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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Assessment: Roli Lumi Keys Musical Keyboard

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Musically, I’m a strolling Dunning-Kruger impact. I’ve learned just enough to behave like I do know what I’m doing however not sufficient to, you understand, play an instrument. The lengthy isolation of pandemic life has impressed a plethora of recent hobbies, and some months in the past, I assumed, possibly music may very well be mine.

Enter Lumi Keys. Lumi Keys from Roli is a keyboard contained in a foot-long block, with translucent keys that mild up in numerous colours relying on which be aware is performed. It’s primarily marketed in the direction of freshmen, and it wirelessly pairs with a companion app loaded with digital music classes. The app tells the keys to mild up in time to the music, so you understand which of them to press to play alongside. These flashy lights and shiny colours appeared like simply the factor to carry the eye of my simply distracted fool mind.

Months of on-and-off utilization of two totally different variations of the Lumi Keys didn’t make me a musical prodigy. (Not that I anticipated it to.) I loved my time with the machine extra as an gadget or instrument than an educational device. It’s a stable midi controller and the teachings are easy and straightforward to know, even when the quilt variations of in style songs can really feel a little bit uninspiring.

{Photograph}: James North/Roli

Lumi Keys began as a Kickstarter project again in 2019. After reaching its fundraising aim on the primary day, Roli began manufacturing and launched a restricted run to its Kickstarter backers. The corporate was then blindsided by pandemic-induced manufacturing woes. Within the meantime, Roli has made some small tweaks to enhance construct high quality and has re-released a brand new model of the keyboard. For preorder, anyway. It prices $299, and an optionally available subscription to the app is $79 per yr.

I occur to have each the “Kickstarter model” of the product, and the brand new model. The latter is the one I largely used. The Lumi Keys matches proper on my dinky desk, the place it takes up much less area than my typing keyboard. It has 24 keys complete, making it simply over a fourth the scale of a regular full keyboard. Dimension constraints imply that the keys are narrower than on a standard piano, which might take some adjustment if you happen to’re used to regular-sized keys.

Lumi Keys is a part of Roli’s Blocks line, which implies there are little magnetic connectors on the aspect that allow you to sync up two blocks side-by-side. Pair two of them and also you’ve doubled your octave vary. Lined up, the seam between two Lumi Keys is barely noticeable, although the connectors can disconnect simply if you happen to’re actually jamming out otherwise you bonk one of many units on the mistaken angle. Rubber strips on the underside preserve it from sliding round an excessive amount of on a flat floor.

The keys themselves really feel springy and plastic. Roli claims that the keys have 92 % of the plunge depth of a grand piano, however there’s no complicated the delicate squish of the Lumi’s keyboard with the crisp, satisfying clunk of a daily piano. However it is a moveable keyboard, not a Steinway. And hey, did I point out the keys mild up?

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