Roland 700 series HP, LX, GP digital pianos 2021-Page 2

Roland 700 series digital furniture cabinet pianos 2020
Page 2 - Roland 700 series Review Continued from page 1 - HP702, HP704, LX705, LX706, LX708, GP607, GP609. To go back to Page 1 of this review, please click the following link: Page 1 of Roland 700 series Review



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With regard to the 4 acoustic piano sounds in each model, you can modify and edit them to supposedly make them sound better overall from their default factory settings. Roland has a piano sound "custom editing section" called "Piano Designer"
Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos and that feature is built into all of these HP, LX, and GP pianos. This section has a huge amount of functions/parameters which can add more "realism" to the overall piano sound, especially if you are not already happy with the 4 preset acoustic type piano sounds in the piano. The"Piano Designer" section contains a number of piano performance Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos editing settings along with separate designer functions called "Ambience," and "My Stage (LX models only) which I'll talk about a bit later. The general editing functions on all models include Brilliance, Touch Sensitivity, and then a list of additional individual piano editing functions such as Lid, Key Off Noise, Hammer Noise, Duplex Scale, Full Scale String Resonance, Damper Resonance, Key Off Resonance, Cabinet Resonance, Soundboard Type, Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos Damper Noise, Single Note Tuning, Single Note Volume, and Single Note Character. Those individual piano sound elements are found in real acoustic pianos and the idea here is that you can go into these individual "Piano Designer" elements and edit them to make the default piano sounds more "personal" depending if you think any one of those editing functions can help "improve" the Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos default acoustic pianos sounds  and this goes for all of these models. As an example, the "Cabinet Resonance" and "Soundboard Type" functions have a noticeable impact on the default piano sounds and the way they come out. In a real piano there is an actual large wood soundboard located on the inside of an acoustic grand Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos piano and on the inside back of an upright acoustic piano. There are 5 different "virtual soundboards" available on all Roland piano models trying to emulate the sound coming out of real wood piano soundboard sand using that specific editing function can make the Roland pianos sound better or even worse depending on which one Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos you choose. So that one little editing function can have a huge impact on the piano sound you're using. Same for the key touch sensitivity where there are 100 levels of adjustment which can have a big impact (positive or negative) on the overall sound and expression. There really are so many ways to modify the 4 acoustic Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos type piano sounds in these models that is can be overwhelming to the point of confusion in my opinion. It would be great if Roland had a bunch of "preset" piano sounds set up by the Roland musicians where those piano sounds were all different but all good that you could quickly choose from. However, from Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos what I can tell on these many models, you are left on your own to figure it all out for yourself without a large library of pre-done piano and instrument settings. You pretty much have to be a digital piano "rocket scientist" in my opinion to make up your own sound settings that will actually sound good, other than the regular 4 acoustic piano tones that come with each of these models. You may think that a real acoustic piano only has one piano sound so why should you be worried about needing more than one piano tone? It's because these piano sounds are produced by digital physical modeling technology and if do not like one or more of those 4 sounds then you likely want to get out your digital tool kit and edit those sounds...which, again, is not easy to do to get it to come out right. Having a large library of factory pre-set pianos sounds such as what Kawai offers in their competitive models (17 impressive separate factory pre-set acoustic piano sounds in the Kawai CA78 & CA98, not counting any editing functions) that Roland does not offer in their pianos from what I can see.

