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#2107827 - 06/25/13 01:28 PM Really enjoying my Roland RD64
Rhodie73 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/11/08
Posts: 143
Loc: New York
So after I retired all of my heavy gigging keyboards (that are no longer with me except for my mint condition Fantom X8), I needed something portable for gigs that just gave me top notch basic meat and potatoes keyboard sounds. I didn't need synths or pads just AP's and EP's really. I went threw every current board available, but I guess I'm in the camp of those that like and appreciate Roland's SuperNatural sound engine. So the RD64 was really the smallest Roland keyboard with that engine and a weighted action as well. On gigs I play mostly Jazz from bop to fusion and also some R&B and soul, so I was cool with the limit of 64 keys and after gigs my back really thanked me! While I do hope that Roland makes some kind of editor to at least adjust the effects amount (I sent an email to their customer service and they said they forwarded the suggestion to their engineers in Japan....we'll see) it turns our that you can adjust the EQ for each sound and save all modifications at once to allow for different EQ settings for each instrument. I found that this helped me to get the AP's with more presence and bass without compromising my other settings for my EP's and Clavs.

I also did some dissection of the Integra 7 module and have concluded that the RD64 uses the piano and keyboard sounds from that module. While it is not clearly stated, all of the sounds on the RD64 are SuperNatural (yes even the Clavs) and straight from the Integra 7 module (got confirmation from a Roland Rep). I have owned the RD700GX and NX and could never get into the EP's, but I was cool with the Integra 7 and the RD64. I suspect that Roland has tweaked their SuperNatural EP engine with the Integra 7 and the RD64 and will probably incorporate this into the next RD flagship stage piano. The RD64 seems to use the Full Grand 1 and Bright Grands along with the mono grand from the Integra 7. The EP's seem to be the '76 stage and '73 stage (which actually have the EP amp simulation built in) and one of the Wurly sounds from the Integra 7. The Clav and Organs are also from some of the presets of the Integra 7. I say all of this because it seems like Roland is finally giving some flagship sounds and features in more portable and affordable instruments. The RD300NX didn't do that with the EP's and I always was disappointed with how lifeless they were because they essentially didn't have the EP amp simulation built in. Plus the RD64 actually gives you two distant SuperNatural Rhodes models while the 300NX only gave you one.

Not to put down other keyboards that I actually purchased and returned before keeping the RD64, but I find the RD64 to be a pretty good compromise in cost and actual quality of sounds. I like the SuperNatural approach because it really does play more expressively than many of the standard sample based stuff I've played and owned (including my Fantom X8) with SRX expansion boards). BTW I had the Casio PX5-S and returned it (even after the firmware update and countless hours of EQing and modifying) because of plunky-ness of the AP's and the underwhelming sound of the Rhodes. The Rhodes sounds just didn't do it for me. I do think that overall the PX5-S is a great instrument and I commend Mike Martin for his efforts to get Casio to produce an instrument like that and for his continued support of the product.

In the end I think that the RD64 works great for myself and players that need a weighted keyboard (minus the full 88) and flagship meat and potatoes keyboard sounds without loathing to transport it from gig to gig. After gigs I no longer despise the guitar player and horn player, lol!

Just a little review on my experience so far with the RD64.
_________________________
Rhodes Stage 73 (MKII), Yamaha CP4, Yamaha P-255B, Roland RD-64, Roland RD800

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#2107918 - 06/25/13 04:13 PM Re: Really enjoying my Roland RD64 [Re: Rhodie73]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3102
Loc: Oregon
Thanks for the review, Rhodie73, and good to know you're enjoying the RD-64.

I had one for about 3 weeks, and enjoyed it for what it is - a really simple to operate and good quality unit. I sent it back because, although I could scrape by with 64 keys, I didn't like the limitation it imposed. I wasn't overly impressed with the Wurli or Clav sounds, but the APs and first Rhodes were very good (although the AP sound could get a little lost in the band mix without the enhancer enabled). After reading all the criticisms of Ivory feel-G, I found the action wasn't as off-putting as I'd expected, and I soon got used to it.

