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#1280305 10/04/09 02:01 AM
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I've been in the market for a new digital stage piano for my home studio for a while but I've been waiting for the Roland V-Piano to shop up in a local dealer's showroom so I could give it a fair shake. It came in a couple of weeks ago so I finally had the chance to audition it for several hours today along with several other excellent workstations, stage pianos and even a few upright acoustics. Immediately afterward, I headed off to the Yamaha dealer who just received their floor model AvanteGrand N3 and had a couple of hours with it as well (Impressions in another post). First let me say that I auditioned all the units with both monitors and a pair of Sure E3C in ear headphones (they're easy to carry around and are good enough for testing DPs).

Here's my thoughts on the V-Piano,.... If I had the cash or credit on me (which I deliberately left at home since I'm notorious for impulse purchases), I would have one in my home studio right now. The piano sound modeling is fantastic; unbelievably realistic/accurate. All the capabilities are there to tweak to your personal preference and almost anyone could manage to a timbre that closely matches there ideal. My favorite preset I think was called "All Triple Wound" (Bank 3, 2nd preset right after "Silver"). The new keybed (PHA III) is wonderful but quite frankly only a minor improvement over the previous generation which to me was one of (if not the) best available on a DP or SP to date. BTW: I'm primarily a Yamaha guy but Roland wins out in the Stage Piano Keybed department (PHA vs. BH/GH). Some people don't like the looks but I found it quite appealing. The pedal unit is both attractive and functional with excellent feel.

After spending a lot of time with the V-Piano (MSRP $6700CDN without Stand $860 but I did manage to find a Canadian dealer who had one that they'd sell for $5K again without the stand), I decided to compare it to pretty much everything that Kurzweil, Korg, Yamaha, & Roland had and frankly, in the end, only the Korg Oasis88 ($6000 CDN), Yamaha S90XS ($2700CDN) and Roland RD700GX ($2800CDN). Since the Oasis is a workstation, I'll exclude it from my comparison.

I have the Motif XS which which has almost exactly the same sound set, but the S90XS offers an additional "significantly" better piano sample from a Yamaha S6. How does it compare to the V-Piano,... As a pure DP for both action and piano tone, the Roland wins hands down BUT the S90XS is a much more versatile instrument at less than half the price.

I also have a few a couple of Roland modules including the Fantom XR but it's been a while since I tried the dedicated stage pianos (my bad). The RD700GX was wonderful. That PHA II action is a masterwork and quite frankly is way beyond anything else I've tried on a stage piano (no I haven't played a Kawai). The piano sounds are very well sampled (Roland made some huge mistakes in the past in this department,.... specifically on the SRX-02 expansion board but that's another story) with enough variation and tweakability to suit most people. How does it compare to the V-Piano,..... well the V-Piano wins if all I cared about was having the BEST digital SP but as with the S90XS, the RD700DX is immensely more versatile, and almost as good in both the keybed feel and piano sound (albeit with less control over the timbre).

So what's my choice,......

I'm glad I left the credit card at home,......

With money in hand, on Monday I'll be adding a Yamaha S90XS and Roland RD700GX to the studio which will replace the Motif and the Fantom XR (too much duplication in sounds). The V-Piano is great and I still want one but from a value prop it's just not THAT much better than the RD700GX. Actually I think it was a complete brain fart on Roland's part for not including the RD's tone generator and sound set with the V-Piano. The price difference would be easily justifiable and my decision would be a no-brainer in favor of the V-Piano. For the same money (actually less if we take the unit at MSRP or include the optional stand), you/I can purchase 2 of the finest stage pianos available to date and have you choice of keybed, excellent controller functionality and a vast pallet of tones to play with including some very fine pianos.

Looking forward to picking up my new toys but I'm VERY glad I spent the time giving the V-Piano a fair shake. Honestly, If I had the extra cash and slightly different priorities, I'd likely buy the V-Piano as well (AMAZING unit and Kudos to Roland for making/releasing it!!!).

Rodney

Rodney #1280375 10/04/09 07:02 AM
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Were you not even a little bit curious about auditioning the Kawai MP8II before making your purchase decisions?

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Managed to get round to trying the V piano today.

