Roland LX-15

Posted by: BigKens

Roland LX-15 - 04/24/13 04:00 PM

I am currently looking into purchasing a digital piano. I've been playing for many years now on mostly acoustics, but I really like the added features that come with digital pianos (playing with headphones, recording, different tones, no regular tuning, etc...).

I've tested out several different mid/higher-end digital pianos from Yamaha, Kawai and Roland, and I'm pretty confident that I've decided to go with the Roland LX-15. The only other models that I'm curious about would be the Yamaha NU1 and the Yamaha AvantGrand N1.

This will be my first digital piano and I want to make sure that I make the right choice, particularly since the Roland LX-15 is very pricey here in Canada (~$6400).

I've been reading through a number of other threads on these forums about the Roland LX-15. Now that a fair bit of time has passed since those posts, I'd be interested to hear the thoughts and experiences of any LX-15 owners out there.

Thanks!
Posted by: pianoxcape

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/24/13 04:11 PM

You could also try the Kurzweil CUP2... it's in the same category as Roland LX15 and Yamaha NU1, but priced quite a bit lower... just a consideration smile
Posted by: pv88

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/24/13 05:06 PM

@BigKens,

Don't let anyone steer you away from getting the Roland LX-15 as Kurzweil has a "Fatar" action which is not as reliable as the Roland action especially if something were to go wrong or needs fixing. Stick with Roland for dependable service and support.

The PHAIII action in the LX-15 is as good as it gets and you also will have some very nice "Piano Designer" modeling features which have been taken from the Roland V-Piano.
Posted by: JFP

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/24/13 05:42 PM

If..... Kurzweil upgraded the CUP2 with the renewed Fatar TP40Wood (triple sensor) AND the new Grand Piano from the 'Artis' it would be a more serious contender. I don't think that will be a very difficult job to do ; exchange the keybed for the upgraded version and add the new AP sound engine (no other frilsl required, just good piano sound). If the price can stay reasonable , the CUP2 with it's nice cabinet and powerful amp / speaker system is then more worth a serious try. Just a consideration ;-) (Edit: without these enhancements : no match for the LX-15)
Posted by: MarkF786

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/24/13 07:00 PM

Have you considered the Roland HP-507? I believe it has all the same features as the LX-15, except for the upgraded cabinet, and it sells for about $4000.
Posted by: BigKens

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/24/13 09:57 PM

@pianoxcape

Thanks for the suggestion, but the Roland has more of the features that I'm looking for.
Posted by: BigKens

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/24/13 10:13 PM

@pv88

Thanks for the info about the key action on the Kurzweil.

I did have a chance to play around with the LX-15's "Piano Designer" when I tried it out at a local piano store. It was really neat to be able to customize every detail of the piano's sound, like the hammer noise and how open or closed the lid was. It's one of those things that I'd probably set up initially, rather than messing with it on a regular basis, but it's nice to have options.
Posted by: BigKens

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/24/13 10:19 PM

@JFP

I'll admit I know hardly anything about the CUP2 since I exclusively looked at Roland, Yamaha and Kawai. It sounds like the LX-15 has quite a number of added benefits over the CUP2, although it may be a bit of an unfair comparison given the very different price points smile
Posted by: BigKens

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/24/13 10:30 PM

@MarkF786

Thanks for the tip. You are absolutely right that the HP-507 is the more economical choice. After comparing the two a little more closely, I think the premium paid for the LX-15 goes towards the additional speakers, adjustable top lid, upgraded cabinet and having the "top of the line" upright model. Did I miss anything?

That said, the piano I end up getting will be in a focal point of my living room, so I think I'm okay with spending a bit extra.
Posted by: PianoWorksATL

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/24/13 11:11 PM

Originally Posted By: BigKens
That said, the piano I end up getting will be in a focal point of my living room, so I think I'm okay with spending a bit extra.
It's worth it if you can swing it. I really like the extras of that piano.
Posted by: Marco M

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/25/13 03:29 AM

Originally Posted By: BigKens
@MarkF786

Thanks for the tip. You are absolutely right that the HP-507 is the more economical choice. After comparing the two a little more closely, I think the premium paid for the LX-15 goes towards the additional speakers, adjustable top lid, upgraded cabinet and having the "top of the line" upright model. Did I miss anything?

That said, the piano I end up getting will be in a focal point of my living room, so I think I'm okay with spending a bit extra.


