Roland HP704 & HP702 Digital Pianos - REVIEW | August 2022


Roland HP702, HP704 Review Comparison
Roland HP704 & HP702 Digital Pianos | 
UPDATED REVIEW & Comparison | August 1, 2022 | The Roland Music Instrument Company headquartered in Japan is well known throughout the world for producing high quality professional and home music products including guitar electronics, digital drums, digital accordions, pro keyboards, home digital pianos, audio gear, sound effects processors, digital recording gear, and so much more. I have been using Roland music products for most of my long music career and I have liked them very much in the past. However, even though there are some things I like about these two models, there are also some things I don't like, especially for their higher prices.

picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 digital pianosThe latest home digital pianos from Roland include a number of different models. But for this review I am focusing on the 2 lowest price models in the HP (home piano) line of pianos which are called the HP702 ($2799 store discount price) and the HP704 in the matte finishes ($3749 store discount price) and in the polished ebony finish at $4434. 

The HP line of digital pianos has been out for many years but these two latest models were introduced towards the middle of 2019 and are the only 2 models in the HP line. Roland pianos in the US can only be picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 digital pianos purchased at a local Roland piano store and not on the internet in a shopping cart  like other brands, although that could change in the future. So if you want to see one in person and decide to make a purchase, you must do that at a local store. In this day of the Amazons and internet stores of the world, a lot of people think that just about anything now can be purchased over the internet through a shopping cart or other electronic method. 

But this is not true for Roland pianos. You must buy them directly at a physical local store or at a local event where those pianos are represented and for some people this is still a good way of doing it. However, for other people this may not be as convenient depending on where you live and the amount of time you have to do local shopping. Yamaha, as an example, now has all of their home digital pianos for sale on the internet. 

All you have to do is read reviews, look at videos, etc, and then you can buy on-line at a number of places for a discount price. But with Roland you must go into a piano store and then you'll likely need to negotiate a discount price with that dealer...perhaps like buying a car the old fashioned way. But these 2 new HP pianos are definitely worth seeing and hearing so keep reading below to see why.

Lower price than internet and amazon


picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 digital pianos
The HP704 and HP702 pickup where Roland left off on their previous discontinued series HP603 & HP601. These newer models offer new features and both the HP702 & HP704 have the exact same new digital features and piano sound chip with the exception of the HP702 having the Standard PHA4 all-plastic key action vs the HP704 having the upgraded PHA50 "hybrid" key action with longer keys than the PHA4 Standard, wooden picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 digital pianos key sides and plastic key interior, and a better balanced movement. The HP702 has a basic internal speaker system with 2 small speakers and just 28 watts of audio going through 2 smaller amplifiers vs 60 watt total internal power in the HP704 going through 4 speakers and 4 amplifiers. 

So the HP704 sounds noticeably better and fuller compared to the HP702. In my opinion, even though the HP702 does produce a good amount of volume when the master volume control is turned up, the fullness and bass frequencies just are not there, and for $2800 bucks I would have expected a lot more in that way. Even the popular Korg G1 Air home digital piano at $1999 discount price has a much better and fuller piano sound going through a powerful 80 watt speaker system with 4 speakers and 4 amplifiers. The 2 main speakers are housed in a separate acoustic speaker box that fits and installs under the piano with forward facing speakers for a piano full resonate sound and great bass response like you would get from a real grand piano. 

It's not until jump way up to the HP704 at $3749 store discount price do you get the better and bigger internal sound system, but even then it is still not as impressive as the speaker system in the Korg G1 Air at $1999 in my opinion. But for many people, depending on the size of your room and your sound expectations, both the HP702 and HP704 may be sufficient in terms of volume and sound quality.

picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 digital pianos
The 4 major things that I recommend to people to look for in a new digital piano is (in this order) key action authenticity, piano sound realism, pedaling response, and internal speaker system. The key action is always the #1 thing that piano teachers and pro piano players care about in any piano and it is not different for a digital piano. As I already mentioned, the Roland HP702 has the entry level plastic PHA4 Standard key action. The overall response on this key action is actually pretty good although the touch weight of the keys is a bit picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 digital pianos firm/heavy compared to others, but still good. However, the key action can be somewhat noisy when playing the keys more aggressively when then keys strike bottom of key travel and it sound sometimes like the keys are hitting wood with not much dampening material underneath the keys. But when you play the key action normally and medium to soft levels of key attack then picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 digital pianos this noise issue is not a problem. 

