Roland RP500 | REVIEW | Digital Piano | Costco | Is it Good?


Roland RP500 Review
UPDATED REVIEW
- Jan 1, 2021 - Roland RP500 Digital Piano at CostcoThe Roland Music Company has been producing the RP series of digital pianos for many years. Roland makes a number of digital pianos from under $1000 to over $10,000 which are available at local piano stores. The Roland RP500 ($1499 price) is a furniture cabinet style piano and is only available at Costco in the US & Canada. The RP500 has been out on the market for a few years now (it is not a new model) and is the replacement of the much older discontinued RP400 which was also available at Costco and the two models are virtually the same with the exception of the RP500 having a couple of MIDI Bluetooth functions for connectivity to external devices such as iPad/Android tablets whereas the RP400 had WiFi connectivity instead. Also, the RP500 has slightly different speakers but with the lower audio power of just 24 watts going through 2 speakers and 2 amplifiers as compared with other digital pianos in this price range with a higher output for better volume.  

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Roland RP500 piano
To make matters a bit confusing, Roland produces a mainstream version of the RP500 called the RP501R. The RP501R ($1679 internet discount price) replaced the previous RP401R and the differences between those 2 models are the same small differences as between the Costco versions RP500 and previous RP400. However the RP501R mainstream internet version has more features on it as compared to the Costco RP500 version. Those differences are the built-in interactive rhythm accompaniments & music styles on the RP501R which the RP500 does not have. The interactive rhythm accompaniments and arrangements allow a person to play with any style of music background that they choose such as rock, country, Latin, Jazz, Blues, waltz, march, etc along with a one-man-band system that can be fun to use in helping with rhythm and timing training. Some people may use this feature and others will not care about it based on how you want to play the piano. However on the RP500, Roland has an iPad app called Piano Partner 2 which allows connectivity between the RP500 and an iPad with the ability to produce a limited number of interactive styles as well as built-in digital sheet music (mostly classical) accessed from the iPad app. But...you would need to have access to an iPad tablet to have these features available to use on the RP500.

Roland RP500 piano
The Bluetooth connectivity on the RP500 does not do audio streaming which is actually what most people want when it comes to Bluetooth connectivity, so you cannot run iTunes or or song libraries through the RP500 using Bluetooth. The Bluetooth functionality on the RP500 is for MIDI only and will connect wirelessley to external device for selected "MIDI" apps and for specific sheet music apps that allow for instant Bluetooth "page-turning" so your foot can press a pedal and the page of a song will turn instantly on the iPad when you are ready to do that. However, that type of music is still very limited so when it comes to music reading and notation, using traditional books will be the primary way of doing that. Unless you load your own PDF sheet music files into your tablet. For a detailed review on the RP501R, please read my prior review of the previous RP401R at the following link: Roland RP401R Review. *Now remember, the only differences between the discontinued RP401R that you'll read about on my review and the Costco Roland RP500 is that the RP500 has a couple of Bluetooth functions and the RP401 had the older WiFi connectivity & built-in interactive rhythm accompaniment styles which the RP500 does not have. Otherwise, everything else is identical.

Roland RP500 keys
It is important to note the Roland RP500 plastic key action is somewhat stiff (heavy) when pressing down the keys (takes more finger force) as compared to other key actions from regular acoustic pianos as well as major brand digital pianos including Kawai, Korg, and Casio. Personally I prefer the normal and slightly lighter piano key actions to reduce hand and finger fatigue when playing, especially for beginners but even for seasoned players because that's how real piano key actions feel...they are lighter. Also the piano sound on the Roland models tends to be somewhat brassy and twangy particularly when playing the keys a bit harder with more expression. The harder you press the keys down the more brassy and metallic the piano sound gets, regardless of which piano tone you choose. This is just the personality of this model as well as the RP501R, but is not the case with most regular acoustic pianos or with other digital pianos such as Kawai, Yamaha, or Casio. So if you prefer a more rounded, mellower piano tone, there are definitely better options.