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The Ambience section (which is different in the HP & GP as compared to the LX models) adds a type of echo to the piano sound by simulating the natural echo effects you would hear in various types of rooms and/or buildings, venues if a piano was played in that environment. The Ambience effects are upgraded on the LX models over the HP and GP models by offering 6 specifically designed reverb/ambience called "Pure Acoustic" Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos including Studio, Lounge, Concert Hall, Wooden Hall, Stone Hall, and Cathedral with 11 levels of effect depth which you can adjust to further edit the effect to your needs. In the HP & GP models there is only 1 type of ambience effect for the piano sound and you can adjust the depth of that effect to increase or decrease it when you play any of the 4 piano sounds. The LX models have been upgraded over the other Roland models for this particular ambience feature as I just mentioned which allows even more tonal effects changes to the overall piano sound. The reverb/echo ambience can make a big difference to the piano sound you hear and in fact, if it's not set Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos properly, all these Roland pianos can sound very artificial and not pleasing to the ear. So when it comes to adding extra special reverb type effects which Roland calls "ambience," there are many options in these pianos with more of them being offered in the LX models as opposed to the HP & GP models. However, most people just Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos want good piano sounds "out of the box" and I find that the majority of people who get these pianos seldom change "effects" or try to modify what they have, that is of course they are very experienced in using these functions and features or don't care much for the factory default piano settings and want to try to improve upon them with the editing effects. There are some styles of music sound more realistic when you add certain special ambience effects to them and it can be fun to do. But the ambience effects can also make your piano tones sound worse instead of better so you need to be careful with how you use them. Again, if Roland had a bunch of "preset piano setups" with these different ambience effects built in to them so that you could just press one button and make simple but big changes without doing all of these special sound calculations with adding individual effects, depth of effects, type of effects, etc, then I believe this would be a much more practical way of handling it.

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If that (Ambience) were not enough...and it definitely could be, Roland has come up with another new feature which also has a noticeably audible effect on the overall piano sound of the LX models only and this feature is called "My Stage." The "My Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos Stage" function has 12 pre-set "environments" that can have a huge impact on the overall piano and make it "more realistic" for some people (depending on your ears) and also less realistic depending on which "stage/room environment" you choose. This feature is not the reverb/ambience echo that I was previously talking about. The "My Stage" is a physical modeling technology feature which Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos "alters" the 4 preset pianos sounds and makes them sound different...sometimes noticeably better, other times noticeably worse. The names of these "My Stage" environment effects are called Piano Recital, At Hall Stage, Lakeside Studio, Impressionists, Heritage Hall, Lounge Concert, Church Concert, Jazz Club, Medieval Salon, Recording Studio, Trad Opera House, and East Coast Hall. I have tried them all and they do change the original 4 piano sounds (depending on which one you are using) and create a new piano sound and it's a feature worth trying out because a couple of those specific "stages" really do help bring the Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos default pianos sounds to life in a more realistic way that is not already part of that original default piano sound. Does that sound confusing to you? It might given how many ways you can add to and change the original 4 default piano sounds in the LX models. Touch response, brilliance, soundboard type, cabinet resonance, lid, ambience types, Stage effect types, it seems endless. So what is the purpose of all these features? It's to give the player the most control possible over the 4 original piano sounds in these pianos. These features clearly do that but as I said, the people who purchase these Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos pianos generally play them in their home, church, school, studio, and mostly just want a variety of great piano sounds to play that come out of the box perfectly suited for a variety of music. You can create your own piano sound and save it in any of 36 registration memories so that you can instantly recall your favorite settings...but you have to make and design those piano settings yourself and then save them. You don't just get a bank of 36 already perfectly designed pianos using all these effects editing features that I have talked about...and that's the missing link as far as I am concerned. Most people just want to "plug in, power up, and play" and have a variety of great piano sounds at your fingertips. The Roland pianos don't do that and that is a shortcoming in my opinion.

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The pedaling on these pianos is very good with great response and pedal movement for all 3 types of pedaling including damper-sustain, sostenuto, and soft pedal. The LX708 has an "upgraded" pedaling feel over the other models that more closely recreates the sustain pedal feel on a grand piano as opposed to an upright piano. So for some of you out there who have played or currently play a real grand piano, you may notice the LX708 as having a slightly more realistic pedal feel when a different physical pedal response. The sustain time is very long and natural in all these models in terms of sustain decay time and Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos volume decay time when using the pedal. The sustain pedaling includes a feature called continuous detection which gives you a variety of sustain levels from shorter sustain all the way up to full sustain. Other digital piano brands call this "half-damper" detection which is similar but the Roland continuous detection covers all sustain levels. The center center pedal defaults to the sostenuto function and the left pedal defaults to the soft pedal function. However, a lot of people either seldom use those pedals or never Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos use them so Roland has designed those pedals to do other functions and features to allow you to trigger sounds, effects, and other functions within the piano that you would otherwise need to access with a button or through the menu display. When you setup the middle and/or the left pedal to trigger a function such as adding a layered sound or switching from one pre-set registration to another. Even the right damper pedal can be programmed to sustain instrument sounds differently depending on if you are playing one sound, playing two sounds in layer, or playing two sound in a spit mode. So when it comes to the pedaling on any of these Roland models they respond and move very well and also can give you flexibility in being able to trigger functions & features quickly and easily as opposed to taking your hands/fingers off the keys while you are playing to trigger those sounds or effects manually by pressing buttons.

