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Roland RD700, sound, touch, what do u think?


Superbobus

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Originally posted by Superbobus:

A friend of mine wants to buy a Roland RD700 stage piano but he wants to know how I think about it. Today the local music store was closed so I'm asking you guys out here? How are the piano sounds, Rhodes, Hammond and clavinet and how is the action?

You don't like it because the velocity-switching is too obvious, particularly on the Rhodes patches. You like the Yamaha P120 better for acoustic piano and rhodes sounds, particularly Rhodes, which is far superior on the P120. You think feel is a personal choice, and that the RD700 has a pretty good keybed, then again, so does the P120. You find the RD700 perhaps more roadworthy, but on the other hand, it's bigger and heavier. The P120 is roadworthy enough for most gigs, if taken care of. You recommend he tries the Yamaha P120 before ordering an RD700.
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In my view the RD700 is the best 88 note hammer action board in the price rang. Not only does it feel more like a real piano than anything I have tried, the keys are not as noisy as most units. Not as much audible thump as you get with a Yamaha. People debate on which sounds the best, Roland RD700 or Yamaha P200. I gues it depends on the user. The Roland does have an expansion port and their keybards are very road worthy. After much debate I filly narrowed my choices down between Roland RD700, Yamaha P120 and a StudioLogic 880 controller. Despite the potential problems I settled on a StudioLogic because once it arrives the unit will never leave my studio, and I already have the 64meg Roland piano card in a XV-5080. If not for that it would be P120 for home or RD700 for gigs.

 

Robert

 

Edit - like I said, typos.

This post edited for speling.
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Here's my take. I own an RD-700. I chose it primarily as a weighted key controller, but have grown to appreciate many of the other aspects of the keyboard.

 

In truth it is more of a hybrid between a preset PCM-synth and a digital piano.

 

ACTION: I prefer the Yamaha and Roland weighted actions to nearly everything else out there. I particularly like the RD-700 which has a very nice balanced feel to it. I actually "traded down" from an XV-88 because of the action. Other actions, including the MP9000 and the Yamahas feel rougher--as though you can feel parts of the action rubbing against each other. I still would prefer a much heavier action, but that doesn't seem possible short of the Yamaha Disclavier grands.

 

AC PIANO: The acoustic pianos are fine. I'm spoiled in that I use GigaStudio pianos primarily, so I'm not knocked out by any of the ROM-based pianos. Roland does include a string resonance FX (pedal down simulation) which is usable. I use the RD pianos every day, I just don't record them.

 

RHODES: The Rhodes pianos have never been a strong suit for Roland, IMHO. But there are several to choose from so maybe he can find one to his liking.

 

HAMMOND: Interesting approach. You can choose from an assortment of PCM B3 and other organs taken from the Roland library. There is also a mode, like the Kurzweil KB3 mode, where the four faders can be used to control the drawbars. With only four faders you have to toggle between the higher and lower four sets, but if you leave the bottom set to 888800000 you can use the faders to control the top four drawbars, bringing in and out the bright drawbars. Also, the pitch lever turns into a Leslie fast/slow toggle, making it closer to the feel of the standard Leslie switch.

 

CLAVINET: OK, no better or worse than others, IMHO. While sampled clavs sound like the real thing, they never play like the real thing to me. I use the clavs on the OASYS which pop out in a way that sampled clavs don't.

 

OTHER SOUNDS: The RD-700 comes with something like 190 sounds, plus GM, plus rhythm sets. So all of your bases are covered. It sounds like this might be this person's only keyboard so this could be highly beneficial. IMHO, Roland significantly improved the sound quality of their PCM synths with the XV series. When comparing XV to JV, the same samples sound cleaner, with a more transparent high end. Many sounds are also punchier and percussive sounds simply more percussive. The SRV reverb also helps. I think the new Roland synths approach/match Kurzweil in sound quality. Kurzweils are maybe smoother while the Rolands might sound a bit more transparent/cleaner. Both use quality reverbs which helps. Yamaha, Korg and the others still have a somewhat of a 16-bit sound to them. The RD is also expandable via the SRV boards.

