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#667597 - 10/26/03 01:09 AM Roland KR- 7 vs Yamaha 210--a quick look
specialk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 49
Loc: Michigan
A short while ago I posted about my first venture to look at "real" Digital Pianos. At that time it happened to be at a store that featured Yamaha and I focused on the CVP 210. I continue to be interested in leaning aid or learning features offered by digitals and/or intelligent piano features. These tend to be in the higher end of the product lines.

Today I visited a store primarily featuring Roland and I focused on the KR-7. I believe that the CVP-210 and the Roland Kr-7 are at at the top of their respective upright digital lines. My musings should certainly be considered from the standpoint that I am pretty much a beginner and not very technically or mucically sophisticated (but hopefully getting better educated by the minute).

That being said....I thought the feel of the Roland was a bit more to my liking than that of the Yamaha. Certanily the technology to produce the sound is somewhat different. The feel of the Roland seemed more similar to the key weight of the acousic upright piano that I play during my lessons and perhaps because of this seemed more familiar and comfortable. I liked the fact that the touch could be adjusted--it was on the medium setting with at least one heavier setting and perhaps two lighter degrees than the medium setting. I do not think the Yamaha touch could be adjusted. As far as sound, to me they both were very nice so I am not sure that, to my ear, I sensed a great difference or seemed to prefer one greatly over the other (though these were not side by side, same day experiences).

The Yamaha certainly is listed as having much more polyphony (256 vs 128) and more speaker watts 60 x 2 vs 40 x 2 though the Roland has two additional small upward facing tweeters desinged to recreate the "Grand Sound". The Yamaha LCD screen is more defined an in color but the 210 does not apparetly have a dedicted jack which to easily and quickly accomodate a larger screen.

As far as bells and whistles...I liked the guide lamp feature on the Yamaha and some of the other ways in which the Yamaha guided the learner better than the Roland.

I liked the fact that Roland had a built in jack to accommodate a larger display screen which could be useful for using the Digi-Score feature and several other features of lesser interest i.e Karoke.

What I did enjoy was that the salesperson, who apparently gave lessons, was able to demonstrate how some of the accommpaniment features (bells and whistles) could be used with even very simple begginer type pieces and make the playing sound quite beautiful and orchestral. I liked the fact that the salesman stated that following delivery he spent about 90 minutes going through many of the features with each the buyer. Again, I think many of these features could be very motivational as far as practice which I hope would then improve the learning curve. I liked the fact that you could store apparantly voluminous "musical books" within the Roland but admit I do not remember the Yamaha salesperson discusssing this aspect.

Prices quoted were quite similar (polished ebony) and they certainly are not "cheap" and quite an investent.

I believe the Roland had some touch screen capability which, though I am not positive, the Yamaha did not. There were obviously many other specs which I am not commnenting upon, simply do not know enough about, and/or am simply not competent to discuss. I have discovered this "shopping for the right digital" can be downright perplexing, confusing, and similar to the "paralysis by analysis" conundrum. However, other than best pioano sound and feel I am discovering that I do want to take advantage of other aspects of digital technology.

All in all--I felt that for me I was caught in the middle of the Yamaha and Roland. I liked the "touch" of the Roland better and liked that it was adjustable. I like the color screen of the Yamaha betten the the basically bluish tint of the KR-7 screen. I like the guide lamp feature of the Yamaha though certaily some of the other learning aids on the Roland seemed interesting and quite useful. On balance I have a sense that I preferred the Roland because of the "touch" but was sad that some of the feaures I preferred on the Yamaha were not as similar to that of the Roland.

Other than touch and sound, most of my ramblings may seem to be somewhat superficial. But, for whatever easons, other technology features seem to bear some importance to me. I guess I kinda of think that in terms of my particular situtaion, talent level, etc. that a lot of of the useable new technology (aside from the true piano sound and feel we all seek in digitals) is important or at worth considering and will help make my musical journey more interesting, fun, and successful.

I was thinking that I wish purchasing Digitals could be like Gateway or Dell Computer. That is, you call in with the specific features you want, disregard what you don't and then get the product you want. Dream on. In any event those are just some thoughts-- unimportant or not.

I do have a question in terms of polyphony. Is there a difference when polyphony is expressed in term of "notes" or "voices"?

Thanks for listening.

sp.k.

