Feb 15, 2010

REVIEW - Roland HP302, HP305, & HP307 Digital Pianos - Very Nice with the exception of the HP302


UPDATED REVIEW - May 20, 2014 - Roland has discontinued the HP300 series of pianos (below) and replaced them with the newer HP500 series which are called HP504, HP506, & HP508. These new pianos are vastly improved over the HP300 series and not much more money. If you were thinking of looking at or purchasing an older HP302, 305, or 307, unless it's a VERY low price, I would get a new model instead. Go to the following link to see my review on the new Roland HP500 series:  Roland HP504, HP506, HP508 Review

Original review of HP302, HP305, & HP307: Roland has been a leader in digital piano technology for many years and is known for professional quality instruments. As of this writing, their latest lineup of home cabinet digital pianos is Roland HP (home piano) series with the best sounding best feeling digital pianos Roland has offered. I have personally played all of them over the years and they are one of the best digital piano line-ups in their price range on the market, with a few exceptions as you'll read below.

However there is one caveat: they are not inexpensive. After discounts and depending on the piano store, the entry model HP302 should generally sell for approx $2599, the next model HP305 at approx $3000, and the top of the line HP307 sells at approx $4300, although the 305 & 307 also come in an upgraded polished ebony cabinet for approx $600 more each. (Please note that Roland can change their retail and discount pricing at any time up or down.)

These new models really are very attractive (particularly in the satin black cabinets) and feel good to play, especially with their new simulated synthetic ivory keys (on the HP305 & HP307), SuperNATURAL Piano Sound, and a smooth action (PHAII 2-sensor key action with escapement). And if you're a real good piano player (at least in your own mind:), there is a big difference in the response and quickness of the action and electronics on the HP307 (using their newer PHAIII 3-sensor action) as opposed to the HP305 or HP302. Also, (as opposed to the HP305), the HP307 has twice the audio power (although it doesn't sound as full as it could be compared to an upright or grand) along with a better built-in speaker system which makes a significant difference in the two models. And the HP305 has over twice the total audio power as the HP302 (60 watts vs 24 watts respectively) which make s a big difference in the fullness and richness of the piano tone in the HP305. Finally, all HP models have 337 very nice instrument tones for lots of variety which is a good thing. 

The HP302 has only 24 watts total audio power as compared to the HP305 at 60 watts total power which I mentioned above. At approx $2500 selling price, the HP302 has a very weak audio system, especially considering Roland knows how to build some great pro audio speaker systems. I give low marks to Roland for that, especially at the higher price of the HP302. The HP302 should have a least 40 to 60 watts of total power with a better speakers (like the HP305) which would give it a fuller tone with more bass, like other new digital pianos in that price range.

And finally, the HP302 has a problem when the keys are being played and they make a very noticeable thumping noise when hitting the bottom underneath the keys. It's like taking your fist and hitting it on a table up and down, although I did not find it near as noticeable on the HP305 or HP307. In fact this thumping or thunking noise is so loud you can even hear it while wearing headphones, that's how loud it is. And if you are wearing headphones playing the piano, other people in the room or house don't hear your music (which is the point of headphones) but they sure do hear the thumping noise and it's very annoying. In reality, I would call this issue a design defect because I have heard this loud thumping noise in every HP302 I have played, and I have played at least 5 different ones. So for that reason (and the lack of good power output) I would not recommend the HP302.

Overall however, spending at least $2500 for any new digital piano is a big commitment, especially in this economy so you really need to make an educated decision before you buy. If you are looking for a digital piano that does a fine job in trying to reproduce an acoustic piano playing experience, then the Roland may be for you. Also, the Roland pianos have been very reliable over the years and rarely break down based on my experience with them. If you are a picky piano person who wants an upgraded piano sound in a nice furniture style cabinet, then the Roland may be the way to go.

Also, as a very good alternative in a lower price range, check out the Kawai CE220 piano (left pic) with an actual acoustic piano wood keyboard for only $1899 internet price. The action is smooth, responsive, and solid, and the piano tone is quite realistic. The piano has some pretty cool features too. I have done a review of that model on this blog if you care to check it out: Kawai CE220 Review


If you want more piano info and LOWER PRICES than internet or store discounts, please email me at tim@azpianowholesale.com or call direct at 602-571-1864

4 comments:

  1. Does your Roland "thunking sound" comment apply to the FP7F model?

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  2. We are moving my 10 year old dgt. who has taken lessons for 4 years from electric keyboard to the next level. We are considering digital piano in the $1800-$2400 range.Piano store owner is pushing the roland rp201 b/c we do want a cabinet not a portable keyboard. Your thoughts?

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  3. I would be happy to give you some piano advice if you email me directly (email address above). Thank you.

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  4. I purchased a HP305 two days ago. I wish I read this review and had tried the Casio Celviano AP620 before making the purchase however. If the sound quality and keyboard feel are anything close to the HP305, the Casio is a steal!

    The Kawai mentioned above would be another good alternative.

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