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Each model has 320 sampled instruments sounds and 4 physical modeled piano sounds in a sound library as I mentioned earlier. With this huge library of instrument sounds these Roland pianos have just about any sound you can think of including a big variety of woodwinds, reeds, horns, guitars, electric pianos, Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos strings, choirs, organs, synths, special effects, and more. I will say that just because there are a lot of sounds does not mean they all sound realistic, and this is true for other digital piano brands as well. Some of those sounds are very impressive and some are not. It just depends which one you're using and also whether they are in a Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos full mode, layered mode, or split mode. One of the benefits of a large sound library, especially from Roland, is the fact that this sound library is General MIDI (GS) compatible and therefore you can any General MIDI song file with these models using a USB flashdrive loaded with GM song files and the piano will play them Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos and it sounds great. I have done this and the results are impressive. It's a fun feature to have on a digital piano because there are thousands of great GM MIDI song files out there on the internet (some free and some have a cost) and when you use these MIDI songs files to play songs you might like you can also transpose Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos them up or down to in a different key to get them into your vocal range, or you can adjust tempo to slow down or speed up the song, and you can play along with the song "live" while it is playing. You can get every style and type of song so there really are no limits. Whether it's Frank Sinatra, Mozart, John Williams Orchestra Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos playing Star Wars, The Beatles, whoever you can think of, their music is likely available as a General MIDI song file...although there will always be exceptions. There are a number of digital pianos that cannot play General MIDI/GS song files and although that should not be a "deal-breaker," having this capability is a nice bonus particularly if you want to play along to learn songs and have control over tempo and also the key in which it is playing. Also, these particular song files sound really good on Roland digital pianos because they actually set the industry standard for these types of song files to play correctly and have realism when the piano is playing those instrument sounds in "real-time" as opposed to a recorded wav or MP3 song file. So having General MIDI song play functionality is a very cool thing and can be a nice feature to have if you use it correctly.

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The Roland pianos all have the basic fundamental features and functions that other brands and models have including layering 2 sounds together, electronically splitting the keyboard at any point in the 88 keys  with two sounds...one for right hand and Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos the other sound for the left hand. There is a feature that allows two people to play piano at the same time, playing the same notes and hearing the same notes coming out in the same octaves which is called "twin piano." You can also change touch sensitivity setting on the piano sounds with 100 different levels of editing from very soft to very hard electronic touch curve. You can electronically Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos transpose/modulate your music to any key up or down in half-steps which is useful and can be very practical, especially if trying to get your music into a better vocal range but you don't know how to play that song in another key. There is a "twin/duet" mode which can be practical if there are two people (students) learning the same song at Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos the same time and they want to practice together or when a teacher and students are practicing at the same time. It's an interesting feature but I seldom see this feature used at home. One of the more useful digital functions on these models is something called Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos "registrations" which allows you to save up to 36 of your favorite set-ups on the piano. When you have come up with a favorite setting including layering/mixing two specific sounds together or splitting two specific sounds together, setting up octave changes, transpose changes, and other things you might do to create a Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos favorite sound setting that you'll use often, rather than try to recreate this setting every time you power up one of these models, you just save it to one the registration memories and lock it in so that you can simply call up that memory to immediately get your Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos favorite setting you had previously put together. There are 36 digital memory slots to save 36 settings. This is very useful if you like to change sounds or other functions in real time while you are playing whether it be at home, church, school, or another venue where you want to make quick changes to your settings. With 36 memories Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos you have stored in that function then you can just quickly recall them which really makes playing music simpler and more enjoyable. There are some other brands and models that do not have this registration memory feature and it's actually relatively new for Roland as compared to older Roland models from some years ago. Each one of these piano models has a digital metronome to help with rhythm and timing when you are learning a song or doing a recording and there are a number of time signatures to choose from. There are also many other standard features in these pianos that I won't go into here.

