May 30

INTRODUCING THE ROLAND RD-64 DIGITAL PIANO

roland-rd-64-digital-piano

I find it facinating to watch what Roland and Yamaha are releasing currently, or rather what they are not. For me Yamaha have stopped producing any digital product that I find I can really get excited about and with Roland, whilst some of their new products have some good ideas, some of them fall short of expectations.

The RD-64 Digital Piano in my opinion is one such product. On the face of it, the idea of a portable lightweight piano with a good weighted action with more than 61 notes sounds very appealing at a price of just under £700.00.

ROLAND RD-64 DIGITAL PIANO DESIGN

As I have said on many occassions, 61 keys is not really enough but how many should there be, if you want that portability in length as well as weight? 73 does seem OK, but can you get away with less? I think you can as I have used 73 note keyboards for a number of years and rarely used the whole 73. with this being the case how much does Roland’s 64 note with three extra keys make a difference? Whilst I am delighted that the have moved upward from the usual 61, I would prefer anything in the range of 66 to 70 keys to feel it has made a significant difference.

The other crucial factor seems to be whether or not there should be any controls to the left of the keybed adding to the keyboard lenghth. Personally I think the answer to this question is a clear “No”, as the priority to have more keys and keep the lenghth to the smallest amount possible, should win over the placement of controls.

The RD-64 doesn’t appear to have been designed for its looks. To some extent that doesn’t bother me as much as its functionality,sound and playability which I feel are more important. It does look a bit boxy for a keyboard released in 2013 and I can’t see why it can’t have a bit more of that “Wow” factor. I think Roland could and should have done better here, but its slim features do mean that it will fit nicely in any studio or live setup where room is paramount. Its length is 1114 mm which is 43-7/8 inches and it weighs just 12.8 kg which is 28 lbs. 4 oz.

ROLAND RD-64 DIGITAL PIANO KEYBED

The keybed of the RD-64 is excellent and is the same keybed that they have used on their new A-88 keyboard controller. It is their ivory-feel G keybed and the 64 notes run from A to C. As I played the keybed, two things struck me, firstly there is not too much out there at this price to give a this balanced action but at the same time I really wished that they had used (on both the RD-64 and the A-88), the same keybed that they used on the Fantom G 88-note synth. It may well be that this would have increased the weight, but if cost was the only factor then I think it would have been very much worth paying the extra.

ROLAND RD-64 DIGITAL PIANO SOUNDS AND EFFECTS

Soundwise, the SuperNatural Grand piano is lovely and you do have access to a 2-band EQ to do a bit of tweaking. I was however a bit disappointed with the other sounds as well as the basic effects available. I really do not understand why Roland put this together in this way when they have such an arsenal of great sounds and effects at their disposal. Roland do not seem to sound very enthusiastic with their sales descriptions by simply saying – “A number of clav and organ sounds complete the collection of essential sounds that fit a wide range of music styles”. I am sorry but this does not encourage me to want to go out and buy it. From an  honesty perspective they are being very honest because this is exactly what they are – a number of clav and organ sounds – sorry Roland.

ROLAND RD-64 DIGITAL PIANO CONNECTIONS

roland-rd-64-digital-piano-connections

Around the back you have a good assortment of connections as you can see in the picture above. It is good to see sufficient foot controller inputs but this is a piano afterall.

CONCLUSION

I would not go as far as to say I dislike the RD-64 but the word is disappointed. Give us an up-to-date look, some better sounds and effects, 70 keys (and if you can the Fantom G 88 note keybed for the 70 keys) and most keyboard players looking for a portable keyboard to gig with will jump at it and pay the extra.

 

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