What can I say? V impressed!!

The sounds are excellent and I was a bit bewildered by what you can do with it. To be honest I would more than likely just leave it on one of the preset pianos most of the time. I played mostly using a pair of Roland RH-300 headphones although they did have it set up with external speakers. The speakers were good but unfortunately I don't know what they were.

The action is absolutely superb. I wish I had gone over to the HP-207 to compare but it just slipped my mind. I did go to another shop where they had some Clavinovas. Now I'm a big fan of the Clavinova and have always enjoyed playing them in the past but compared to the V they feel like toys. I guess that's not surprising given the difference in price.

The looks are nowhere near as bad as I first thought. I hadn't noticed in the pictures that it has like a brushed steel effect and the build quality is very good. Amazing piano but then it is still a bit expensive. Having said that the guy in the shop was prepared to knock £1000 off without me even asking.

It's almost good enough to consider as an alternative to my acoustic.........

almost!


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I would find it very interesting to hear from someone who has played the HP207 and the V Piano side by side as well.

As I recall, the HP207 didn't have that feeling of slicing butter that the V Piano gives. Nor did the sound sound as alive.

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It's about 4 months since I played the HP-207 and at the time I compared it back to back with a Clavinova CLP-370. I remember liking them both very much but ultimately found the Roland to be closer to the touch of a real piano and also the more rounded sound I was looking for.

It's a real shame because the store I visited today had the full range of Roland products. I would have liked to try the stage pianos as well as another go at the HP's. But the V was so good that I completely forgot to play anything else!

The keys of the V feel gorgeous and it's super responsive. In many ways it is much more playable than my acoustic upright and I can't argue with the way it sounds. The only thing I didn't get is the same level of feedback that the acoustic gives. The AvantGrand is supposed to deliver this but it's still not even close.


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Originally Posted by theJourney
I would find it very interesting to hear from someone who has played the HP207 and the V Piano side by side as well.

As I recall, the HP207 didn't have that feeling of slicing butter that the V Piano gives. Nor did the sound sound as alive.


I played them side by side, more than once. At one of the stores I went to the HP 207 is very close the the V. The HP 207 is very nice, no doubt. The action on the V is much better, more responsive, more "alive." Your slicing butter analogy is excellent. The V feels and sounds warm and rich. If I had not tried the V, I might have been tempted to go up in price from the YPG 635, but the improvement from the YPG to the HP 207 is not as huge as that from the HP 207 to the V.

IMHO.

Rodney #1288884 10/17/09 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Rodney

I did manage to find a Canadian dealer who had one that they'd sell for $5K again without the stand)


I bought it today! Thanks for the pointer, Rodney. This was an "in store" special, and available at a store I do not frequent, so I would not have otherwise known about it.

Lawrence

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I'm thinking that a lot of people might have missed this?

Over in the member recordings section Phil Best has recorded some videos of himself playing the V-piano. I hope he doesn't mind me posting it here but if you haven't seen it and you are thinking of buying one then you should take a look.



Apart from the fact that Phil is a genius and his performance is fantastic you can't help but be impressed with that Roland as well. Listen to the variety of sound and colour and how fast that action responds to his touch and control. I seriously doubt that this could be achieved on an upright piano for the same money.

It's funny, like watching V-Pianist playing V-Piano. grin

Unfortunately the V-Piano will not make you play like Phil. Once Roland has cracked that one perhaps with some V-Pianist gloves they will really be onto a winner!


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Rodney #1291678 10/22/09 05:46 AM
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I agree that the V-piano raised the bar, but the only sound that can get you close to an acoustic grand is the "All silver mode". Vintage 1 mode sounds very far from a Steinway, it's too cold and metallic, in other words too digital.

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When I played it last week I wasn't sure if the vintage piano sounds were supposed to be based on any particular model of piano. Is Vintage 1 meant to be a Steinway?

It can't compete with a high quality acoustic grand but then it doesn't really need to. What Phil demonstrates is that this is a DP that can be considered by serious professional musicians at the highest level of playing. There are many DP's which are plenty good enough for the everyday piano player but until now I haven't seen or heard anything so spectacular as the V. And judging by the room in which Phil plays there is not the space for a concert grand. He probably doesn't have £80k to spare on one either.