The Standard PHA4 key action is also found in the low priced portable Roland FP-30X digital piano selling for $899 internet price whereas the next key action model up called the PHA50 "hybrid" action is in the the higher priced HP704 and in other Roland models above that one as well. So to get the more advanced key action you'll need to be in the $3000 range whereas with Kawai digital pianos you can get a more advanced picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 digital pianos "hybrid" wood key action for around $2300. The Roland PHA50 key action uses actual thin wooden sides to the white keys while the larger portion inside the key is plastic. 

This combination of materials is supposed to provide a more stable key movement along with special stabilizer pins that make the key movement more secure. The weight of the keys are also more balanced and move a bit more quickly than the Standard key action. The PHA50 key action is also very quiet, especially as compared to the PHA4 picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 digital pianos Standard key action in the HP702. So for about $1000 more than the HP702, the HP704 does offer a more natural playing piano type key action but that key action is still more like an upright acoustic piano as opposed to a real grand piano because grand piano keys are substantially longer and move differently including the black keys. 

Both key actions have the "escapement" function that simulates the "feel" of a grand piano when playing the key very softly and slowly when you'll notice a "bump" or notch as you are dressing the key. This type of thing is pretty cool to have although it's only a simulation and not the real thing so if you don't have it it's not a big deal, but it's still a nice feature.

picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 digital pianos
A grand piano would have longer keys (as I just mentioned) so there would be a better movement and balance from the back of the key to the front and from one key to the next. Roland does have an upgraded key action called the "Hybrid Grand" that gets closer to a real grand piano in the way the keys move, but it's still not there yet. But that key action is better and moves more naturally than the PHA50 key action and it (the Hybrid Grand) is found in the higher priced models LX706 and LX708 which I discuss in another review. If you are a beginning student then the HP702 may be more than sufficient as a digital piano. But if you have the extra disposable income then I would recommend the HP704 be worth your consideration not only because of the better key action, but also because the HP704 has a better sounding internal speaker system, and it looks better too. 

The key tops of the piano keys are in these models are made out of a proprietary material which simulates the look and feel of the old acoustic piano keys which were made from organic material of real ebony and ivory so you get an upgraded "fingering/playing experience" because of these synthetic materials being applied to the tops of the keys which helps absorb sweat from the fingers and also makes the keys look a bit classier in my opinion.

picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 digital pianos
One important thing I want to point out when it comes to key actions is, when shopping for a digital piano always keep in mind that the #1 component of any piano is  definitely the "key action" in the way the keys move up and down, the downweight and upweight force of the keys, and also the length of the keys. You want the key to be as long as possible so you have the best picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 digital pianos front to back and side to side balanced movement as possible and you also want the "touch weight" of the key (the amount of force it takes to begin to press down the key) to be as close to 55 grams as possible. The Roland HP pianos have a touch down-weight measurement of about 68 grams (HP704) which is pretty good. 

The length of the white key from front to back is just slightly less than 9" which is better than other brands of digital pianos. However, as a comparison, on the Kawai competitive models CA49 ($2899) and CA59 ($3799), their piano key action has white keys that measure picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 digital pianos 12" long which is over 3" longer than the Roland keys which gives those Kawai white keys an even better balance and feel from front to back of the key than the Roland keys. The touch down-weight force required for playing the Kawai wood key action is approx 54 grams which is much closer to the standard acoustic grand piano measurement of 55 grams (measured on middle C with damper pedal down). 

That means the Kawai key action moves easier, quicker, the key is longer, and the key movement is more like that of a grand piano. Even the up-weight force is noticeably more realistic on the Kawai models coming in at approx 33 grams as opposed to a heavier and more forceful (approx) 46 grams of upward pressure on the Roland pianos. 

