With the Rise, Roli dropped the price of its Seaboard by removing some functionality - and it made an arguably more compelling product in the process. Where the Seaboard does all of its processing on-board, the Rise offsets that functionality, serving more as MIDI controller. But all you need to add it back in is a smartphone.

The keyboard maintains what made the original so compelling, of course, those squishy keys that let you bend, sustain, and otherwise manipulate notes as you would on a guitar. This time out, however, a lot of the heavily lifting is done by an attached smartphone, which opens the thing up for all sorts of different sounds and functionality.

I played around with it a bit - and while I'm not a keyboard player myself, I certainly had fun taking the thing for a spin. Of course, the results were much more impressive when the trained professional took over and began utilizing the keys, the small control panel, and the app to create a mini-orchestra.

It's easy to see how utilizing the device as a MIDI controller rather than a simple keyboard opens things up for sorts of fascinating uses. That functionality is going to run you $799.

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