British music company Roli introduced an affordable, innovative music-making gadget last year called Roli Blocks. It's a set of modular synth controllers that can snap together and connect via Bluetooth to your iOS device. Roli is now updating the iOS app, Noise, and updating its surface controller, the Lightpad M.
Lightpad M, the new touch-sensitive controller block, has added tactile feedback via "microkeywaves," a redesigned silicone surface layer for more responsiveness and a brighter surface illumination. The updated Noise 3.0 app is still free to download and has better clip launching and editing along with user interface improvements. It also has some new acoustic sounds to add to your projects. Dubbed Bass Quartet (bundled with the LIghtpad M) and Treble Quartet (bundled with the mini-key controller, Seaboard), the new soundsets bring things like cello, violin, clarinet and saxophone to the Noise app. They're also available for $10 each separately.
Roli is also expanding to work with more than just the app, as well. You can now connect the Noise app to mobile GarageBand via audio unit, as well, with more than 400 polyphonic sounds to play and edit in Apple's digital audio workstation app. Roli will also bundle Ableton Live Lite with Lightpad M soon, turning the block into a control surface to launch clips, control instruments and create tracks within Ableton's digital audio workstation for desktop. You can still get the original Lightpad Block for $180, though the new Lightpad M is only $20 more at $200.