I'm still trying to decide whether I can live with the PX-5S, but having had the experience of the RD, I'd like to give the FP-50 a go, and see which I prefer.
_________________________
Occasional author and inveterate ivory tickler:
http://www.amazon.com/author/richardspanswick

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#2107960 - 06/25/13 04:50 PM Re: Really enjoying my Roland RD64 [Re: Rhodie73]
JFP Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/10
Posts: 1336
Loc: The Netherlands
@Vox
If you keep on switching boards for the foreseeing future, you might end up just in time to catch the new Kawai MP series somewhere later this year ;-) Was sort of your starting point as far as I can remember (MP6). Suppose Kawai manages to trim considerable weight of these coming boards , it might end up to be a winner too...

To be honest I was most content with the MP6 so far , as compared to the boards that followed later on (including PX5). Just had two main complaints :
- weight (for take-away situations)
- lack of faster repetition / response (is fixed with the RHII)
...and a small complaint about the AP being a bit dull and outdated; the ES7 - although same base set - is already better in that respect due to enhanced processing.

My ideal board would probably be a lightweight MP6 kind-of board with SN piano engine and some of the additional features and controls of the PX5s. Perhaps Casio , Roland and Kawai should work together and create total satisfaction ;-) Until then : happy hunting...


Edited by JFP (06/25/13 04:50 PM)

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#2107966 - 06/25/13 04:59 PM Re: Really enjoying my Roland RD64 [Re: voxpops]
Rhodie73 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/11/08
Posts: 143
Loc: New York
I too find that Ivory feel-G isn't too bad. It's funny because I didn't like it on the 300NX, go figure! I was considering the FP-50 but i didn't like the fact that you couldn't turn off preset effects on the electric pianos especially. Therefore if you want to take the auto-pan off of the Tremelo EP, you couldn't and you would have to change presets or registrations to one that didn't have that effect. I don't know why Roland did this because in the original FP-4 (not F) you could choose the effect that you wanted and turn it off or on at the push of a button.

Anyway the Casio really is a great board, just not for me I guess. I'm hoping that sometime in the near future Roland updates the RD700NX with their newly modified SuperNatural engine from the Integra 7 and also find a way to not include extra real estate with the joystick thingy. I agree with many that even on the RD64 they could've gotten a few extra keys in the place of the joystick. But I do realize they were trying to save money on the production cost of a new design. However if Roland would finally change to a layout to how the Casio PX5-S is(mod wheel and pitch bend on top for an 88 key slab) then they would surely appeal to the vast community of gigging keyboardists. Once again the RD64 was a decent attempt by Roland and I am happy with it, but my previous suggestion would be ideal for a new 88 key flagship stage piano from Roland.
_________________________
Rhodes Stage 73 (MKII), Yamaha CP4, Yamaha P-255B, Roland RD-64, Roland RD800

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#2107970 - 06/25/13 05:04 PM Re: Really enjoying my Roland RD64 [Re: JFP]
Rhodie73 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/11/08
Posts: 143
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: JFP
@Vox
If you keep on switching boards for the foreseeing future, you might end up just in time to catch the new Kawai MP series somewhere later this year ;-) Was sort of your starting point as far as I can remember (MP6). Suppose Kawai manages to trim considerable weight of these coming boards , it might end up to be a winner too...

To be honest I was most content with the MP6 so far , as compared to the boards that followed later on (including PX5). Just had two main complaints :
- weight (for take-away situations)
- lack of faster repetition / response (is fixed with the RHII)
...and a small complaint about the AP being a bit dull and outdated; the ES7 - although same base set - is already better in that respect due to enhanced processing.

My ideal board would probably be a lightweight MP6 kind-of board with SN piano engine and some of the additional features and controls of the PX5s. Perhaps Casio , Roland and Kawai should work together and create total satisfaction ;-) Until then : happy hunting...


lol, yeh I think that the updated MP6 might finally come into fruition by winter NAMM 2014. I too would be interested in this, because the MP6 was great for me while I owned it, but gigging regularly and transport got old quick. However, that's what the RD64 is for now and I could keep a larger/heavier slab at home and gig with it only when really needed.
_________________________
Rhodes Stage 73 (MKII), Yamaha CP4, Yamaha P-255B, Roland RD-64, Roland RD800

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#2107982 - 06/25/13 05:17 PM Re: Really enjoying my Roland RD64 [Re: Rhodie73]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3102
Loc: Oregon
JFP, gosh, yes, I've really been through them in the last few months. As my back wears out, and bits start dropping off me wink I'm frantically trying to find a lightweight board that I will enjoy playing for the next few years, rather than just tolerate. It would be great if Kawai pulled out all the stops to create something in the 35-40lbs category which still includes their RHII - but I'm not holding my breath. The ES7 is tempting, but 49lbs is beyond what I want for a regular gigging board now, and as for the MP6, I felt it was a great DP that just needed a little more refinement on the AP side of things.

