01 Jan Roland HP702-HP704-LX705-LX706-LX708 | REVIEW | Digital Pianos
By: Professor Tim
Roland HP702, HP704, LX705, LX706, & LX708 digital pianos | REVIEW | 5 Models | for 2021 | The Roland home digital piano lineup includes 5 upright style models from approx $2000 to $7000 along with 2 digital baby grand shaped models from approx $6000 to $10,000 called GP607 and GP609, but those 2 models came out about 4 years ago so we’re just focusing here on the5 newer upright style models. We will tell you in this review some very important things to know in making the right buying decision when looking at these new digital pianos. Roland has always been known as an innovator when it comes to digital music products and their new pianos are no exception.
I have personally played all of their models many times in many places so I do have an in-depth knowledge of what makes them “tick.” As with all digital piano manufacturers, they can either upgrade previous models in a big way or do it in a small way with very few upgrades and then just rename it to something else. They can do a minor “refresh” or a major “upgrade” of previous models and also introduce new models they never had before with brand new technology. In the case of these new Roland pianos, depending on the model, there have been some smaller improvements along with bigger upgrades to key actions, cabinet design, internal sound systems, digital functionality, and also new educational apps to help with educational learning and having more fun playing music.
Unfortunately since these Roland pianos are not sold on the internet in USA, but only in local stores so you would need to go into an authorized Roland store to actually see and play one of these models. But before you do, assuming you have a Roland store nearby, you should take some time and learn about these Roland models here which will help you in making an “informed decision” when you decide to purchase a new digital piano. All store discount prices listed below are based on our personal experience in Roland stores and what the discount prices are typically advertised for.
Roland HP702 | approx $2200 store discount price | This model has replaced the previous HP601 so you would think Roland might do upgrades in the new HP702. But what’s interesting about the HP702 is that Roland did some things that doesn’t necessary make sense to me and were not improvements, but at the same time they also made some good upgrades.
– They down-graded the key action and put in their entry level PHA4 standard key action taken from their $699 FP30 portable model and took out the much better PHA50 hybrid key action that was in the previous HP601.
– They put their newer physical modeling sound chip with unlimited piano polyphony in the new HP702 and took out their previous sampled recording sound chip that was in the previous HP601. In other words, the key action authenticity got dropped down significantly and the newer “better” piano sound-chip got added.
– The audio power speaker system is the same as before and they did not improve it which was a disappointment to me.
– The LCD display screen is now an OLED technology which makes it much clearer and easier to read and a very nice improvement
– There are a few more additional digital features and some new connectivity features and even though they are nice to have they are relatively minor.
– There is a new interactive app for your tablet device called “Piano Every Day” which takes the place of the previous app called Piano Partner 2 and adds some cool features along with literally hundreds of built in songs and lessons that the previous model did not have, so this is a very good upgrade and one that you may not realize just by looking at the piano.
– The cabinet design, control panel button design, and construction has been noticeably improved and it looks more like a piano now and comes in some new, attractive cabinet colors.
Conclusion – The LX702 has some good improvements on this model which is nice, but they are at the expense of the key action, and in our opinion the piano key action is the #1 thing that people look for in any piano whether it be an acoustic piano or digital piano. The piano looks very similar to the next model up HP704 but don’t let that fool you. They took that better key action out and unless you look carefully you may not know that. I would actually prefer having the older discontinued model HP601 with the better PHA50 key action but then the HP702 is still a good one and you can certainly enjoy it. The HP702 typically sells in Roland stores at a discount price of around $2200 based on our experience with this model.
Roland HP704 | approx $3200 store discount price | The next model up is the HP704 which replaces the previous HP603A. The newer HP704 is what I would consider to be the best buy in this new lineup of models because as compared to the HP702, it has some important good improvements over the HP702 and the previous model that cause it to be considerably more money and these are important things to know.
– The cabinet and control panel is much more attractive with better design, a taller cabinet giving it more presence, and it just looks more like real piano,
– It comes in some new attractive cabinet colors as well as a brand new polished ebony finish for more money. The polished ebony finish is a very good addition in this price range and people have been asking for the elegant finish in previous models.
