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FXpansion makes Big Flippin’ Deal with ROLI

Angus Hewlett and his team will be rolled into the ever-growing world of the Seaboard and beyond

Innovative music technology company ROLI has acquired FXpansion, the London-based maker of software instruments, including the BFD acoustic drum studio series. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

FXpansion adds a large collection of sounds and effects to ROLI’s growing ecosystem of music creation tools. The Seaboard, ROLI’s touch-responsive instrument that is acclaimed as “the future of the keyboard”, will now be developed alongside FXpansion’s virtual instruments including BFD3, the world’s largest collection of acoustic drum sounds, and Strobe2, the analogue-modelled software synthesiser. The combined ROLI team will integrate its technologies, as ROLI “creates a new class of digital instruments that are more expressive and versatile than anything before it,” says the company.

Roland Lamb, founder and CEO of ROLI, says, “We are creating a Connected Music ecosystem of devices that will change the way people make and enjoy music. Our leadership in music technology innovation ­– across both software and hardware – strengthens with every link we add to ROLI’s toolchain. We’re excited to continue pushing the boundaries of musical expression and technological innovation with FXpansion, which has been at the forefront of audio software development for the past 15 years.”

Angus Hewlett, founder and CEO of FXpansion, says, “This acquisition is a momentous opportunity for FXpansion. Together ROLI and FXpansion can create best-in-class instruments, even as we continue to develop the FXpansion products our users know and love.”

The acquisition follows ROLI’s $27 million Series B fundraising – led by US-based Foundry Group – in May 2016. It concludes a vigorous year, during which ROLI released the Seaboard RISE, a touch-responsive MIDI controller.

Beyond the Seaboard, ROLI has developed Equator, the software synthesizer; NOISE, the free app that turns iPhones into musical instruments; Blend, the social platform for music collaboration; and JUCE, the C++ coding framework for audio developers.

ROLI will support and develop FXpansion’s family of products which also includes Geist2, the beat production system, and a range of sound effect plug-ins such as Maul and Bloom. All FXpansion team members will join ROLI, where they will take on new roles as they continue to develop FXpansion’s products. Angus Hewlett will become head of sound synthesis and lead software engineer. Rhiannon Bankston-Thomas, FXpansion’s COO/CFO, will become ROLI’s head of software programme management. Skot McDonald, Chief Technology Officer, will become ROLI’s lead software and research engineer.

Pictured (L-R): McDonald, Hewlett, Lamb and Bankston-Thomas