How much “further” can a ROLI Rise take your playing?

Lately I’ve been making music using a sequencer heavy workflow. This involves a Digitakt and several synths, with a granular sampler doing more textural loops underneath. I’ll occasionally record a live overdub or two, but for the most it’s all very on the grid.

While I do enjoy this process, I’d like to explore an alternate setup that’s more live and expressive. This would likely be an ambient project where I would play my synths in to a Soma Cosmos, allowing me to loop things and add layers as the piece progresses. My budget allows for the purchase of the Cosmos and one other item. Currently considering a Roli Rise, which I could buy for $500 on the secondhand market.

However I do wonder if the ROLI will really add that much more to my playing than my reliable old keystep, or if that money would be better spent on another instrument. No need for effects since I do all that in the box. Any experience people have had with this would be totally appreciated.

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Interesting thought.

First let’s save others from having to respond, because they’re unhappy with the reliability of a used Rise. Obviously you’ve already thought that through.

The Rise is really about MPE control. That is its forte. If your target devices aren’t MPE it will have less power.

In that price range consider a new or used Hydrasynth Explorer. It can run as a controller with both MPE, and poly-aftertouch. It has fewer dimensions than the Rise, but has good flexibility setting up various custom controls for MIDI CC and CV output. Plus there is a synth built in as an extra.


got a max for live MPE sequencer that will do better for me than my playing. had the roli Rise Block small KB thingy for a while and found it to be kind of novel but i’m not a KB player. someone who is a player will get more mileage out of it i’m sure.

i suspect a keystep would be pretty rad w/all those features.

if you can, find a place to demo them both… not possible in a lot of places but arturia stuff is pretty widespread.

People who are good with a Rise are amazing to listen to and watch !

It can really reward those who pay their dues.

Fortunately too, there is the Rise 2, so it’s not dead-ended as you get good at playing it, as ROLI turns the corner.

I have been thinking about the same things as you recently! Here’s what I ended up doing.

The Osmose looks really neat but I need to save up for that and try it out first. I do have the Hydra Explorer, and I’ve been practicing my PolyAT skills. I also remind myself periodically that Steve Winwood got a lot out of the solo on ‘Valerie’ just using pitch bend. For that kind of playing I still like a real wheel vs the touch strips on the Explorer or your Keystep, but they are OK.

For an interesting looper, I built one using a couple of send tracks in Ableton with multiple 100% wet delays with 0 feedback, one with a fixed length and the other with an LFO modulated additional delay time to make the delay drift in an interesting way. It’s really fun to play around with and gives me a little taste of what the Cosmos can do.


I love your delay idea for Ableton. I would imagine it’s not quite the same thing, but as you said a “taste” is never bad.

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No, I’m an idiot and didn’t even know that was a thing. I assumed you could take advantage of the Roli bells and whistles on most any synth. I’d be playing a Virus C, so definitely no MPE there.