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The internal speaker audio systems in these pianos are power rated in an unusual way as compared to all other major brands. If you notice in their most expensive top model 5' deep GP609 baby grand digital piano that sells for approx $11,000, the total power output of the speaker system is only 66 watts according to the specs that Roland provides for this model. Compare that 66 watt total with the Yamaha 4' deep smaller digital baby grand piano CLP695GP which comes in at a whopping 300 watts of power output according to Yamaha specs. So you would think that the smaller and less expensive Yamaha digital grand piano would Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos blow away the larger and more expensive Roland digital grand piano...right? But power ratings can also include low power consumption, more "power efficient" speaker systems, and rating decibel sound (volume) pressure in terms of decibel ratings. So when you actually get to play and hear these Roland digital pianos, they are much louder than the specifications may otherwise suggest. Another comparison would be the new upright style LX708 Roland digital piano coming in at just 74 watts of total audio power as compared to the top of the line upright style Yamaha CLP685 digital piano coming in at a total of 300 watts of audio output power Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos (same as the Yamaha CLP695 baby grand). So the Yamaha would be 4 times more powerful than the Roland if you compared only power output rating. But when you compare decibel ratings (dB) then that's where the loudness comes from. If you measure decibel ratings, if you add just 10 decibels to a previous lower number, you would perceive the loudness of what you are listening to as about twice as loud...just by adding 10 more decibels to the volume rating. Normal conversation is rated at about 60 dB (decibels), a lawn mover is about 90 dB, and a loud rock concert is at about Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos 120dB decibel measurement. So when it comes to the "volume" and fullness you hear from a good digital piano, it also has to do with other elements such as the speakers themselves (size, construction, materials used), how those speakers are positioned in the piano, the efficiency of the power amps, and the dB rating. The chart to the left should give you a better idea of dB ratings and what they apply to and then you compare that against the dB rating of the Roland pianos and then you can pretty much figure out how loud they can get at maximum volume. Of course, few people play digital pianos at maximum volume so the dB loudness level would be much less if Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos you turn the master volume down lower. Basically I am saying that all of the Roland digital pianos have good volume for what they do but certainly the lower priced vertical digital piano HP702 vs the larger top upright style Roland LX708 would be almost 1/2 the volume of the LX708 at 8dB less in loudness. The difference in the speakers themselves is also very noticeable with the LX702 having just two small 4.75" speakers vs the top LX708 with 8 total speakers inside the piano and two of them being large 10" woofer/sub bass speakers. The "quality" of the piano sound is not just dependent on the speaker size and audio power, but also the quality of those components. As I mentioned earlier, I am not impressed with the quality and realism of the piano sounds in the Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos LX series as I heard them and this may have something to do with the internal speaker systems but it could also have to do with how these piano sounds were actually constructed using the physical modeling technology. However, I do like the sound coming out of the HP704 and GP607 & GP609. Although the entry level model HP702 can get loud enough even with only 28 watts of rated power, the quality and richness of the HP702 just is not there with only 2 small speakers inside and the low 28 watts of power going through just two amplifiers. In my opinion the Korg G1 Air priced at jst $1599 internet price has a far better speaker system in it with 80 watts of total pwer going through 4 speakers and 4 amplifiers which results in a huge, rich piano tone and that's what I would expect to hear in the HP702 at about $2000 store discount price, but unfortunately you have to go all the way up to the HP704 at about $3000 store discount price before you get a piano sound system with 4 speakers, 4 amps and 60 watts of total power output. I have also included a chart here showing what dB levels are all about and how much volume is generated when that volume (sound pressure) is measured in dB units. It's interesting to see what types of things that make sound compare to each other in terms of audible volume and how that volume might affect your ears.