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#667598 - 10/27/03 11:06 AM Re: Roland KR- 7 vs Yamaha 210--a quick look
Luke's Dad Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/28/03
Posts: 1426
Loc: Mid Atlantic
 Quote:
Originally posted by specialk:
That being said....I thought the feel of the Roland was a bit more to my liking than that of the Yamaha. Certanily the technology to produce the sound is somewhat different. The feel of the Roland seemed more similar to the key weight of the acousic upright piano that I play during my lessons and perhaps because of this seemed more familiar and comfortable. I liked the fact that the touch could be adjusted--it was on the medium setting with at least one heavier setting and perhaps two lighter degrees than the medium setting. I do not think the Yamaha touch could be adjusted. [/b]
Touch and tone are the most important aspects of any piano. It is critical to get the one that feels the best to you. BTW, with the touch screen, you are not limited to just a few presets with Roland's adjustable touch. Just slide your finger along the screen in the direction of lighter or heavier until you find the exact setting for you. Yamaha's touch can be adjusted, but not to the multiple settings that Roland's can.

 Quote:
The Yamaha certainly is listed as having much more polyphony (256 vs 128) and more speaker watts 60 x 2 vs 40 x 2 though the Roland has two additional small upward facing tweeters desinged to recreate the "Grand Sound". [/b]
The difference is that Yamaha's polyphony os "note" and Roland's is "voice" You see, Yamaha's sampling uses 2 notes of polyphony. In other words, if you are playing the piano sound, each note you play is using two notes of polyphony. Roland's sound engine uses only 1 "note" of polyphony. The end result is that both allow you to play up to 128 notes at one time. Plenty, even if you are using a 16 track sequence.

[QUOTE]As far as bells and whistles...I liked the guide lamp feature on the Yamaha and some of the other ways in which the Yamaha guided the learner better than the Roland.[/b]{/QUOTE]

The guide lamp certainly seems like a neat feature at first, but can actually be one of the worst things you can do to a music student. Think about it, the first thing a teacher tells you is "don't look at your hands or the keys" The guide lamp teaches a student to look at the keys, not the fingers. The second thing a teacher will tell you is to never stop even if you make a mistake. The guide lamp will automatically stop every time you miss the right note. It works completely contrary to the teacher's lessons. Roland's Tutor program works directly in accordance to the conventional teaching courses used by most teachers. Plus, it works alot better, go back to the store and ask the associate to explain more about the tutor button on the digiscore page.
_________________________
Purveyor of Yamaha, Petrof, Pearl River, and Kohler & Campbell pianos.

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#667599 - 10/27/03 11:06 AM Re: Roland KR- 7 vs Yamaha 210--a quick look
Luke's Dad Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/28/03
Posts: 1426
Loc: Mid Atlantic
Ooooops! double post!
_________________________
Purveyor of Yamaha, Petrof, Pearl River, and Kohler & Campbell pianos.

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#667600 - 10/27/03 05:36 PM Re: Roland KR- 7 vs Yamaha 210--a quick look
specialk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 49
Loc: Michigan
Luke's Dad,

Thanks for the reply and for sharing your knowledge. I noted in your profile that you own a Roland. Your point on the guide lights is well taken. I think the Roland salesperson did a good job showing me the learning features utilizing their DigiScore mode(I kept asking). And, as I said I think their features were also interesting and potentially quite helpful. Thanks for explaining about the "touch" feature being more variable than I perceived. Regarding the polyphony...(be gentle as I mentioned I am still learning)does the fact that the CVP 210 has 256-note polyphony and the Roland KR-7 has 128 voice polyphony represent any qualitative difference between the two ways of sampling (if sampling is the correct term). I understand that 128 times 2 = 256 but... I don't understand the real difference or result of stating polyphony in terms of notes or voices.

I am planning to try to visit a store that has both the Yamaha and Roland line so that I can do a same day side by side comparison. Again, I think the Roland touch was very nice. I wish I had a better ear to distinguish more difference in tone between the two but maybe when I hear them in closer temporal proximity that will make a difference. I will also pay closer attention to the Roland DigiScore learning features.

Thanks for helping me consider and learn.

sp.k.

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#667601 - 10/31/03 06:52 PM Re: Roland KR- 7 vs Yamaha 210--a quick look
JimM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/04/02
Posts: 200
Loc: Northern California
I've owned both Roland KR and CVP pianos. There's a lot to like about both. Touch is very subjective, go with what feels best. Yamaha's top of the line keyboard is found on their CVP900 and CLP175 and features wooden keys and a completely different hammer mechanism. You might try that to see how you like it.

