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#2211334 - 01/09/14 08:12 AM Roland HP 507: sounds muffled when played quietly?
midwich Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/31/13
Posts: 5
Hi everyone,
I've been hemming and hawing over whether to plump for a Roland HP-507 or Kawai CA95. Today I had a chance to play with the Roland, and was a bit taken aback by a number of negatives I didn't expect, but first and foremost was the muffled sound (to my ears) of notes in the mid-range when played gently. If I hit the same notes harder then they sounded not just louder but also much, much 'brighter' i.e. not muffled and so I guess with higher frequencies/overtones suddenly present.

I'd taken the manual for the Roland with me, so played with a number of settings to no avail. I tried several things in Piano Designer for example that had no effect on the quiet, muffled notes. Boosting the separate Brightness feature did help the quieter notes, but then the normal or louder notes sounded way too harsh.

Was I doing something wrong, or is there something the matter with my ears? (have to say other keyboards were OK).

There were other things too, e.g. the midrange was quite weak compared to a booming bass, and the physical noise of the (quite heavy) keys was quite noticeable.

Anyway, any comments very welcome, I'd happily give the Roland another go if there are any settings I should try tweaking!

Thanks! laugh

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#2211338 - 01/09/14 08:19 AM Re: Roland HP 507: sounds muffled when played quietly? [Re: midwich]
maurus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/11
Posts: 819
Dear midwich, what you describe is an overly dynamical sound characteristics of Roland's acoustic piano samples (affecting brightness variation from pianissimo to fortissimo much too strongly). In my experience this is common in most available sound variations of acoustic pianos on Roland instruments, with the possible exception of the 'Studio Grand' on the RD700NX.

For those of us not liking this exaggeration it is a reason to look to other brands.

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#2211353 - 01/09/14 08:55 AM Re: Roland HP 507: sounds muffled when played quietly? [Re: midwich]
Hookxs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/13
Posts: 247
Loc: Czech Republic
Yes, you nailed it spot on. These are exactly characteristics of Roland's HP (and similarly FP) pianos (I would also add short decay). Some people like it as it is, some don't. Most (~all) of these characteristics cannot be out-tweaked so don't buy it if you don't like it in it's default settings.

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#2211359 - 01/09/14 09:01 AM Re: Roland HP 507: sounds muffled when played quietly? [Re: midwich]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12044
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
As pointed out, this is done by design, to mimic the characteristics of an acoustic piano played pp and ff which do have a wide range of brightness. I actually like the feature, but to each his/her own. Probably should stay away from the Rolands if that's the case, though.
_________________________
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MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2211412 - 01/09/14 10:56 AM Re: Roland HP 507: sounds muffled when played quietly? [Re: midwich]
maurus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/11
Posts: 819
Morodiene, when comparing your grands with the Roland, don't you think the brightness variation with dynamics is overdone on the latter?
_________________________
Shigeru Kawai SK-2, etc.

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#2211413 - 01/09/14 10:56 AM Re: Roland HP 507: sounds muffled when played quietly? [Re: midwich]
midwich Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/31/13
Posts: 5
Hmm, that's all very interesting - thank you so much everyone for such speedy and helpful replies!

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#2211622 - 01/09/14 04:04 PM Re: Roland HP 507: sounds muffled when played quietly? [Re: midwich]
midwich Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/31/13
Posts: 5
Maurus: I do agree really - no piano I've ever played sounded like someone had just thrown an old blanket over it every time I tried to play a note quietly!

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#2211662 - 01/09/14 05:08 PM Re: Roland HP 507: sounds muffled when played quietly? [Re: Morodiene]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5269
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
As pointed out, this is done by design, to mimic the characteristics of an acoustic piano played pp and ff which do have a wide range of brightness. I actually like the feature, but to each his/her own. Probably should stay away from the Rolands if that's the case, though.

Exactly.

Here's the sound of a real grand piano. Compare the soft opening with 2:00. The sound brightens up considerably as it should at ff. http://youtu.be/98HDDEQRIng

Pianos that already sound bright (like many Japanese ones) won't have such a large degree of contrast between pp and ff.
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2211682 - 01/09/14 05:31 PM Re: Roland HP 507: sounds muffled when played quietly? [Re: midwich]
maurus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/11
Posts: 819
Actually I love warm pianos opening up nicely. But to my ears, Roland's standard AP sound (as e.g. in the FP7F or RD700NX) sounds very different from this Schubert recording on a large Blüthner, both in pp and ff.

