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Rating and Reviews: Roland RD-64

Powered by Roland's expressive SuperNATURAL piano engine, the RD-64 stage piano's 64 keys are fully weighted with escapement -- yet it weighs only 28 pounds.

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The Wow Factor
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"This little guy gets funky." submitted May 12, 2013

By Tyler T in Torrington, CT
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Sound
Features
Ease of Use
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The Wow Factor
Musical Background: 15 years on Guitar and 7 years on keyboards
Music Style: Funk, Classic Rock, R&B, Folk Rock, Indie... all the good stuff.
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Overall: I've waited a long time for something like this. I'm a guitar/keyboard player who is obsessed with vintage sounds. I started with a Casio privia, but it quickly became evident that I'd need an upgrade. I got a used nord e2 and hooked it up to the casio as a midi controller. I just couldn't get into the sounds.. the velocity switching was too dramatic for my taste. Sold that and picked up a new Kurzweil sp8-4. It had amazing Ep's and organs, but the acoustic piano was god awful sounding. Too metallic and mid rangy..(I know I'm picky right?). Anyway.. after NAMM 2013 it was between the new Casio Px 5s, and the RD 64. I initially thought the Casio was better in terms of with it could do, and I'm sure for some it will be. For me the ep's sounded too boxy and fake, and I wondered who long I could handle the stark white color. The limited range of the Rd's 64 for notes had me worried, but I went for it anyway and I'm really happy with it so far. The ep's sound amazing live and the velocity switching is very smooth, it almost feels like you're playing the real thing. I'm not much of a organ player but I love the b3 that it has. This is not the keyboard a organ player would be interested it but it fills that slot well. I do think the top rotors on the leslie sim accelerate to fast, and the bottons are a bit far away for real organ playing, not a deal breaker for me.. (ie not a organ player). The Clavs are totally usable, especially with a real wah pedal. The Acoustic piano's are great, the quality is there, but they sound a bit compressed. Probably best represented in stereo, but I'm a mono guy. They seem to be at a lower volume than the other samples too, so you have to give yourself more head room on the PA, or amp. They cut through a band mix fine with a little onboard eqing.. again not a deal breaker. So all in all I'm very pleased with it, my band loves the sounds and are exited for the new material it leads itself to. I didn't give it a 5 star rating because I feel there's always room for improvement. This is for people who need and quick and easy board with great vintage sounds to hit some dates with.
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"On the pianissimo and fast parts this piano is an absolute sucker" submitted September 8, 2013

By Rebetiko P
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Professional musician, Singing, Piano, Guitar, Bouzouki, Composing
Music Style: Blues, Rebetiko
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Overall: I have this piano for about 2-3 months now and have been making money with it every day as a street musician. I needed a compact piano with weighted action and a decent onboard piano sound, so when this came out I grabbed it right away. I use it in combination with a Roland KC-110 amplifier. It seems like a reliable sturdy piano so far. Being shorter than an 88keys piano is an advantage for transporting it through the subway every day. A longer piano would oscillate more and that would have a negative consequence on the keybed on the long term. On the other hand it is not as short as it could be for a 64keys piano and it is rather heavy for a piano that doesn’t have its own speakers. It is heavier than many 88key pianos with onboard speakers. The action is really hard to get used to. I have been playing on a Kawai ES-4 with an “advanced hammer action 4” before I buy the Roland and it seems that this keybed can’t compete with the Kawai on the fast parts. I keep struggling to include all the notes that I included with the Kawai on my performances, but it seems really hard to do that with the Roland. Trying not to drop the detail of the articulation I had with the Kawai, I struggle and struggle with the Roland and loose the smooth mellow feeling that came easy with the Kawai. On the pianissimo and fast parts this piano is an absolute sucker. Also the left and right output for the amplifier and the headphone output are really low volume. The volume of the headphone is really low and cannot function in parallel with the audio left and right outputs, so you can’t monitor what you are playing with headphones as you play together with other musicians. The piano sound has some problems too. At many times the high pitched notes sound twice. Once when I hit the key, and once again a fraction of a second later. In addition when you turn the resonance effect on (second button default effect) the bass becomes muddy and the amplifier distorts even at low volume. The keyboard and the sound of the Roland do not seem connected at all, compared to Kawai digital instruments. Of course it doesn’t feel like an acoustic piano at all. Then again, Roland doesn’t make acoustic pianos. Despite all the negative things about the Roland RD-64, this piano did what it was bought to do. It helped me share my music on the street and I have already raised the money I spent for the piano, the amplifier, the battery, the microphones, the inverter, the stands, the compressor, the carrying cases and the hand truck. So know, I’m looking forward for my brand new Kawai ES-7 that will be staying always at home where I can develop my fast and expressive finger technique, something that couldn’t be done with the Roland RD-64.
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