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#2058551 - 04/03/13 03:26 AM Roland RD64 - first impressions  
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Toblerone Offline
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I picked up my RD64 yesterday and wanted to share my first impressions:
Nice action - same as the A88/FP4F/RD300NX very expressive though a bit sluggish for faster playing which takes a while to adjust to, but overall very playable, smooth and of high quality.
Sounds - Really very good, just 12 sounds but most are usable. The supernatural concert grand piano has a detailed and dynamic range whilst the bright piano has a bit more presence which cuts through. The pure vintage (Rhodes) and wurli sounds are playable as are the organs (which the manual refers to as virtual tone wheel organ) although you can't edit it them, they are very playable and better than the usual rompler fare you often tend to get in this price range.
64 keys are probably ok for most of the time for my requirements and it's a very compact and manageable. One thing that bugs me is the headphone pre is really quiet and it's frustrating that you can't assign effects, for example you can have overdrive on the Dbeam but only rotary on the EFX 1 and 2 buttons.
Overall though, I'm really happy with it, it's a great little lightweight piano which plays well and has high quality and usable sounds.

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#2058556 - 04/03/13 04:21 AM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: Toblerone]  
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Sounds great, thanks for the early review!

Oh, and welcome to the forum too. wink

By the way, what kind of background are you coming from? What boards did you own previously? etc.

Cheers,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.
#2058558 - 04/03/13 04:52 AM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: Toblerone]  
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Thanks for the welcome James, I've been reading this forum for a while and it’s nice to be able to contribute.
I used to be a pro piano/keys player, now semi pro. Piano is my main instrument and I've gone through a lot of gear over the years.
Amongst the keys I’ve owned are:
Roland RD700 (good in its day), Nord Piano (great sounds but I couldn't get on with the action), Yamaha S90ES (underrated in my opinion), Roland XV88, Korg CX3, Korg MS2000B, Jupiter 8, Hohner Clavinet D and Pianet T
In addition to the RD64 my current setup is: Nord C1, Yamaha S90XS, Roland Sonic Cell, Yamaha P85 and increasingly Ipad based music apps.
These days my main priority has been to find a decent lightweight setup to gig with. I've been using the Yamaha P85 with my Ipad as a light weight setup but I intend to use the RD64 from now on, apart from the odd solo gig where I'll need 88 keys in which case the P85 with igrand on the Ipad works a treat.
For recording I use the Yamaha S90XS which is perfect for me, in my opinion the S6 piano sound is exceptional (I had the Nord Piano at the same time for a while and I'd say the S6 piano is about on par with the equally excellent Nord XL Yamaha bright grand) and I love the action.
I’ll post more feedback on the RD64 once I get to know it a little better, but so far I’m pretty impressed especially at the price.
Regards,
Toby







#2058566 - 04/03/13 05:43 AM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: Toblerone]  
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Toblerone, welcome and please keep the updates coming -- a lot of us here are quite interested in the RD-64 but haven't played one yet.

One question for now -- since like you, I find portability very important -- what sort of travel case or bag are using? Is it something that could be checked on a plane?

Thanks for the helpful comments!


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#2058587 - 04/03/13 07:12 AM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: ClsscLib]  
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Hi,

I've got a gig bag which I use for most gigs, I'm not sure about flying as when I do gigs abroad I get stuff hired in but I'd imagine it would have to go in the hold in a decent full flight case. Swan flight make a full flight case with lighter weight hex board (i had one by these for my Nord Piano and it was very light and robust) - http://www.swanflight.com/roland-rd64-keyboard-flightcase.html

Toby


#2058765 - 04/03/13 01:50 PM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: Toblerone]  
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spanishbuddha Online content
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Thanks for the review.

Going OT but following your lead. I also use iGrand, and Sampletank all instruments, on the iPad, but don't think they compare yet with software VST's, except that they are a LOT cheaper. Wonder what your thoughts are and have you played iGrand in a mix? The RD64 sounds like it could be great controller for the iPad instruments, except that on paper at least the inbuilt sounds seem to as good as.

#2058891 - 04/03/13 07:12 PM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: spanishbuddha]  
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I love my Yamaha P85, it's good to see that at least one pro musician also finds it a reliable instrument.

I am interested in the Roland as a travel instrument; 88 keys are great on a home-setup DP, but there aren't many high-quality boards with fewer than 88 keys to travel with (the Nord boards with 73 or 76 keys don't count, they're not much smaller!).

If more people give favorable reviews, I might just plunk down for the Roland. Obviously I need to try one first.


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#2059121 - 04/04/13 07:43 AM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: Toblerone]  
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I think iGrand is pretty decent, certainly not perfect but for the money and the convenience of using the Ipad to gig with it works for me. I think the Rock upright piano cuts through pretty well live.

