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#676512 - 03/04/02 04:27 PM Any input for Roland digital pianos?
alley Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/04/02
Posts: 3
Loc: illinois
Hi, I am a pianist who currently have no knowledge at all about digital pianos other than some familiar brands that I've heard such as Roland, Casio, Yamaha, etc.
As I am attracted to this field and would like to learn more about the basic stuffs about digital pianos, I wonder if any of you could provide some inputs for these questions that I have: (I am particularly interested in Roland digital pianos).
1. What do you look for when you buy a digital piano? After reading the existing messages on the board, I found many of you are talking about 'touch' and 'sound'. What other important features that you would consider?
2. Talking about features, I guess it would certainly depend on what it is intended to be used for by the musician, like performing versus home learning. Anyone knows what series do performer normally search for?
3. I also found that many of you talk about the Roland FP-series digital pianos. I wonder if this product category is the hottest or what people mostly look for?
4. Anyone knows anything about Roland KR-377 Digital Intelligent Piano?

I would be very appreciate for any of your comment and input.

What1. What

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#676513 - 03/05/02 02:58 AM Re: Any input for Roland digital pianos?
Shadorunnr Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 125
Loc: Oklahoma City
alley, First off, find a piano with an action you like. If you don't care for the sound, or wish to upgrade later, you can get a MIDI sound module, ( from any manufacturer) for far less than a whole new keyboard. What other features you want depend on your usage. If you just want basic piano sounds, and no frills, the FP series is a good way to go. I personally like the action of the FP series, (I believe the RD series has the same action). If you want other MIDI capabilities, like pitchbend, modulation, and zones, (to name a few), easily available, you might try the Roland RD series. Roland, Korg and Yamaha all have keyboards that are "basic", and "full of lots of buttons" depending on your needs, and are a good choice. To best answer this we need to know just exactly what you need in the way of sounds/MIDI functions. I am assuming you are intending to use this as a performer. As a general rule, I have found that "pro" pianos generally cost over $1000, whereas "beginner" pianos are under $1000. ( home digital pianos with "piano cases", i.e. wood, are much more.) As a performer, any digital piano, with midi capabilities, that you like, and has the functions you need, will do just fine. I also suggest, if you plan to transport this instrument, get a good case. Soft cases are ok if you only plan to move it a few times, but for traveling, I suggest you get a good hard ATA case. SKB makes a good light one, and there are several other companys, such as Anvil that make good, but heavier cases. ATA cases are designed for airline travel, (read "abuse by baggage handlers"), and even though you may never send your piano on a plane, it is usually better to pay a few dollars more for ATA approved cases, (you never know). I am sure SteveY will add anything I have missed. He is a pro with a more complete knowledge of current keyboards.
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#676514 - 03/05/02 06:14 AM Re: Any input for Roland digital pianos?
German Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 107
Loc: Argentina
Alley,
Let me add the following to Shadorunnr's answer:
1. When buying a piano you have to consider if the piano has speakers or not. It's important because if it has speakers you don't need to buy them (you save money) and it sounds closer to a real piano (you hear the sound in the piano not in the speaker).
2. I guess performers searchs for high-end pianos. I saw many performers playing with Roland and Yamaha.
3. I think Roland RD series is better than FP.
4. Search Roland's site www.rolandus.com and Yamaha's site www.yamaha.com.
Have you consider Yamaha clavinova CLP990?. According to Yamaha's web site, I guess it's the best digital piano (it has a "real" action and the sound has been sampled for every key at different levels).
I hope this helps.
Good luck!

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#676515 - 03/05/02 11:21 AM Re: Any input for Roland digital pianos?
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
Well said Shadorunnr and German. As usual, I have a couple things to add:

It may be important at some point to differentiate between "consumer" and "pro" keyboards. This is a generalization, but there are a few differences between them. Consumer pianos typically have some sort of stand or cabinetry included. They also have speakers built-in as German suggested. Pro pianos are almost always a la carte (no stand or cabinetry or pedals). They also generally don't have speakers included. One very important difference is that they are sold by different dealers!!! If you go to a piano store, you're likely to see the Yamaha or Roland consumer pianos ONLY. You'd have to go to a Guitar Center (or some other pro audio dealer) to find the pro lines. This is important in that you'd actually have to go to two different Yamaha/Roland dealers to find everything they have. In addition, the dealer for the consumer line generally knows very little about the pro line and vice versa.
If you're going to move the keyboard around, I agree that you'll need a case. If you're just carting it around town, a soft bag like those made by ProTech might work. But I prefer the hard cases. SKB makes great, affordable cases that are light. Here's a tip: They make keyboard cases with wheels on the end so that you can roll them around!!! Much easier on the back!
I'm not sure I agree with German's statement about the importance of internal speakers. First of all, that's a consumer-only feature. Second, the speakers that are found in the keyboard itself are usually not particularly great. But he/she is right that it's nice to hear the sound coming from the keyboard itself. But that can be solved to some degree with some creative placement of your external speakers.
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PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

