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#2447431 - 08/04/15 10:01 AM Roland RD800
mwf Online   sad
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/06
Posts: 441
Loc: Peterborough, England
Hi everyone,

Long time since I posted on this forum.

Just wanted to know any owners of the rd800 had any issues with the touch sensitivity on this board, I read a review (below) that states the board is overly sensitive and exgaragarates your playing too much, so it does not respond well to your touch, I am looking to buy one, but I am used to playing real pianos and a yamaha cp4 and they seem very realistic touch wise with little exgaragaration. I don't want to spend all that money on a bad piano, even though currently in UK the price is at its lowest ever, new in shops is going for £1536! That's without bartering a little.

Here is the review:


Or copied/pasted:

'The keyboard is a bit better than the RD700NX, which is already very good.
Nice finish, the keyboard is a bit more sensitive and complex, the 700NX is a bit duller

Roland pianos remain the standard when it comes to imitating a piano, far ahead of the Nord Lead and others


The grand piano 1, without imitating the Vpiano gives me mixed feelings.
The sound is realistic, rich and expressive, but the connection to the piano itself is an exercise of fantasy and imagination for a pianist.
The velocity is exaggerated and you can trigger a FFF sound with a mF, it has Steinway Grand flair.

It's pretty awful to play because you need to control everything and limit your playing dynamics, unlike with a real piano.
In the end, you end up not profiting from the quality of this Grand piano 1, because it doesn't really respond in a "normal" and progressive way.
According to the specifications, it is possible to adjust the dynamics of the RD800, but it remains to bee seen how that is achieved, the relationship between sound and keyboard, with which curve, and whether it can improve the realism of this Grand piano 1.

Things settle with the revisited RD700NX piano sound.
The dynamics are more realistic, although still light for a pianist.
And you can finally profit from the sound quality and the playing comfort of the RD800
The sound is a bit more precise and well-defined than on the RD700NX, without being groundbreaking.

The Rhodes, Wurlitzer and EP are also slightly better.
The tremolo with the direct-access buttons is very practical for oldies.

Not so good is the disappearance of the direct access to the compressor, which comes in really handy when you play instinctively.
Now you have to go inside the settings and program things, which is a hindrance when you want to apply some feeling onstage.

The rest of the sounds are typical Roland: Very realistic pianos and EP, trivial organs, pads ranging from very good to kitschy.


In the end, the RD800 represents a slight progression from the RD700NX, which nevertheless remains relevant.

I'll finish asking why people insist on including 20 acoustic piano sounds that aren't perfect, rather than working on one single one that is realistic, like a Quantum Leap.
Which makes me think that these pianos still lag behind the realism of a true sample and it's a bit frustrating because I'm absolutely used to their ease of use.
You carry it with you, connect it and that's it.

I'm a bit disappointed because I always await new models with a lot of expectation, thinking that I will finally find a realist substitute piano, one that makes me feel good when playing.
But that's still not the case, even if I must admit that this piano is of a very high quality.

I'll be eagerly awaiting the RD900'

Any comments on this subject would be greatly appreciated



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#2447441 - 08/04/15 10:51 AM Re: Roland RD800 [Re: mwf]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3799
I've mentioned in the past that what I find unnatural about the SN pianos I"ve played in the RD/FP models is that the dynamics seem exxagerated, thst the difference in timbre between ppp and FFF is more extreme than on real acoustic pianos. However, it was pointed out to me that acoustic pianos vary among themselves in this respect, so it may be a matter of your own experiences among acoustic pianos, as to whether or not you find this realistic. Whether this behavior can be altered by an editable paramater in any particular Roland model, I don't know.

As for being able to trigger FFF too easily, again, there is varaibility here among acoustic pianos as well. I've played acoustics which got very loud very easily, and others where you had to lay into them more, so again it may be a matter of your point of reference. This is generally something that can be altered with a touch setting on a DP.

As for responding in a "normal and progressive way," some people have said that one of the best things about Roland's SN pianos is the naturalness of the way they respond to your touch, presumably due to the elimination of audible velocity layer shifts.

Like so much in DPs, much of this is subjective, and you'd just need to try it for yourself. I've only tried these in a store showroom at their default values, but if I were seriously considering one of these, I'd download the manual, and familiarize myself with things like how to change the touch response and perhaps limit how bright FFF gets (or how soon it gets there), so I could play with those aspects when evaluating it.

#2447442 - 08/04/15 10:53 AM Re: Roland RD800 [Re: mwf]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 13144
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Why don't you try one out and decide for yourself? Touch is a very personal thing, and you can have two people who have different opinions on the same instrument. The only way you will find out if the RD-800 is for you is to get out and try it (or buy it and return it if you don't like it). Buying based off of another's opinion is pretty risky, though.

