Oct 31, 2016

REVIEW - Roland RP500 Digital Piano - Costco - Recommended

UPDATED REVIEW - September 1, 2017Roland RP500 Digital Piano at Costco - Recommended - The Roland Music Company has been producing the RP series of digital pianos for many years. The RP500 ($1499US Costco store price incl bench & headphones) is the latest incarnation of these lowered priced furniture cabinet style pianos and is only available at Costco in the US & Canada. The RP500 is the replacement of the 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 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 the audio power of 24 watts going through 2 speakers, cabinet design, and all functions of the new RP500 are identical to the previous RP400. So in reality, unfortunately there wasn't much of a change and I would have preferred to see a few new changes in the operating system and functionality of the RP500 to make it easier to use. But overall it's still a very good piano for the money.

To make matters a bit confusing, Roland produces a mainstream version of the RP400/500 called the RP501R. The RP501R ($1499 internet discount price incl bench) just 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 (Bluetooth & speakers). However the RP501R mainstream internet version has even more features on it as compared to the Costco RP500 version. Those differences are the built-in interactive rhythm accompaniments & music styles on the RP501 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 that can make you sound better than you really are:). This is a fun feature and one that can also help 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 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.

The Bluetooth connectivity on the RP500 does not allow for or 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 will connect 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. For a detailed review on the RP500, please read my review of the prior 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 new Costco Roland RP500 is that the RP500 has a couple of Bluetooth functions and the RP401 has the WiFi connectivity & built-in interactive rhythm accompaniment styles which the RP500 does not have. Otherwise, everything else is identical. There are a few downsides to the RP500 (same on RP401R) that you should pay attention to when you read my review.

It is important to note that the Roland RP500 key action is a bit stiff when pressing down the keys (takes more finger pressure) as compared to other key actions from major brand including Kawai, Korg, and Casio. Personally I prefer a slightly lighter piano key action to reduce hand fatigue when playing, especially for beginners but even for seasoned players. Also the piano sound on the Roland models tend to be somewhat brassy and twangy particularly when playing 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 Kawai, Yamaha, or Casio digital pianos like it is with these Roland pianos. So if you prefer a more rounded, mellow piano tone, there are better options.

Casio AP460
Overall the new Roland RP500 is a nice piano and worth the money in my opinion. The Costco RP500 version only comes in satin black whereas the newer mainstream Roland RP501R is available in either satin black or satin rosewood, and the rosewood is a very attractive finish for people who don't want a black color. 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. If you would prefer the Roland RP501R ($1499 internet price), there is a way to get that new model for less money, no tax, better accessories, and free shipping...so just ask me about that. I also recommend another brand and model of digital piano furniture style that I feel has some features and upgraded cabinet in this lower price range that puts it above the Roland RP500/RP501R in its ability to offer an even more authentic piano playing experience without so many "bells & whistles" that many people think would distract students and recreational players from experiencing a pure and more expressive piano playing experience. That model is called the Casio Celviano AP460 ($1499US internet price - above left pic) and as you can see from its picture, it has an upgraded furniture cabinet with front support legs for better stability and a full size privacy panel on the back instead of a 1/2 size like the Roland RP500. Even the top piano lid can be tilted up for front sound projection through its upgraded stereo sound system which includes 4 speakers going through 40 watts of power. It also comes with a height adjustable bench instead of a standard height bench and the factory warranty on the AP460 has 5 years of in-home labor vs 2 years on the Roland. I recommend you read my review of this model before you make any purchase anywhere. Casio AP460 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.


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

  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

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

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

  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.

  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...