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As with all major brands of digital pianos these days, Roland has built-in recorder functions in each model including 3-track MIDI song recording and 1-track audio wav file recording. These types of recording features are fairly common among digital piano brands although some brands have 1-track MIDI recording, Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos 2-track MIDI recording on up to 16-track/instrument MIDI recording for those people who want to produce and record more complex compositions. Audio wav file recording is becoming fairly standard in many digital piano brands and models all the way down to digital pianos under $1000. The Roland pianos can not only play back these types of recorded song files but they can also play back Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos audio MP3 song files which is great because the way iTunes and other songs are recorded and saved...in the MP3 format. Roland pianos however cannot record MP3 song files, they can only play them back with the exception of the GP606 and GP609 digital grand pianos which cannot play back MP3 song files...they can only play back the MIDI files and the audio wav files. This is because the GP piano technology came out before the new HP and LX technology with has that MP3 file playback upgrade. All recorded and playback song files can be loaded onto a USB flash drive for storage and song retrieval for instant playback so you can play along with the recorded songs which is fun to do. I like the control panel round buttons that are fairly flush with the panel and function easily and intuitively overall.

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All of these Roland digital piano models have Bluetooth wireless connectivity with external devices along with other types of connectivity. The Bluetooth functions include MIDI, audio, and pedal activated page-turning for digital sheet music. Most digital piano brands usually have one Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos Bluetooth function but not necessarily all of them so Roland is definitely in the lead on those features. Bluetooth audio lets you connect your external audio device (iPad, iPhone, Android, Computer, etc) to the piano so that you can stream audio music, video audio, etc through the piano speaker system wirelessly. Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos Bluetooth MIDI means you can connect to MIDI interactive apps on your device to use them for piano lessons, triggering new instrument sounds, etc without the need for a USB MIDI cable. The Bluetooth page turning feature allow you to use specific interactive apps which display sheet music that is available through that app Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos and you can turn the "virtual pages" by pressing a piano pedal with your foot every-time you want the page to turn. It's a very cool concept and works well and there are companies out there who make separate Bluetooth page turning pedals to turn pages on PDF versions of sheet music...so this is a not a new thing but Roland is Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos the only one of the major digital piano brands to do it using apps that can be triggered by the Bluetooth page turning technology. With regard to other connectivity, each of these Roland pianos have a number of very useful features accessed from the front left side of the piano mounted underneath the keyboard and these features include left & right 1/4" audio outputs, stereo min-jack audio input, 2 stereo headphone jacks including one 1/4" and one mini jack, USB to host external device output, and a USB flash drive input to store your recordings, play MIDI or audio song files, and to save and load registrations. The connectivity features allow you to connect to external devices, sound systems, and also be able to plug in an external audio source and run it through the piano speaker system if you choose to do it that way.