I can only say that there are many people on this forum who highly regard the feel of the RD-800 and some of those are familiar with previous Roland actions - some of which were subpar.

The same goes for the sound: it's entirely up to you, your particular application and performance space, what kind of speakers/monitors you're using, whether you're in a band or doing solo work, what genre of music you're playing, etc.

Perhaps this person doing the review was used to something that was less responsive - meaning maybe he doesn't play with a lot of nuance. You plop someone like that down in front of a responsive instrument and suddenly they can't play anymore. It also sounds like they didn't tweak anything while they were playing, which is a huge mistake. Those adjustments are there for the exact reason of making it suit your own tastes. To not us them is to not give a fair assessment of the instrument, IMO.

For what it's worth, it does seem like this 'reviewer' is in the minority when looking at other reviews of the RD-800.
private piano/voice teacher FT

#2447497 - 08/04/15 12:38 PM Re: Roland RD800 [Re: mwf]
Charles Cohen Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 2125
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
I thought that the RD-800 has user-customizable "touch curves". That's not quite right -- but it _does_ have a choice of 5 basic "key touch" settings, and several more-subtle parameters. Including one that raises the volume of soft sounds -- that is, it reduces the dynamic range of the piano.

Since the reviewer didn't say that he had tried to make the keyboard match _his_ preferences, I suspect he just used the factory default settings.

When you test one (as I and everyone else will urge you to do), bring a copy of the manual, and be ready to change "key touch" in the menu system.

PS -- I found that the F130R was much more pleasant with "heavy touch", than with its default setting. This stuff _does_ matter.
. Charles
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / ZXA1 speaker

#2447694 - 08/04/15 09:12 PM Re: Roland RD800 [Re: mwf]
Rusty Mike Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 24
In addition to the touch response settings in Live Set Edit, you can use the Character and Sound Lift parameters in the Piano Designer to alter how the instrument reacts to light and heavy touch. You can also edit individual notes if you find that certain notes or groups of notes stand out unfavorably. Play with the Nuance and Lid settings as well.

Using Live Set Edit, you can set the Key Touch for course control and then fine tune it with the Key Touch Offset parameter.

And don't forget that the EQ is your friend! The RD800 has THREE mid bands with adjustable frequencies and Q, as well as adjustable low and high shelving. You have a ton of capability to tweak the sound to your liking.

When I first got my RD800, it took me about an hour to dial in a sound and feel that works for me. It now feels very natural for the way I play; I can get rich character at low volume and just enough bite when I dig into it.

Although I have to admit that I'm still working on an optimal Upright Piano patch.
Pramberger PS-157, Roland RD800, Nord Electro 3HP

#2447702 - 08/04/15 09:41 PM Re: Roland RD800 [Re: mwf]
fizikisto Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 1185
Loc: Hernando, MS
When I first got my RD-800 I posted a review here where I noted that my dynamics were "all over the place" but rather than attributing it as a fault of the RD-800 I assumed it was due to my technique being sloppy. The action is incredibly responsive, and so it's perhaps a little less forgiving of sloppiness than other keyboards might be.
It took me 3 or 4 days of playing it to adjust to it. Play it for a week and keep an open mind and don't let yourself get frustrated. Because all that sensitivity allows for very expressive playing. It's not a bug, it's a feature (well, it can be, in any case smile

Also it's perhaps worth noting that I did spend a bit of time playing with the EQ, touch settings and other parameters as Rusty Mike suggested. Afterwards I was VERY happy with the result.
Nord Stage 2 HA88
Roland RD800

#2447726 - 08/04/15 11:24 PM Re: Roland RD800 [Re: mwf]
ElmerJFudd Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 734
I have to agree that the Roland super natural pianos tend to be setup with exaggerated difference in timbre from ppp to fff. There is a hard attack and "ping" that occurs at high velocity that is part of the Roland sound. Useful in some styles of music and ensemble situations. But not always desirable in solo play, particularly classical style where you don't want to trigger that timbre overly frequently but rather save it for where it counts. You have to try different patches and velocity curves to find your match.

Slightly off topic, any reason you are considering the RD800 over or in addition to the CP4 you already have access to and like?

#2447849 - 08/05/15 11:19 AM Re: Roland RD800 [Re: mwf]
wdco Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/15
Posts: 34
I own the RD800 and CP4 but use the RD800 to control PianoTeq pianos on stage. The RD800 does have exaggerated dynamics but it's not because of the action and there are ways of fixing the dynamic issue. The one problem you can't fix is the unnatural short decays that prevent the instrument from shining.

