Sunday, June 6, 2010

REVIEW - Roland RP201 & F110 Digital Pianos - Nice piano tone with basic key action

UPDATED REVIEW - Feb 10, 2013 - The Roland RP201 & F110 are now discontinued. Roland has the new updated versions now called the RP301 & F120 (the same as each other except for cabinet). I have played those pianos and was not that impressed with the ivory feel G-keyboard key action with escapement, but the piano sound is overall better than previous models. Click on the following link to see my REVIEW of the the new RP301 and F120:
Roland RP301/F120 Review

This is my review from the now discontinued RP201 & F110: Roland is famous for musical instruments of all kinds and I have been playing and using them for years. In fact, that's all Roland does; they make high quality digital home and professional music products. From pro digital drum kits to digital accordions, digital pianos to home and pro digital organs, guitar amps to multi-track recorders; pro synthesizers to special effects, they pretty much do it all. In fact the Roland company owns and makes the BOSS guitar products and Edirol audio & digital computer music products lines which are used by music professionals and recreational music lovers all over the world.

Roland RP201
Roland has a big line up of cabinet digital pianos that cover all music levels in various price ranges. Their lower priced pianos (under $2000) are limited to the RP201 ($1599 to approx $1999 depending on the store) - pictured left) & F110 ($999 closeout price at Costco - pictured below left). Essentially, these two pianos are the exactly the same instruments having identical an control panel, key action, and speaker & audio systems (24 watts each) in different cabinets (the F110 is in a compact contemporary cabinet). Just like auto manufacturers, they can make pretty much the same piano in different body styles and that's what these pianos are. The RP201 & F110 are entry level pianos for students and beginners who want a nice digital piano at a lower price. Realistic piano tone, 128-note polyphony (for better and smoother sound), over 300 nice sounding instrument tones and the ultra cool "jazz scat tone", good half-pedal response, 3-track recorder in the F110 and 1-track in the RP201, 4-hand twin piano function, split & layering of tones, and a few more cool features. These pianos are easy to use, very reliable, and sound good.

Roland F110
But as with every piano, people want to know how the key action feels and responds to touch? Roland currently makes 3 key actions with a couple of variations in them. The best way to describe these key actions is (without getting technical) ...basic, better, and best. The Roland RP201 & F110 (pictured left) pianos have the "basic" key action and the key touch and movement is somewhat lighter and also less natural feeling than the other Roland key actions in their models over $2000. So the main downside to the Roland F110 and RP201 is the fact the key action does not really feel like an acoustic upright key action in my opinion, although the key action in the cabinet version RP201 seems solid and the white keys have a very quiet movement (much quieter than the higher priced Roland HP302 cabinet model) but the black keys tend to be noisy as you play them, especially when they go back up.

If you want to stay in a price range under $2000 I would suggest you also consider Kawai, Yamaha, and Casio digital pianos in similar price ranges as the RP201 and F110. Make no mistake though, the piano sound on these Roland pianos is very good, although the built-in audio system is only 24 watts of total power which is OK but not great as compared to built-in speaker systems (40 to 60 watts) in other digital pianos at similar prices that I have played.

Casio AP620
If you want a good, realistic key action with great piano tone but need to keep the price down closer to $1000 range, I would instead look at the Casio Celviano AP620 (pictured left) for $1399 internet discount price, Kawai EP3 with stand at approx $1259, Yamaha YDP141 at $1149, and the new Casio PX750 at $799 internet price. The Casio AP620 has realistic piano tone, is 128 note polyphonic, has a more realistic upright piano touch in my opinion along with the new ivory feel keytops, better audio-speaker system (60 watts on the AP620), SD card memory function, 16-track recorder on the Casio AP620 (as opposed to 3 track or 1 track in the Roland's), 360 drum patterns, bigger full size cabinet, lots of built-in music education features, direct to computer or iPad USB connection for instant plug & play to interactive software programs available for piano education, and more (Roland does not have this useful plug & play USB feature). The Kawai piano has very good piano tone & touch (much better than the Roland in this price range) with very useful features and a USB computer output, and the entry level Yamaha's do a very good job as basic pianos with a better piano key touch than the Roland's (although the Yamaha piano does not have a USB computer output or audio outputs. I have reviewed all of these models on my blog so take a look when you have a chance.

As far as Casio goes, it is not the only option, but I am not comparing Casio to Mercedes Benz either:) However, in my opinion it offers the most quality & features for the money in a lower price range and that's what we're talking about here. A Casio digital piano is a very good choice and the company is known for producing some fine electronic products including digital pianos for over 30 years. Once you get up towards $2000 and beyond in a digital piano, then there are definitely other good options including the Roland HP & Yamaha CLP Clavinova, and Kawai CN series of digital pianos.

Learn more about these pianos from my blog reviews at the following links:

Casio PX780 review - very hot product!