 

RHYTHM PATTERNS: At first I thought this was kind of cheezy, but I've really grown to love this capability.

The RD has 85 rhythm patterns patterns, each of which have a primary and alternate style. What's really nice is that, unlike a drum machine, these patterns go for many measures before they repeat (in fact I'm not sure if they ever do repeat or they change randomly). The styles are to my liking as well: 14 swing/jazz (including 3/4, 5/4, 6/8, 7/4, free jazz), plenty of rock, fusion, pop, R&B, latin, progressive styles. Only one house and one techno. To Roland's credit they figured someone who is buying a piano is more likely going to be interested in traditional rhythm styles vs. the HIP beats found in nearly every drum machine out there. I just find it great to be able to practice or work through a song idea with some usable drum patterns that don't repeat every 2/4 measures.

 

OTHER THINGS: Splits and layers are easy. It has an arpeggiator with 45 styles. Nice build quality.

 

WHAT I DON'T LIKE: The pitch/mod wheel is old-style Roland. You really have to push the mod wheel to get it to react and then it's more of a switch. I wish the sounds were more editable. There is no user preset memory. You make changes to setups. I'm probably less critical of the bread and butter sounds than some, as I prefer to use GigaStudio, real analogs and soft synths when I'm getting serious.

 

CONCLUSION: Roland made some nice additions to the standard stage piano approach. It still remains a fairly simple instrument to operate (push one button and you're back to your favorite piano) and shouldn't put off anyone who is generally intimidated by synths.

 

Busch.

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You don't like it because the velocity-switching is too obvious, particularly on the Rhodes patches. You like the Yamaha P120 better for acoustic piano and rhodes sounds, particularly Rhodes, which is far superior on the P120. You think feel is a personal choice, and that the RD700 has a pretty good keybed, then again, so does the P120. You find the RD700 perhaps more roadworthy, but on the other hand, it's bigger and heavier. The P120 is roadworthy enough for most gigs, if taken care of. You recommend he tries the Yamaha P120 before ordering an RD700.
Whoa, did I say I didn't like the RD700? I didn't say that! I didn't try it because the P120 knocked me off my socks, it's more compact and lighter and it's about two third of the price of the RD700. I tried the RD150 though and this one feels (and is) way cheap. My friend tried the P120 but he liked the RD700 more and he wants to know how I will like it. BTW, I'm gonna buy a flightcase for the P120.

http://www.bobwijnen.nl

 

Hipness is not a state of mind, it's a fact of life.

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Originally posted by Superbobus:

Whoa, did I say I didn't like the RD700? I didn't say that! I didn't try it because the P120 knocked me off my socks, it's more compact and lighter and it's about two third of the price of the RD700. I tried the RD150 though and this one feels (and is) way cheap. My friend tried the P120 but he liked the RD700 more and he wants to know how I will like it. BTW, I'm gonna buy a flightcase for the P120.

Sorry, SuperBobus, I was just poking a bit of fun at the way you worded your original question. It was meant in a 'friendly ripping' kind of way :D , like one of those Dean Martin Roasts Sammy Davis Jr kind of things.

 

But to get back on topic, I agree, I don't see why the P120 in a road case couldn't be as roadworthy as an RD700, but in truth, noone can really say whether either one of them are truly roadworthy because they haven't been around long enough. The proof will to compare a pair of them after they've been on the road a couple of years, and see how they both hold up. That cheesy plastic wood grain stuff they slapped onto the P120 is not the best looking thing to take on stage, but what the hell, most people won't see it anyway. And a standard removable AC cable would have been nice instead of the lump-in-the-middle wall-wart, but at least the P120 delivers where it counts, in sound and feel. And it's way cheaper than the RD700 as well.

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Sorry, SuperBobus, I was just poking a bit of fun at the way you worded your original question. It was meant in a 'friendly ripping' kind of way , like one of those Dean Martin Roasts Sammy Davis Jr kind of things.