First, the hammer action itself is the best match for PianoTeq(PT) and other sampled pianos I have designed. I didn't have to edit the V curve in PT which is perfectly linear from the bottom corner to the top corner. Now that being said, I have discovered that although the Roland provides very smooth expression at low, mid, and forte levels, the problem is that you really have to smack it to reach midi velocities in the 120 -127 area. But this doesn't bother me because I only use it to control piano, strings, and pads and the predictable expression of those sounds using the RD800 is priceless. So, in summary from what I know, the RD action is beautifully suited for piano.

Now, about it's piano. This is a disappointing circumstance as it's supposed to be the V Piano which is supposed to be great and may be... but in the RD800 it doesn't have the one single parameter that is most needed most to make the piano sound natural and to make it cover well and that is... a DECAY adjustment and without that, you have to be very creative to make the piano workable for some forms of music. The less than optimal layer management adds further visibility to the unnatural decays. And despite all the character and other edit settings, you still can't get rid of harmonic errors that keep the RD from being what it could be.

The Yamaha on the other hand doesn't suffer from harmonic errors left behind and is a nicely polished piano with some out of tune unisons in the upper octave(s). But as said earlier, you just can't play it softly with control which for me is very disappointing because I need that from an instrument and it's not too much to ask. The Roland soft play pretty well and in fact, as long as you don't step hard on the RD, soft and medium play are pretty nice... the problems show up with FF and FFF play where the hard layer kicks in and it sounds like a layer from another piano.

The RD has double the number of sounds of the CP4, but at least 90% of the Roland 'other' sounds are pathetic sounds from outdated libraries of the 1080 and 5080 series and are not very appealing. The Yamaha CP4 does have lot's of great 'other' sounds that are very useful for studio or stage work.

#2447965 - 08/05/15 04:37 PM Re: Roland RD800 [Re: wdco]
proteal Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/03/15
Posts: 16
Originally Posted By wdco
And despite all the character and other edit settings, you still can't get rid of harmonic errors that keep the RD from being what it could be.

What do you mean by harmonic errors?

#2447991 - 08/05/15 05:42 PM Re: Roland RD800 [Re: mwf]
wdco Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/15
Posts: 34
Harmonic errors or literally 'harmonic distortions,' affect the relationship of the harmonics of notes (note spectra) to each other causing some harmonics to be emphasized and others to be diminished.

This can happen in groups of notes, sections of the piano or single notes here and there (rare). It's nearly impossible to record/sample a piano without some of these anomalies popping up and they are usually most noticeable in the tenor and bass sections of a piano and often give it a nasally or inconsistent sound.

This distortion of the harmonic relationships within a note are brought about in a number of ways, the most common being room modes/relections (room ringing) especially from untreated surfaces near the piano and it's also caused by mic error (off axis error). This is why it's critical to position the mics carefully and hopefully to have a large acoustically treated room in which to work.

But just getting mics near a piano makes them subject to all sorts of weirdness because you have flat reflective surfaces from the harp and soundboard, the lid, floor... and that is enough to bring even the best of mics to distort the true proportion of spectra. Hopefully, the distortion won't be significant enough or may be of a type that is not particularly annoying. If you use various mic patterns other than Omni... that can bring in phase issues if you're recording/sampling in stereo. That is why using a dummy head mic with its coincident stereo arrangement is so tempting to use for piano but seldom yields anything desirable.

Under normal play, the interaction of multiple notes playing/sustaining simultaneously tend to mask room ringing. But when single notes are sampled and microphones with their inherent off axis error are introduced into the recording process with the reflective surfaces abounding in the piano itself... it's a whole new world. And so when faced with the outcome... product developers complain back to customers that: "look, that's the way the piano was, that's a real piano." This is just an excuse for not doing the hard work of finishing the product. But there are few who hear exactly what's happening, yet all can usually describe the nasal, thin, or strange sound in the lower half of the piano somewhere.

The Roland RD800 is full of these errors making it a candidate for some hard work, but end users can't do that, they can only switch the "character" of the note which sometimes gets rid of one problem and substitutes another because, again, the hard work wasn't done to begin with.

The Yamaha CP4 is much more polished in that respect and is pretty much free from these defects but still someone left some seriously out of tune unisons in the upper part of the piano. Again, they will answer "have you ever heard a piano with perfect unisons in the upper part of the piano?"

PianoTeq is no different in this respect. Their native patches are full of these harmonic misfits... and they made them part of the model. BUT, the difference is, that you can edit them out and so you aren't stuck with a monster memory piano that you can never fix. A good example of this came from a frustrated friend who wanted me to hear his Vienna Imperial Grand for which he paid close to $700. I'll skip the details, but parts of the piano were fine, other parts were all over the place with out of tune layers, unisons out of tune and of course, the marketing people denied there was anything wrong with it and how dare you suggest that it has annoying flaws.

