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#2454746 - 08/29/15 05:30 AM Yamaha CLP 535, Roland HP 504 or Yamaha CLP 575?
CR37 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/28/15
Posts: 4
I have played the piano for many years, using an old acoustic piano, but now I am studying at university and unfortunately don't have access to a piano anymore. Therefore I have now decided to buy a digital piano, but the only problem is that there are so many different alternatives and I am very indecisive.

I recently went to a piano store and tried to compare (i.e. played for several hours) the models Yamaha CLP 535 and Roland HP 504, which seemed to be at a decent price level. My impression was that the Roland piano was in some way more responsive when playing softly. It was like I could get more different nuances of the tones when varying the pressure, and I really liked that. On the other hand, I preferred the Yamaha piano when playing more strongly and/or fast. I also got the impression that the sound of the latter was slightly more authentic. The salesman himself said that he, and most of the customers he had spoken with, preferred the Yamaha, much because of the less synthetic sounding sound sampling, and this model also seems to be the most popular one at that price level. So if I should decide based on the opinion of the majority, it seems like I should go with the Yamaha, but the main advice from everyone seems to be that it's a very subjective decision and that I should get my own opinion from testing, and there was something with the expressivity when playing softly at the Roland that I don't seem to get with the Yamaha. But in some other situations I still preferred the Yamaha. Okay, you get my point.

To complicate it all further, I also started looking at the Yamaha CLP 575 at the internet, after coming home. It's a bit over my initial budget, but if it shows to be a much better instrument with better response and possibilities to express subtle musical nuances, I still want to consider it before making my decision. I note that the main differences compared to the 535 is - except a better speaker system - wooden keys, "stereophonic optimiser" and "virtual resonance modelling" (VRM). Since I probably mostly will use it with headphones, the speaker system isn't the most important feature, but the stereophonic optimiser might be a good feature. But one of my main questions here is how much of a difference the VRM does. When listening to sound demos at YouTube, I get the impression that the 575 has a more vivid sound, compared with the 535 which has a more dry sound, especially when playing softly at high notes. But I don't know how much this depends on the speakers and how much the VRM influences the sound. So I wonder if the sound is a big improvement compared with the 535, even when disregarding the speaker systems?

I am very thankful for all input, views and advice I can get on any of these three piano models, that can help me approach a decision. I want to buy I piano that I can keep and enjoy for many years, and that is capable to really express musical details and give back the right emotions, so that it feels motivating to play a lot, but I don't want to spend big amounts of money to only get negligible improvements that will not improve the playing experience noticeable. So thank you in advance for all advice!

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#2454893 - 08/29/15 06:15 PM Re: Yamaha CLP 535, Roland HP 504 or Yamaha CLP 575? [Re: CR37]
spanishbuddha Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 2639
Loc: UK
With your years of experience, ignore the marketing terminology and specifications, and just play a few, using headphones and without, then go with natural preference, sleep on it, go back to try again, and decide. After that don't look back. Sorry not to help further.

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#2454911 - 08/29/15 07:12 PM Re: Yamaha CLP 535, Roland HP 504 or Yamaha CLP 575? [Re: CR37]
fryderykchopin Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/06/15
Posts: 10
This may sound stupid but if you are going to play with headphones you should try the pianos with headphones. The piano may sound a bit different depending on whether you use the speakers or the headphones. I have a Yamaha YDP162 and the speaker doesn't seem to be impressive in my opinion (although it is good anyway) but with headphones the sound is very beautiful.

I wouldn't trust videos on YouTube, I watched many before going to the shop and I had almost made my mind for a Casio since they seemed to sound better but once in the shop the sound was a bit disappointing to me and the Yamaha was finally my choice.

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#2454914 - 08/29/15 07:33 PM Re: Yamaha CLP 535, Roland HP 504 or Yamaha CLP 575? [Re: spanishbuddha]
Charles Cohen Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 2071
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By spanishbuddha
With your years of experience, ignore the marketing terminology and specifications, and just play a few, using headphones and without, then go with natural preference, sleep on it, go back to try again, and decide. After that don't look back. Sorry not to help further.


