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#2247359 - 03/16/14 09:10 AM New 2014 Roland DP-90E and DP-90SE
Yasu Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/14/14
Posts: 10
I just recently joined this forum to help research a compact digital piano for a small vacation cottage.

I am more accustomed to 'pro-style' keyboards/synths (I have an older Kurzweil K2500XS at home w/Mackie studio monitors and sub along with other gear).

I am intrigued by many of the 'higher end' digital pianos that seem to put a lot of thought into the internal sound system, including multi-amp, multi channel, soundboard or speaker box models including the Kawai CA95, new Roland HP508 and the new Yamaha CLP-585.

Having said that, I want a nice self contained, smaller footprint DP that isn't as large and/or traditional-upright looking as the aforementioned models.

My search led me to the Roland DP-90E and DP-90SE. I like the fact that this is an updated 2014 model and it seems to carry over a lot of the upgrades from the new Roland HP series, in particular the PHA-4 Keyboard.

My concern is the internal sound system. At the rated 110 dB the 12W x 2 internal amp speaker system appears to be more than 'loud' enough for the smaller cottage living room (17 x 16) however I'm concerned with the quality of the sound from just two 4.75 inch speakers. I wish Roland had put a multi channel component speaker system in this unit, not to mention a lot of the marketing literature on this DP seems to emphasis headphone use and a new 3D ambience effect which I won't be using.

My question is, are users of the current model DP-90, DP-990 and HP-503 (which appear to use the same 2-speaker system) happy with the sound QUALITY of their DPs (distortion free, punchy bass, clear mids, detailed treble with a nice ambient effect) or does it sound muddy and confined (I hate to say it, but like a boom-box stereo after thought)?

Lastly, regarding the 'SE' model (which looks pretty decent in my opinion) - how durable is the Polished Ebony finish? Is it a urethane over gloss black finish that can resist minor scratching?

Thanks - lots of great info on this website!

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#2247440 - 03/16/14 12:33 PM Re: New 2014 Roland DP-90E and DP-90SE [Re: Yasu]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3050
Loc: Oregon
My experience with a Roland FP-50 - 2 x 12 watts, 4.75" x 3.19" oval speakers - was mixed. The sound was loud (ample for an average room), and the AP sounds seemed to have been "tuned" to the speakers to make the best of their characteristics. However, the difference between the internal speakers and using good quality headphones was night and day. A lot of clarity and detail is forfeited with these (presumably) inexpensive internal speakers. Also, they distort badly when splitting between acoustic bass and piano. That was actually the principal reason behind my selling the board: if I couldn't use it as a solo gigging instrument with split bass when I need it, then it's of little value to me - I may as well use a lighter keyboard and carry external speakers.

I actually find it disingenuous for a manufacturer to market a keyboard as a self-contained unit if the speakers cannot cope with the sounds that same manufacturer has installed in the board. It's not just Roland that is guilty of this, but it annoyed me that an otherwise high quality DP is let down by this fundamental flaw. And it's not as if Roland is incapable of fitting small, good quality speakers: I have a pair of Roland CM30s with 6.5-inch two-way speakers that are excellent, and can cope with almost anything that's thrown at them. Put a similar system in a portable DP, and it would truly become a giggable, self-contained instrument.

I cannot say with certainty that the DP90E/SE uses the same speakers as the FP-50, but it wouldn't surprise me.


Edited by voxpops (03/16/14 12:34 PM)
_________________________
Occasional author and inveterate ivory tickler:
http://www.amazon.com/author/richardspanswick

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#2247471 - 03/16/14 01:35 PM Re: New 2014 Roland DP-90E and DP-90SE [Re: Yasu]
Yasu Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/14/14
Posts: 10
Thanks for the insight Voxpops, that is a little discouraging.

