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#1205354 - 05/25/09 05:06 AM Played a Roland V Piano this weekend  
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theJourney Offline
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....and I really enjoyed it!

Great feel to the keyboard, like slicing warm butter with a knife. Very nice and realistic (or creative) sound, easy to make adjustments to create one's own piano, very powerful when hooked up to studio monitors. Solid case. 5500 euros and no place for a classical musician to put his music were the biggest drawbacks.

Can hardly wait until the third generation of this new direction for something weighing in at about half this price, then I would snap one up in a minute.

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#1205360 - 05/25/09 06:07 AM Re: Played a Roland V Piano this weekend [Re: theJourney]  
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Melodialworks Music Offline
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Nice.

The Manhasset M53 Desk Top Sheet Music Stand may be a solution.

http://www.musicstandsalone.com/product/US-M5301

Lawrence

#1205764 - 05/25/09 08:52 PM Re: Played a Roland V Piano this weekend [Re: theJourney]  
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Kawai James Offline
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theJourney,

I spent an hour or so play-testing a V-Piano a few weeks ago, and have to agree - the action is excellent, and incredibly playable...I could have easily sat there, hammering away at it all day, were it not for the diligent store clerk, doing her job and asking if I was okay. wink

The display model was actually surrounded by a tape 'fence', preventing casual passers-by from leaving unsightly finger marks on the instrument's sexy brushed metal cabinet. However, to compliment her once again, the store clerk noticed my interest and promptly detached the fence surround, pulled up a stool, and encouraged me to play. With service like that, how could I possibly refuse?

Despite the presence of monitor speakers, and a large amp/speaker box (which I believe is the official V-Piano unit), I chose to play using headphones.

The 'default' piano sound is very good, crisp and clear, with a very meaty bass, and bright treble. The modelling works extremely well, allowing a rich variety of expression for each velocity.

However, I have to say, I didn't actually like the piano sound. Very rich, yes, and certainly incredibly impressive. However, it felt somehow artificial; harsh, cold...sterile. I continued to play the instrument, cycling through the 28 or so piano presets, and experimenting with settings accessible via the panel interface. Yet when the store clerk returned for the fourth time, I decided that I had indeed heard enough - at least for one day.

Once again, I love the idea of this instrument - Roland should undoubtedly be praised for bringing it to the market. A digital piano that relies solely upon modelling algorithms to generate its sound is truly revolutionary, and as such, exactly what I expected from Roland. After all, unlike Yamaha and KAWAI, they do not manufacture acoustic piano instruments, and are therefore not tied to the same traditional baggage that arguably dictates a digital piano must utilise samples recorded from its acoustic namesake.

However, despite the terrific action and expressiveness of sound, I simply could not accept the lack of warmth in the tone. Of course, this is my purely subjective opinion, and based on just one hour of play-testing through headphones. Longer periods of time using monitor speakers and the dedicated speaker/amp unit may result in a gradual change of opinion as my ears learn to accept the unique character of this new sound.

To return to the store clerk once again, despite doing a wonderful job in enticing me to play the instrument, and returning at regular intervals to monitor my progress, I was a little disappointed by her slightly limited knowledge about the V-Piano. Querying the differences between the new PHAIII action and the previous PHAII version used in the RD-700GX on the opposite wall, she was unable to offer a clear indication of the improvements and potential benefits. I also asked about the 'Ivory Feel' key surfaces, which to my fingers, felt slightly more textured than on previous Roland instruments. Okay, perhaps I am doing her a disservice - these are rather tricky questions, and perhaps a little more challenging than the store clerks are used to dealing with.

One final point - the V-Piano is absolutely huge! Bigger than even some of the MP prototypes that I have seen. I'd love to have a peak inside to find out what kind of hardware is being used to generate the modelled sound, however given the considerable expense of this brand new instrument, I seriously doubt anyone would be terribly keen to take it to pieces... just yet!

Cheers,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.
#1205809 - 05/25/09 10:20 PM Re: Played a Roland V Piano this weekend [Re: Kawai James]  
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Thanks for that review... very interesting!