+1.
_________________________
. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / ZXA1 speaker

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#2454992 - Yesterday at 02:45 AM Re: Yamaha CLP 535, Roland HP 504 or Yamaha CLP 575? [Re: CR37]
OrganAssist Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/15/15
Posts: 2
I am currently looking at replacing my VERY old Clavinova (25 years and still going) and am considering a similar range of instruments.

Personally, I am waiting until next month to try the new Roland HP 605 model (which is cheaper than the 575) as this is going to be using physical modeling rather than sampling. After using Pianoteq for the past few years I have found that I enjoy playing this over any sampled instrument and so am hopeful I may like the new Roland series.

However, I agree with the previous comments. Try them with headphones and go with what YOU enjoy playing.

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#2455063 - Yesterday at 09:41 AM Re: Yamaha CLP 535, Roland HP 504 or Yamaha CLP 575? [Re: spanishbuddha]
CR37 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/28/15
Posts: 4
Well, maybe you have a point in that I am over-analysing technical details, but I just want to consider all possible aspects before I come to a final conclusion. But of course you are right that my impressions when playing should be the most important factor.

I actually already have been to the store twice and tested the two first piano models - mainly with headphones. The problem is just that even after that I am not really sure which one I liked the most overall. My very first impression was that the Roland piano felt more responsive and nicer to play when playing softly and slowly, and I also liked that the keys felt a bit easier to push down (of course there should be some resistance, but the Yamaha seemed to have much more resistance than my old acoustic piano at least). But I preferred the bass and the sound when playing more fast at the Yamaha. I also prefer the design of the Yamaha, but that should be only a secondary factor, since the important thing is to get a nice instrument.

So I don't feel that one of them is best in all situations, and that was when I started considering the 575, since I think that it maybe might be satisfying in all these aspects. But I haven't tested it yet, and of course I will return to the store and test both the 575 and the other two models, and maybe some other model, again. The only reason I haven't returned yet is that the piano store isn't in my town, so it takes a little trip to go there. So in the meantime I just wanted to check here if someone who has more experience with digital pianos than I maybe had some good advice on how to think about it all or other experiences to share, because it's a quite big decision, so I want to really think it through now before it's too late. But I appreciate your support!

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#2455069 - Yesterday at 09:56 AM Re: Yamaha CLP 535, Roland HP 504 or Yamaha CLP 575? [Re: fryderykchopin]
CR37 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/28/15
Posts: 4
Yes, I borrowed some headphones in the store that I used when testing them, for exactly that reason. And the salesman said that the sound of the Roland was better with headphones than without (he thought it sounded a bit "synthetic" in the speakers, but that it wasn't as noticeable in the headphones). So that's a good point!

Of course a video can't replace testing them in reality, but that seemed to be the best way of comparing them before going back to the store. I thought that listening to the recordings should at least give some approximate impression of the differences, but of course I will return to the store and test them there again too.

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#2455076 - Yesterday at 10:28 AM Re: Yamaha CLP 535, Roland HP 504 or Yamaha CLP 575? [Re: OrganAssist]
CR37 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/28/15
Posts: 4
It's at lest nice to hear that the quality seems to be that good, 25 years is a lot!

Yes, I have noted that the Roland HP pianos seem to be older than the CLP pianos. Are all of them going to be superseded soon or is it just some of them, and, in that case, when more exactly is that happening? I haven't really understood how the numbering system works for them, but I guess that this 605 you are talking about is corresponding to some of the HP 50x pianos?

Physical modelling really seems like a great concept that should have more potential to give a responsive instrument compared with only sampling. That's one reason that I started considering the 575, since it - if I understand it correctly - uses come kind of physical modelling technique at least for the resonance effects, unlike the 535 and 545. I think that one reason to that I liked what I liked about the 504 might be that they (according to a YouTube video I found) use some kind of physical modelling in combination with the sampling, in their so-called "Supernatural" sound, and the 535 doesn't seem to have anything corresponding to that (I can't find very much technical info from Yamaha). So I thought that maybe that extra resonance effect in the 575 will give the piano a little more of what I liked with the 504 while still maintaining the things I liked with the 535.