Rhodie, I hear what you say about the effects in the FP-50, although I suspect you could simply assign the "with" and "without" patches to adjacent registrations. I have resigned myself to Roland's policy of removing useful features with each iteration of their boards.

I suppose something new from Yamaha/Kawai may appear at Summer NAMM, but we've all been disappointed at show after show over the last few years, so I don't hold out much hope for anything revolutionary. At the moment, whether you like their sounds or not, Casio is leading the pack in the lightweight category.

The RD-64 is kind of in its own niche right now, and it will be interesting to see how well it does. I doubt they're flying off the shelves, but you never know.
_________________________
Occasional author and inveterate ivory tickler:
http://www.amazon.com/author/richardspanswick

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#2108893 - 06/27/13 05:38 AM Re: Really enjoying my Roland RD64 [Re: Rhodie73]
Toblerone Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 15
I've got really mixed feelings about the RD64. I love the sounds (I agree Rhodes 1 is very playable) and I like the quality of the action and it's really easy to transport, but some days I can't get beyond the 64 keys. I've been thinking about the Casio PX5s, but I'd have to buy it blind as they're not importing them in the UK yet.

What to do....?!!

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#2109873 - 06/28/13 07:03 PM Re: Really enjoying my Roland RD64 [Re: Rhodie73]
kiedysktos. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 425
Loc: Europe, Poland
Nice to hear about good rhodes sound.

About effects: I own FP-4 and recently I like using rhodes + guitar amp simulator. It's shame they removed functionality in further models.

... and it's very interesting you play jazz and can live with 64!
_________________________
Roland FP-4

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#2109916 - 06/28/13 09:28 PM Re: Really enjoying my Roland RD64 [Re: kiedysktos.]
Rhodie73 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/11/08
Posts: 143
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: kiedysktos.
Nice to hear about good rhodes sound.

About effects: I own FP-4 and recently I like using rhodes + guitar amp simulator. It's shame they removed functionality in further models.

... and it's very interesting you play jazz and can live with 64!


Yeah the Rhodes are playable. As for the 64 keys and playing Jazz, I play with a bass player which gives me the opportunity to use inverted chords without roots (my bass player appreciates me not stepping on his toes!). Playing Jazz on 64 keys is quite doable with a good handle on inverted voicings plus it allows for the use of interesting extensions to support the basic harmonies. If my gigs required me to do stride piano (which I play) then I would have to bring my 88 DP because of the range limitation of the RD-64

Don't get me wrong I have an acoustic and an 88 key DP (if I must on a gig) to stay on top of my Chopin Ballades and Etudes as well as sight reading at home. I also play gospel music in church and use a grand piano so I don't have to compromise the low octaves. The RD-64 is a gigging option that has been working nicely.
_________________________
Rhodes Stage 73 (MKII), Yamaha CP4, Yamaha P-255B, Roland RD-64, Roland RD800

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#2110993 - 07/01/13 05:30 AM Re: Really enjoying my Roland RD64 [Re: Rhodie73]
Toblerone Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 15
Voxpops,

I'm thinking about the Casio PX5, as like you I'm still searching for the best qulaity/weight combination. How does the action and piano sounds compare to the RD64?

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#2111116 - 07/01/13 10:57 AM Re: Really enjoying my Roland RD64 [Re: Toblerone]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3102
Loc: Oregon
Originally Posted By: Toblerone
Voxpops,

I'm thinking about the Casio PX5, as like you I'm still searching for the best qulaity/weight combination. How does the action and piano sounds compare to the RD64?

The RD-64's action has a fairly heavy feel, and requires some effort to play. I noticed that during fast runs or arpeggios, a few notes might not trigger as loudly as expected, with the occasional note lost altogether. But counterintuitively, it's quite possible to play fairly fast repetitions on it. I began to adapt to it quite quickly, and found it possible to play piano expressively.

The PX-5S has a nicely balanced action that plays well. Surprisingly, the Roland may be slightly better at repetitions, but it's close, and the PX-5S is more consistent during runs/arpeggios. I don't find the PX tiring to play, whereas the Roland provides more of a workout; but on the other hand (no pun intended), the PX sometimes seems to reach high velocity too quickly - you have to work a little at good dynamic control.