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#676516 - 03/05/02 05:11 PM Re: Any input for Roland digital pianos?
German Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 107
Loc: Argentina
 Quote:
I'm not sure I agree with German's statement about the importance of internal speakers. First of all, that's a consumer-only feature. Second, the speakers that are found in the keyboard itself are usually not particularly great

In my opinion you might consider the internal speakers only if you want to save money but if you want quality sound I agree with SteveY, you have to use a sound system.

 Quote:
But he/she ...

I'm male. \:D

 Quote:
But that can be solved to some degree with some creative placement of your external speakers

I solved it that way.
I placed the speakers at both sides of the keyboard. Each speaker is supported by a kind of column.
:p

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#676517 - 03/05/02 05:16 PM Re: Any input for Roland digital pianos?
German Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 107
Loc: Argentina
Excuse me!
I chose the wrong graemlins. I wanted to choose \:\) instead of :p .
Regards.

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#676518 - 03/05/02 05:58 PM Re: Any input for Roland digital pianos?
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
One of the cool things about German's set-up for HIS speakers is that it's almost like listening with headphones on. Pretty cool!
_________________________
PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

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#676519 - 03/06/02 06:29 AM Re: Any input for Roland digital pianos?
German Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 107
Loc: Argentina
\:\)

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#676520 - 03/06/02 07:27 PM Re: Any input for Roland digital pianos?
alley Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/04/02
Posts: 3
Loc: illinois
Thank you all for providing me valuable information. I am actually not a performer, though I wish I am. The reason that I ask what performer would normally seek for is simply my curiosity and for knowledge sake.

In addition to my previous post, I have some more questions here.
I saw the term 64-voice stereo polyphony for some of the digital pianos. What does this mean?
Anyone knows what "KR" stands for?

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#676521 - 03/06/02 11:06 PM Re: Any input for Roland digital pianos?
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
Polyphony is the number of notes (sometimes called tones or voices) that a digital keyboard (or synthesizer) can play at once. An acoustic piano is mechanic in nature and as a result can play all 88 keys at once assuming you could reach them. A digital keyboard is essentially a "computer with piano keys" and is limited by processor speed and memory. As a result, a digital keyboard can only play a fixed number of notes at once. 64-note (also called "64 voice") polyphony means you can play up to 64 notes at once. 128 note polyphony means you can play 128 at once.
At first appearance, 64 seems like more than enough. And yet with digital pianos there are some limiting factors as to why 64 is not as much as it may seem. For example, when using the sustain (also called "hold") pedal, every note played prior to the pedal being pressed is counted toward your maximum of 64. In addition every note you're currently playing is also added to that amount. This begins to eat up more polyphony than you might have thought. But the biggest culprit is "layering". Digital keyboards have the ability to "layer" sounds, creating unique instrument combinations. One of the most common would be a piano/string combination where a string section can be heard playing the same notes as the piano. Each unique instrument (like piano or strings) constitutes one note of polyphony. In other words, a piano/string layer playing three keys is actually using 6 notes of polyphony. When the sustain pedal is pressed the polyphony begins to disappear quickly.
One more thing: Some of the best acoustic piano sounds are actually layers of different acoustic pianos. They sound like a single piano, and yet they use large amounts of polyphony. For example, my favorite piano sound is actually 4 different sounds layered. If I play 8 keys at once, I'm really using 32 notes of polyphony. If I'm a little slow with the sustain pedal, I've now used all 64. If I'm really slow, the processor in the keyboard begins to eliminate notes that you've just played which is not a very musical effect.

This is why I highly recommend a 128 voice keyboard.
_________________________
PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

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#676522 - 03/07/02 11:33 AM Re: Any input for Roland digital pianos?
Mike Pappadakis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 207
Loc: Doylestown, PA
Steve,

That's the best explanation of polyphony I've ever seen. I'm going to print it out and paste it in my notebook for future reference.

Mike

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#676523 - 03/07/02 01:10 PM Re: Any input for Roland digital pianos?
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
Thanks Mike. I've stolen from the very best! ;\)
_________________________
PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

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#676524 - 03/07/02 02:06 PM Re: Any input for Roland digital pianos?
alley Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/04/02
Posts: 3
Loc: illinois
I agree with Mike too. Thanks, Steve. \:\)

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#676525 - 03/07/02 05:51 PM Re: Any input for Roland digital pianos?
German Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 107
Loc: Argentina
Very clear explanation, Steve!

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