As far as I am informed there is no other extras, only the speakers and a mechanically to open to lid which can let the sound spread in an alternative way. That´s nothing worth to consider with headphone playing, of course. The 'upgraded cabinet' is then the optical thing you mainly pay the expensive extra price for, and, well, commercials of course try the support selling this unit better by calling it 'top of the line', but this does not mean that the 507 would not be the excactly same 'top of the line' besides the difference in the luxury of the design of the wooden cabinet. So, if the cabinet designs matter to you, then the decicision is easy. If it doesn´t matter, then you seriously should compare if you can actually hear (because of the speakers and lid) a difference in sound projection worth so much extra money.
Posted by: ando

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/25/13 09:09 AM

In my opinion, there is an audible difference between the HP507 and the LX15 - it's not just the cabinet appearance. The speakers seemed to be of better quality and are oriented differently. If money was not a huge factor, I'd take the LX15, for sure.
Posted by: BigKens

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/25/13 03:37 PM

@Marco M

I didn't mean to suggest that having the "flagship" or "top of the line" model was a feature in and of itself. I was just trying to say that Roland probably makes a higher profit margin on this unit because it's the top of the line upright model and they can get away with it. This fact might account for some of the extra cost over the HP-507. I probably could have been more clear smile

In any case, thanks for your comments. I'll take another trip to my local piano store to see if there is an audible difference between the HP-507 and the LX-15. For an extra $2000, there had better be!
Posted by: BigKens

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/25/13 03:45 PM

@ando

I'm hoping that I'll be able to hear the noticeable difference between the HP-507 and the LX-15. Either one is within my budget, but I'm going to try them both again in the store just to make sure before spending the extra money.
Posted by: personne

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/25/13 07:51 PM

Originally Posted By: BigKens
This will be my first digital piano and I want to make sure that I make the right choice, particularly since the Roland LX-15 is very pricey here in Canada (~$6400).


$6400 for LX-15 seems unrealistically high to me.
Where in Canada are you?
Even without bargaining you should be able to find it $500 cheaper, and I believe if make an offer you can buy even cheaper.
Posted by: BigKens

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/25/13 10:25 PM

@personne

I'm in Ottawa. I've checked all around town and in Montreal, as well. It was $6400 for the LX-15, matching bench, delivery, setup and the normal 5 year warranty on parts and labour.

Do you know of anywhere in Toronto it would be available for cheaper? I know it's cheaper in the US, but by the time you factor in delivery and duty it's not any better.
Posted by: personne

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/26/13 07:38 PM

I cannot say right now as prices may vary during the year.

What I noticed in Toronto & GTA - often one price tag is one the piano, but they have other discounted price tag / list.

So I would try to check at first at local stores and try to negotiate the price.

In Toronto & area Robert Lowrey, The Piano Studio in Newmarket and probably Telep have Roland pianos.
Only Robert Lowrey though will tell you the price over the phone.
Few hundreds may not worth the trip to you.
Posted by: EssBrace

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/27/13 08:35 AM

BigKens - don't make this decision until you've played a Yamaha NU1 (or N1) or Kawai CS10 (if it is available in Canada). I saw the LX-15 just the other day. There's something, oh I don't know, cheap about it - the cabinet I mean. Just something indefinable but to my eyes inferior to the Yamaha NU1. And a plastic DP action - at that price?! Try the alternatives first...
Posted by: PianoWorksATL

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/27/13 09:34 AM

[quote=EssBraceThere's something, oh I don't know, cheap about it - the cabinet I mean. [/quote] That's a prickly swipe at the OP's choice there EssBrace. The OP posted about other models already and intention to try the NU1.

I think the NU1 is a very good product, but is there inherent advantage of a modified upright action in the same way as the N2 or N3 with grand action and TRS?
Posted by: EssBrace

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/27/13 02:00 PM

I don't think that was prickly. But whilst he mentioned NU1 (he said he was curious about that and N1) he says he's pretty much decided. Well, has he tried N1/NU1 or not? His original post suggests he hasn't. He's tried "high end" Yamahas but clearly not those. The NU1 and the Avant Grand pianos have different sound engines and actions to high end Clavinovas so they are worth trying before spending $6400 surely? I'm only saying he should try them before deciding. I don't think there's an advantage in the upright action of the NU1 over the Avant Grand series. But the NU1 has newer samples and is a really nice looking little piano. The N1 has a grand piano action in it but maybe isn't such a good looking thing.
Posted by: BigKens

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/28/13 11:55 AM

@personne

I checked with Roland dealers around Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto. While prices vary slightly, the biggest difference is the delivery cost. I'll try to negotiate with the store here and get the best price possible.
Posted by: BigKens

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/28/13 12:07 PM

@EssBrace

After further consideration, I decided that I'm just not a big fan of the styling of the Yamaha AvantGrand N1. I think it's mostly due to the lower portion of the back that is completely open except for the supports that attach to the pedals. The aesthetics of the N2 and N3 are better, but both of those are beyond my budget at this point.