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#1205854 - 05/26/09 12:09 AM Re: Played a Roland V Piano this weekend [Re: Jules85]  
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James, I have to agree on your misgiving about the sound as an occasional nagging thought that it sometimes is not sounding exactly like an acoustic instrument on the V Piano. I enjoy playing through Piano*Teq and get this same feeling from time to time. One must bear in mind of course that it is possible to model pianos that do not exist or cannot exist in the real world simulating strings that are long enough to stretch across the street or exotic materials for the string/hammers or particularly live or dry cross resonance, etc.

I am curious how you would rate the MP8II, RD700GX and V Piano side by side. In my experience, the artificial sound that screams "not a real piano" is most pronounced by the MP8/CA series, but then for different reasons than on the V Piano.

My salesman seemed to have been more knowledgeable as he had just attended a multi-day workshop from Roland on the instrument which had only arrived two days ago. There were some Spanish tourists in the store who were going absolutely ga ga about it and he was literally having to physically pry people off of it.

I didn't ask as in depth questions as you have but did understand that the PHAIII keyboard has improved the realism of the escapement feature and in the key bounce back which contribute to its authentic feel and playability.

I too was surprised at the size of this thing. It makes a chunky Kawai MP8-II look like a compact instrument! Why on earth does it need to be so big if Piano*Teq fits into Virtual Space and can be downloaded over the internet?

You make an interesting point about Roland vis-a-vis Yamaha/Kawai and their freedom to do what sounds best or works best rather than being tied to essentially playing recordings of the acoustic instruments they are trying to sell. However, this is not specific to the V Piano and was the case from Roland previously.

This month's Pianowereld magazine reported on the extremely disappointing role that pianos played at the recent Musik Messe. The only real news they felt was really exciting was the announcement of Roland's V Piano (modeling sound) and Yamaha's Avant Gard N3 "Hybrid" (enriching kinesthetic feedback for player). Personally I would like to see features of both in an "ultimate acoustic displacer" instrument. Perhaps Kawai can come up with something to beat both at their game.

When can we expect to see this kind of exciting innovation emerging from Kawai?

#1205862 - 05/26/09 12:34 AM Re: Played a Roland V Piano this weekend [Re: theJourney]  
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Lucky! I wonder if any stores in my area will carry it (I'm guessing it's too high-end-piano for Guitar Center).


Now: RD-700NX
Someday: Steinway concert grand :|
#1205994 - 05/26/09 09:27 AM Re: Played a Roland V Piano this weekend [Re: 7even]  
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Hi,

In one of the first v-piano videos the reviewer seemed to say that with pha 3 you now can reach the escapment point and still get a sound if you push firmly enough. Have you noticed or tested this ? As on a real piano is it possible to repeat a note withouth dampening it first ?

#1206448 - 05/26/09 10:54 PM Re: Played a Roland V Piano this weekend [Re: sieg66]  
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Kawai James Offline
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theJourney, I'm wondering if the new PHAIII action is considerably longer/taller than the previous PHAII version, thus contributing to the V-Piano's size. I seriously doubt that tone generating hardware is the only thing occupying this large space. While I love the retro design of the V-Piano, the size is prohibitory, and a definite step backwards compared to the relatively compact RD-700GX.

Personally (i.e. the following opinions are not influenced by my employers), I was extremely excited to see the progress that both Roland and Yamaha have made with their respective V-Piano and Avant Grand instruments. Their desire to advance digital piano technology is to be applauded, however I honestly wonder if - given the current economic downturn - now is the right time for such expensive models?

If we take the computer industry as an example, the focus in 2009 has been on low cost, low energy netbooks that meet the needs of most consumers. Relating this back to the digital piano sector, up until now Casio has been the only manufacturer to offer extremely low cost piano instruments, that offer a perfectly adequate playing experience. However, I would be rather surprised if we don't see other manufacturers launching similarly budget priced instruments in the near future. Yet just because they are cheap, it does not necessarily mean that they will sound terrible. PC-based instruments, powered by inexpensive Intel Atom CPUs will surely arrive in the coming years (possibly even months), offering realistic piano modelling to the masses that are simply unable to afford the V-Piano.