Roland RP500
Overall the Roland RP500 at $1499 Costco price is a nice piano in my opinion. The Costco RP500 version only comes in matte black whereas the mainstream Roland RP501R is available in either matte black or matte rosewood. As with all Costco purchases for states that have state sales tax, you would need to add tax to the selling price of the Costco Roland RP500 which does bring the price up a bit higher. There are still some shortcomings in the piano like its smaller 24 watt internal speaker system, especially considering that at least 40 watts of power is more of the standard in this price range which would give a digital piano a much richer, fuller sound as compared to the less powerful 24 watt system in the Roland. Also, the key action in the RP500 is stiffer as I mentioned before and I much prefer somewhat lighter to medium key actions.

SPECIAL SALE ON BETTER DIGITAL PIANO FOR LESS MONEY

Casio PX-870 digital piano
For LESS MONEY right now I would instead recommend another brand and model of digital piano that has some noticeably upgraded features in this price range that puts it above the Roland RP500 in its ability to offer an even more authentic piano playing experience in a nice looking cabinet, AND FOR LESS MONEY.
That model is called the Casio Privia PX-870 ($999 internet sale price - left pic)  and it plays more like a real piano and has some impressive digital features too. it is far less money than the Roland RP500 at its Costco price right now. On the Casio PX-870 the piano top has sound projection ports built in to allow the piano sound to come out through the top as well as front firing speakers under the keyboard for a more immersive sound. The Roland does not have a feature like that and just has standard speakers under the keyboard. The upgraded stereo sound system in the PX-870 includes 4 speakers going through 40 watts of power as opposed to just 24 watts of power and 2 speakers in the Roland RP500. The Casio PX-870 is also a newer model and the factory warranty on the PX-870 has 3 years of labor as compared with the Roland at just 2 years of labor warranty. I recommend you read my review of this model before you make any purchase anywhere. 

Casio PX-870 digital piano
To Sum it up
. The newer and more advanced Casio PX-870 is the much better "piano" with regard to a more natural piano playing experience in my opinion with much larger, fuller piano sound and responsive key action along with better and newer recording options for piano practice & education. It also has double the piano polyphony processing power at 256-note polyphony as compared to 128-note polyphony in the Roland RP500 which makes more a more natural piano sound. The Roland RP500 does have a lot more instrument sounds "bells & whistles" in terms of additional instruments such as brass, woodwinds, guitars, banjos, synthesizer tones, special effects sounds, etc. But we find that most people want the better piano playing experience and the larger, fuller sound. The PX-870 also has a Casio proprietary app called "Chordana for Piano" which allows interactive control over the PX-870 from the color touch screen of your iPad or Android tablet. It's very cool and makes the piano more fun along with having interactive musical games (for kids and adults) in the app! Read my review here at this link and contact me for the special limited time unadvertised sale price on this model: 


Extra discount - banner
Right now through January 30, 2021 or when sold out, whichever comes 1st, I can show you how to purchase this upgraded Casio Privia PX-870 digital piano in matte black, brand new while supplies last with an instant rebate of $95 off below Amazon or Internet price which makes the Casio PX-870 sale price just $904, no tax, free shipping while they last. This special limited time price would put the PX-870 at much less money than the RP500, and even more than that once you figure in sales tax on the Roland. This special Casio deal would also include FREE shipping, no tax, 3 year labor & parts warranty while they last. Go to the following link to read my review and if you want more info or to order one then please contact me right away: Casio PX-870 Review


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

7 comments:

  1. Which would u recommend, CPF 140 or RP500?

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  2. they are the same piano as far as operation, keyboard, speakers, and piano sound chip except the CPF140 has some built-in interactive rhythm and chord functions. Depends on what you want and also cabinet design

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  3. How many rhythm accompanying functions does the RP-500 have using the app, compared to the built-in RP501R?

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  4. Is there a slide-out cover to cover the keys when the piano is not being played?

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  5. yes, and this is true for the RP501R as well which is the mainstream internet version of the Costco RP500. A piano choice that may even be better in terms of functions, cabinet, piano sound, etc would be the Casio Celviano AP460. I have done a review of that model which I recommend that you read before making decisions.

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  6. Roland FP-25 and the Roland RP-500...both from Costco. What's the biggest difference between these 2 and is the RP-500 worth the extra money? I noticed one says weighted keys and one says hammer action...

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  7. Would you purchase this for a beginner - a 7 year old just learning to play?

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