I have to say I disagree that the LX-15 looks cheap. In fact, I think it looks very nice, though as with most pianos, I'm sure it's a fingerprint magnet.
Posted by: BigKens

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/28/13 12:31 PM

@PianoWorksATL

Unfortunately I couldn't find a place to try the NU1 nearby. From what I understand from other posts on this forum, it's still an upright action, much like the LX-15?

The LX-15 also has 6 speakers to the NU1's 2 speakers, so there may be an advantage in sound quality for people like me who will be using headphones only occasionally.
Posted by: BigKens

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/28/13 01:31 PM

@EssBrace

No offence taken smile Choosing a piano is inherently subjective and based on personal preferences.

I find it a bit curious that you like the looks of the NU1 but not the LX-15? They look quite similar, in my opinion, and I like the looks of both quite a bit.

Although the grand key action would be nice, I am no longer considering the AvantGrand N1 due to looks and the additional cost.
Posted by: EssBrace

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/28/13 02:43 PM

I don't object to the look of the Roland at all, it's very nice - but when I studied one at close quarters it just looked a little bit flimsy. It gave me the impression of being more about look than substance.
Posted by: enzo.sandrolini

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/28/13 02:43 PM

Originally Posted By: BigKens
From what I understand from other posts on this forum, it's still an upright action, much like the LX-15?

Absolutly not, the action are really different
I have owned a Roland with PHA3 action (same as in LX-15) and now I have a NU1
The Roland action is really good, but the NU1 action is a real piano action, the are not comparable.
By the way, you may like the Roland action,and even prefer it other the NU1, it only a matter of taste
I would say that it is really "harder" to play on the NU1 which requires same skills and technics than for a real upright piano
If you prefer "easier" and lighter action, then the Roland is your choice.

Originally Posted By: BigKens

The LX-15 also has 6 speakers to the NU1's 2 speakers, so there may be an advantage in sound quality for people like me who will be using headphones only occasionally.


That is probably right, but I can say that the sound system of the NU1 is pretty good (LX-15 is proably even better, but I have not tested it)
Posted by: spanishbuddha

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/28/13 03:01 PM

The NU1 has four speakers. Two woofers, two tweeters. Just saying.
Posted by: BigKens

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/28/13 06:09 PM

@enzo.sandrolini

That's good to know - thanks!
Posted by: BigKens

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/28/13 06:13 PM

@spanishbuddha

Oops - must have misread the specifications sheet. Thanks for the correction!
Posted by: PianoWorksATL

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/28/13 11:28 PM

Both are essentially higher quality but niche products, so personal fit is key to your evaluation. I could provide a list of pros/cons but its better to match your wants than to compare.

How do you feel about the primary piano sound?
They styles seem similar...is there an important detail we are missing?
Are more sounds a bonus or central to your use? (NU1 has just 5 tones)

The NU1 is low-service but not no-service. For daily use, re-regulation would be after 1 year and then every 2-4 years based on other Yamaha uprights. It certainly works without regulation, but you lose the realistic response and connection to the sample, giving funny results. I've seen it on their Silent pianos.

Actually, a product you might want to consider is a Yamaha B1 Silent.
Posted by: Amaruk

Re: Roland LX-15 - 04/29/13 09:45 PM

Originally Posted By: BigKens
You are absolutely right that the HP-507 is the more economical choice. After comparing the two a little more closely, I think the premium paid for the LX-15 goes towards the additional speakers, adjustable top lid, upgraded cabinet and having the "top of the line" upright model. Did I miss anything?

That said, the piano I end up getting will be in a focal point of my living room, so I think I'm okay with spending a bit extra.


I also agree that if LX-15 fits in your budget go for it. The adjustable top lid reflects/projects the sound in a very realistic way. The fallboard with its soft closing mechanism is also a great feature I think.

