Love this keyboard as I do, it could definitely do with a more friendly user interface. Although the LCD screen is pretty decent size, there's a huge number of instruments (at least 450) and wide range of "tweaking" options, and it's often hard to nagivate through them. There should really be some sort of scroll wheel, like on the Ipod. At the very least, there should be a numeric keypad! Also, I think there should be a way to have the keyboard "remember" certain combinations of instruments (you can have a max of 4 playing at a time) and/or rhythms. There should also be a way to define certain buttons as a particular instrument. For example, the only way to access the cello sound is to first hit "Number Lock," then remember which number it is (something like 466). If you then switch to a new instrument, you have to start all over again. Again, for my purposes (mostly playing with just one or two different kinds of pianos), it's plenty sufficient. I just think Roland can do a lot better!
As I play mostly classical piano, great sound quality was vital to me. I believe the sound quality on this instrument is outstanding. It is for all the world like playing on a real piano (especially if--as I recommend--you invest in excellent speakers like the KRK V4s, or even a decent pair of headphones). What is especially nice about the Roland keyboard (unlike any others in its class) is that it has a "Depth" (i.e., reverb) knob right on the keyboard--very helpful for fine-tuning. (Other instruments make you hunt through endless and confusing menus to make the same adjustment.) My main gripes as far as sound issues are that (1) there is no soft or "middle" pedals); and (2) due to an apparent software glitch, whenever you switch instruments (e.g., from piano to organ), the volume automatically defaults to the highest setting, instead of staying at the existing volume level. This gets vexing if you forget to adjust the volume between instrument changes. Overall, though, the sound quality of the pianos is brilliant (esp. the first two), with great dynamic control due to (1) the weighted keyboard and (2) the ability to open and close the piano "lid" for the first two pianos. The other instruments also sound good to me, but I don't feel as qualified to rate them. Overall, I'm very happy and feel it's worth every penny!
I bought mine from Guitar Center (love their price-matching!) a couple months ago and so far have had no problems.
The only way I can describe this keyboard (and justify the expense to my bewildered friends) is that it's like going from a box of 8 crayons to a box of 64. The dynamic range and feel of the keyboard is just breathtaking. Overall, dispite my quibbles above, I recommend it highly. Having spent untold hours testing all the keyboards at my local Guitar Center, I'm totally convinced it's the best keyboard on the market, especially for someone who is really into classical music like me. Frankly the only thing that would be better than my setup (with the KRK V4s) would be playing a Steinway on stage.
Originally posted on FutureProducers.com
Posted by: Bach_in_Brooklyn (January 2-, 2005)