Cheers,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.
#1206507 - 05/27/09 01:00 AM Re: Played a Roland V Piano this weekend [Re: Kawai James]  
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Originally Posted by KAWAI James

I honestly wonder if - given the current economic downturn - now is the right time for such expensive models?


I share your thinking. This is a very expensive trial balloon for Roland to test consumer response to the modeling versus sampling issue. With no speakers, no portability, and a brand new price category, Roland needs to create a market where there is none at present.

Originally Posted by the Journey

This month's Pianowereld magazine reported on the extremely disappointing role that pianos played at the recent Musik Messe. The only real news they felt was really exciting was the announcement of Roland's V Piano (modeling sound) and Yamaha's Avant Gard N3 "Hybrid" (enriching kinesthetic feedback for player).


Although it was not emphasized in the coverage of NAMM on PW, this was pretty much the reality at NAMM too. There was no opportunity to sample the V unless you were on a short list of invitees to product demonstrations, but in all honesty the only crowded spaces were in the digital area and there was a buzz about the V that was absent in the acoustic exhibit space.


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#1206568 - 05/27/09 05:35 AM Re: Played a Roland V Piano this weekend [Re: turandot]  
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Why is it surprising that acoutic pianos aren't generating crowds and a big industry "buzz"? This is a technology and product that hasn't changed much in a hundred years. There probably wasn't much of a buzz for *any* acoustic instrument. Could you tell a flute or trumpet from 1915 from a brand new one? What's to get excited about?

The digital stuff changes every year, and the advances are often surprising, so that's where all the interesting new items are.

#1206572 - 05/27/09 05:47 AM Re: Played a Roland V Piano this weekend [Re: Geoffk]  
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theJourney Offline
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Well, actually the situation at the Musik Messe 2009 was much more severe: there was not even a piano salon (!) due in part to the fact that almost the entire German piano industry decided not to participate. Those visitors who came especially for pianos were bitterly disappointed, more so given the fact that the organization had collected people's ticket money without saying there would be no piano exhibition at one of the world's top 3 music trade show!

The pianos that were to be seen were mostly in hal 5.0 where Asian companies exhibited acoustic and digitals side by side. There was really nothing new in the acoustic world, other than the sickening feeling that the end may truly be near for widespread or craft manufacture of this increasingly evolutionary dinosaur from another age.

#1206577 - 05/27/09 06:03 AM Re: Played a Roland V Piano this weekend [Re: theJourney]  
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Ouch! That *is* bad. I don't expect people to thrill to the latest advances in acoustic piano technology, but I would expect companies to look for dealers and promote their product lines. If their not doing this, either they're already selling everything they can make (so they don't need to), or they're in such terrible shape that they can't afford to.

I really hope it's the first and not the second. It would be a much poorer world without Bosendorfer, Bechstein and Hamburg Steinway.

#1206581 - 05/27/09 06:22 AM Re: Played a Roland V Piano this weekend [Re: Geoffk]  
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Well, we always have the memories. Or, just program your next generation V Piano/Avant Gard hybrid to be any of the three...

#1206591 - 05/27/09 07:05 AM Re: Played a Roland V Piano this weekend [Re: theJourney]  
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Just want to say thanks for the reviews guys.

and as far as the economy and this particular piano. I don't think the marketing (and price) of this is aimed at the average consumer in any case and the target market is likely to buy it anyway. smile

I'm not the target market, but am very interested in the technology of modeling and will likely fork over the money to purchase Pianoteq in the near future.


Last edited by kennychaffin; 05/27/09 07:06 AM.

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#1206689 - 05/27/09 10:16 AM Re: Played a Roland V Piano this weekend [Re: Kawai James]  
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Originally Posted by KAWAI James
Personally (i.e. the following opinions are not influenced by my employers), I was extremely excited to see the progress that both Roland and Yamaha have made with their respective V-Piano and Avant Grand instruments. Their desire to advance digital piano technology is to be applauded, however I honestly wonder if - given the current economic downturn - now is the right time for such expensive models?