I see that the FP-50 is a board style DP versus a cabinet style like the DP-90. That being said, as you mentioned, the FP-50 has 2x12 watt 4.75" x 3.19" oval speakers rated at 98dB. Interestingly, a similar board style Roland FP-80 has 4 speakers and a speaker box, 2x7 watt 4.75" x 3.19" oval speakers and 2x6 watt 4.75" x 2" oval speakers rated at 101 dB. The FP-80 overview on the Roland site even goes on to mention "onboard multi-channel speaker system equipped with Rolandís Acoustic Projection technology envelops you with beautiful, immersive sound"

By contrast, as I already noted, there is little mention of the FP-90E/FP-90SE speaker/sound system even though it's marketed as a top-tier DP, or per the Roland site 'the premium-class DP90Se elevates the compact home piano to unmatched levels of luxury and expression'. They also seem to go out of their way to mention a headphone upgrade : 'The unique Headphones 3D Ambience effect provides a rich, immersive sound field for private practice'

I can't believe Roland went through the effort to update the DP-90 series for 2014 with the new E/SE models and didn't bother to upgrade the built-in audio to line up with their 'Acoustic Projection' technology.


Are there any other DPs worth considering in this 'compact' class with a high fidelity speaker system?

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#2247484 - 03/16/14 01:45 PM Re: New 2014 Roland DP-90E and DP-90SE [Re: Yasu]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3050
Loc: Oregon
You could look at the Kawai ES7, although there have been differing opinions expressed with regard to just how much "fidelity" is involved!

I had the same experience with the Roland FP-7F as with the FP-50. It seems that until you get to true cabinet-style DPs, the internal speakers are simply a convenience. With the advances in speaker technology over the last decade, you'd think that DP manufacturers would be able to do better with the small enclosures available in slab DPs, but until enough people recognize the issue and vote with their wallets, little will change, I suspect.
_________________________
Occasional author and inveterate ivory tickler:
http://www.amazon.com/author/richardspanswick

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#2247493 - 03/16/14 02:03 PM Re: New 2014 Roland DP-90E and DP-90SE [Re: Yasu]
Jay Roland Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/13
Posts: 283
Loc: White Rock, BC.
Originally Posted By: Yasu
My search led me to the Roland DP-90E and DP-90SE. I like the fact that this is an updated 2014 model and it seems to carry over a lot of the upgrades from the new Roland HP series, in particular the PHA-4 Keyboard.

My concern is the internal sound system. At the rated 110 dB the 12W x 2 internal amp speaker system appears to be more than 'loud' enough for the smaller cottage living room (17 x 16) however I'm concerned with the quality of the sound from just two 4.75 inch speakers. I wish Roland had put a multi channel component speaker system in this unit, not to mention a lot of the marketing literature on this DP seems to emphasis headphone use and a new 3D ambience effect which I won't be using.

My question is, are users of the current model DP-90, DP-990 and HP-503 (which appear to use the same 2-speaker system) happy with the sound QUALITY of their DPs (distortion free, punchy bass, clear mids, detailed treble with a nice ambient effect) or does it sound muddy and confined (I hate to say it, but like a boom-box stereo after thought)?

Lastly, regarding the 'SE' model (which looks pretty decent in my opinion) - how durable is the Polished Ebony finish? Is it a urethane over gloss black finish that can resist minor scratching?

Thanks - lots of great info on this website!



Hi Yasu,

As you can see, I do work for Roland Canada.

I am here to reassure you that the speaker system on the DP-e series will do a fine job of reproducing the piano tones, and anything else on the instrument.

I can speak from personal experience, having had a DP-90 in Satin black in my living room for the last two years. And having received the prototypes of the DP90-e in all finishes back in December, I've had a chance to play and compare the two models (DP-90 and DP-90e) extensively.

The easiest comparisons I can draw is that I feel that the new speaker system actually does have a bit more clarity at all volumes. The Speaker and amplifier design in the new pianos is more efficient, and allows for a bit more volume with a LOT more headroom. With the redesign and upgrade of the SuperNatural Engine, the speaker system received a corresponding redesign and upgrade.

As to your question regarding the polished ebony finish, it is exactly like any high quality acoustic piano polyester and will bear up to minor scratches etc. in exactly the same way.

If you have other questions, please don't hesitate.