Ay okay. Like Sinatra to Sammy Davis: "Just smile so I can see where you are." Ohhh, mama...

http://www.bobwijnen.nl

 

Hipness is not a state of mind, it's a fact of life.

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I too went for the RD700 with the SRX-02 expansion card for a really good solo piano sound. However, I also liked the Yam 120 a lot and it was a close thing. RD700 has a lot more stuff for the giging musician - drums useful, lots of sounds, expandability. Quite like the e pianos, and some good ones available on expansion card they tell me.

 

ps for giging, don't underestimate the amount you will have to invest to get a really clean amplified sound. I am not sure I am there, bought mackie pa speakers and a 300Watt amp. Some discussion on how to get the same sound as I hear on the phones would be useful. I have zeroed out the progressive hammer action param so that the top notes are not so lound.

 

Jo

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Burning wrote:

 

RHODES: The Rhodes pianos have never been a strong suit for Roland, IMHO. But there are several to choose from so maybe he can find one to his liking.

 

-------------------------------------

What? The 1080-card k-from 60-70 has been the most used/popular sounds for years now.

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Superbobus

Senior Member

Member # 24888

 

posted 04-09-2002 07:29 AM

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Most popular, yes. But is it also the best? I don't think so, IMHO. If most popular means best then Windows would be the best, read: most stable, user friendly and fast, OS and McDonald's would be health foord...

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You cannot compare those things.

 

People like the 60-70-rhodes from what they hear.

I can see why it's popular. Warm sounding, perfect in a mix.

 

Poelo

 

Poelo

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I'm going to throw my hat in with Super on this one, I think that the Roland EP's in general are weak, and I wouldn't feature them in a song, although they may sound OK buried in a mix. This is just my opinion but the popularity of that card probably has to do more with the fact that it was one of the few expansions for classic pianos available at the time it came out right up until very recently.

 

-Casey

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Originally posted by Poelo:

Burning wrote:

 

RHODES: The Rhodes pianos have never been a strong suit for Roland, IMHO. But there are several to choose from so maybe he can find one to his liking.

 

-------------------------------------

What? The 1080-card k-from 60-70 has been the most used/popular sounds for years now.

Let me clarify. I should have said: "Currently, the Rhodes piano is not a strong suit for Roland, IMHO." When the first RD pianos came out in the 1980s using SA synthesis, the Rhodes emulation was excellent in comparison to the competition at that time. The 60-70s card provided a wider variety of Rhodes pacthes than could be found on any other synth. I used to own that card and thought "Touch Rhodes" (I believe) was nice. But in comparison to the Rhodes on the Kurzweil PC2X series and newer Yamahas, the current crop of Rhodes patches from Roland fall short. They lack balls. The bass is timid and I find myself playing exceptionally hard in order to try to get it to bark, problem being is it doesn't want to bark. In contrast, playing either the Kurz or the Yamaha is a lot more fun as they respond much more like the real thing. As you pointed out, in a mix the Roland pianos blend nicely. I would agree. For that purpose the RD Rhodes are perfectly adequate. The best that I've heard from Roland is the "StudioRhodes" found on the Studio SRX card.

 

Busch.

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IMHO of the RD-700

 

TOUCH - a little too bouncy for me.

 

WEIGHT - quite lightweight compared to the P-200.

 

B3 - burningbusch made the point it has like a kurzweil KB3 mode. that's where the similarities end. the RD-700 organ sounds are cheap and nasty, that's if you're after a good b3 emulator. bit of a hypocrite i am though, seeing i just used an xp-50 on an album........compared to the kurzweil, they sound a bit wanting.

 

RHODES - i searched in vain on sunday trying to find a decent rhodes sound for church. even the ones i edited to the ground were not good enough.