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Another thing that Roland offers on their digital pianos are proprietary iOS apps called Piano Partner 2, Piano Every Day, and Piano Designer. Roland did a good job in creating these apps to add more piano playing enjoyment by allowing the user to more easily navigate some of the features on the Roland piano models as well as being able to access musical features that are not built-into the pianos themselves. The piano designer app is one that Roland has had for a number of years and it's very useful. This app allows you to edit and change the "piano designer" features that are in the piano but you get to do it through this Roland proprietary app on your tablet device which makes it way more intuitive to use especially when using an iPad operating Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos system to navigate the features quickly and easily. Actually, it is much more enjoyable to edit the piano sound with the parameters in the app rather than editing through the piano itself. The Piano Designer app can be interfaced with all Roland piano models regardless of which one you get. Another app is a "controller" app called Piano Partner 2 and it is only available for the HP702, HP704, GP706, and GP609. This app was also available for the prior discontinued models and it lets you select any of the piano instrument sounds from the app in your color touch screen rather than do it from the piano itself. The Piano Partner 2 app also has Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos features the pianos themselves do not have such as auto accompaniment arrangements to give you a "one man band" feature. This allows you to select any type of rhythm/drum music accompaniment style that is offered in the app and play chords on your Roland piano so that the music is creating a full band or orchestra background based on the chords you're playing and then you can play a melody along with the accompaniment and have your entire band following your chord progressions and making you sound great and probably much better than Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos you really are. This is a fun feature and I enjoy using it and playing different styles of music in real time. Piano Partner 2 also has musical games, digital sheet music from songs in the piano so you can follow along with the notation, change tempo of the song while playing along, and even mute the left or right hand piano parts and/or accompaniment so that you can learn the song. It's a pretty cool feature and it is accessed through the app. The Piano Partner 2 app also does a few other things but the majority of the features in the app do not work unless connected from your tablet to the piano. Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos The new "Piano Every Day" app the latest app for Roland pianos and actually replaces the older Piano Partner 2 app, even though the Piano Partner 2 app is still the one for the HP & GP models. The Piano Every Day app goes a bit further with a new layout and new updated features including improved accompaniments and access directly to an off-site popular sheet music web site where you can purchase and download music and songs to follow, learn, and play along with on your tablet. This new feature will allow you to Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos interface with the virtual sheet music in a number of ways which helps with lesson practice, learning to play songs more efficiently, and using other built-in features in the Piano Every Day app. You can do the same things on this app as you can with the Piano Partner 2 app, but with newer updated features, content, and other things. There is a small down-side to this new app which is that the graphics and arrangement of the content isn't very stimulating or attractive as far as I am concerned when looking at it. It's fairly basic and it doesn't have the "feel or look" of other digital piano apps out there, especially the one from Yamaha called "Smart Pianist" which is so much cooler and visually appealing. Some of the content in the Piano Every day app is limited to a vertical page view rather than both horizontal and vertical. But overall Roland did a very good job with these apps providing users with a special music content experience that you would not otherwisw get on the piano itself. In other words, it's like the piano has more cool features but you access them from your tablet device using the Roland apps. All of these apps can help you go further with the piano, with your piano playing enjoyment, and with piano learning and practice.

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Now that we're near the end of this long, detailed review, I will talk about some other aspects of these pianos including cabinet designs and styles offered as well as the control panel layout and operation. There is one thing for sure about these Roland pianos that I really like and that is the furniture cabinet construction, design, appearance, and color finish options. They are without a doubt the most attractive furniture cabinet designs that I have ever seen on Roland home digital pianos and surpass most of the other brands in this way, and I do know a number of piano shoppers looking for that kind of thing when shopping for a new Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos digital piano. The control panel is especially attractive, easy to see, has big round, flush-mount buttons, and are overall quite intuitive to use. The layout of the features on the control makes sense and the placement of the buttons and knobs in front of you rather than to the left side of the keyboard makes those functions easier to reach and activate. Many people want nice looking cabinets that look like real acoustic pianos and have designer type music racks that are functional and adjustable, they want pianos that are are stylish, have appealing cabinet finishes in a variety of options which these pianos do, and those cabinet colors and finishes that are being offered now Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos look great and many people appreciate when the piano is functionally intuitive (overall) to use which the Roland pianos are fairly good at doing. Also on these pianos, when the key cover is opened people generally want the piano electronic controls to be minimalistic with the buttons, knobs, and/or sliders to be subtle and yet clean and functional in the they look and don't make the piano look too electronic. Roland also has a new, brighter, easier to see OLED digital display screen and displays information in a contemporary and usable way with bright white characters and a black backgound as oppose the the previous back-lit blue type Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos screens.. Plus...Roland has designed the key cover on most (but not all) of these models to have a 2-position key cover so that the first position can cover the control panel without covering the entire keyboard. This is great if you only want one setting for a song and don't want to see the control panel exposed or maybe you are not using the piano but don't want to cover the keys but just the control panel. It's a clever and useable feature and Roland did this with their previous models as well. Roland scores very big for these features as well in my opinion and these cabinets are just really difficult to beat, especially the LX708 with its very unusual and
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impressive exterior design and extra cabinet height with the ability to actually prop open the lid to let the sound come out more towards the player through the opened lid.  The other Roland upright vertical models cannot do that. The LX708 is also the only piano in the line which is a fully built piano cabinet with full length sides and does not come apart and no assembly is needed. It comes as a fully built piano unlike the models below it which require the normal stand assembly that needs to be attached to the piano top which is the way most digital pianos work when it comes to assembly. The LX708 has a complete back on the piano so when you look behind it the piano back is not open like other digital piano cabinets, it does not come apart and looks fairly solid. It is not a "finished" back so you probably would not want to expose the back to the room so it's better to put it against a wall.