Kawai EP3 & Yamaha P155 Reviews 

Yamaha YDP141 

For more info on digital pianos and how to get one of these models for LESS than any advertised US price on the internet, please contact me at tim@azpianowholesale.com or call direct at 602-571-1864 

20 comments:

  1. Hi Tim,
    As a beginner,I am in the market for a DP and am researching Yamaha and Roland. This article is helpful in explaining the different grades of hammer key action in a DP.

    Sue

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  2. Thank you for your comments Sue. If you would like more helpful info on digital pianos so that you can make the right decision for you, please contact me at music@azpianowholesale.com and I would be happy to go into more detail.

    Tim

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  3. Thanks for telling about diff. in hammers. Will now review the Casio. Kind regards Jens, Denmark

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  4. I just wanted to say thanks for doing all these reviews Tim. I've been checking out all sorts of digital pianos online over the past few weeks and it is almost scary how often I end up here reading one of your reviews about them.

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  5. Thanks for the review. I just bought the F-110 I am a beginner (studying for about 9 months). It seems to be a decent piano. I really like the cover (keep the toddler out).
    And also consider that a New f-100 comes with 5 years of IN HOUSE warranty. I don't think that is too bad. Form looking on the internet and talking to foks thet seem to like Rolands service.

    Thanks again for the review.

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  6. I am a musician of many years' experience. I am considering buying a digital piano for my nieve Vivi. She has just undertook Grade 5 piano (UK exam system). I have been considering Yamaha CLP320, Roland RP201, Robertsons RP5000 at around the £1000 mark (USD 1600). The cheaper pianos around £600 sound extremely artificial and limited. The quality digital pianos around £2000 are general too big and too heavy. Is there a good compromise? I like the sound of the Roland RP 201, although CLP320 sound OK if played through a decent external sound system.

    I would be grateful for some advice.

    Kind regards

    Tim

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  7. its good, except u confused me which really sucked man. but, its not ur fault. ur the piano master, so i guess i should expect these kind of complicated answers from u. just kidding. good article. now i just need $2000....................

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  8. Hello,
    Thank you for this review. Could I ask a bit of help please? I am looking for a piano for my little boy (7 years old happy beginner) and in the shop the assistant tried hard (a bit too hard for my liking) to sell me Casio Privia PX-7 (apparantly limited edition casios's 30th anniversary).. Do you know anything about it? It is in the same price range as Roland F-110.
    Thank you in advance for any comments you may have.
    Aggie

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  9. Hi Aggie,

    For specific info on other digital pianos and related things, please email me at tim@azpianowholesale.com and then I can help you.

    Tim

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  10. I just purchased the Roland RP201 for $1849. The dealer said that if I found a lower price he would return the difference. However, I could not find the price for Roland RP201 on-line, only from your blog. Could you direct me to the page where I can find a price quote to present it to my dealer.


    Thank you,

    Trang

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  11. Hello from Rio, Brazil!
    What did you think of the quality of the speakers on the F-110?
    Thanks,

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  12. The speaker system is quite adequate for this smaller size Roland piano and has good volume. The power and quality of this model is similar to other compact digital pianos in this price range including Yamaha & Kawai.

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  13. Can you please tell me the difference between the PX-830 BK, PX-830 BP, and PX-830? Newegg.com listed the PX-830 BK as $900.99 with free shipping and no tax. I am very interested in buying this piano, so could you please advise me on this?

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  14. I would be happy to help and give you specific info if you would email me at the email address in this blog review. Thank you.

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  15. Any advice for a newly moved to Mexico piano player. Whose left her much loved and well used "real piano" in her homeland? I have a seven year old who is very passionate about learning still and have found a great teacher out here. I think Im interested in the AP420 but am curious on how to go about purchasing it. Is it still a good deal to purchase on line from the states and have it delivered?

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  16. The Casio AP420 is a very good choice of digital piano in the lower price range. However, I would have no info on availability or shipping outside the continental US. I wish you and your family much musical success.

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  17. Tim, thanks for your helpful site. I am close to buying the Casio PX-330 for about $600 Black Friday special! Just came across your site. Based on my online research, it seems like the best value for a good quality DP under $1,000! Has lots of sound options and drum rhythm accomp for a little extra fun.
    It's mostly for my 12 and 13 year-olds who are musical but can't play yet.
    Is the 830 worth the extra? What more do you get?

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  18. Tim - follow up to my post of a moment ago - is the PX-330 good regarding music education software too (plug & play). With young kids that can't yet play, that is important to me. I know it has a USB port, so assume it has similar educational capabilities?

    Thanks - Kieran

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  19. The PX830 is in a better, more complete cabinet and is more powerful than the PX330. However the PX830 does not have the many fun & educational features of the PX330.

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  20. Hi Tim, first of all thank u for the info you provided. I am a new piano student, but I am so much into it. I have small keyboard, that use for practice.

    Now, i feel like it is time for me to invest up to $1200. Can you recommend the best option at that range of price.

    Thank u again

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