I am very happy with my LX-15 so far. I am surprised how well made the cabinet is and the sound is very realistic. One minor drawback. though, is that it is hard to play from a regular quality sheet of paper as it tends to bend when placed on the music rest. But if you place a regular piano book, or even a few more sheets of paper, under the sheet with the music the problem goes away.

Here is my latest recording on my LX-15:




Posted by: BigKens

Re: Roland LX-15 - 05/01/13 11:07 PM

@PianoWorksATL

I would agree that the primary piano sound is probably the most important, and I like the concert grand sound on the LX-15. It's interesting that the NU1 only has 5 tones (probably the most popular?), since the LX-15 has something ridiculous like ~350 tones. Although I probably wouldn't use all of them, that's a big difference.

Do you know if the NU1 has the adjustable "split piano" feature? This would allow me to use two different tones at the same time (i.e. an upright bass sound in the left hand, and a grand piano in the right). Does the NU1 have the twin piano mode (i.e. two 44-key pianos with 2 middle C's)? I couldn't find those features on the specs sheet.

Thanks very much for the tip about the re-regulation/servicing. I was not aware of that, which may be the biggest downside I've heard so far with the NU1, since one of the big draws of a digital piano is the zero maintenance aspect. However, perhaps the more authentic key action is worth it?

I took a look at the Yamaha B1 Silent - definitely a very neat product, although I'm not sure it's right for me. Thanks for the suggestion, though!
Posted by: BigKens

Re: Roland LX-15 - 05/01/13 11:20 PM

@Amaruk

It's great to hear positive feedback on the LX-15. The adjustable top lid affecting the tonal character of the notes is a really neat feature. Do you know what the difference is between this and using the piano designer "open/close lid" settings? What happens if you use them both at the same time? Does one override the other?

The problem with loose sheet music falling is one I've had with the old upright acoustic I used to play on. I usually just put an open, thin piano book behind it, too. Another solution is to buy a clear, acrylic sheet music holder. These are normally used for keep the pages on a music stand when playing outside, but it works great inside on a piano, too smile

Thanks for posting the recording - the piano looks and sounds great!
Posted by: CarloPiano

Re: Roland LX-15 - 05/02/13 03:28 AM

Originally Posted By: BigKens
Thanks very much for the tip about the re-regulation/servicing. I was not aware of that, which may be the biggest downside I've heard so far with the NU1, since one of the big draws of a digital piano is the zero maintenance aspect. However, perhaps the more authentic key action is worth it?


It's true that the action of an acoustic piano may be needed to be regulated every few years but you must have into account that digital piano actions are usually weaker and prone to break after a few years. How many years? It depends on how heavy is the use but it's very likely that in 5-10 years some keys become sticky or sunk. It also may appear additional noises as some parts of the action wear. This usually happens time after the warranty expired so we must pay the repair. In my humble opinion a real wooden action is more resistant than a digital one as it may needs a regulation but seldom breaks.

I'm not saying that to exclude the possibility of buying a digital one action instead of a real one. They have their place (of course) but I just wanted to clarify they are not zero maintenance smile
Posted by: spanishbuddha

Re: Roland LX-15 - 05/02/13 03:45 AM

Originally Posted By: BigKens


Do you know if the NU1 has the adjustable "split piano" feature? This would allow me to use two different tones at the same time (i.e. an upright bass sound in the left hand, and a grand piano in the right). Does the NU1 have the twin piano mode (i.e. two 44-key pianos with 2 middle C's)? I couldn't find those features on the specs sheet.


No layering or splitting with the NU1. Just the 5 tones, 2 usable piano, 1 harps, 2 useless EP. Very little tone adjustment, but can vary touch and also transpose. So in comparison is it worth it. You have to play for yourself and decide, it's a shoot out between PHAIII and the NU1 keys and SN versus Yamaha samples. If you just want piano practice the NU1 might be better, since as others have noted elsewhere it can be a beast to control, just like an acoustic upright.

I had not heard the requirement for NU1 regulation after one year. I would like to know the source. AFAICT it's the same as an acoustic, and depending on use may need regulating for wear after several years. This is a false comparison factor IMHO.
Posted by: PianoWorksATL

Re: Roland LX-15 - 05/02/13 03:50 AM

Originally Posted By: CarloPiano
It's true that the action of a piano may be needed to be regulated every few years but you must have into account that digital piano actions are usually weaker and prone to break after a few years. How many years? It depends on how heavy is the use but it's very likely that in 5-10 years some keys become sticky or sunk. It also may appear additional noises as some parts of the action wear. This usually happens time after the warranty expired so we must pay the repair. In my humble opinion a real wooden action is more resistant than a digital one as it may needs a regulation but seldom breaks.
In regards to higher end digital actions like those from Roland, Yamaha & Kawai, this does not follow the reality. They don't really break or need service unless it is early (and under warranty). Aside from some isolated manufacturing issues, the digital action is much more simpler with less to break. Wood has nothing to do with that. Wood is great, but complexity is what requires service (along with use of leather and felt).