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#2211706 - 01/09/14 06:07 PM Re: Roland HP 507: sounds muffled when played quietly? [Re: bennevis]
midwich Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/31/13
Posts: 5
Thanks bennevis, that was a beautiful performance I really appreciated it. I can certainly see that the sound gets brighter as notes get louder, but I'm afraid I have to say that at no point did the quiet passages/notes sound 'muffled' in the slightest - the Roland seems to take a subtle feature of the grand (increased brightness with loudness) that's not really noticeable unless one is specifically looking for it, and exaggerates it to a ruinous extent, at least for me anyway.

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#2211728 - 01/09/14 06:29 PM Re: Roland HP 507: sounds muffled when played quietly? [Re: midwich]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5269
Originally Posted By: midwich
Thanks bennevis, that was a beautiful performance I really appreciated it. I can certainly see that the sound gets brighter as notes get louder, but I'm afraid I have to say that at no point did the quiet passages/notes sound 'muffled' in the slightest - the Roland seems to take a subtle feature of the grand (increased brightness with loudness) that's not really noticeable unless one is specifically looking for it, and exaggerates it to a ruinous extent, at least for me anyway.

OK, maybe that wasn't such a good example - I was just looking for a Blüthner recording there. In truth, I've played many acoustic grands that have a wider contrast between pp and ff than Roland's SN or that Blüthner, or than this one (a Steinway D):

http://youtu.be/EJJgBJf50kk
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2211731 - 01/09/14 06:36 PM Re: Roland HP 507: sounds muffled when played quietly? [Re: midwich]
maurus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/11
Posts: 819
Schubert evening tonight? wink
That is a beautiful recording. I like Uchida's Schubert.

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#2211738 - 01/09/14 07:11 PM Re: Roland HP 507: sounds muffled when played quietly? [Re: maurus]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5269
Originally Posted By: maurus
Schubert evening tonight? wink

Yep, I'm having a Schubertiade at my home - singing Lieder and playing Schubert duets with friends on my V-Piano.
Though Uchida and her Steinway needn't fear the competition (yet). grin
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2212678 - 01/11/14 07:58 AM Re: Roland HP 507: sounds muffled when played quietly? [Re: bennevis]
midwich Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/31/13
Posts: 5
That's a gorgeous recording, thanks! I do see what you mean better by the loudness/brightness thing.

I got to play on a Kawai CA95 yesterday, and the shop also had a Roland HP 505 (and various Kawai acoustic grands etc). Oddly enough, I found the muffling issue much less noticeable on the 505 Roland; it was still there but far from extreme like the particular 507 I'd tried earlier in a different shop, and more in line with your recording.

The Kawai CA95 seems the way to go for me though. As I understand it, all the notes are individually sampled, and so on the Concert Grand setting I could the slight 'zing' on the low bass faux copper-wound digital strings. As the shop also had acoustic Kawai grands I could compare very easily and see the same thing on a 'real' piano. Obviously, other types of keyboard that don't sample individual notes won't have this kind of detail present.

The real soundboard, Grand Feel key action all added up to making the decision pretty easy in the end.

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#2212730 - 01/11/14 10:00 AM Re: Roland HP 507: sounds muffled when played quietly? [Re: maurus]
peterws Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3701
Loc: Northern England.
Originally Posted By: maurus
Actually I love warm pianos opening up nicely. But to my ears, Roland's standard AP sound (as e.g. in the FP7F or RD700NX) sounds very different from this Schubert recording on a large Blüthner, both in pp and ff.


Might be because this recording had a high degree of "wet reverb" added to it, methinks. You can have too much of a good thing.
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes — but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#2212762 - 01/11/14 11:02 AM Re: Roland HP 507: sounds muffled when played quietly? [Re: peterws]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5269
Originally Posted By: peterws
Originally Posted By: maurus
Actually I love warm pianos opening up nicely. But to my ears, Roland's standard AP sound (as e.g. in the FP7F or RD700NX) sounds very different from this Schubert recording on a large Blüthner, both in pp and ff.


Might be because this recording had a high degree of "wet reverb" added to it, methinks. You can have too much of a good thing.

No, there's been no reverb added (if you mean that Schubert D960 recording).

