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  • 1 month later...

I've watched several light stage piano videos in the past few months, including this one. I've owned an RD-88 for close to six weeks, and have spent a fair amount of time 'under the hood' - dialing in a couple pianos, and setting up several Scenes for a gig that happened last weekend.

 

What I like:

 

It's a light, relatively compact stage piano that does double duty as a 3-zone controller - for both internal and external sounds.

It has built-in speakers. That wasn't an absolute requirement, but it's a very useful feature.

The synth resources are extensive (3000+ core Tones), and interact within the Roland Z-Core environment. A handful of Tones I've created for the Fantom are in use within my RD.

The menu-based front panel editor is impressive, for a speakered stage piano - Tones, Scenes, control assignments and effects all well covered; lots of options for customizing patches.

The action feels good, and is much less fatiguing than that of other weighted keyboards I've owned.

Picth/Mod wheels, and assignable control knobs.

 

What I dislike:

 

The decay portion of acoustic piano Tones/Scenes is strangely shortened - especially in the high-mid range. Not in an 'I can't play this' way, but more in a 'Why on earth would they cut corners in that manner?' way. I definitely notice a difference from the SN and Zen-Core pianos in the Fantom and RD-2000. Granted, those are more expensive instruments; but still the

Yamaha P125 and Kawai ES110 - $700 and $800 respectively - have ample pianistic room in the decay portion of their envelopes. And the almost-direct competition (sans speakers, though), Kurzweil SP6 has the pianos nailed down.

 

The central user interface - display and navigation pad - is downright primitive; it's rather similar to that of the 1988 Roland U110. I like some things retro, but not that. I had hoped a software editor-librarian might be in the works, but in-the-know sources are indicating that type of further development for the RD-88 is highly unlikely. The tiny pushbuttons are very easy to make mistakes on. And using strictly increment/decrement buttons for data entry makes me wonder how they will stand up over time. Adding a simple encoder would have made a significant difference. Again, the competition's interface leaves the RD-88 behind.

 

The MIDI implementation is a little quirky. The 5-pin MIDI Out works fine, but MIDI over USB only seems to work with Mac/PC, vs iOS. I have to use a MIDI to USB adapter - Roland UM-1, Mark 2 - to communicate with an iPad. From what I understand, MIDI over USB works with Mac/PC, using drivers, but iOS appears to have no such provision. Meanwhile Casio has been providing class compliant USB connections for Mac, Pc and iOS for several years now.

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A couple of clarifications and updates:

 

I'm noticing today that the decay of the piano Scenes is not bothering me as much, especially when using the first piano Scene - with a slightly modified EQ. I did alter the System velocity setting to 'Heavy', with a slight curve sensitivity set toward 'Medium'. I'm starting to really like playing this piano; the initial touch and expressiveness are growing on me.

 

I left a message for a senior tech at Roland, who knows the RD-88. I want to find out more about USB-MIDI implementation, and if there are any updates on the way. Also am wondering if there's any way to assign a knob, at the System level, to send a MIDI CC for data increment/decrement; if not perhaps that could happen in an OS update.

 

I began to explore the '3000 Tones' in the manner that Piano Man Chuck recommended. I'm now in the middle of the EPs; wow, a lot more there than I first thought. Lots of inspiring sounds.

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

An update:

 

First, the USB-Midi connectivity problem has been resolved. It took a few different tries to hit upon the correct sequence for connection and power-up, plus swapping out a USB cable or two, but that connection finally works.

 

I've spent a little time on the Roland Clan Forums recently, posting some thoughts on the RD-2000/RD-88 forum. Got involved in a discussion with guy who had developed MidiDesigner Pro 2 Layouts for the RD-2000 and Jupiter-X/Xm. He decided to start creating a Layout for the RD-88; so it appears that within a few weeks we'll have a comprehensive editor for the instrument (Here's a link: http://forums.rolandclan.com/viewtopic.php?f=62&t=58229.) That should help shorten the time considerably for programming the RD-88 for gigging. Hopefully it'll help in understanding all of the control and routing capabilities under the hood. This is a surprisingly deep instrument, with a lot of expressive options; unfortunately the front panel interface for accessing that often requires multi-step digging around. And being limited to a few buttons and a tiny screen kinda takes the joy out of creative programming. As is, I'm now somewhat on the fence about this one, but we'll see how the MD P2 Layout helps alleviate the situation.

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'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Another update:

 

I took the RD-88 to a rehearsal this past week. Sometimes hearing a decent blend of the instruments/vocals was challenging - due to individual positioning in a large room (being socially distanced), but eventually I was able to achieve a balanced mix; that helped a lot in further evaluating the RD. Previously I'd used it on a gig in early October, where it was primarily used for piano.This time the RD-88 covered not only piano, but EP, pads and some backing tonewheel organ duties. I also had set up several split and layer Scenes, which came in handy. For simplicity I used only the RD this time.

 

Surprisingly, the group found the tonewheel organ coverage to be above average; and these folks are familiar with the dedicated organ models I've used. While I'd typically use my NS3, 76 for tonewheel and synth coverage for this style of music (americana, country-rock) - and place it above the RD-88, it's good to know the RD can hold its own in a 'lite' stage setup. I attribute that to the quality of the Zen-Core Tones and FX.