Lower-end products have lower expectations and the portable models take a beating, but I remember a recent piano teacher asking for help with her Roland. It was 13 years old and used for 5+ hrs/day x 5-6 days per week. She had a tech come out to her home and service it for a grand total of $135. Then it was back to 100%. That was very reassuring.

When looking over the specs of the NU1, I do not see anything that references split tones as an option.

In the LX-15, there is an excess of GM and other tones, with most people using only a few. Of my favorites from my digital, only 1-2 would be among the 5 most popular. Still, over 80% of the time, I'm using just the piano sound.
Posted by: PianoWorksATL

Re: Roland LX-15 - 05/02/13 03:59 AM

Originally Posted By: spanishbuddha
I had not heard the requirement for NU1 regulation after one year. I would like to know the source.
I made the comment based on what real piano actions need. The felts & leathers used compress the most during the first year of use and "seasons". It is common among manufacturer recommendations for piano ownership. It doesn't break or anything like that, but the tendency to not service them leads to a faster dissatisfaction with the product as it loses responsiveness and solid feel. A proper service plan leads to greater overall satisfaction, though most salespeople are known to minimize service requirements. It's too bad how often this negatively affects acoustic pianos that also require tuning & voicing.

It matters.
Posted by: CarloPiano

Re: Roland LX-15 - 05/02/13 04:55 AM

Originally Posted By: PianoWorksATL
In regards to higher end digital actions like those from Roland, Yamaha & Kawai, this does not follow the reality. They don't really break or need service unless it is early (and under warranty). Aside from some isolated manufacturing issues, the digital action is much more simpler with less to break. Wood has nothing to do with that. Wood is great, but complexity is what requires service (along with use of leather and felt).


This follows your reality - but not mine (every experience can be different one from another, I maybe was unlucky). My experience with digital piano actions is the following:

[I edited my message as long as don't feel the need to bore people with the detailed experiences I had with DP's, one mine and several from friends and other places. Also a simple youtube search for "clavinova repair" or "clavinova sticky keys" is enough to see that a DP action failure is such a common thing given the time]

In my opinion the durability of a digital piano action depends on the intensity of the use. A DP in home of an amateur who plays a minutes a day and a not demanding repertoire may last ages. A DP in home of a professional pianist or advanced student practicing several hours a day demanding pieces, exercises and etudes is more likely to start failing in some years.
Posted by: BigKens

Re: Roland LX-15 - 05/10/13 04:53 PM

I just wanted to provide an update, since it's been a little while. I had the chance to try out the LX-15 one last time in the store, and I just loved playing on it so much that I decided that I wasn't going to second-guess my decision any longer and I ended up purchasing it right there.

The store only had the floor model left, but thankfully some extra brand new units were available in Toronto, so the LX-15 was delivered to my house just a few days ago! I managed to negotiate them down quite a bit from the sticker price, since I came armed with a few other quotes from stores in Montreal and Toronto. I was fortunate that they were willing to price match, rather than potentially lose the sale.

I wanted to thank everyone on these forums for all of the input and honest opinions and feedback. It definitely helped me make/reaffirm my decision.
Posted by: pv88

Re: Roland LX-15 - 05/10/13 05:03 PM

@BigKens,

Congratulations on your purchase!

As you now have one of the best Roland's available in the upright style models which has some of the same modeling parameters from the V-Piano, and, being a V-Piano owner myself the LX-15 should be a great digital to play. I almost considered buying one prior to getting the V-Piano.

The action, sounds, and speaker projection, should be excellent in the LX-15.
Posted by: Marco M

Re: Roland LX-15 - 05/10/13 05:40 PM

Congratulations! Enjoy! And come back in a couple of weeks to tell us about your experience!
Posted by: PianoWorksATL

Re: Roland LX-15 - 05/10/13 08:42 PM

Originally Posted By: BigKens
...and I just loved playing on it so much....
Loving an instrument is the trump card when weighing a decision. Congrats & best to you.