Dwscamel - Yes the P85 is not a bad little piano, I also had a P95 as well for a while and the action is the same apart from the matt black finish on the keys. Only problem i find is that its hard to place on an X stand.

I'll try to do a video review on the RD64 when I get more time, I'm still really enjoying it and so far 64 keys feel fine for most things.

Toby

#2059162 - 04/04/13 08:39 AM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: Toblerone]  
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Originally Posted by Toblerone
Amongst the keys I’ve owned are:
Roland RD700 (good in its day), Nord Piano (great sounds but I couldn't get on with the action), Yamaha S90ES (underrated in my opinion), Roland XV88, Korg CX3, Korg MS2000B, Jupiter 8, Hohner Clavinet D and Pianet T
In addition to the RD64 my current setup is: Nord C1, Yamaha S90XS, Roland Sonic Cell, Yamaha P85 and increasingly Ipad based music apps.


Wow, lots of great boards! And a Pianet...beautiful! wink

I've yet to try the RD64 for myself, however I can definitely appreciate the direction that Roland is pursuing, and expect to see quite a few of these boards at live events (both indoors and outside) in the near future.

Very interest board!

Cheers,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.
#2072339 - 04/27/13 05:32 PM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: Toblerone]  
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Finally plumped for an RD64 today and I love it! Great keyboard touch, very smooth usable sounds and easy to use! Looking forward to playing in the worship band tomorrow!

#2072393 - 04/27/13 07:04 PM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: Toblerone]  
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Placed my order yesterday. Was torn between the FP-50 and the RD-64, but decided on the 64 for band use in cramped and difficult to access venues, and added a Yamaha P-105 for jazz solo/duo gigs (to replace my old Roland FP-4), and so have the 88-keys and left-hand bass requirements covered with that. Both together cost only fractionally more than the FP-50, and yet each weighs less than 30lbs - great for an aging back!

I must admit I'm nervous about the Ivory-feel G keybed, and that was one of the reasons I didn't want to commit to the FP-50, and have too many eggs in one basket. There have been conflicting reports about how well it responds in the new RD-64, and whether it's as sluggish as in the FP-4F and RD-300NX. Unfortunately, there was not one Roland in my local Guitar Center for me to try, and so it's sight unseen with the RD. On the other hand, the place was awash with low-end Yamahas, and I was able to thoroughly test the P-105: lots of compromises, but the basic piano-tone is very good, and the GHS action is "good enough." The few tones that are built in to the RD-64 all sound high quality and suitable for jazz/rock/funk gigs.


"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015
#2072494 - 04/27/13 09:53 PM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: voxpops]  
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Originally Posted by voxpops
Was torn between the FP-50 and the RD-64, but decided on the 64 for band use in cramped and difficult to access venues, and added a Yamaha P-105 for jazz solo/duo gigs (to replace my old Roland FP-4)

Interesting solution! I can't warm to the P105, though, because of the lack of a MIDI port. I think I'd have stuck with the FP4, which also has a lot more functionality, though the P105 does offer lower weight and probably better piano sound. I would be more tempted by the new Casios because I think they have better actions and weigh just 24 lbs, though the piano sound is probably weaker.

#2072526 - 04/27/13 10:48 PM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: anotherscott]  
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Originally Posted by anotherscott
Originally Posted by voxpops
Was torn between the FP-50 and the RD-64, but decided on the 64 for band use in cramped and difficult to access venues, and added a Yamaha P-105 for jazz solo/duo gigs (to replace my old Roland FP-4)

Interesting solution! I can't warm to the P105, though, because of the lack of a MIDI port. I think I'd have stuck with the FP4, which also has a lot more functionality, though the P105 does offer lower weight and probably better piano sound. I would be more tempted by the new Casios because I think they have better actions and weigh just 24 lbs, though the piano sound is probably weaker.

I understand the frustration with regard to the MIDI port, but for me I'll only ever use the P-105 on its own, in a piano context. I really liked the FP-4, but the price I got for it completely covered the cost of the RD-64! The P-105 has only a fraction of the capability of the FP-4, but its main piano sound is definitely better, despite fairly egregious stretching and looping. As for the Casios, I went back and forth between the PX-350 and the Yamaha, and, in my opinion, the basic sound of the Yamaha is better, even though the Casio has a better action and a more sophisticated treatment of its samples.


"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015
#2075053 - 05/01/13 01:18 PM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: Toblerone]  
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Question for RD64 owners:

I understand that internal sounds are disabled when the RD64 is in Controller mode. But does MIDI Out still function when not in Controller Mode? I'm wondering about layering sounds with an external module.

Thanks.