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All of the Roland pianos (with the exception of the LX708) come with an upgraded "duet size" standard height bench that is longer than most of the competition and the bench also has music storage on the inside. It is unusual to find these larger duet size benches that have music storage in them because the other major brands usually have smaller benches with their pianos and some have no music storage on the inside. The LX708 has a special bench that comes with it that is not available on the other models which is a full size "height adjustable" matching bench with music storage inside. This is a really great bench to have but you can only get it on the top upright model LX708. The benches have the Roland logo on them and they look very attractive and are comfortable. So even the "little things" such as benches are nicely done in terms of cabinet/construction quality and makes the actual pianos look more impressive than they already are. Another thing about the cabinet construction is the way these pianos look with the key cover opened and closed. The Roland key covers slide out easily with the exception of the LX708 which folds downward with a slow-close cover. The aesthetics of the piano when that key cover is closed is really nice and adds another element of class to these cabinets.

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All Roland Piano models come with an accessory package which includes a set of Roland stereo headphones, Roland music light, and  all the pianos have a 10 year parts & labor factory warranty to the original owner along with in-home service which is twice as long as their competitors. Roland is counting on the fact that their pianos are reliable and will last a long time and that's why they give such a long warranty...because they think they'll seldom need to repair these pianos. So when it comes to these pianos having good factory support and accessories to make the playing experience even better, Roland has done a great job in that area in my opinion. I have owned a number of Roland digital pianos in past years and they have been overall very reliable, although every digital piano manufacturer has an occasional issue with the electronics at some point, but Roland pianos are generally known to be reliable.

Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos
I did want to also highlight the 2 digital "grand" pianos which are the GP607 and GP609. Digital grand piano style cabinets are very popular these days because they generally provide a better, fuller sound that is less "directional" because the sound goes up into the air through speakers within the soundboard area of the piano and then through some bass speakers generally pointing down underneath the piano. Mini and full baby grand piano style cabinets are also very appealing because they have that "professional" piano look to them and many people really like that. The GP607 has been out for awhile and is very popular for Roland coming in a 3 foot deep cabinet available both in polished ebony and also polished white cabinets. The GP609 5' deep full baby grand Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos piano is by far the most popular full size digital grand piano out there because it has the largest cabinet for a current model digital piano, sounds amazing through its huge internal speaker system and open lid, and comes in at a relatively low price as compared to other digital grand pianos such as the Yamaha AvantGrand N3X which is a 4' deep grand piano and is priced at about $17,000 discount store price as opposed to the Roland which comes in at about $11,000 store discount price. However, in my opinion he Roland GP609 does not come close to the Yamaha N3X in terms of key action, piano sound chip, and other functions, but for about Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos $6,000 less and getting a cabinet that is 1-foot deeper and makes the cabinet larger with a bigger footprint, the Roland is still very popular because it is more affordable and for a lot of people it is more than enough in the way that it sounds and plays. A $6000 discount price for the 3' cabinet GP607 is still a bit much for a small digital grand piano in my opinion because you could just buy the new lower priced HP704 for about $3000 store discount price which is 1/2 the price and have the exact same piano with the exception of the cabinet design, control panel differences, app differences, and internal speaker system. So when it comes to the digital "grand piano" design, I do like what Roland is offering at the moment but there other digital grand pianos out there such as Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos Yamaha CLP665GP and Samick SG500 which offer some compelling reasons to consider those models as well and they are quite a bit less money and have slightly larger cabinets which many people like. I think its also good to know that the GP607 and GP609 baby grands are a "generation" behind the other Roland pianos when it comes to the control panel, user interface, display screen technology, and overall design of the buttons, knobs, etc. The latest models HP702, HP704, LX705, LX706, and LX708 have a new operating system, new user interface, new and better OLED display screen, new sleeker and more intuitive control panel with round flush mounted light-up buttons instead of the much smaller and plainer looking rectangular buttons, along with an overall more contemporary design and layout. So even though the GP607 and GP609 are satisfying digital pianos to look at and play, their interface/control panel technology is already outdated as compared to these newer Roland models. I guess that's the "price you pay" for advancement in technology...wait long enough and the pianos will change and get even better.

Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos
In the final analysis, it is not the cabinet, connectivity, apps, or "bells & whistles" that should be the reasons you purchase a new digital piano, but it should be "how does the piano sound and feel when you play it?" Does it excite you and make you want to play often and inspire you to play better and become even more accomplished? Those are the reasons in my opinion that someone should purchase a particular digital piano...because it "musically moves you" and also if you can afford to pay for it. Since a piano is an "investment" and many people own them for years and years, spending a bit more money than you were planning on spending up Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos front can yield better musical results which can justify the extra expenditure. Since I have already gone on record with my feelings about the LX series based on my experience playing all of them recently, I would be hesitant to purchase any of those LX models because I don't like the 4 preset piano sounds as they are now. It is true that you can possibly make the piano sound more realistic to "your ears" by changing and editing the many "Piano Designer" Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos features within the piano. However, Roland does not provide, to my knowledge, any practical way to learn and understand how to use those many designer features in a way that makes sense so that you actually know what you are doing when you use them. The Roland owners manual tells you (barely) how to access the features and what they are supposed to do...but Roland does not explain how to do it and what it all actually means when you do it. There are literally hundreds of ways to change those features and hundreds of outcomes so that they hopefully work altogether to provide a better piano sound. But to understand which functions to use, why you'd Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos want to use them, and how the piano will sound when you start changing all the parameters and functions, that is a difficult task for most people as far as I am concerned because I have personally used all those features and changed the settings in a variety of ways and the out-come can be bad or good depending on what you do. But my big response to all that would be..."why should anyone have to do all that to get the piano to sound good? The piano should sound its best right out of the box as soon as you power it up and start playing...and then all the other piano sounds should be equally as good and as authentic as one would expect from a great company Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos like Roland. The Roland piano people would call those piano sounds in their LX piano models..."Sound Engines." The LX models have 2 distinct "sound engines called American and European with one variation of each of those 2 sound engines whereas the HP & GP pianos have only one "sound engine" with 3 variations. For me, the 3 pianos in this new piano line that I like best are the HP704, GP607 3' mini grand, and GP609 5' baby grand and this is because they have the "other" piano sound chip in them that don't have all the sound issues I have previously mentioned including having the issue with the "stretch tuning" note Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos logo
interval/combinations that I described as being in the LX series. I am guessing (an intelligent guess:) that the HP704 is the "bread & butter" of the Roland piano line because from what I have seen it is generally discount priced in Roland piano stores at around $3000 which is a popular price point and the piano has enough features, good looks, and big enough sound to come in on top.  However, it just depends on what you can afford to pay (your budget) the design of the piano you want, the digital features that appeal to you most, and the available space to have to put the piano in. Finally, if you have a chance to go see these pianos at a local Roland piano store, the best way to make a judgement on the piano sound in these models is to play (or have someone else play) a real acoustic grand piano in the store and then play one of the Roland like the LX models and then you may be able to tell whether you think those Roland pianos sound like the "real deal." If you like it then go ahead and buy it!

If you want to go back to Page 1 of this review please click the following link: Page 1 of Roland Review 


Roland Model Comparison Chart


Picture of Roland HP, LX, GP pianos

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.

2 comments:

  1. This review is so in depth and heaps helpful when deciding which Roland piano to get. I have to thank you for sharing your knowledge.

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  2. Tim,
    Thanks for your in-depth review and comparison of Roland pianos. I learned a lot from your experiences through your review and eventually decided to order a Roland HP704 for my daughter. Due to the pandemic Roland is not able to deliver pianos to The Netherlands and I could not find the white cabinet anywhere in stock. I hope to get it delivered in a few months.
    Best regards,
    Ali
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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