Yes, I will go and try them again and try to decide which I like the most.

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#2455157 - Yesterday at 03:26 PM Re: Yamaha CLP 535, Roland HP 504 or Yamaha CLP 575? [Re: CR37]
MacMacMac Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 4281
Loc: North Carolina
Ignore the specs. Ignore the salesmanship. Ignore the technology.
The only things that matter are those that your hands and ears tell you.
The rest is fluff at best, and BS at worst.

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#2455164 - Yesterday at 03:46 PM Re: Yamaha CLP 535, Roland HP 504 or Yamaha CLP 575? [Re: CR37]
8 Octaves Offline

Gold Supporter until July 22 2015


Registered: 04/20/14
Posts: 915
Loc: USA
I have done similar tests because I have been looking to replace my aging Yamaha CLP-550 (bought new in 1990). I spend about 5 hours a week on it, the rest of the time on my Yamaha C3X.

The following are numerical score of my impressions starting at 10/10 for my Yamaha C3X in terms of feel, response, and sound like a real acoustic piano. I also play the AG N3 at relative's home I frequent so will also score it for you here for comparison.

Key response like playing a real piano (1-10):
Yamaha C3X - 10
Yamaha CLP-535 - 3
Yamaha CLP-545 - 4
Yamaha CLP-575 - 5
Yamaha AG N3 - 8
Roland HP504 - 5
Roland RP401R - 1

Sound response like playing a real piano (1-10):
Yamaha C3X - 10
Yamaha CLP-535 - 3
Yamaha CLP-545 - 4
Yamaha CLP-575 - 5
Yamaha AG N3 - 5
Roland HP504 - 6
Roland RP401R - 5

Sound tone like a real piano (1-10):
Yamaha C3X - 10
Yamaha CLP-535 - 4
Yamaha CLP-545 - 5
Yamaha CLP-575 - 6
Yamaha AG N3 - 7
Roland HP504 - 4
Roland RP401R - 3

In general, the sensation of playing a piano and hearing a recording of a piano is very different. The Roland product has a slight edge to me at capturing the feel of playing a piano whereas the Yamaha products feels like playing piano recording. I find it very difficult to listen to a Roland piano that I'm not playing because it sounds quite fake. However, they are enjoyable to play. Playing the Yamaha DP have this disconnected feeling, but if you're very focus on practice, it works as a productive tool.

If this is going to be your primary one-and-only instrument, I would not get the CLP-535. To those of us who has spent thousands of hours on acoustics, the CLP-575 is very clearly better than even the CLP-545. If you are only going to practice and not plan on making any recordings from the piano, then I think the HP504 is a great choice. For me, the CLP-575, CA-65, HP504 would be the ones I would get, but they all have some serious deficiencies, which is why I'm still on the fence.
_________________________
RCM Level 6 | https://soundcloud.com/8octaves/

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#2455167 - Yesterday at 03:53 PM Re: Yamaha CLP 535, Roland HP 504 or Yamaha CLP 575? [Re: CR37]
OrganAssist Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/15/15
Posts: 2
It doesn't seem clear which Roland models will be discontinued. I wonder if, maybe, the 603/605 will replace the 506/508. My nearest shop said to expect the new ones in about 4 weeks time.

From what I have read, it seems that the new HP 603/605 and LX 7/17 ALL have the same physical keyboard and the same sound generation but the external shape/size and amp/speaker specification varies. If someone else knows better - please let us know.

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#2455305 - Today at 01:28 AM Re: Yamaha CLP 535, Roland HP 504 or Yamaha CLP 575? [Re: 8 Octaves]
8 Octaves Offline

Gold Supporter until July 22 2015


Registered: 04/20/14
Posts: 915
Loc: USA
Correction: Just realized I confused the HP504 for the HP506 and what I wrote was for the HP506. I think the difference in price was about $500 a few months ago. I was actually not that impressed with the HP504. Sorry for the mistake.

I would agree both HP504 and CLP-535 are similarly uninteresting for the money. I would go lower to either a YDP-162/CLP-525 or RP401R or higher to the CLP-575 or HP506.
_________________________
RCM Level 6 | https://soundcloud.com/8octaves/

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