Larger Sensel Morph or Alternative

I bought a Morph during the Black Friday Sale last year as an inexpensive way to try MPE. Now I am hooked. I love programing my own super expressive sample-based MPE instruments. I love mangling field recordings and blending them by hand with more tonal sounds. I typically use it with Max, Pigments, Kontakt, Quanta, Serum, etc, depending on my needs.

I plan to keep the Morph for it’s flexibility and portable size. I have also created a few custom overlays for it, which has been a blast, but for keyboard style playing, I am craving something larger - more octaves, larger key areas.

Do we think that Sensel will release a larger Morph, or should I start to seek alternatives?

I am interested in the Roli Seaboard Rise 49, but I am a bit worried that the Roli is not as sensitive as the Morph. I love how the Morph’s range goes from the lightest touch to absolutely laying on it. Is the Rise comparable?

What are your thoughts?

Thanks in advance!

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The Roli products are nowhere near as sensitive as the Morph. The initial release of the small Roli Blocks required a lot of pressure, though I hear they’ve improved that. The Rise is certainly interesting (I had one and sold it) and it’s certainly good if you want to leverage keyboard chops, but there’s really no comparison to the Morph, because it’s apples and oranges. Same goes for the Mcmillen K-Board, I have one and it’s quite nice if you want a very light keyboard touch, but it doesn’t have any “give”, and of course isn’t as flexible (in usage) as the Morph. The Joué Board product is somewhat comparable to the Morph - it’s similarly sensitive to the Morph, but for my usage the aspect ratio, ridiculously slim form factor, and much lower price of the Morph makes it the clear winner for me. I think I’ve seen an indication that Joue is about to come out with something new. You should ALWAYS be seeking alternatives, and I’d LOVE to hear about something larger that was similarly sensitive to the Morph, though the Morph is so cheap that getting several and putting them in a custom enclosure is actually preferable for my use. Search for “Space Palette Pro” on YouTube if you haven’t seen that approach.

To be honest, if I had to choose, I’d prefer to see a Morph device of its current size that had a display underneath, rather than a larger Morph. Clearly Sensel has been going after the smaller displays of the cellphone market for the last year or two, though perhaps there’s a chance they could produce a version of the Morph that had a display. That would be amazingly cool, particularly if it wasn’t bundled with a tablet, and just had an HDMI or USB-C connection so that it could be used with anything.

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Thank you for the reply. I will probably try the Seaboard Rise for myself (since I am interested in leveraging my keyboard chops) while begging Sensel to come out will a large Morph.

As far as other keyboard-like alternatives go - the the Continuum is out of my price range and I have no interest in Egan Matrix; the Osmose is not really a continuous playing surface. With that said, several Morphs is also not a true continuous playing surface, nor is the K-Board, and neither really solve the issue of having large keys. For melding field recordings and sampled instruments, I much prefer a continue surface, with an underlying keyboard layout, like the Roli and Morph. I agree that the Joué is much too bulky for what it does.

Aesthetically the best looking devices IMO are the Roli and the Soundplane, which is not a keyboard layout but is stunning looking.

You should definitely try the Rise, yes! There might be a misunderstanding - I was referring to (and own) the K-Board Pro 4 - I didn’t realize/remember that they have another (toy-like) keyboard called the K-Board. I owned both the K-Board Pro 4 and the Rise, and much preferred (and kept) the very light touch (with no travel, for better or worse) of the K-Board Pro 4 compared to the spongy harder touch of the Rise. A lot of the reason for that preference is because the K-Board Pro 4 has real edges on the keys (even though they don’t move), as opposed to the very rounded edges on the Rise. I have an Osmose on order, and think that its approach of treating the key travel as a continuous controller will be really interesting!

Re: the Soundplane - it really is gorgeous, and nicely sensitive. I had to return mine when I discovered that it didn’t work with Windows, and I didn’t want to spend the effort to work on its driver to make it work with Windows.

That is a shame about the Soundplane. I really hope they come out with the MKII soon. Maybe it will output MIDI 2.0. A man can dream.

Ohh, the K-Board Pro 4. Lets talk about that more. Despite the spaces between the keys, can you still slide between notes? Also, why on earth is there no high C?!?!?

The white keys are about 2-3 mm (guessing) higher than the background level, i.e. the spaces between the keys are good-sized troughs. The black keys are maybe 2 mm higher than the white keys, which makes them recognizable to your fingers. The surface of all the keys is very slick, so you can sweep your fingers across them easily, but there’s no continuous surface at a single level.

Ah, so you cannot glissando from one note to another? That is too bad.

Are the keys similarly sized to a standard MIDI keyboard?

The keys are narrower than you’d expect. I suspect the narrowness and good-sized trough between keys is to make the X direction usable without hitting an adjacent key. Other than that, though, the spacing and size feel pretty natural for a keyboard controller.

I would be interested in more octaves, but my current workaround is to connect 3 morph piano keyboards in a row and set them so that they cover a 6 octave range. Works really well and packs down well too. I find the layout and the surface to be really user friendly. Makes for a great playing experience. I have tried Joue, which is good, but I find the surface a little too abrasive for continuous use. The advantage of Joue is that it is usb powered and doesn’t require a battery. I have also tried Seaboard, but I really like the way that you can easily switch off pitch bend on the morph. David

You can certainly adjust the pitch bend amount on the Roli Rise directly from the control panel on the left.

Hey Brian, really glad to hear you’re hooked on the Morph! I replied to you privately on support but wanted to reach out here as well so everyone could see.

There are no plans for a larger Morph at the moment, but it’s good for us to know this would be useful for you.

This doesn’t help with larger key areas, but you could get multiple morphs and set them at different octaves. Here’s an example from the forum, in which @NothanUmber built his own Continuano.

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Mark Harris (thetechnobear) has a Linux based project called MEC, which puts Soundplane drivers on the Raspberry Pi. I haven’t messed with it yet, but imagine that would get around a lot of limitations.

Same aspect ratio, same form factor. New overlays, much more beginner-friendly. It’s not what you’re into, but it should have much wider appeal than the original.

Strongly agree. Though if we could have a larger version of THAT? Even better.

Yes. I really love it, and thank you for the reply! I think getting a second Morph may be my best option. Why mess with what already works, right?

I do hope to see a larger Morph someday.

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