As Luke's Dad says, Roland's touch can be continuously adjusted, Yamaha is limited to 5 settings. It's a secondary issue to the general feeling of the keyboard.

The Yamaha has a video out for connection to a monitor or television set. It shows whatever is on the LCD. It has the limitations of any composite video signal - I'm not sure if the Roland uses composite video or something better.

Having used both Roland's touch screen and Yamaha's "zillion buttons" interface, I prefer Yamaha's. You can get to more things quicker, and the screen doesn't get dirty!

The CVP is far more advanced in electronic "bells and whistles" than the KR. Whether that matters depends on how much you want to play with the gadgets. I rarely use them on my CVP. There is a temptation to "play with the piano" instead of "playing the piano!"

The Yamaha has two forward-facing tweeters, one on each side of the keyboard, in addition to the cabinet speakers. How much this adds is debatable. Auxiliary speakers and amplifiers can be added to either piano and make a big difference.

A good salesperson who can really demo his or her product and teach you to use it is a big plus and could be a swing item. The Yamaha has an excellent user group at www.cvpug.com. As far as I know there is no equivalent for Roland.

Don't pay list price for either brand!!! You can do much, much better.

Go with whatever feels and sounds best to you - the rest is secondary.
_________________________
=========
Jim
Mason and Hamlin BB, Clavinova CVP900

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#667602 - 11/02/03 12:52 PM Re: Roland KR- 7 vs Yamaha 210--a quick look
specialk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 49
Loc: Michigan
JimM

Thanks for the info. It's nice to hear from someone with 1st hand experience. While I truly like your CVP900 the baby grand profile of the 900 or KR-15 is probably not practical for me. Wooden key also may not be if there will be concerns with respect to humidity, temperature fluctuations etc. which have been mentioned in previous posts. Your comments about the features of the Yamaha/Roland were quite helpful and I hope to incorporate them into my next side-by-side comparison which I hope will be coming up very soon.

Just curious, do you have an opinion on the different ways of listing or sampling polyphony--voice versus note which create different spec. numbers i.e. 256 for Yamaha, 128 for Roland. What does this mean to the naive consumer? Also, do you have any knowledge about the "escapement" technology used with the Roland keyboard versus the "spring" technology which I believe is used with the Yamaha. I definitely could feel a difference in the keyboard response of the Roland. A lot to ask I know. Thanks.

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#667603 - 11/03/03 11:41 AM Re: Roland KR- 7 vs Yamaha 210--a quick look
JimM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/04/02
Posts: 200
Loc: Northern California
I would pay no attention to marketing hype about springs vs. gravity, wooden vs. plastic keys, etc. What matters is how the keyboard feels to you. Both instruments have strong defenders and detractors.

I have had no problems with wooden keys on my CVP900 and had none with the plastic keys on my KR1077. I don't think the key material matters much, it's the mechanism that simulates the action of an acoustic piano that mostly determines how it feels. The Yamaha "advanced" keyboard used on the CVP900, CLP175 and CLP990 has a totally different mechanism than the others in addition to wooden keys - your dealer can show you a model. I think Roland uses the same mechanisms throughout their KR line.

I'll defer to Luke's Dad on the technical question of what's a note and what's a voice. 128 simultaneous sounds is plenty for solo piano and most other things so I never worried much about it. (Plus I usually use a separate sound generator for my piano sounds.). There is a difference between stereo samples and monophonic samples - stereo samples typically use up two voices of polyphony, mono only one. I think the primary grand pianos on both instruments are stereo. Maybe that's the way to reconcile the 128 vs. 256 issue.

The cases (upright or grand) are mostly a cosmetic (and cost!) issue, although you may hear a difference in how they sound because of the speaker placements. That also depend on the room acoustics - I found that one style sometimes sounded better than another depending on where it was. In all cases, the bigger the sound system the better I liked it - my KR1077 (full-size baby grand case, 240 watts, 12 speakers!) was wonderful, but too big when we moved. I have not auditioned Yamaha's new "adaptive sound" system (forget what they call it) - I think it's only available on the newer CLP line.

Unless you think you really need the bells and whistles of the KR/CVP lines, you might take a look at the "mostly piano" HP and CLP pianos. They sound very good, have the same actions, and are much cheaper.
_________________________
=========
Jim
Mason and Hamlin BB, Clavinova CVP900

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