I've been thinking of upgrading my Yamaha P250 for a long while now. Well, I found a good home for it, so it was time. I've had a chance to play the RD800 a few times, and I absolutely fell in love with the action. I came into a bit of extra money this month, so I decided to go for it. My new RD800 arrived yesterday, and I got it set up tonight.
So far I've got about 2 hours behind the keys, and I have some initial impressions. Also, I don't work for Roland or anything, I'm just a customer.
1) I love the action. When Roland says they improved it, they aren't kidding. The let-off is subtle, but super nice feeling. The faux ivory key tops feel awesome. The action is light and quick, but at the same time substantial. It's also very quiet compared to what I'm used to. And it bottoms out very comfortably. Roland has really outdone themselves with this new action.
2) 100 times more levels of sensitivity or whatever? Boy they *really* aren't kidding. My dynamics are all over the place! My Stage 2 is much more forgiving in that regard. That's good though, my technique has obviously gotten sloppy. It's going to take some getting used to. I suspect that it is going to frustrate me for a week or two as I get used to it, but that's a feature not a bug.
3) The pianos sound magnificent, but they're a bit softer (volume wise) than I'm used to, even with the volume way up. I set the key touch control to a lighter setting and that helped a lot. But in terms of the tone, they sound so very nice. And that's just out of the box. I know there are a lot of parameters for me to tweak to make it sound even more beautiful to my tastes.
4) I haven't done much with it, but so far the controls seem very intuitive. I skimmed through the manual and everything seems very straight forward. I set up some splits and layers, and played around with some of the default presets, and everything just works. The Bass sounds are really spectacular by the way, probably underrated on this board. I spent about 5 min looking through the other category, a lot of really good bread and butter sounds there. I really only play piano and a bit of organ, but some of those sounds are so good I'm going to have to explore them.
5) I also spent a few min playing around with the supernatural tone wheel organs. I wish they had put 9 faders on the board to control all the drawbars, rather than just grouping them a few at a time. I'm spoiled with my Stage 2 though, which has incredible organ emulations and incredibly intuitive controls. A lot of boards just have some stock organ sounds with no controls at all.
6)I also played with the tone color control (which opens the drawbars and kicks on the leslie emulation). I thought it seemed kind of gimmicky in the video demos I saw, but it's actually kinda cool. I wonder if you can program which drawbars it pulls out? Probably not I guess, but I need to look into that just in case.
7) The combined pitch bend/mod lever is very clever. I haven't really done anything with it, but it's still clever and I like clever (I know other boards have that kind of design, but I'm used to boards with separate controls for that)
Sadly, I have to go out of town tomorrow, but when I get back next week I'm going to have so much fun. I'm sure I'll find some things I don't like so much. Maybe I'll also find some things that I never knew that I couldn't live without. But for now I'm very pleased with my purchase. Anyway, break time is over, I'm going to go have some more fun before bed.