01 Jan ROLAND DIGITAL PIANOS | REVIEW | 16 Models | Update!
By: Professor Tim
Roland Digital Pianos | REVIEW | 16 models | 2021
Roland Digital Pianos | under $1000 to $10,000 | REVIEW | 16 models | for 2021 | LOWER PRICES PRICES! – Roland has been designing & producing 88 semi-weighted and fully piano weighted key action digital pianos for many decades. Roland is a Japanese company that is well known for their impressive digital piano technology for home digital pianos, portable digital pianos, and also for professional stage digital pianos used on stage, in recording studios, and for other related purposes. In this review I am concentrating on the Roland furniture cabinet 88-key fully piano weighted key action digital pianos (with internal speakers) and also 88-key portable digital pianos with optional furniture cabinet type stands & triple pedal units all of which you would find in homes, churches, schools, and other similar venues.
Roland has approx 16 different models of these 88 key home and portable digital pianos right now (excluding pro stage models without internal speakers) which are all current models. The latest releases that just occurred within the last several months include the all new HP & LX series of home furniture cabinet upright style digital pianos called the HP702, HP704, LX705, LX706, and LX708. These new models have some nice upgrades from the previous discontinued models including improved cabinet designs and finishes, and because these pianos only came out in 2019 we will likely not see any additional new digital pianos in this lineup for 2021 and even into 2022 based on our experience with these models.
Roland GP609 Digital Grand Piano
Roland does have 2 previous model digital “grand pianos” that came out in 2017 that are still current models called the GP607 and GP609. They exist now and will likely be current models through this year although I would not be surprised if we see new upgraded models in 2022.. The current LX700 series upright pianos are actually upgraded from previous piano models in a number of different ways although some of those changes are not necessarily good, unfortunately. As is the case with many digital piano manufacturers, the factories cannot replace all models at the same time…their factories just do not have the capacity for doing that so there is always some lag time so that is why the digital “grand” pianos likely have not been upgraded yet. So I am confident we can expect some changes to the Roland digital grand pianos GP607 and GP609 likely some time in 2022…but for now they will stay the same which is still very good and quite enjoyable, overall and I recommend them.
Actually we like the physical modeling piano sound chip in the GP607/GP609 digital grand pianos better than the new LX pianos, although the new key action in the Roland LX706/LX708 is better than the regular PHA50 key action currently in the the grand pianos (are you confused yet?). This is because the key action upgrades in the LX706 & LX708 upright models offers more control than what is in the Grand pInaos. However, the piano sound chip in the grands (which is an older sound chip) actually sounds better to me than the new piano sound chip (engine) in the LX models. As far as other Roland models, Roland has an older version contemporary cabinet home digital piano called the HP603 which used to be the smaller compact home version of the DP603. The upgrade from the previous HP603 to the HP704 is not very big as the piano sound engine and key action is the same. We believe that the Roland HP-704 home furniture cabinet digital piano is definitely the “sweet spot” in the entire new line of Roland pianos. It has the looks, the sound, the key action, and the functionality that make it a “winner” as compared to all of the other Roland digital pianos currently being offered for 2021 in our opinion.
The HP704 sells in local Roland authorized piano stores at an average discount price of about $3200 (plus tax, plus shipping, etc), so it’s in a reasonable price range as compared to other top brands. Roland also has a unique model called “Kiyola” KF-10 which only has limited availability in the US at one outlet. Essentially the Kiyola is a more basic version of the Roland DP603 (approx $2600 store price) in a very contemporary, unique cabinet with customer matching bench…but that model is quite a bit more money at $4300 and definitely not worth that premium cost in our opinion. That’s probably why no Roland piano store dealer sells it expect for MoMa Museum of Modern Art in New York. Go to the following link to read more about the new HP, LX, and GP models: Detailed Review of Roland HP, LX, & GP digital pianos
The Roland HP704 – The Roland HP704 sells for about $3200 in Roland authorized piano stores and it is not available for sale at internet stores unlike the other digital piano companies such as Yamaha, Kawai, Korg, Casio, and others. So that means you cannot buy it on-line but only at local “brick & mortar” piano stores. In this day and age that is somewhat of a hassle as far as I am concerned, but that’s the way Roland wants to do it. Nevertheless, I like the Roland HP704 in its price range for how it looks and how it plays as a piano. Is it the best digital piano in its price range? In my opinion the anser is no. I personally like the new Yamaha Clavinova CLP-745 ($3499) and Kawai CA59 ($3099) because they play and sound more realistically to me for piano sound, piano key action, and pedaling along with more upgraded internal speaker systems. Check out my reviews of those pianos on this web site.
Roland has a lower line of digital pianos under $2000 which I talk about here. The RP-701 ($1499) and F-701 ($1399) just came out from the Roland company and have some nice upgrades from the previous models but with very competitive models from Yamaha, Korg, and Casio out there, Roland may be wanting to “up its game” with some RP and F series replacements in 2020. Roland has a lower line of home digital pianos called the RP-102 cabinet model at $999 price, FP30 portable digital piano at $699 price, and portable FP-10 digital piano at $499 price. For 2021 it is likely, in our opinion, that both the RP-102 and FP-10 will not be replaced because neither model has been out very long and they both have some of Roland’s more recent updates. The FP-30X portable at $749 is the new replacement for the previous FP-30 and just came out with a number of good upgrades, although the key action and piano sound engine is the same as before which, in our opinion, needed a change
Roland FP90X Portable
Finally, Roland has 2 new higher end portable models between $1000 and $2000 called the FP-60X ($1099 price) and FP-90X at $2199 price. Both the FP-60X and FP-90X have internal speakers along with good key actions and piano sound chips. Both pianos just came out for 2021 and may be difficult to get for awhile because of product shortages do to Covid. This is due to increased production costs, work restrictions, and shipping delays.The FP-90X is the top of the line self-contained portable model for Roland and the new FP-60X is the next one in the line and has a far different key action and piano sound engine as compared to the higher priced FP-90X.
Although the FP-90X is a good piano, for $500 less I believe the new Kawai ES920 portable digital piano at $1599 price for 2021 is the better, more realistic digital piano in terms of offering a more organic piano key action and stereo acoustic piano sound based on all my playing experience with it. When it comes to new Roland 88-key weighted key action digital pianos for the rest of 2021 and into 202w, I don’t expect to see nay more changes. There are a few models I definitely would like to see get upgraded from what they are now including their new LX home pianos because the “physical modeling” piano sound chip in those pianos just sounds much too artificial for my tastes and I hope that Roland can improve those pianos, especially since they are newer models. Generally speaking I really do like the Roland digital pianos and their technology in many of the models they have, but some of the “other guys” are giving them a big run for their money so Roland definitely needs to keep working hard hard to stay up with their competition and upgrade some of their deficiencies concerning the sound chip in the LX models.
Lower price than Amazon or Internet