When I personally took those down-weight and up-weight measurements using a special piano key weight measuring device, I was able to see for myself what the difference actually was. The Kawai key action (called Grand Feel Compact) also has "all-wood" white keys as opposed to Roland just having wood slats on the sides of the keys with the majority of the inner key being all plastic. If you should get a chance to compare those 2 key actions then you may notice the difference, but you likely could be happy with either key action.

picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 digital pianos
The acoustic piano sound that is simulated in these models comes from a technology called Physical Modeling. Unlike other digital piano companies who use the Sampling (recording) technology or a combination of Physical Modeling & Sampling to get and make the piano sound, Roland generates the sound from mathematical algorithms in "virtual reality" using computer generated piano sounds that did not actually get recorded from a real piano using microphones (sampling). The picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 digital pianos upside of virtual reality physical modeling technology is theoretically you can create a more realistic piano sound because you don't have the limitations of microphones, recording equipment, and processing of those original piano samples (recordings). 

But the downside of Physical Modeling is the fact that the piano sound is done "virtually" and so the limitations there is that is does not start out with the actual recorded piano sound and picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 digital pianos therefore the Physical Modeled sound can have an artificial tone to it sometimes depending on the notes or chords you play, how you are playing the song, and the amount and duration of the pedal sustain you are using. 

In other words, if you know what a real piano actually sounds like then you may find that the Roland Physical modeling piano sound chip in the HP702 and HP704 can be somewhat artificial at times, at least that is what I have found when playing these 2 models especially as compared to a real acoustic piano. The piano sound dynamic tonal range is very good offering a large range of dynamic tone from very mellow to very bright when you are playing the keys softly or with more force gradually playing with more or less velocity depending on which of the 4 piano sounds you select. So when it comes to piano sound, both the HP702 and HP704 are identical except for the key actions in getting the piano sound and also the more powerful internal speaker system in the HP704 which projects that piano sound in a noticeably better way will be more satisfying. 

But for me, a real "long" recorded piano sample from a real Steinway, Yamaha, Kawai, Bosendorfer or other top name concert grand (which some people may call "old school" technology) is still the best way to reproduce a real acoustic piano sound using high quality microphones in a professional recording studio environment. However, if the digital piano manufacturer can "add" virtual physical modeling technology to the original sample (which a couple of digital piano companies are now doing) then that is best of both worlds because it gives you the benefits of both technologies and it reduces the chances of the reproduced piano being artificial and sounding fake.

Picture of Roland HP pianos
I am a big fan of Roland music products and have used them professionally and in my home studio for many years. When I see and hear stuff that is a problem for me in certain digital pianos then it disappoints me when a good manufacturer did not do a better job given their abilities in the Picture of Roland HP pianos electronic music products world with regard to basic functionality. Unfortunately another continued issue for me with the physical modeling technology that Roland uses in these pianos (and was also an issue in the previous models) is the fact that when you change from one piano sound setting to another, whether that is a single piano tone or mixed with another instrument sound...when you make that change while playing a song live and you want a new piano sound setting in a different part of the Picture of Roland HP pianos song, when you change from one sound to next when pressing the sound buttons, the entire series of notes that you have just played and are sustaining will immediately cut out and stop playing. This is true wherever you happen to be in the song. In other words, there is no smooth sound transitioning when playing notes and changing sounds...your music just stops playing until you replay the notes again. 

This inability to transition from one piano sound  to the next does not happen in most of the other major brands including Kawai, Yamaha, Casio, Dexibell, and others. A few of those Picture of Roland HP pianos brands also use physical modeling technology although it is slightly different in the other brands. In prior models before Physical Modeling technology, Roland never had this lack of "smooth transition" from one sound to the next. This "all notes off" issue is particularly frustrating if you are playing in a Picture of Roland HP pianos performance at an event or at home, church, school, and you want to change those sounds at different times in different parts of your song. 

You just cannot do it smoothly without this "all notes off" situation occurring. Roland has yet to make any changes to the way the piano sounds transition from one to the next so it's my guess they cannot do it because of the limitations of their technology...and that's too bad...at least for piano players like me who don't just want to use 1 sound setting for the entire song the entire time. I personally like to make piano sound setting changes during the song sometimes and have that change be seamless with a smooth transition and a lot of my musician and teacher friends like to do the same thing. But unfortunately on these Roland pianos this type of smooth sound transition cannot be done and this limitation is on all of the Roland models and would be a deal-breaker for me, but I am quite picky in that way in being able to transition to different instrument sound settings while playing a song and another person out there may not care about that at all.