But isn't this forgetting the fact that products like this have lead times in years? It's not like they decided a couple of months ago to create these things knowing the current economic climate. So they start, get the things completed and unfortunately the economy bombs. Do you hold the product then and sit on it until times get better? Presumably one of the reasons they create these types of instruments is that they are going to trickle the tech down to their more mainstream models over time, so their window of opportunity to maximize profits and defray r&d costs starts closing immediately. Lot's of companies that have long lead time products find themselves in this precarious situation right now.


Originally Posted by KAWAI James
If we take the computer industry as an example, the focus in 2009 has been on low cost, low energy netbooks that meet the needs of most consumers.


The industry effectively got lucky and netbooks were the right product at the right time. It's not like the economy tanked and they said "ok, we need to stop building $1500 laptops and start making $300 laptops" and thus the netbook was born.

Plus folks like Apple and Ferrari have shown that the market for high end products (even within market segments that have seen declines) has not dried up. Don't know how the piano industry is doing though (at least relative to the economy since the market itself was on a downturn before the economy was).

#1206701 - 05/27/09 10:27 AM Re: Played a Roland V Piano this weekend [Re: bitWrangler]  
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Originally Posted by bitWrangler
But isn't this forgetting the fact that products like this have lead times in years? It's not like they decided a couple of months ago to create these things knowing the current economic climate. So they start, get the things completed and unfortunately the economy bombs. Do you hold the product then and sit on it until times get better? Presumably one of the reasons they create these types of instruments is that they are going to trickle the tech down to their more mainstream models over time, so their window of opportunity to maximize profits and defray r&d costs starts closing immediately. Lot's of companies that have long lead time products find themselves in this precarious situation right now.

Quite right. I'd say that the "netbook" craze that you see in computing right now has more to do with the fact that very low-power chips from amd/intel only recently became powerful and inexpensive enough for widespread usage. The technology for them has probably been in the works at the processor manufacturers for 4-5 years already, and OEMs are releasing the netbooks as soon as the technology would allow.

Netbooks have been pretty widely available for over a year now...but certainly longer than the economic downturn has been in full effect.

Computer manufacturers may be ramping up netbook production to take advantage of consumer's desire for low-cost machines, but the timing with this sort of newly researched technology is mostly luck. AMD/Intel put a lot of time and research into the chips that make these things possible, and the distributors just start using them when they're available.

Companies that do their own research just have to hope for the best sometimes. And when the timing is bad for a new product, a smart company will start integrating the technology into their existing product lines.

#1206749 - 05/27/09 11:49 AM Re: Played a Roland V Piano this weekend [Re: buck2202]  
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The netbooks are also notoriously difficult to make money on for the manufacturers with low sales values and low margins -- hardly something I would wish on Kawai, Yamaha or Roland.

In addition, netbooks are a reflection of the ubiquity of internet in everyday life for everyone young and old. They are essentially a lightweight, ultraportable internet access device and are a mass-market consumer product not unlike what transistor radios were, then walkmen, ipods, mobile phones, etc. In other words, there is a big enough market that because of the tens or hundreds of millions being sold through efficient distribution channels, price points can be kept low and an absolute profit can still be earned.

Pianos on the other hand, even digital pianos, are a shrinking, special interest product category with much lower unit volumes and often very inefficient distribution (just try to audition or buy a Kawai if you don't believe me). If 80% of the instruments sold are low priced, low margin, marginally performing products, that can't be in the interest of the manufacturer or the consumer.

Innovation such as from Roland's V Piano brings something value to consumers and this added value is in turn something the market should want to pay for. Even if few are initially sold it establishes a higher price point again under which other products can be ordered.

If you have a specialty product of which relatively few are going to be sold anyway, you are better off having something new and innovative with higher prices and higher margins than simply old, dumbed down, me too technology that you sell at razor thin margins through mass retailers.