Sound is always a matter of preference, but I'll try to be objective. The main piano sound in the Roland is very good: smooth, rounded and very playable. However, the resonance (activated via one of the effects buttons) makes it a little woolly and bass-heavy. Live, in a mix with other instruments, it can sound a little lost/muffled; that is where the second effect comes in, which adds presence and helps the piano punch (perhaps a little too much, as it doesn't sound so natural when applied). In addition to the main Concert Grand sound, there is a brighter patch, and a mono piano.

The RD's vintage Rhodes is arguably one of the best EP sounds that Roland has produced in a long time. It barks nicely when pushed, is warm and sounds good in leads. The Tine EP, seems overdone, with the tine "tinkle" being very prominent. The Wurli is usable. Although the tremolo and phaser/chorus effects are fine, there is zero control over them - they are either on or off. Clavs seem to have a slow attack, which makes them less useful to me, and the organ, while tonally OK, is a get-you-by-in-a-pinch job since the only control you have is Leslie speed (the rotary effect simulating dual rotors is actually quite good).

The PX-5S, to me, has better resonance characteristics than the RD. In fact, I think it helps create a piano ambience that sounds very natural. That's diluted somewhat by the "plinky" upper mids that become very obvious at higher velocities. However, there is a huge amount of control over the piano sound, and although there is only one set of piano samples, the various iterations provide for wide tonal variation. The lack of half-pedaling is an unfortunate omission in the Casio (it's there in the Roland).

The PX is very capable in terms of EPs - very nice Wurlitzer, nice Rhodes (of a different character to the RD - slightly less authentically vintage perhaps, but nonetheless very playable) and a great and varied selection of FX. CLavs are good, with a neat sustain pedal-operated wah effect. Organs are not so identifiably B3, but are usable, and you can get a limited drawbar configuration with some patches. And then there are synths, hex layers, you name it...

If you're simply looking for a lightweight board that does APs/EPs then it's a tough decision. For me it came down to whether I could live with 64 keys or not. I could, but I felt too limited. As to which I prefer for basic piano sounds, I would have to give the nod to the Roland, but I'm a bit of a SuperNATURAL fan, and there are many aspects of the Casio that are definitively better. As to controller functionality etc., the Casio wins hands down. I don't need that right now, but it's nice to know it's there. To be honest, the Roland is a bit of a joke, requiring you to reboot if you want to switch from piano to controller.

Currently, I'm seriously considering the FP-50 - similar to the RD-64, but more versatile. For me, if the Casio had better base samples for its piano, it would win the contest hands down, but right now.... well, as I said, it's a tough one.
_________________________
Occasional author and inveterate ivory tickler:
http://www.amazon.com/author/richardspanswick

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#2111131 - 07/01/13 11:29 AM Re: Really enjoying my Roland RD64 [Re: voxpops]
Rhodie73 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/11/08
Posts: 143
Loc: New York
Everything that you said about both the RD64 and Casio PX5-S are right on and I have come to similar conclusions. After getting used to the RD64's Ivory Feel G action I'm beginning to get into the same boat as you Voxpops. I'm definitely keeping the RD64 because it's great for those quickie-don't-feel-like carrying a lot gear gigs. However, I may reconsider the FP-50 because the immediacy of speakers, low shlep factor and push the on button and play ability. My other behemoth DP simply is not going out any more on gigs. Now I looked in the manual of the FP-50 and found that there is some control over the speed of the effects like tremolo and phaser on some EP sounds, so that helps me a little. I'm now thinking about looking into the FP-50 as an 88 DP that can function on gigs where a light set up is needed, but 88 keys are a must.
_________________________
Rhodes Stage 73 (MKII), Yamaha CP4, Yamaha P-255B, Roland RD-64, Roland RD800

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#2111155 - 07/01/13 12:06 PM Re: Really enjoying my Roland RD64 [Re: Rhodie73]
Toblerone Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 15
Thanks for the replies.

The RD64 was a bit of an impulse buy and whilst it's a fine stage piano, 88 keys are a must for me ( i'm going to sell it so any one UK based who's interested pm me)

The FP50 is 16.5 kg so that's too heavy to gig with, the Casio at 11 kg sounds a better prospect.

I tried out something a bit different on a recent gig, using a yamaha P95 with a Roland Sonic Cell, this worked well but the GHS action lacks the quality of the Roland by a long way.

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