Picture of Roland HP pianos
There is a digital piano industry specification called "polyphony" and shoppers ask me about that all the time because most people do not understand it. "Polyphony" (pronounced po-li-fony) has to do with how much power the piano chip has in producing enough notes simultaneously when you are playing the digital piano live or when playing back a Picture of Roland HP pianos recorded song. Polyphony is all about "piano memory chip power and if you play at an advanced level and use lots of fingers and play lots of notes and also use a lot of sustain pedal, will the piano play reproduce all those notes seamlessly and effectively and sound Picture of Roland HP pianos natural without "note dropout" which means that the notes will not drop out and stop playing because you run out of polyphony memory. 

Years ago when the piano recorded samples in digital pianos were low quality, low polyphony memory piano sounds, the notes being heard when playing a song would spontaneously stop playing and just drop out as you were playing a song. It was very annoying, especially if you were an intermediate to advanced player. For a beginner there would seldom be a note drop-out issue with polyphony even when polyphony was only 24 or 32-note maximum. But in today's digital piano world with the advent of Picture of Roland HP pianos much more powerful piano sound chips, now there is 192-note, 256-note, 384-note, and unlimited polyphony. That means the pianos sound are noticeably more authentic than years ago and there will likely be no note drop-out no matter how advanced of a pianist you might be. 

The Roland HP702 and HP704 has 2 polyphony ratings...one for the piano sound and another rating for all the instrument sounds. Since the HP models have the Physical Modeling technology then that technology offers unlimited polyphony power for the 4 acoustic piano sounds in these 2 models. For all of the other sounds that are non-piano sounds (harpsichord, electric piano, trumpet, strings, guitar, etc) the polyphony rating is 384-note polyphony (maximum mono rating) which is how many notes can be heard simultaneously when playing the piano using one of those sounds. 

Since some of the instrument sounds are in stereo then you would divide the 384-note polyphony by 2 which would give you 192-note stereo polyphony which is way more than enough given that a piano only has 88 notes (keys). If you layer 2 sounds together then you divide that polyphony rating by 2 again because you have added a 2nd sound to you playing. You just do the math and then you know what you have. The bottom line is that you'll never run out of polyphony note power in any of these Roland digital pianos.

Picture of Roland HP pianos
I do like the pedaling response on both models and all 3 pedals work like a regular acoustic piano with the right sustain pedal, center sostenuto pedal, and left soft pedal. So those pedals do function correctly and the amount and length of the sustain is very long and quite good. However, I did notice from time to time that depending on the notes and chords being played, the sustain made the piano tone sound very saturated and overwhelming. This type of pedaling sustain experience can happen on regular acoustic pianos if holding the sustain pedal down too long...I am not talking about that. I am talking when just using the pedal normally that the sustained tone sounds artificial from time to time, like there is too much sustain and it is overpowering the individual piano notes. This is somewhat of a random occurrence and you probably will not notice it if you don't play piano well or have a lot of experience playing real acoustic pianos like I do. 

But apart from that occasional artificial sustained piano sound experience, the tone is good, the pedals work right, the pedals offer half-damper/continuous sustain so that you get different levels (length of time) for sustain and the sustain time is very long like a real piano. The left soft pedal works well and the middle pedal (sostenuto) is something that most people don't use or will not use because that pedal is typically used by very advanced players for only specific kinds of music.

picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 digital pianos
There is a concert piano tone, ballad, piano tone, mellow piano tone, and bright piano tone. You can edit those 4 piano tones through a feature called "Roland Piano Designer." That's actually a good name for this feature because it allows you to modify the picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 digital pianos piano sound and "design it" in a different way than what is on the 4 default piano sounds. Keep in mind that all of these digital features including piano designer features, recording features, instrument library features, control panel features, connectivity features, etc, are identical in both models HP702 and HP704...there are no picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 pianos differences. Again, the actual differences are in cabinet design and size, internal speaker system, and key action.

 The Piano Designer editing features include 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, picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 digital pianos Hammer Noise, Duplex Scale, Full Scale String Resonance, Damper Resonance, Key Off Resonance, Cabinet Resonance, Soundboard Type, 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 picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 digital pianos 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 default acoustic pianos sounds  and this goes for all of these models. 

As an example, the "Soundboard Type" and "Cabinet Resonance" functions have a noticeable impact on the default piano picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 digital pianos sounds and the way they come out. In a real piano there is an actual large wood soundboard located inside of an acoustic grand 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 picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 digital pianos soundboard sand using that specific editing function can make the Roland pianos sound better or even worse depending on which one you choose. 

