Roli's pro Lumi marries keyboard tradition with expressive MIDI features

You can glide and stab keys to produce subtle effects.


Roli aimed its first light-up Lumi keyboard at beginners learning to play, but its next model is clearly built to please veteran musicians. Its new Lumi Keys Studio Edition is billed as the first keyboard controller that provides both pitchbending and polyphonic aftertouch on each key. You can glide, lift, press and strike to achieve subtle effects that might otherwise be difficult. The Studio Edition offers a range of modes depending on how much control you need, too, ranging from a classic piano through to a “4D” mode with the full pitch and aftertouch. Think of it as a blend between traditionalism and the wilder Seaboard.

The concept isn’t completely new. Expressive E’s Osmose lets you wiggle keys for effects and use aftertouch. However, Roli’s method appears more flexible and is certainly comes in a much more compact design.

This Lumi is MPE-enabled and integrates with modular Blocks to either add a wider variety of music tools or even to create a longer keyboard — you can have a 96-key board if you really want it. And while you’re less likely to need the Lumi’s signature lighting if you’re a seasoned pro, it’s still around to help with arpeggios and unfamiliar keys.

You can pre-order the Studio Edition now ahead of its January 2021 release in a “limited-time” $269 bundle that includes Roli Studio software suite, a case, three sound packs and a $50 voucher for apps like Equator2. The price climbs to $299 once the deal is over. Don’t despair if you already have a Lumi, though. Roli will deliver the pitchbending and aftertouch to existing users through a firmware update due in January. Really, the Studio Edition is more for experienced creators who want a wide set of features and tools from the outset.