My core piano Scene nailed it, with a variety of songs; it held up well in both acoustic and dense mix settings. It's based on a slightly modified Tone, and I'm more than glad to share the programming here - either as a Zen-Core Tone file, or via a half-dozen front panel screen shots that were taken. The split and/or layer Scenes worked well; pad-organ, piano-strings, and organ/piano. It's good to have the volume knobs for each section front and center, as there were typical on-the-fly adjustments. While programming, I'd also experimented with using the assignable control sources for volume and filter controls on a pad-organ layer. I ended up with something closely resembling the morphing feature on the Nord Stage 3.

 

Feels like I've just gotten below the surface on this one; there's an awful lot going on inside the RD-88 that isn't immediately evident; 3000+ Tones and surprising editing depth, just to start. I have thought of doing some video tutorials, but considering the instrument's rather small, austere display - which has been a gripe of mine - written tutorials make much more sense. I'd hoped to see some posted from Roland by now; that hasn't happened. The RD-88 is usable, as-is (capable stage piano, additional sounds, built-in speakers), but if Roland created an iOS/Mac/PC editor-librarian for it (similar to that available for the VR-09/730) it would help a lot. There is one being independently developed for iOS users by a fellow member on the Roland Clan Forums (Using the MIDI Designer Pro 2 app), but not everyone has an iOS device, nor wants to purchase an additional $20+ app. If Roland did an editor/librarian and began providing useful tutorial support for the RD-88, it would engender more user loyalty and goodwill; also could boost interest and sales.

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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All in all good news! Anxiously awaiting that MDP2 editor :)

 

 

Same here! I haven't seen any further development of the MPD2 editor - beyond version 0.03 - from DesertBoat on the Roland Clan Forum. I know that in November he did a significant update on the MDP2 editor for the RD-2000.

Version 0.03 for the RD-88 does allow for selection of Scenes and individual Tones, just not more in-depth parameter adjustments. It does work well, though. Looking forward to version 0.04 and beyond. The RD-88 has a lot going for it, but that front panel screen/cursor setup is tedious; takes longer than neccessary to create user Scenes. Ed Diaz from Roland has suggested that I do individual Tone edits in the Roland Cloud-based Zen-Core editor; and that is helpful when editing factory Tones - which are common to Roland Cloud and the RD-88. But for editing Scenes and items specific to the RD-88 a dedicated editor will be a huge timesaver.

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Hi all, I've read all the threads and searched online, is there any update to RD88 receiving patch changes from MainStage? I'm getting frustrated, I bought the RD88 for its MainStage integration, yet I can't get MIDI program changes to change the RD88's local patches. I know this has been discussed with people reaching out to Roland, I just wondered if there's any update?

 

I just want to change the MainStage patch whilst in DAW control mode and, as well as having new setups in MainStage for each Patch/Set, have the MIDI program change command change local sounds to mix in as well.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Hi, just to let you know that I'm interested by any news on this topic as well. I'm amazed by the integration between the RD-88 and my Mac, and by how easy it is to mix outputs of programs on my Mac and sounds from the RD-88 (and get the result on the out jacks). But I've had a hard time sending a Program Change to the RD-88 when changing patch in MainStage. I've tried to investigate with MIDIMonitor, but not everything seems to me working smoothly. Let me explain what I did.

 

I started with DAW Ctrl OFF (no MainStage patches on the display of the RD-88). I wanted to send a scene change event from MainStage when changing patch. As suggested elsewhere, I created an "External MIDI" channel strip, configured it on the RD-88 interface, channel 16 (the same as on my board). On the "MIDI Output" tab of this strip, I tried to configure both the Send Bank Select (to MSB 85 and LSB 0 -- check the MIDI implementation chart) and the Program Change (to, say, 5), but this didn't seem to work, for reasons I couldn't figure out (the events did not show up in MIDIMonitor -- only on the RD-88 interface by the way... it did show up on a different MIDI interface). The only way I found to get my board change scene was to capture a small scene change event in Reaper, save it as a MID file, then choose this file as "Send MIDI File" on the "MIDI Output" tab. This way I can select a patch on MainStage and have it send a scene change event.

 

So far so good. This can still be useful, as it allows me to easily select a scene and whatever plugin patch on MainStage: the best of both worlds.

 

The downside is that, as soon as I tried to enable DAW CTRL integration (by pressing SHIFT [DAW CTRL]), it seemed the scene change event did not make it to the RD-88. It shows up on my MIDIMonitor, but the scene does not change. And I currently know no way to inspect MIDI messages received by the RD-88. I'm stuck... It would be really nice to make the most of this DAW CTRL integration.

 

Has anybody managed to do better? Please share your own experience.

 

By the way, I generated some MIDI files for all 400 scenes, if this can be of help to anyone: just let me know.

 

All the best,

Phil

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  • 1 month later...