So that one little editing function can have a huge impact on the piano sound you're using. It is the same for the key touch sensitivity where there are 100 levels of adjustment which can have picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 digital pianos a big impact (negative or positive) on the overall sound and expression of these pianos. There are so many ways to modify the 4 acoustic type piano sounds in these models that it can be overwhelming for a lot of people to the point of confusion in my opinion. It would be so helpful if Roland had a big selection of "preset" piano sounds set up by the Roland factory where those piano sounds were all different but all good that you could quickly choose from. 

However, from 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 "sound expert" 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 because a real acoustic piano only has one piano sound, why should you be worried about needing more than one piano tone on these digital pianos? 

It's because these piano sounds are produced by digital physical modeling technology and if you 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 always easy to do to get it to come out right. Having a larger library of good factory pre-set pianos sounds such as what Kawai offers in their competitive models (not counting any editing functions) is something that Roland does not offer in their pianos from what I can see.

picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 digital pianos
The Roland HP702 and HP704 both have a huge library of instrument sounds which not only includes those 4 acoustic piano tones, but also includes 320 sampled instrument sounds such as flutes, violins, organs, brass, woodwinds, reeds, percussion, synthesizer tones, guitars, etc. So there is definitely a huge library of instrument sounds at your disposal and those sounds are sampled and not using the physical modeling technology. Some of the instrument sounds are actually pretty realistic while other picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 digital pianos sound more like toys or cheaper keyboards. Nevertheless, it nice to have a big library of them because most digital pianos in this price range have a sound library of less than 50 total instrument sounds. The instrument sounds can be found in the tone group buttons in the piano control panel. 
Those buttons are large and round flush picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 digital pianos mounted into the control panel and also light up to show you which tone group you are using. Once you select your tone group from the 4 tone group buttons, then you can cycle through the instruments in those buttons to select the specific instrument you would like to hear when you play the keys. Roland has done a really good job here in picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 digital pianos making the user experience easy and intuitive in selecting the instrument sounds that you want. 

With regard to those instrument sounds, Roland also has a feature called General MIDI-2/GS. This allows you to take General MIDI song files that you can download from the internet and play them from a USB flash drive that you insert into the piano drive slot and then you can listen to and play along with your favorite songs and that can help you to learn how to play them. You can slow down or speed up the song to play along with which is good if you need the song to go slower if you don't know the song very well, play them in any key that you want to which is good if the original key of the song is not in your vocal range, and you can play any instrument in the Roland sound library along with the song either to do melody or the entire left and right piano part. Those General MIDI song files can sound really great depending on the quality of the original arrangement.

Picture of Roland HP pianos
The Ambience effects section 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. On the HP 702 & HP704 it is fairly easy to use and adjust the special ambience reverb effects using the Piano Designer function, then going to the ambience feature which then allows you adjust the amount (depth) of that effect that you would be applying to the instrument/pianos sounds. 

The added ambience tends to thicken up the sound a bit depending on how much of it you use so that the instrument sounds aren't so sterile and dry as opposed to more live sound with room reverberation so it is important to have in my opinion. As I previously mentioned there are are many other effects settings within the Piano Designer function but the ambience effect is separate from those other things and is a function that you will likely want to use more often depending on the depth of the effect needed for the kind of music you are playing.

Picture of Roland HP pianos
Most (but not all) digital pianos these days at about $1000 on up has a number of common digital features including layering/mixing 2 instrument sounds together, splitting 2 different sounds with one for the left hand and one for the right hand, being able to have 2 piano students/players playing on the piano at the same time using a duo/twin piano mode to play the Picture of Roland HP pianos same song at the same time and also playing in the same octaves with the 88 keys electronically becoming two 44-note keyboards.  Most of these digital pianos can also digitally transpose the key you are in and go up or down in 1/2-steps without actually playing different notes. So if you want the piano to be in Picture of Roland HP pianos your vocal range when playing a song but the key (range) of that song is not in your vocal range, then you can move the key electronically up or down in 1/2 steps to get it into your vocal range without actually having to learn the song in a different key.

