trial. Meanwhile, I am learning a bunch about MIDI and settings and voices and…oh my gosh, there’s a lot. But already, with the “3D” only QuNexus and the free voices from Roli 5D and the really valuable and moderately priced ThumbJam and GeoShred, I am having a blast. Certainly I am busting out of my single-note-melody-line-only acoustic instrument corner. As a Hayden Duet concertina player, the Striso is, for sure, the closest I can come to transferable skill sets.

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The Striso is really meant to be used by anyone, no configuration necessary with its internal sound or MPE synthesizers like the Seaboard 5D iPad app. For advanced usages there are many settings, and more to come, but the main intention of the Striso is a focus on playing music without having to care for settings!

Better defaults for the vast amount of non MPE synthesizers is still work in progress, but with the new settings editor and so many enthusiastic tech-types I don’t think that will be a problem.

I understand completely! I am on the edge of my seat this very morning, since this afternoon a friend is bringing his new Striso by, so that I might “take it for a spin.” I have every expectation that I’ll love it, and want one, too! I now use my QuNexus in MPE mode with ThumbJam (to choose the modes and scales) and Roli 5D and most recently GeoShred, with 3 of the wonderful GeoSWAM instruments. I imagine the Striso will plug into all that, for MPE.


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I have the borrowed Striso here, now, and could not be more imptessed. In an hour, I can see what the prospects are for the future (at least for me) and they are, as we used to say, “really something.”

It showed up, seamlessly, in my inputs/outputs for ThumbJam, Roli 5D, and GeoShred, and it will be a few hours before I can reliably and repeatedly get what I want from the connections and settings…but it’ll happen! And, the extra dimension of expressivity is exactly that…another dimension. I’ll pay lots of attention here; thanks to those who participate!

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(EDIT this should not be still under “2D” since it is about the Striso, but I just replied and don’t really know how to switch it to another thread/title.)

OK…people probably tire of rookies waxing rhapsodic regarding new expressive discoveries, but a few brief hours with the borrowed Striso have convinced me! I can now, as PiersTitus said, concentrate on playing music with hardly a care for settings; merely make sure that my software synth is set to accept input from “Striso #XYZ” and it works. Beyond that, playing with the synth options gets me so many choices, and as I learn more about MIDI and MPE and related stuff, the sky is the limit. It helps a bit that the Hayden layout is familiar to me from my concertinas, but it would have been simple even from scratch (since it was simple on the concertina to come to grips with the logical isomorphism of the Hayden keys.

One thing has actually startled me: When I tried MIDI mode “normal” rather than “MPE” I couldn’t believe how much individual expression came from each button. I guess I thought “expressivity” was a direct by-product of MPE, but now I sense it isn’t that simple an equation. I can make sounds bend to my heart’s content, while learning how you smart young people have made pressure change octaves, voices, etc. all at the same time, for each button. Genius all around! I may just end up the aging poster-child for committing to this sort of electronica, while only reaching for the real squeezeboxes so I remember how, and of course, for upper body/cardio workouts. Anybody got the lightest, cleanest little busking amp I can plug my iPad output into?

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In “normal” mode it does send pitch bend and polyphonic aftertouch, but since there’s only one pitch bend value possible at the same time the average is used. If you play two notes and bend those in the opposite direction that won’t work for example.
So if you play mainly melody lines there won’t be that much difference.

My favourite small speaker is the Minirig. The only downsides are that it doesn’t have volume control and that the supplied cables are very fragile (put some heat-shrink around the connectors or make your own charging cable).

It’s a little pricey, but the TE OB-4 is an amazing portable speaker. I use it with all my ios synth stuff.

And, thanks to Piers and Jeffrey for the speaker tips, etc. I have an old Radio Shack PA that works, for now. I got it 35 years ago to amp my harmonica playing, and it isn’t awful…and it’s paid for!

I am having great time with the Striso, although I must say I don’t think I have successfully upgraded the firmware…How long does the red light flash, and how do I read “success?”