Classical recordings normally have microphones placed at realistic distances, unlike jazz or pop, and as you can see in the video, there aren't any microphones in view, meaning that they are probably at least 3m (10ft for Americans grin) away, thereby catching more of the hall's reverberation, and the piano therefore sounds more distant than the studio recording of Mitsuko Uchida (which was made for CD), which is multi-miked.

If you listen to piano recitals on BBC Radio 3, you also get reasonably 'distant'-sounding pianos, where the main microphones are around 2-3m away, plus others even further away, to pick up the hall's ambience.
http://youtu.be/s-NX9jhr-wE
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2213226 - 01/12/14 04:34 AM Re: Roland HP 507: sounds muffled when played quietly? [Re: midwich]
stamkorg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 62
Originally Posted By: midwich
Hi everyone,
I've been hemming and hawing over whether to plump for a Roland HP-507 or Kawai CA95. Today I had a chance to play with the Roland, and was a bit taken aback by a number of negatives I didn't expect, but first and foremost was the muffled sound (to my ears) of notes in the mid-range when played gently. If I hit the same notes harder then they sounded not just louder but also much, much 'brighter' i.e. not muffled and so I guess with higher frequencies/overtones suddenly present.

I'd taken the manual for the Roland with me, so played with a number of settings to no avail. I tried several things in Piano Designer for example that had no effect on the quiet, muffled notes. Boosting the separate Brightness feature did help the quieter notes, but then the normal or louder notes sounded way too harsh.

Was I doing something wrong, or is there something the matter with my ears? (have to say other keyboards were OK).

There were other things too, e.g. the midrange was quite weak compared to a booming bass, and the physical noise of the (quite heavy) keys was quite noticeable.

Anyway, any comments very welcome, I'd happily give the Roland another go if there are any settings I should try tweaking!

Thanks! laugh



Hi,

I had the same impression at first, but after several hours of playing, the sound seems now perfect to my ears.
There is guy, his name is Mark Fowler, he has made some beautyfull videos with the HP-507.
For me, the sound is just right.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMIg5rCKXyU&list=UUCWTtFf8wpLlCZHenYUGZKw

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#2213815 - 01/13/14 05:37 AM Re: Roland HP 507: sounds muffled when played quietly? [Re: midwich]
Marco M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/12
Posts: 453
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: midwich
muffled sound (to my ears) of notes in the mid-range when played gently. If I hit the same notes harder then they sounded not just louder but also much, much 'brighter' i.e. not muffled and so I guess with higher frequencies/overtones suddenly present.


To my experience on the HP-505, it is like this if the DP is in generally set to a low volume adjusted at the amplifier. The HP volume slider has to be moved up at least to 1/3, better clearly staying in the middle between 1/3 and 1/2, in order to get rid of that "muffled" sound if keys are hit pp or p. Once the HP is adjusted to a volume comparable to an acoustic, it sounds perfect for a DP, also at p or pp playing. Unfortunately one reason to buy a DP is to be able to play at lower volumes...

By the way, I observe the same with headphones. With my lower Ohm headphones I adjust the volume slider to only 1/4, in order to stay at reasonable volume on my ears, and then hear the "muffled sound" as described.
With my higher Ohm headphones I subsequently have to adjust the volume slider higher, in order to reach the same volume. At this higher slider position the "muffled" sound at p or pp playing disappears, but it is there if I would keep the slider low. Interestingly, I found the the volume slider positions for playing with speakers or higher quality (and higher Ohm) headphones to best be the same, respective to the felt loudness and respective the behaviour of dynamics and timbre.

In summary, the HP-505 and 507 (not 503) to me appear to adress players who want _everything_ as close as possible to a grand piano, and if then playing at respectively higher volumes all indeed present drawbacks of the HP become a minor issue: they are not muffled any more, and you will not hear the thumping key noise any more.
As said, unfortunately one reason to buy a DP is to be able to play at lower volumes, and if you really need to play silent for your neighboors, do not only spent top money for the DP but also top money for the headphones - at least if considering a HP505/507. Best purchase only after having compared the DPs of interest with high quality (usually higher Ohm) headphones, the ones which you later on will use at home!
_________________________
learning Piano on my Roland HP-505
before playing Drums in adults bluesband on handpicked set; before crashing E-Guitar in kids garage band; raised on home entertainment Organ and Keyboard models Eminent Solina P240, Farfisa Maharani 259R, Technics KN800, and on Mouth Organ, Recorder and Accordion

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