Picture of Roland HP pianos You can also change the touch sensitivity of the keys to electronically be more or less sensitive to your touch as well as change the brightness/brilliance of the piano tone so that it can be more mellow or noticeably sharper/brighter in tone. This feature can be useful depending on the type of music you are playing. A feature that most digital pianos do not have is the Roland "registration feature." Roland has 36 digital "memories" called registrations which allows you to save 36 of your favorite settings including any favorite layers, splits, transposed keys, brilliance settings, and/or other setting you have created that you would like to save. 

These 36 memory settings do come in handy so that you don't have to always recreate your favorite setting when you want to use it. have 36 memory slots is a very nice feature. However, when you change from one memory setting to another, if that setting contains any piano sound then you'll still get that abrupt transition from one sound to another that I had mentioned before. So that does not change but at least you can save settings and Roland gives you a lot of digital memory slots to do that, which is a good thing.

Picture of Roland HP pianos
Roland has built-in digital recorder functions in both of these models which includes a 3-track MIDI song recording and 1-track audio wav file recording system. These types of recording features are very useful and the Roland pianos are definitely more sophisticated in this way whereas some brands have only 1-track MIDI recording Picture of Roland HP pianosand no audio recording even though audio wav file recording is becoming fairly standard in many digital piano brands and models all the way down to digital pianos under $1000. These Roland pianos can also play back Picture of Roland HP pianos audio MP3 song files which is great because that's the way iTunes and other songs are recorded and saved...in the MP3 format. 

Roland pianos cannot record MP3 song files however whereas other brands can do this including Kawai digital pianos in this price range along with also being able to record and playback MIDI files and the audio wav files.  All recorded and playback song files can be loaded onto a USB flash drive for storage and song retrieval for instant playback so that a person can play along with the recorded songs, which is a lot of fun to do. I appreciate the control panel round buttons that are flush with the panel and operate easily and intuitively, especially as compared to other brands.

Picture of Roland HP pianos
The internal speaker system of any digital piano can really "make or break" the sound that you hear. Even though there may be a very good digital piano sound chip in the piano, if the speaker system cannot output that sound well with a good frequency range, good bass response as well as clarity, and also robust tone at lower volumes, then your piano playing experience can be noticeably lacking in that area. The HP702 has 2 small speakers going through 2 smaller amplifiers at 28 watts total. Although this piano can put out enough volume for an average to larger size room, the richness and fullness of the piano tone was just not there for me personally. I really like it when I can not only "hear" the piano sound but that I can also "feel" it and get a Picture of Roland HP pianos bigger, bassier, richer tone out of it. When I play a good acoustic upright or grand piano then that's the experience I get. I don't get that on the HP702 mainly because of the low power smaller speaker/amp components in this model. 

For the $2000 price range I would expect more, especially considering what I can get from Yamaha and Casio in this price range along with what I can get even in lower price ranges like the Korg G1 Air ($1999) with 80 watts of power going through 4 speakers and 4 separate amplifiers, or the Casio AP470 ($1699) with 40 watts of power going through 4 speakers and 2 amplifiers. The HP704 does have a much better Picture of Roland HP pianos internal sound system and it's noticeably improved from the previous HP603 model with a total of 60 watts going through 4 amplifiers and 6 speakers (5"+1" x 2 and 2"x 2) with the 5" + 1"configured as coaxial speakers so your piano playing experience with this model will be much better and will sound more like a real piano in terms of volume, fullness, richness, bass response, etc. 

A coaxial speaker is actually 2 speakers in one with the main speaker and then a small tweeter type speaker attached to the center of the larger speaker...it's like 2 speakers in one and there are two of these in the HP704. But...that model is $1000 more than the HP702 so for that money it should be a noticeable upgrade! Since the piano sound chip is identical on both models then that means both models sound exactly the same through stereo headphones. So if you don't care as much about the internal sound system and having it be bigger and fuller and you don't feel you need the upgraded PHA50 key action in the HP704, then the HP702 with the PHA4 Standard key action may be the better option for you.

Picture of Roland HP pianos
In terms of special connectivity features which would allow you output the piano to external speakers, use the piano internal speaker system to hear outside audio devices, connect with computers and iPads, etc, connect with headphones, or connect connectivity ports with Bluetooth wireless, the HP702 and 704 have it all. When it comes to Bluetooth wireless connectivity, you can play your external device music library from your mobile phone or tablet through the piano speaker system wirelessly which is very cool You can also connect wirelessley to an external device (mobile phone, Picture of Roland HP pianos tablet) to use special MIDI educational apps to help learn the piano, and you can even get digital sheet music for your tablet and control the page turning of that music with one of the pedals on the piano when using Bluetooth pedal "page turning" so that you can have a hands free experience assuming you have connected with an app on your tablet that allows you to do that. 