Question for the rest of you RD-88 owners here. I suspect I have the answer already, but in case I missed something... Re the eight assignable, mulit-purpose knobs: It seems these largely benefit Mainstage users, in that the majority of choices are MIDI CC's that have no affect on internal sound-based Tones/Scenes. The remaining ones that do are in the 70s - Attack, Release, Cutoff, Resonance - plus the handful of pedal related options in the 60's. Otherwise the non-assignable knobs only control 'hardwired' parameters to delay/reverb and MFX (plus global EQ, compression, tone control..)

 

So no user choice of live, effects control per Scene, not one. And the few internal sound assignments vary wildly in application and usefulness - one being a Scene with MFX knob assigned to guitar cabinet choices; rather useless live, vs. something like OD dry/wet balance. All very limiting for those of us who might want to use our RD's as a stage instrument, without a notebook computer. Feels weird that my stage piano/synth is the most useable when paired with software instruments. And now that I have a gig that can also make use of those Zen-Core synths - along with the piano engine, it's a shame that those Tones are somewhat hobbled for even simple interactive live use. I think Roland has dropped the ball on this. Gonna take a lot more than 'bug fixes' in the next OS update to keep this keyboard in my stable.

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I agree that being able to assign the knobs to any internal or sound parameter would be a huge plus. I intended to use MainStage integration as my main rig but for live use the internal sounds are probably good enough in many cases, and leaving my Mac at home will make life much easier on the bandstand, but in that case I will miss the knobs.
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  • 9 months later...
On 12/4/2020 at 2:10 PM, allan_evett said:

...The RD-88 is usable, as-is (capable stage piano, additional sounds, built-in speakers), but if Roland created an iOS/Mac/PC editor-librarian for it (similar to that available for the VR-09/730) it would help a lot....

 

Amen to that, but I won't hold my breath...

 

Loving my RD-88 -- quite an upgrade over the FP-30 I had before -- but that little screen and inferior user interface* still grates on me...

 

........  * Seems that I "push more buttons" than keys some nights when I'm experimenting with other/new-to-me tones!  (scenes)

 

Old No7

Yamaha MODX6 * Hammond SK Pro 73 * Roland Fantom-08 * Crumar Mojo Pedals * Mackie Thump 12As * Tascam DP-24SD * JBL 305 MkIIs

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  • 1 year later...

I find the Clav sounds on this thing to be incredibly lame, the worst I've ever heard really. Odd for something that is a stage piano. Folks are saying there are some deep editing capabilities but wow, I've got to try and do that from the little screen?

 

Anyone else dug into sound editing and found a better way to get into it? 

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On 3/30/2023 at 5:17 PM, Greg Mein said:

I find the Clav sounds on this thing to be incredibly lame, the worst I've ever heard really. Odd for something that is a stage piano. Folks are saying there are some deep editing capabilities but wow, I've got to try and do that from the little screen?

 

Anyone else dug into sound editing and found a better way to get into it? 

 

There is no deep editing on the RD88. Only effects and scenes (i.e. split/layered combinations of tones, though you can include some tweaks there). For deeper editing (i.e. to edit the tones themselves), you have to use their zenology cloud service.

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I'm not an expert on Clav samples but some say the Classic Keys expansion EXZ011 which is the same as the SRX Electric Piano has good or better(?) Pianos and Clavs (different pickup settings). Both are available in Roland Cloud. 

 

As AnotherScott says the deep editing is done in Zenology but you can edit all the effect parameters from the RD88. The thing about the RD88 is that all the programs use the factory MFX setting - this ensures patches exported from Zenology have the correct effect when loaded back into the RD. However, I have found that the stock presets can be greatly improved by turning off "Follow MFX" and rolling your own. There are 90 to choose from including some aimed specifically at EPs like RD Amp Sim with adjustable Tremelo, Amp type, Speaker type and Drive. Even the fabled Juno 106 Chorus is in there. You will also find the VK Rotary with around 18 parameters for Drum, Horn and Drive. Although the some of the Organs in the EXZ008 Vintage Keys expansion have the Leslie baked in  and routed to the mod wheel - like the old Emu B3 module. 

 

Obviously, editing them on the RD88 is like trying to paint the hall through the letterbox, but all those effects are in Zenology. The mad thing about the RD88 is how many effects engines it has - at any one time you could apply MFX (90 types), IFX (90), Chorus/Delay (9), Reverb (7) plus EQs and Compression. It's far too complicated without an app - pity they don't release an app based on Zenology FX.

 

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On 3/31/2023 at 9:08 AM, ChazKeys said:

I'm not an expert on Clav samples but some say the Classic Keys expansion EXZ011 which is the same as the SRX Electric Piano has good or better(?) Pianos and Clavs (different pickup settings). Both are available in Roland Cloud.

 

This turned out to be the easy fix for me, found a couple that are way better. Thanks for the suggestion.

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  • 1 month later...
On 3/31/2023 at 9:23 AM, AnotherScott said:

 

There is no deep editing on the RD88. Only effects and scenes (i.e. split/layered combinations of tones, though you can include some tweaks there). For deeper editing (i.e. to edit the tones themselves), you have to use their zenology cloud service.

Is the Zenology editor not just a download and install?  Does it require an active cloud membership?  Or a membership and it runs in browser?  

Yamaha CP88, Casio PX-560

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