Previous review of RP301/301R - I semi recommend the Roland RP301 ($1699 internet discount price) or RP301R (approx $1999 store discount price). What I mean by "semi recommend" is that I do not fully recommend these models because of a few basic deficiencies which I discuss below. I do like Roland pianos (specifically their HP series) and have used them personally for years and it's a great company. But in these two specific models there are some things that I just don't care for which I consider to be quite important in digital pianos. Between the two models, the Roland RP301R is a big upgrade over the basic RP301 in terms of technology and educational features. Between the two models, the 301R is definitely worth the extra money and if it were not for some issues having to do with the key action and piano sound, in my opinion the RP301R would be a very nice piano for its price. The basic RP301 can be found and purchased on-line at many internet stores, but the upgraded RP301R can only be found in the US at regular piano stores and prices for that model are not advertised on-line.
I was looking forward to seeing what new type of key action Roland would be using in these new models and they elected to use their basic Ivory Feel-G Keyboard Action found in a couple other lower priced Roland models including the FP50 and RD300NX. This newer ivory feel-G key action is supposed to be heavier and closer to that of a real acoustic piano, and it is heavier. Roland did improve that part from previous models although the key movement is sluggish when playing softly or lightly, especially compared to other digital piano brands in the same price range and also compared to regular acoustic pianos. The upgraded Roland key actions (ivory-S and PHAIII in the higher priced HP models (as well as the the new portable FP80) move noticeably better and I do recommend those models.
Roland also claims to have added an "escapement" feature in the key action which they have in their better key actions. This key action mechanism duplicates more closely the touch of a grand piano as opposed to an upright piano. Unfortunately, this "escapement" feature is virtually non existent in the G-Keyboard as opposed to the escapement feature in the Roland PHA series of key actions found in the majority of Roland pianos including their HP series. You just cannot feel it (at least I could not and I know what it should be doing), no matter how hard or softly you press the keys. Roland might as well as have not mentioned this on their specs because it just doesn't work based on my playing experience with them. This is not the case with the better Roland key actions as you can definitely feel this feature on those pianos and it's quite good.
|Roland RP301 rosewood|
The RP301R (R stands for Rhythm) has a bunch of very cool upgrades over the regular RP301 such as 60 interactive style accompaniments (backing tracks) divided into 11 music categories so that you can "play with the band." This feature allows you to play regular pop, jazz, classical, country, big band, and other styles of music on the piano and then a background group of instruments (including a drummer) will follow your playing and recognize your chords and notes (chord recognition technology) and play appropriate backgrounds just like a band or orchestra would do. It doesn't wait for you like the teaching system on some Yamaha digital pianos but instead fills in some great multi instrumental music behind you piano playing. This is a fun feature for people just wanting to have fun (such as for adults not wanting to take lessons) or wanting to improvise with various music accompaniment styles. The quality of these background arrangements are very good which is a Roland specialty, and I like them very much. There are other pianos that have automatic style arrangements in this price range including Yamaha & Casio, however, this feature on the Roland is even more intuitive and natural sounding. Unfortunately, based on my experience, this function is normally not utilized by piano students or their piano teachers unless the students are older (teens and adults) and the teacher is able and willing to teach this chord method of play. This feature is something you could learn to use on your own but you need to have good rhythm and timing for it to sound good and understand the concept of playing that way. It really is a fun way to make music in ways that you would not otherwise do, but it's also a feature you and/or your family may not use much.
|Roland RP301R USB input/output|
|2014/2015 model Kawai KDP90|
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