 

OTHER - i do like the arpeggiator though. if your friend was after just a state piano+, yeah it's good, although i would like to go the extra mile and say get a PC2X. i would but there's a thing called wedding debt......oh yeah, it's my wife & i's one year anniversary this sunday :) i think we will give church a miss this sunday night :eek::love:

 

pray for peace,

kendall

"Consider how much coffee you're drinking - it's probably not enough."
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Still I think most popular is not the same as the best.. And yes Casey, it's really a thing from this time that velocity switch on Rhodes emulators is not there anymore. I think I will tell my friend to go for the XV88. He's going for the Roland sound and the XV88 is offering a lot more (I mean, the new board is gonna be his workhorse).

http://www.bobwijnen.nl

 

Hipness is not a state of mind, it's a fact of life.

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Originally posted by Superbobus:

Still I think most popular is not the same as the best.. And yes Casey, it's really a thing from this time that velocity switch on Rhodes emulators is not there anymore. I think I will tell my friend to go for the XV88. He's going for the Roland sound and the XV88 is offering a lot more (I mean, the new board is gonna be his workhorse).

I'm not sure what you mean about the velocity switch thing. Every single sample-based Rhodes emulator I've heard, from any manufacturer, that uses velocity-switching does a pretty bad job of it with a few very rare exceptions. And what I mean by that is that if you can hear the velocity-switch point, then they've done a bad job. You shouldn't be able to hear the switch point. Acoustic instruments don't velocity-switch! How bad a job they've done of it varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, and from model to model.

 

The most subtle job of velocity-switching I've heard on a sample-based rhodes emulator so far is the Nord Electro. If they ever get those top five notes fixed (bad sample), that thing will be the kind of the sample-based velocity-switching rhodes hill. Next best is the P120, in my opinion, and it's not perfect. I can hear the velocity-switch in the P120, but it's not too bad, so it only annoys me a little bit. As far as current sample-based technology goes, that seems to be about the best one can hope for: "what instrument annoys me the least?"

 

Every single Roland velocity-switched Rhodes (and acoustic piano for that matter) I've heard has been way too obvious, including the RD700 and XV88. This is just my opinion, of course. But if you're saying Roland does a good job of velocity-switching, on any product, I disagree. The same thing goes for all the velocity-switched acoustic pianos on the RD700 and XV88, you can clearly hear the switch points, they stick out like a sore thumb.

 

Just my (not so) humble opinion. :D

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Mr. Guestuser, I think you misunderstood me. I meant that it's great that the velocity switch is finally disappearing (almost) and that this thing is something from last year. And the best part is, it's becoming better and better (GEM pro mega3?). Man, it's horrible when I play Rhodes samples from soft to loud that go dooo, dooo, dooo, daaaaah! If the RD700 is still doing this, than it's not for me!

http://www.bobwijnen.nl

 

Hipness is not a state of mind, it's a fact of life.

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Originally posted by Superbobus:

Mr. Guestuser, I think you misunderstood me. I meant that it's great that the velocity switch is finally disappearing (almost) and that this thing is something from last year. And the best part is, it's becoming better and better (GEM pro mega3?). Man, it's horrible when I play Rhodes samples from soft to loud that go dooo, dooo, dooo, daaaaah! If the RD700 is still doing this, than it's not for me!

Ok, I understand now, sorry.

 

Yes, I think manufacturers are finally trying to do a better job of velocity-switching, but they've got a long ways to go. I like to think I might have had a small part to play in that phenonenon. I've been bitching about bad velocity-switching now for years, every chance I get, to the point where I'm sure people get sick of hearing it from me, and for that I apologize to everyone, but someone has got to speak out against this, or it will never stop.

 

I mean, a few years ago, I used to read reviews of velocity-switched rhodes patches in Keyboard magazine where reviewers would say stuff like "the Rhodes on model XYZ has a satisfying velocity-switch. When you whack it, it sounds just like a whacked rhodes!"

 

And I would say to myself while I read this crap, "this reviewer must be guitar player, and not a piano player, because to my ears, the velocity switch on that model XYZ rhodes makes it sound like a cheap kid's toy".

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If this is going to be the main board he needs to make sure it has some controller functions. At least pitch and modulation. Sounds may seem old after a year, a good feeling and sturdy keyboard last a long time.

 

Robert

This post edited for speling.
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