Last edited by theJourney; 05/27/09 11:50 AM.
#1207868 - 05/29/09 04:50 AM Re: Played a Roland V Piano this weekend [Re: Geoffk]  
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I checked the V piano out at the first Guitar Center, Guitar Center Hollywood, CA. Sick store, by the way; it has a nice vintage room where you'll find your occasional Rhodes, B3, MiniMoog, etc. I think Steve Lukather is giving a clinic there on Monday if I'm not mistaken.

The V-piano just arrived in the store and the sales clerk didn't seem to understand its capabilities, HAHA I had to explain it to him.
Is it just me or do all the people who work in the Pro Audio dept. don't play keys?
The fact that it's sound generating can have you playing with this thing (and be intrigued) for a LONG time. It's scary how far along the technology is coming. It's still really expensive. Cool gear

#1217763 - 06/15/09 06:48 PM Re: Played a Roland V Piano this weekend [Re: genemusic111]  
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Originally Posted by genemusic111
I checked the V piano out at the first Guitar Center, Guitar Center Hollywood, CA. Sick store, by the way; it has a nice vintage room where you'll find your occasional Rhodes, B3, MiniMoog, etc. I think Steve Lukather is giving a clinic there on Monday if I'm not mistaken.

The V-piano just arrived in the store and the sales clerk didn't seem to understand its capabilities, HAHA I had to explain it to him.
Is it just me or do all the people who work in the Pro Audio dept. don't play keys?
The fact that it's sound generating can have you playing with this thing (and be intrigued) for a LONG time. It's scary how far along the technology is coming. It's still really expensive. Cool gear

Found myself in Hollywood over the weekend and remembering you had written this I had to stop by. Checked out the unit for a short while. Great touch, nice response, AWESOME sounds. One can only imagine how much fun this would be to play with (proper display) to adjust and make all the changes.

heck I'd even consider throwing it into a Grand shell for that totally insane best of both worlds smile

cool


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#1218858 - 06/17/09 07:31 PM Re: Played a Roland V Piano this weekend [Re: TTigg]  
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Great stuff everyone, thanks for the reviews.

I had just finished reading about the V in a trade magazine and was wondering what it was like. Didn't get to try one at NAMM.

Have to see if I can find one down here in SE Florida.
If not, I'm driving up the coast to NH in July, someone along the way must have one.


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#1218958 - 06/18/09 12:32 AM Re: Played a Roland V Piano this weekend [Re: Piano World]  
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Going by the factory sounds, I sure do not like the sound in the C4-C5. It lacks authenticity to my ears. Maybe it was the monitors.

#1296747 - 10/30/09 03:59 PM Re: Played a Roland V Piano this weekend [Re: Pete the bean]  
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Hi,
my name is Detlef from germany and I have a Roland v-piano with four loudspeaker ADAM A5 Pro and one ADAM sub7 connected.
In the discussion from KAWAI James, James say the v--piano is good, but he had only listened with headphones. Yes, with headphones is the sound good, but with active near field monitors is the sound not so good. These is my opinion about my set.
What for loudspeaker are reference and are verry good for the V-Piano. My room is not great (2,7 m x 4,7 m an 2,8 m high) and the acoustics is very small.
Thanks and greeting
Detlef

excuse me for my bad english

#1296754 - 10/30/09 04:16 PM Re: Played a Roland V Piano this weekend [Re: joedede]  
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Gyro Offline
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I've seriously considered
buying one. I've never had a
stage piano without speakers
and would be lost trying to
select speakers, and so I would
have to buy it with speakers
that have been tested with it.

I've asked around, and one dealer
said that they have theirs hooked
up to a pair of DynAudio
BM5A studio monitors in their
showroom, which they selected
after much testing. They said
the speakers perform great.
These are $1000 per pair.

Another dealer said they have
theirs hooked up to a pair
of Yamaha HS50 speakers, which
they selected after much
testing, and they perform great
in the showroom. These are
$400 per pair.




#1297234 - 10/31/09 01:28 PM Re: Played a Roland V Piano this weekend [Re: theJourney]  
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The more I listen to it the more I think that you can be disappointed from the V piano unles you play it with the "All silver" mode, it's the only sound that get close to a real grand.


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