Teacher. 1926 Steinway M. Kawai CE200. Casio PX3. Yamaha P-60. Yamaha NP-30. Roland C-30 Digital Harpsichord. Roland Integra 7.
#2075153 - 05/01/13 04:04 PM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: voxpops]  
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Originally Posted by voxpops
Placed my order yesterday. Was torn between the FP-50 and the RD-64, but decided on the 64 for band use in cramped and difficult to access venues, and added a Yamaha P-105 for jazz solo/duo gigs (to replace my old Roland FP-4), and so have the 88-keys and left-hand bass requirements covered with that. Both together cost only fractionally more than the FP-50, and yet each weighs less than 30lbs - great for an aging back!

voxpops, what did you think of the pipe organ and strings on the P-105? Is the pipe organ a "full stops" kind of thing, or more of a chapel organ sound? Are the strings more like slow or fast attack strings? How did the built-in speakers strike you?

#2075196 - 05/01/13 05:13 PM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: dewster]  
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Originally Posted by dewster
Originally Posted by voxpops
Placed my order yesterday. Was torn between the FP-50 and the RD-64, but decided on the 64 for band use in cramped and difficult to access venues, and added a Yamaha P-105 for jazz solo/duo gigs (to replace my old Roland FP-4), and so have the 88-keys and left-hand bass requirements covered with that. Both together cost only fractionally more than the FP-50, and yet each weighs less than 30lbs - great for an aging back!

voxpops, what did you think of the pipe organ and strings on the P-105? Is the pipe organ a "full stops" kind of thing, or more of a chapel organ sound? Are the strings more like slow or fast attack strings? How did the built-in speakers strike you?

dewster, I haven't really spent any time with organ or strings, but they sound OK (not spectacular).

The pipe organ is a more flute-based registration rather than full stops - quite nice, and also a little more versatile than a thunderous, full-on cathedral sound.

The strings are medium attack. I presume they are designed to swell just after the piano attack when layered.

The built-in speakers are not bad for the size, weight and cost of the instrument. They carry the bottom end quite well, and are reasonably loud, but sound very slightly boxy with dominant mid frequencies. The main issue is that if you layer acoustic bass with piano, the piano will distort, particularly in the upper octaves, unless the volume is very low. That latter issue is a problem for a lot of built-in speakers, including the FP-7F.

Sorry for the OT tangent - back to the RD-64. Mine seems to have been delayed. Bummer!


"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015
#2075920 - 05/02/13 12:51 PM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: Toblerone]  
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Thanks very much for that feedback voxpops! My wife now and then needs something more portable than the NX and I've been eyeing the P105 for a while, time to go check it out in the flesh I suppose. Apologies everyone for the OT.

#2076437 - 05/03/13 04:21 AM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: Toblerone]  
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Uhm ...

1) does it have a music stand ? To put paper music on. Wasn't so clear from the pics , guess not but wanted to be sure.
2) is there any way you can alter / tweak the preset sounds ? From the manual it seems the sounds are totally fixed in stone and apart from effects on/off there's nothing to edit, like Piano Designer functions (hammer / string resonance etc). If not from the unit itself ; has Roland indicated an iPad app or SW editor for the future that WILL enable you to edit the sounds ?

Board seems nice and horrible at the same time. Nice to have a lightweight , relatively small keyboard with reasonable touch and a few good sounds. Not nice to have zero control over the sounds in terms of tweaking them or storing some user settings and the weird MIDI Controller behavior. In Midi control mode , the sounds engine get dumb and you have to turn the unit on/off. Why Roland - couldn't you get a few good programmers/developers or have they all been fired due to ongoing sales misery ???!


#2080458 - 05/10/13 05:09 PM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: Toblerone]  
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I just posted this at KC and thought some people here might be interested:

Just received my RD-64. Initial impressions are favorable.

Pluses:
Compact
Sturdy
Good AP sounds
Fairly good vintage Rhodes sound and Wurlitzer
Basic 888000000 plus percussion organ is fat and warm (with correct percussion triggering)
Switching from one sound type to another when sustained is fairly seamless (except for FX - and when switching away from organ)
While board is on, FX are remembered on a per-patch basis
Keys feel very nice and action is fairly responsive
AC adapter plug seats firmly into socket

Minuses:

Addition of damper resonance can make APs a bit "woolly"
Tine Rhodes is OTT
EPs are apparently NOT full SN, as velocity switching is evident (although layers seem to be cross-faded)
Joystick gets in the way of rotary switching, and the speed cannot be controlled via footswitch
Single rotor emulation only I was wrong about this - it is a dual rotor emulation
The board does not remember patch settings when switched off
D-Beam. Why? (Yes, I know it doubles as a controller, but still...)
Fast repetition a little hit and miss
Default sound is a little bass heavy, IMO.

Overall, I'm pleased with this board so far. It seems to be of good quality in all respects. I'm nervous about trying a gig with this as my only board, but that's why I bought it - to reduce weight and footprint in difficult to access venues - so I'd better get used to it!