For me it trumps the AvantGrand N3 because of its compact size, light weight and reasonable price.


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Originally Posted by Chris H.

Over in the member recordings section Phil Best has recorded some videos of himself playing the V-piano. I hope he doesn't mind me posting it here but if you haven't seen it and you are thinking of buying one then you should take a look.


I'd say in the loud and frantic passages the V-Piano doesn't sound so bad in that video, but in the softer, slower parts of the piece there's something annoyingly fake about the tone...

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question is - is it 3 times better then RD700GX which is 3 times cheaper, much smaller and lighter and has more sounds on board...

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Originally Posted by tremens, delirium
question is - is it 3 times better then RD700GX which is 3 times cheaper, much smaller and lighter and has more sounds on board...


Ah, the price vs. performance argument. I have often asked myself this same question, but in the realm of musical instruments you pay larger and larger sums for smaller and smaller differences. Plus at a certain level there are other factors at play.

My wife and I are both classically trained cellists. We both own cellos that could be characterized as costing "more than a car but less than a house". Hers is worth at least twice what mine is but I prefer my instrument to hers (and she prefers hers to mine).

For someone that is an inexperienced amateur, I'm sure the advances of the V piano over the RD700GX could easily be lost to inferior technique and less developed ears compared to a more advanced player.

I know I have rambled a bit, but my point is that I wish it were a lot simpler to define "three times better."

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AndyH #1291866 10/22/09 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by AndyH

For someone that is an inexperienced amateur, I'm sure the advances of the V piano over the RD700GX could easily be lost to inferior technique and less developed ears compared to a more advanced player.

I know I have rambled a bit, but my point is that I wish it were a lot simpler to define "three times better."


I understand your point but mine is more like: "I'd rather buy a used baby grand or new upright for that kinda o money and that kinda weight"

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I think it's fair to say that most people will get what they want from something like the RD700GX or an HP207 and save themselves some money. But I don't think the cost of the V-Piano is too far out of the way, certainly not in the same way as an AvantGrand N3.

I would also agree that a nice used grand piano would perhaps be better still although you would be hard pushed to find one at that price. You can get a decent upright for the same price but I have to wonder if you could really get as much out of the action as Phil does on the V. As far as weight goes there is no comparrison. According to the Roland website the V-Piano weight 38Kg whereas a good upright (120-132cm) would be between 200-250Kg. Now if you live in an appartment or want your piano upstairs that would be a consideration.


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Originally Posted by AndyH
Ah, the price vs. performance argument. I have often asked myself this same question, but in the realm of musical instruments you pay larger and larger sums for smaller and smaller differences. Plus at a certain level there are other factors at play.

I know I have rambled a bit, but my point is that I wish it were a lot simpler to define "three times better."


A commonly held fallacy is that spending three times the effort should result in three times the quality. It is explained by the "law of diminishing returns":

"The tendency for a continuing application of effort or skill toward a particular project or goal, to decline in effectiveness after a certain level of result has been attained".

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I don't know if that applies to things like musical instruments or things people buy with the heart.

Is a Steinway D 5 times better than a Shigeru Kawai?

Is a Ferrari 5 times better than an Audi TT?

Realistically you would probably have to say no if all you took into account was performance and quality. And yet there are still plenty of people buying Steinways and Ferraris.


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Originally Posted by Glenn NK

A commonly held fallacy is that spending three times the effort should result in three times the quality. It is explained by the "law of diminishing returns":
Glenn


You guys misunderstood me I guess, I'm not necessary expecting 3 times better results/effects spending 3 times more money but I expect noticeable improvement. There is a term for a person who likes pay much more gaining nothing just to feel better about himself...

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But what if you can feel the difference and you have the money to spend?

There will be those who feel that the extra cost is not worth it and those who feel that it is.


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Originally Posted by Chris H.
But what if you can feel the difference and you have the money to spend?


hey, do whatever pleases you. BTW having V-piano for that kinda money and not having rhodes in it is a bummer, any digital stage piano should have those 2 sounds. Now what? I need another digital to have both most important digital sounds?

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