– The internal speaker system has been vastly upgraded with new speaker and amplifier systems which Roland calls “acoustic projection” to give the piano sound a much richer and fuller tone than the previous model and it is noticeable, so this was a great improvement. The sound system in the HP704 also blows away the HP702 in that way.
– The new “Piano Every Day” app takes the place of the previous Piano Partner 2 app and this not only is a big improvement in interactive student lessons, but like the HP702, there are literally hundreds of great songs and lessons in the piano which you can use for some fun interactive training along with visible music notation from the app as seen from your color touch screen in your tablet which can also be wirelessley connected with Bluetooth MIDI connection
– This model also has the new OLED display screen technology which makes it easier to see the user display screen as compared to the previous model so that a good change
– The key action is the better “hybrid PHA50” upgraded action and the sound chip is the same as is in the HP702 which is the physical modeling piano technology. The previous model HP603A also had the same key action and piano sound chip as this new HP704 so there were no changes there.
– All the other digital functions & features of the older discontinued model are the same as this new HP704 which makes the 2 pianos pretty close in how they play and what they do. The older model HP603A sold at discount price for about $2700 and this current model HP704 sells for about $2000 at store discount price based on our experience with it.
Conclusion – Is it worth the extra money for the HP704 over the previous model? Yes, we think it is because the upgrades to the cabinet, control panel redesign, new internal speaker system, and the interactive app with new impressive features makes this piano a good buy, especially as compared to the the lower priced HP702. However, if you would be using headphones most of the time as some people do then the piano sound on both the HP702 and HP704 would be identical. The difference would be in the key-action, and that is a major difference.
Roland LX705 | approx $3800 store discount price | The next model up from the HP704 is called the LX705 and is the first model in the “LX series” because of mainly 2 reasons: the piano sound (engine) chip and the cabinet design. The LX705 replaces the previous HP605 as far as its position in the lineup, but it is different in most other ways.
– The LX705 has the identical PHA50 key action as in the previous model and also in the HP704 below it, so there are no changes that way which is fine.
– This latest model has a new piano sound (engine) chip that Roland developed called “Pure Acoustic Modeling” which is supposed to be an improvement over the other physical modeling sound chip used in the HP series and all the previous models. There are 2 different piano recreations of 2 acoustic grand pianos in the LX705 whereas the other physical modeling piano sound chip in the HP702/HP704 has one grand piano recreation. But here’s the SECRET you won’t know unless you thoroughly play the LX705 in person and you know what a real grand piano is supposed to sound like. The newer piano sound in this model is actually disappointing to us (in our opinion) when it comes to sounding like a real piano because it really doesn’t, and in fact the sound is so artificial to us we almost couldn’t believe it. When playing the piano and using both piano voices, neither one sounded real coming out of the LX705 internal speaker system, It sounded a bit better when we played to it listening through a good pair of stereo headphones but even then it was very artificial sounding…and we just didn’t like it regardless of what setting we were using.
– The LX705 also has new special environmental effects called “Pure Acoustic Ambience” & “My Stage.” Both of these features are extensive and involved in terms of allowing you to edit and “adjust” the 2 built-in piano sounds in number of ways. In some cases we were able to make the 2 piano sounds come out in a more realistic way but it took so much work to do it that we don’t believe the average person owning this piano will want to take all the time and trouble to “mess around” with the piano sound to try to make it better. For the price you would pay for this model we expect it to sound great every time you play it using the factory default piano settings and based on our experience with the LX705 it doesn’t even sound as good as the lower priced HP704 in our opinion.
– The internal speaker system is slightly upgraded over the lower priced HP704, but not by much. It has the same audio power output and same speakers as the HP704 but adds a speaker box to hold 2 of the speakers which gives it better bass response so that part is a good thing.
– All of the other digital features and app is the same as the HP704 so there are no differences there.
– The external cabinet design of the LX705 is different and impressive and looks even more like a real piano as compared to the HP704, so when it comes to cabinet there is a noticeable difference in that way.