Edited by wdco (08/05/15 10:33 PM)

#2448270 - 08/06/15 03:10 PM Re: Roland RD800 [Re: wdco]
proteal Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/03/15
Posts: 16
Interesting, didn't realize note recording is so difficult. Guess that's why so many libraries are lacking.

#2448368 - 08/06/15 09:32 PM Re: Roland RD800 [Re: mwf]
wdco Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/15
Posts: 34
Sampling presents the weakest link in the chain problem...

...you can have $12,000 mics, and have the wrong ones for the app, if you don't know what to play to get to know the piano intimately BEFORE you sample it, you won't get the layers right, if you use mechanical thumpers to activate the notes, you will likely divest yourself of a piano that will react properly. Meanwhile, no one notices the temperature and humidity variations in the building have affected the tuning so your layers may not match well, you might be sampling and notice crickets are under the stage (happened to me and cost half a day)... it's an uphill battle to get it right and unless you scheduled the piano for a few days (minimum if you're experienced) and can keep it tuned and know how to voice, fix duplex ringing, etc... you can lose it at any point and not even know it.

...but assuming you get this right,

you're then faced with the insanity of trying to edit and match 10 (or more) layers correctly (some have done a pretty good job - most haven't), and then to edit defects X10 (or more layers). And when the piano doesn't sparkle maybe it's the cheezy converters (most common problem) you used thinking that converters aren't going to affect the product much.

But at this point, it doesn't make any difference... once time and money has been invested in a set(s) of samples, there's no turning back because the market is geared for the next newest thing that can grab attention. And so, the idea is not to get bogged down trying to get it right... it's get it to market and get onto the next project. So, it's no wonder in all this scramble, that little emphasis is placed on perfecting an instrument and getting it right.

So, with marketing companies faced with another ho hum piano, the only question is 'how to market it?' So the flaws are defined as "realism" and ours has more memory than brand "X." So realism substitutes for quality and the illusion is created that "bigger must be better." And in fact, neither is true. So instead of a beautiful piano, the 'propaganda ministry' ramps up to cleverly market a less than mediocre product with demos designed to mask defects and flaws, or by having "the official" Steinway piano, or by employing other gimmicks. So yes, if you're a perfectionist, every note becomes like a mastered CD.

#2448475 - 08/07/15 10:05 AM Re: Roland RD800 [Re: mwf]
mwf Online   sad
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/06
Posts: 441
Loc: Peterborough, England
Thanks for the replies, they are most appreciated. Just out of interest, how easy is it to set up a software piano to a stage piano? Like pianotech? I need a pc with quad core at least? That can run it and will there be lag between when I press a piano key and the sound I hear from speakers

#2448560 - 08/07/15 03:55 PM Re: Roland RD800 [Re: mwf]
wdco Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/15
Posts: 34
I use two Toshiba S55t which you can buy at Costco for around $800 depending on SD versus HD. They are i7's, quad core running at 2.5 - 2.6 ghz. 16 gigs of RAM which I needed for the pipe organ. Running windows 8.1. I'm not a great fan of touch screens but having the pipe organ virtual console where I can change things by touching... is priceless for on the fly registration changes.

PT will run very well on these units, the only exception being that at 192k, and a pedal down glissando across the keyboard and you'll swamp the processor, so I had to back mine off. I dedicate one laptop to the piano since modeling is very computationally intensive and can load a processor up pretty quick at high sampling rates. But I found (by accident) that even running at 48k with upsampling to 96k works perfectly fine and you can't swamp it no matter what you do.

As for latency, you should experience no latency issues as long as you're not running at 192k. What you control it with will be important as well as what DACs you're going to use.

#2449181 - 08/10/15 03:37 AM Re: Roland RD800 [Re: mwf]
Leonid Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/03/14
Posts: 17

Which sound card you use?

#2467088 - 10/06/15 04:09 PM Re: Roland RD800 [Re: mwf]
Bachus Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 04/29/15
Posts: 175
The RD800 has only 128 polyphony,

Did anyone encounter problems with loosing voices because of the 128 polyphony?
Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you gonna get. Make sure to enjoy every one of them, because that flavour might never return.

#2467839 - 4 minutes 13 seconds ago Re: Roland RD800 [Re: ElmerJFudd]
Cleverson Online   content
Junior Member

Registered: 04/29/15
Posts: 16
[quote=ElmerJFudd]I have to agree that the Roland super natural pianos tend to be setup with exaggerated difference in timbre from ppp to fff. There is a hard attack and "ping" that occurs at high velocity that is part of the Roland sound. (...)

I noticed this while watching some videos. Is it possible to eliminate or minimize such characteristic by editting the sound?



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