(BTW I've ignored those aspects of the design that could be construed as negative, such as non-editable FX and the lack of provision for swell pedal in Piano mode, that are apparent from reading the manual, and so should be accepted prior to purchase.)

Last edited by voxpops; 05/11/13 05:02 PM.

"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015
#2080480 - 05/10/13 06:04 PM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: voxpops]  
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Some say:
Originally Posted by voxpops
D-Beam. Why?

Others say: "D-Beam. Why not?"

Though it is a little weird to have this Theremin-ish interface on a DP. Roland hangs on to light beams and joysticks like a pitbull in a steakhouse.

#2080859 - 05/11/13 12:46 PM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: Toblerone]  
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I could do without the D-Beam also
and I would never use it.


Daryl Durand, RPT
Durand Piano Service
http://www.durandpiano.com
#2080887 - 05/11/13 02:02 PM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: Toblerone]  
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Give me aftertouch instead. In that way you won't miss one hand to play , just for adding some dynamic effects and nuances to the tone your making.

Bit off-topic , but damn , cannot even find a decent 76 synth key controller with aftertouch, unless you buy the whole JP-80 package with it. (Or an old Fantom G7, Motif XF). All the rest is either 61 key plastic MIDI controller stuff (M-Audio, Novation, etc) or ages old (A-37, A-50). So they ditched AT and gave us the D-beam controller. Who has ever asked for that ?

Someone at Roland must have been looking to many Startrek episodes...

#2081142 - 05/12/13 12:25 AM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: JFP]  
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Originally Posted by JFP
Give me aftertouch instead. In that way you won't miss one hand to play , just for adding some dynamic effects and nuances to the tone your making. ...................
So they ditched AT and gave us the D-beam controller. Who has ever asked for that ?

Someone at Roland must have been looking to many Startrek episodes...


Then again this board
doesn't have a MIDI IN either.... Guess
you gotta cut a buck here and a few there to keep
it under 1K.

#2081286 - 05/12/13 09:02 AM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: Toblerone]  
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This RD64 really interests me. Portable gear is the way these days. Huge 50 pound behemoths are a thing of the past.


Classical, Jazz Pianist.
From Bach to the Blues.
#2081292 - 05/12/13 09:10 AM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: Roland_Guy]  
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Originally Posted by Roland_Guy
This RD64 really interests me. Portable gear is the way these days. Huge 50 pound behemoths are a thing of the past.


Yup - I'm back to using my SK1 (not Hammond... CASIO)

2.4 pounds WITH batteries.. I just sample
whatever sounds I need from a sample library
and we're good to go!

#2100105 - 06/10/13 04:48 AM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: Scott Hamlin]  
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Quick update after having had my Rd64 for a couple of months.

Live, the enhancer effect on the acoustic piano really helps to cut through however I've decided top sell as I really miss a lower octave for boogie woogie style playing which is a new project I'm working on.

Let me know if anyone is interested.

Toblerone.

#2100229 - 06/10/13 09:39 AM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: Toblerone]  
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I have returned mine. I found the 64 keys just too limiting. Nice sounds, and very easy to use, although I would have appreciated some control over the effects.

Last edited by voxpops; 06/10/13 09:48 AM.

"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015
#2100249 - 06/10/13 10:21 AM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: Toblerone]  
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Originally Posted by Toblerone
Quick update after having had my Rd64 for a couple of months.

Live, the enhancer effect on the acoustic piano really helps to cut through however I've decided top sell as I really miss a lower octave for boogie woogie style playing which is a new project I'm working on.

Let me know if anyone is interested.

Toblerone.


PM sent.


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#2100497 - 06/10/13 04:29 PM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: Toblerone]  
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Well, now I wonder... maybe it's something some demanded but don't really want? I mean 76 is totally different world than 64.

If they moved the buttons horizontally above the keyboard and expanded the keyboard down 3 white keys and two up (make it 72 keys from E to E) the instrument would have the same length. The pitch band could be on the side, but working vertically. Then maybe it would have wider market.

#2100527 - 06/10/13 05:13 PM Re: Roland RD64 - first impressions [Re: kiedysktos.]  
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Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 4,322
Originally Posted by kiedysktos.
Well, now I wonder... maybe it's something some demanded but don't really want? I mean 76 is totally different world than 64.

If they moved the buttons horizontally above the keyboard and expanded the keyboard down 3 white keys and two up (make it 72 keys from E to E) the instrument would have the same length. The pitch band could be on the side, but working vertically. Then maybe it would have wider market.

I think the design came out of a way of repurposing some of the A-88 hardware, so they were able to come out with it at a reduced cost. But really, I think the PX-5S is going to eat into both the A-88 and RD-64 sales. I think the Casio action and its controller functionality are both superior to Roland's, and it has a lot of other cool functionality besides. But there will still be some people who will prefer the RD-64 for its smaller size or its sounds.

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