The connectivity array that is mounted underneath the left side of the piano also has a port for a USB flashdrive for loading music song files into the piano or saving recorded songs that you have done on the piano. Also, if you wanted to make the HP702 piano sound bigger and fuller you could connect a set of powered monitors to the piano through the audio outputs and that would definitely help the piano, but it would cost you about $300 to $400 to do that. There are audio outputs, stereo audio input, USB/MIDI output, 2 stereo headphone jacks, etc.

Picture of Roland HP pianos
Roland also has a couple of proprietary apps for tablets called "Piano Every Day" and "Piano Designer" so that you can control a number of functions on the piano from your tablet color touch screen along with being able to add automatic one-man-band arranger styles to your piano playing experience. The piano doesn't actually have those fun "music styles" built in to the piano...they come from the app triggered from the color touch screen. It works well and is very enjoyable and no other digital piano company offers that kind of thing under $3000. Within the Piano Every day app there is also some digital sheet music that you Picture of Roland HP pianos can play along with and a number of songs in a digital music library. You can also buy sheet music from on off-site source and feed that music directly into the Piano Every Day app so you can see it play it, control it in different ways, and also use some educational features within the app to better learn that song and even record your practice time along with the digital sheet music and song that are are seeing in the app. 

You can isolate the right and left hands when learning the piano parts of those songs and also be able to add reprogrammed accompaniment with adds some fun orchestral background to the piano parts. The Piano Designer app lets you edit and control some of the Piano Designer functions I talked about earlier (touch, brilliance, resonance, ambience, etc), but instead of attempting to do everything though the piano user display screen and control panel buttons, you just do it through the app which is a lot more intuitive Comparison Review of all Roland Home Piano Models and fun to use.

Picture of Roland HP pianos
The cabinets and control panels of the HP704 and HP702 really look attractive and Roland has done a great job with its design and construction of these  two models in my opinion. They look good, are well built, have very nice looking music racks and sliding key covers, and come in a variety of  attractive cabinet finishes. The control panel on the pianos is also very sleek, well designed, functional, and fairly easy to access because the control panel is centered in front of you rather than off to the left side of the keyboard like many other brands do it. The user display screen has been upgraded to a bright, easy to read OLED digital screen as opposed to the previous models which used the older back-lit Picture of Roland HP pianos screens. 

The control panel buttons and knobs are large, flush mounted, and light up to let you know what button is being used. The operating system is somewhat intuitive but you will need to read the owners manual or watch some videos to figure out how to use the controls properly. Roland also has a few other impressive advantages in that they offer one of the nicest benches for digital pianos with it being a matching padded duet (longer) size bench with music storage inside. 

These benches are sturdy and can seat two people as opposed to most other benches in different brands that offer a single size bench. Roland also offers a very big 10-year factory warranty with their HP pianos which covers parts and labor. 10 years is a seriously large amount of time for a warranty and it just shows that Roland really doesn't think that these pianos will break and need service...in other words they are reliable for a long time. 

Based on my vast experience playing these kinds of digital pianos for many years along with other brands, generally speaking these pianos last for many, many years and in most cases well over 20 years, The warranty covers parts and labor for factory defects and that's where the limitation is...it has to be a defect and not just wear & tear or problem caused by an outside source.

Picture of Roland HP pianos
Overall I think both of these newer Roland HP702 and HP704 pianos are very good options to consider in the $2000 to $3500 price range because they are well built, have some compelling features, and they look good and should last a long time. They are the same in most ways as I mentioned earlier, but since the key action, internal sound system, and cabinet design and size are the big differences, you'll have to decide if it is worth it to you to spend more money to get the HP704. Also, the HP704 is available not only in the matte finishes but also in a polished ebony gloss black finish which adds approx $500 to the piano cost. The HP702 does not have that option. 