– Most good digital pianos out there in this price range have a big library of acoustic piano sound presets that you can choose from which can range up to approx 20 different piano sounds. However in the LX705 only has 4 piano sounds with 2 of them being those 2 new physical modeled pianos and then there is one variation each totaling four pianos…so in our opinion that is a weak point for the LX705 because Roland should have provided at least 10 to 20 built-in permanent high quality acoustic piano sound for different kinds of music so that you don’t get tired or bored with the sounds and that in case you don’t like some of those pianos selections you would have a lot to choose from unlike the LX705 which does not have that based on our playing experience with it.
Conclusion – Although you could enjoy this piano depending on your point of view, we don’t recommend this model, not because it doesn’t look good (it looks great) and it has all those cool features that we mentioned before. It’s because we do not like the piano sound coming out of this model, it just sounds way to artificial to us and not enjoyable…at least to our “piano trained” ears. We play real acoustic grand and upright pianos often and we know what real pianos sound like and the LX705 doesn’t sound like any good acoustic piano I have ever played and we are sorry to say that since we had high hopes for the LX705 but were disappointed. We would much rather play the HP704 or the previous HP605 because it has almost the identical digital sounds and features as the HP704 does including same key action and piano sound chip. However, since everyone’s ears and hearing are unique and we all hear things differently, you make like the piano sound on this LX705 model and if so, then if you like everything else about perhaps you should consider buying this model. We are hopeful that Roland will upgrade the piano “software” in this model so that it will be improved and sound great like Roland piano models in past years.
Roland LX706 | approx $5000 store discount price | The next model up in these Roland home pianos is called the LX706 and it replaces the former LX7 which is now discontinued. What makes this piano “better” than the LX705 is 3 basic reasons which is key action, cabinet, and internal speaker system.
– The cabinet on this model is noticeably taller by a few inches, better looking with more upscale designer cabinet which we like very much and it comes in some attractive colors and finishes
– The internal speaker system is more powerful and it has more speakers than the LX705 including some big bass speakers that give this model a much fuller, deeper tone. So there is a noticeable difference in that way.
– The key action on this model has been upgraded from all of the other Roland pianos below it and that key action is called “Hybrid Grand Keyboard.” The difference between this new action and the other PHA50 hybrid action is that the key is long in the LX706. The construction of the key is the same but the actual length of the key is longer by about 1 1/2″ putting the key length at just over 10 1/4″ long. The longer key helps the key with better balance from front to back of the key and better movement from left to right on the keyboard and there is a difference based on our playing experience with this model. However, this new key action is definitely not an acoustic “grand piano” key in the way that it is built, the way it is installed, or the length of the key as it is still many inches shorter than an actual grand piano key. But it is still a better and more responsive key action playing experience than with the Roland models that have the PHA50 key action, and that’s why Roland put this new key action into the LX706…to make it play better with regard to key touch.
– All of the digital features in this model is identical to the lower priced LX705.
– The 4 acoustic piano sounds in the LX706 are exactly the same as the LX705 which means there is no difference in the realism of the piano sound chip as compared to the LX705.
– The special effects “Pure Acoustic Ambience & “My Stage” are identical to the LX705 and although the effects are cool, this does not offer a good solution to producing a better piano playing sound experience in the LX706 than we had in the LX705. The effects should only be there to make a great piano sound even better in customizing it a bit more, but other than that you should not need to use them.
Conclusion – The LX706 is really the exact same piano as the LX705 (except for the key action), especially if you would be using headphones in terms of piano sound and digital features. In other words there is no difference. Where the differences come in and are noticeable is the longer piano keys giving you a better, more responsive key action, a fuller sounding internal speaker system, and an upscale designer cabinet which is taller and has more cabinet features in it. Is it worth the extra money over the LX705…maybe but only if the upgrades that we just mention matter to you. But the piano sound is still the same in terms of the way the tone seems to be very artificial, especially to our ears so we much prefer the previous LX7 model that’s now discontinued, even though the key action in the LX706 was redesigned and can play with a bit more natural movement. So you will need to decide if this LX706 piano works for you based on what it offers in its price range. Again, we hope that Roland will come out with a big improvement on their piano software for this model so that we can recommend it.
Roland LX708 polished ebony pictured above
Roland LX708 | $5999 store discount price matte finish, $6699 polished ebony | This is Roland’s top-of-the-line upright style digital piano and the next model up from the LX706 and it replaces the prior LX17. The 2 basic reasons why you would want this model over the LX706 is because of cabinet design, appearance, and internal speaker system.