Jay
_________________________
National Piano Sales Manager for Roland Canada.
www.roland.ca
t: RCMPianoGuy

I'm sure that Jay (along with every other product manager in recorded history) is quite accustomed to hearing different customers assert "X" and "not-X" with equal conviction. - slowtraveler

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#2247495 - 03/16/14 02:07 PM Re: New 2014 Roland DP-90E and DP-90SE [Re: Yasu]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3050
Loc: Oregon
As an afterthought, it would be worth checking if the DP90's speakers are oval or circular. The general consensus seems to be that circular speakers perform better than oval ones. Also, if you get a chance to test the DP90, try an acoustic bass/AP split at normal playing volume, and play a melody line in the higher AP ranges over a walking bass; if the piano sound distorts, the speakers are inadequate. However, if you never need non-piano bass, it's probably not an issue.
_________________________
Occasional author and inveterate ivory tickler:
http://www.amazon.com/author/richardspanswick

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#2247522 - 03/16/14 03:06 PM Re: New 2014 Roland DP-90E and DP-90SE [Re: Jay Roland]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3050
Loc: Oregon
Originally Posted By: Jay Roland
I am here to reassure you that the speaker system on the DP-e series will do a fine job of reproducing the piano tones, and anything else on the instrument.

Jay, can I ask you what the difference is between the speakers in the FP-50 and the new DP90s?

Given my very similar experience with the FP-50/7F, I'd be curious to know what has been done to improve the simultaneous handling of resonant lows with highs in the DP90E/SE. Funnily enough, although the old FP-4 speakers were not as powerful nor as rich-sounding as those in the later models, they didn't distort anywhere near as much when splitting piano with Ac. Bass.

Edit: I should add that Roland's tacit acknowledgement of the issue and "Get Out Of Jail Free" card is there in the FP-50 manual under troubleshooting: "At high volumes, the sound may be distorted due to the way in which you are playing. If so, adjust the equalizer settings or reduce the volume." In other words, it's the player's fault. wink I should point out that this issue occurs at normal playing volumes (volume control at 50%).


Edited by voxpops (03/16/14 03:18 PM)
_________________________
Occasional author and inveterate ivory tickler:
http://www.amazon.com/author/richardspanswick

Top
#2247531 - 03/16/14 03:39 PM Re: New 2014 Roland DP-90E and DP-90SE [Re: Yasu]
Jay Roland Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/13
Posts: 283
Loc: White Rock, BC.
Exact technical specifications I don't know.The Fp-50 speakers are oval shaped and the DP-90e speakers are round.

But the biggest obvious difference, is that the Speakers on the DP90-e series have a dedicated forward firing speaker box. While the speakers on the FP-50 are housed within the piano cabinet and are rear firing.

That alone in most instruments makes a significant difference in the overall tonality of any speaker system.

Jay
_________________________
National Piano Sales Manager for Roland Canada.
www.roland.ca
t: RCMPianoGuy

I'm sure that Jay (along with every other product manager in recorded history) is quite accustomed to hearing different customers assert "X" and "not-X" with equal conviction. - slowtraveler

Top
#2247533 - 03/16/14 03:45 PM Re: New 2014 Roland DP-90E and DP-90SE [Re: Jay Roland]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3050
Loc: Oregon
Thanks for clarifying, Jay.
Originally Posted By: Jay Roland
The Fp-50 speakers are oval shaped and the DP-90e speakers are round.

That could make a significant difference to what they can handle.
_________________________
Occasional author and inveterate ivory tickler:
http://www.amazon.com/author/richardspanswick

Top
#2247743 - 03/17/14 02:19 AM Re: New 2014 Roland DP-90E and DP-90SE [Re: Jay Roland]
Gretel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/04/14
Posts: 31
Originally Posted By: Jay Roland
But the biggest obvious difference, is that the Speakers on the DP90-e series have a dedicated forward firing speaker box. While the speakers on the FP-50 are housed within the piano cabinet and are rear firing.

That alone in most instruments makes a significant difference in the overall tonality of any speaker system.


That's also more or less my impression. I thought that the speaker system on the FP-50 is quite bad but actually it's a quite good sound as long as you are behind the board. I haven't had any problems with distortion so far, probably because I don't play a piano and bass split.

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