As far as the Physical Modeling Picture of Roland HP pianos technology goes, in my opinion Roland is heading in the right direction with that piano sound technology but since the piano sound does not contain any actual samples of real acoustic pianos, the overall piano sound is artificial to my ears at times depending what notes I am playing combined with sustain pedal tone, etc. There is another more impressive piano sound technology in my opinion that combines the benefits of real recorded piano sampling with the benefits of Physical Modeling technology adding organic type piano sound elements that are more difficult to get with just sampling alone. However, Roland is only using the virtual physical
Picture of Roland HP pianos
modeled piano sound and regardless of what someone would believe otherwise, the combination of those two technologies rather than just relying on one or the other is the better way to go, but it also costs more money to do that and do it well. 

Personally if only given the choice of having a physical modeled virtual piano sound vs a sampled piano sound that is well done, I would take the sampled piano sound at this point because for my ears it sounds a lot more natural and organic. Also, you cannot change piano sounds or piano to instrumental sounds in "mid-stream" without the notes all instantly cutting out with the Roland physical modeled piano sound and for me...that would be a big issue...but it may not be an issue at all for you. I always advise people that when they are in this higher price range to also look at the "competition" to be sure you are making the right choice. 

The competitive models to the Roland HP702 would be the Yamaha Arius YDP184 ($2399), Kawai CN201 ($2199), and Casio AP-710 ($2799). The competitor to the HP704 would be the Yamaha CLP735 ($2899) and Kawai CA59 ($3799) and you could probably like any of these pianos. If you want to read about all of the new Roland digital pianos being compared in one review including the LX705, LX706, LX708, GP607, GP609 then click on the following link to read my comparison review off all the latest Roland home digital piano models: Roland LX705, LX706, LX708, GP607, GP609 Review

*** IMPORANT NOTE: For me personally and as a long time piano teacher having taught thousands of students over the years, key action is #1 on my list of priorities for any piano whether you are a beginner or advanced player. You may be able to enjoy different piano sounds but the key action is paramount in expressing that sound and "connecting" with that piano. Also, key action cannot be changed or improved within the digital piano that you buy, so you need to do it right the first time, especially if you are in this higher "over $2000" price range. 

Although there are a quite a few different brands and models of digital pianos out there that have good key actions, if your primary goal is to PLAY PIANO and have the best piano playing experience possible and you don't care as much about all the "bells & whistles," then I also like the newer Kawai CA49 and CA59 pianos, the newer Yamaha CLP-725 and CLP-735 which are in similar price ranges as the Roland HP702 and HP704. But I do like the more advanced Roland PHA50 key action in the HP704 much better than the more basic standard key action in the Roland HP702. Be sure to contact me for more info.

Below is a comparison chart I put together of the main HP702 and HP704 features 
so that you can more easily compare them.

picture of Roland HP704 & HP702 Comparison Chart


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:

Oleg said...

Just bought HP704 and regret it from the first sound when install it at home.
When tried it at the store, it sounded OK, but it was harder to test because it was in an open room with not much resonance.
Here are issues:
1. Mid octaves sounds very muffed and when you moved up the scales, it becomes more bright, which is not right.
2. Feels like tweeters do not work at all. Just dull sound from bottom speakers.
3. No matter how hard I hit a key, the sound is not what I would expect regarding dynamics. It sounds like hammers are very soft.
4. When setting the global volume to over 60%, there is a lot of distortion.
5. The volume between different sounds is not the same. When switching to Organ, for example, I have to set the global volume to 10% in order to match piano volume at 60%.
6. Except piano sounds, other sounds are very poor quality.
7. When switching between sounds, the prior sound cuts off immediately.
8. Tried their Android up and it is garbage. Very inconvenient. The piano technician app is crashing all the time and disconnects.
9. The modeling engine in HP704 is mediocre compared to sound samples from Kawai CA59.
10. Did not find any way to tweak piano parameters and save it as a custom piano.
11. The sound in headphones is brighter than from internal speakers. Looked in user forms and people just adjusting brightness every time they switch between speakers and headphones, which is ridiculous. My 20-year-old Kawai sounds way better.
12. Action - very noisy since you have to hit the key harder to get any decent sound out of it.
13. Dynamic range is very narrow. Looks like heavy compression.

I hope, I will be able to return it and get Kawai, which I should have done in the first place.
My HP704 on firmware 1.01 and does not look like Roland has any updates to the firmware.



Unknown said...

How is your experience with Yamaha Clp 735/745 ?