– The LX708 cabinet is noticeably upgraded over the LX706 is appearance, design, and size. It is the tallest of all the models at 46″ tall and when the lid/top of the piano is propped open then the height is 49″ which is the tallest of all home digital pianos out of all the brands. So it looks great and has added design features in the cabinet which gives it more elegance such as the why the key cover closes in a traditional grand piano cover design with a slow-close mechanism.
– The cabinet colors available in the LX708 include a charcoal black, polished ebony, and polished white and the the polished white is the only “shiny” white finish offered out of all Roland models.
– The top lid of the piano opens up to be a propped up position which allows the internal speakers to also project the sound out of the top of the piano as well as through other speaker positions. This is a unique cabinet/speaker feature and it works well.
– The bench that comes with this model is a height adjustable “grand piano” style bench instead of the standard height duet size bench that comes with the other models.
– The internal speaker system in the LX708 has more speakers and more amplifiers than the LX706 so it puts out even more volume and fuller sound so if you are trying to fill up a big room then the LX708 would do the best job of that.
– The LX708 has the exact same key action as in the LX706 which is good
– The LX708 has the identical digital piano features and functions that are in the LX706 including the same Piano Every day App for tablet.
Conclusion – The LX708 is identical in every way to the LX706 with the exceptions of cabinet and speaker system. If you don’t need the upgraded cabinet and bench of the LX708 and don’t need to have the extra powerful internal speakers of the LX708 which produce a bigger and noticeably fuller bass frequency tone than the LX706, then the LX706 is the better piano to buy because at the end of the day it is really the same piano, just dressed up a a bit more with louder, even bolder sound. However, unfortunately the artificial nature of the piano sound was no different in this model than compared to the LX706 and LX705…they were all the same because they all had that identical “Pure Acoustic Modeling” sound chip in them and that’s what we did not like. We much prefer the previous and much older (discontinued) LX17 model for that reason even though the key action on the LX708 has been upgraded and is noticeably more realistic, as I mentioned earlier. We hope that Roland will improve the “pure acoustic modeling” piano sound chip in this new LX700 series so that we can enjoy the piano playing experience we get out of it.
Roland also has two more models that are the grand piano versions called GP607 (approx $6000 store discount price) and GP609 (approx $10,000 store discount price). The 3′ deep GP607 and 5′ deep GP609 Roland digital grand pianos are identical to each other and to the newer HP704 in every way except for cabinet design and user interface, internal speaker system, the interactive tablet app, and one audio player function. In other words if you purchase a GP607 or GP609 mini or full size baby grand piano, essentially you would be spending a lot more money and buying a HP704 in a grand piano cabinet with bigger speaker system. But that’s OK if you like these digital mini and full baby grand shaped models. Both the GP607 and GP609 are impressive digital piano models and they look great in any home or venue.
Finally, last but certainly not least, we want to bring to your attention an impressive line of “upright style” 2021 digital pianos from the famous Kawai Piano company. Based on many hours of personally playing these models, we are especially impressed with the wooden “extra long key” key actions on these new pianos because of how much more closely they recreate an actual grand piano touch and key movement as compared to the Roland digital pianos and also how satisfying their proprietary stereo grand piano sound is when playing on these new models. The specific Kawai digital pianos that we recommend are their “Concert Artist” series CA49, CA59, CA79, and CA99 which are in the same price range as these new Roland digital pianos. Please read our review on this website of these new Kawai digital pianos at the following link and then let us know if you would like further info: Kawai Digital Piano Review
Now that you have read our conclusions on the newer models of Roland pianos including the HP702, HP704, LX705, LX706, and LX708 as well as the baby grand models GP607, and GP609, if you want very detailed information on each model then we advise that you read our in-depth review on our other blogsite called AZ Piano Reviews because that is where we keep our larger deeper product reviews and analysis for these models and many others. The link to that in-depth review of Roland pianos is here: Roland 700 series in depth review – AZ Piano Reviews .
*Also, please take a look at our Roland Piano Comparison Chart below to get some detailed specs as to how these different models compare to each other.