01 Oct ROLAND DIGITAL PIANOS | REVIEW | 16 Models | Update!
Roland Digital Pianos | REVIEW | 16 models | 2020
Roland Digital Pianos | REVIEW | under $1000 to $10,000 | 16 models | for 2020 | 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 very nice upgrades from the previous discontinued models including all new and improved cabinet designs and finishes, and because these pianos just came out in 2019 we will likely not see any additional new digital pianos in this lineup for 2020 or 2021.
Roland GP609 Digital Grand Piano
Roland does have 2 previous model digital “grand pianos” from 2017 that are still current and they are called the GP607 and GP609. They exist now and will likely be current models into next year 2021. The current LX700 series upright pianos are actually upgraded in a number of different ways over the grand piano models, athough 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 2020 or 2021…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. 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 chip 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 2020 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
Roland makes a low line of digital pianos under $2000 called the RP/F models with the RP501R ($1599 price) and F140R ($1299 price) having been out for about 4 years. The life-cycle of a particular model can be up to 5 years and even longer for digital pianos because they don’t change very fast like regular consumer electronics due. However, when models have been out 3 years or longer than that can mean a change may be around the corner, especially with new technology being implemented in other models. But just like I mentioned earlier, these manufacturers can not make changes all at one time on all models…it takes time. Also, if a particular model is selling well for that digital piano manufacturer then they are not as compelled to make changes and possibly increase costs doing so.
The RP-501R ($1599) and F-140R ($1299) have been fairly steady sellers for the Roland company 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 FP30 portable has been out for awhile and is a good seller for Roland, but we would not be surprised if Roland improves upon that model later in 2021.
Roland FP90 Portable
Finally, Roland has 2 higher end portable models between $1000 and $2000 called the FP-60 ($1499 price) and FP-90 at $1949 price. Both the FP-60 and FP-90 have internal speakers along with good key actions and piano sound chips. Bother pianos have been out for a little awhile and already had price increases such as the FP-90 going from $1799 to $1899, and most recently to $1949 price. This is due to increased production costs and also the tariffs on some foreign made products. The FP-90 is slightly older than the lower priced FP-60 and for that reason, and the fact that the new HP line has been upgraded in a few different ways such as having an improved key action in the LX models, I think the FP-90 may be replaced at some point in 2021 and upgraded with new key action technology, especially given the fact that is has gone up in price recently.
Although the FP-90 is a good piano, for over $300 less I believe the brand 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 the prior model ES8. When it comes to new Roland 88-key weighted key action digital pianos for the rest of 2020 and into 2021, I expect to see a few changes from what we have now. 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.
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