01 Jul ROLAND DIGITAL PIANOS – REVIEW | 13 Models for 2022 | Update!
By: Professor Tim
Roland Digital Pianos | REVIEW | 13 models | 2022
Roland Digital Pianos | under $1000 to $13,000 | REVIEW | 13 models for 2022 | LOWER PRICES ON NEW DIGITAL PIANOS! – Roland has been designing & producing 88 piano weighted key action digital pianos for many decades. Roland is a Japanese company that has been well known for their impressive digital piano technology for home digital pianos, portable digital pianos, and also for professional stage digital pianos used on stage, in recording studios, and for other related purposes.
In this review I am concentrating on the Roland furniture cabinet 88-key piano piano weighted key action digital pianos (with internal speakers) and also 88-key portable digital pianos with optional furniture cabinet type stands & triple pedal units all of which can serve a purpose depending on your musical needs and budget.
Roland has approx 13 different models of these 88 key home and portable digital pianos right now (excluding pro stage models without internal speakers) which are all current models. The latest releases that occurred a few years ago include the new HP & LX series of home furniture cabinet upright style digital pianos called the HP702, HP704, LX705, LX706, and LX708.
These current models from a few years ago have some nice upgrades from the previous discontinued models including improved cabinet designs and finishes, and because these pianos only came out in 2019 we will likely not see any additional new digital pianos in this lineup for 2022 based on our experience with these models.
Roland GP609 Digital Grand Piano
Roland does have 2 digital “grand pianos” that came out in 2017 that are still current models called the GP607 ($7299 store discount price) which is a 3′ deep model and GP609 (approx $12,000 store discount price) which is a 5′ deep model. They will likely be current models through this year although I would not be surprised if we see new upgraded models in 2023. The current LX700 series upright pianos are actually upgraded and changed from previous piano models in a number of different ways and those models should be out well into 2023.
As is the case with many digital piano manufacturers, the factories cannot replace all models at the same time…their factories just do not have the capacity for doing that so there is always some lag time so that is why the digital “grand” pianos likely have not been upgraded yet. So I am confident we can expect some changes to the Roland digital grand pianos GP607 and GP609 likely some time in 2023…but for now it looks like they will stay the same which is still good and overall and I recommend the digital baby grands.
Actually we like the physical modeling piano sound chip in the GP607/GP609 digital grand pianos much better than the newer LX pianos, although the new key action in the Roland LX706/LX708 is better than the regular PHA50 key action currently in the the grand pianos (are you confused yet?). This is because the key action upgrades in the LX706 & LX708 upright models offers longer keys and more control than what is in the Grand pianos.
However, the piano sound chip in the grands (which is an older sound chip) actually sounds better to me than the newer piano sound chip (engine) in the LX models. The LX models just sound much too artificial and “digital.” Roland somehow needs to fix that situation. As far as other Roland models, Roland has a more compact, contemporary cabinet model called the DP603 which sells for $3299 in a matte black cabinet. At this point we think that model is very overpriced, especially considering how long it’s been out on the market, which is many years. It’s definitely due for a change.
We believe that the Roland HP-704 home furniture cabinet digital piano is definitely the “sweet spot” in the entire new line of Roland pianos. It has the looks, the sound, the key action, and the functionality that make it a winner as compared to all of the other Roland digital pianos currently being offered for 2022 in our opinion.
The HP704 sells in local Roland authorized piano stores at about $3750 (plus tax, plus shipping, etc), so it’s in a reasonable price range like a few other top brands. Roland also has a unique model called “Kiyola” KF-10 which only has limited availability in the US at one outlet. But that one is definitely way overpriced in our opinion.
Essentially the Kiyola is a more basic version of the Roland DP603 in a very contemporary, unique cabinet with customer matching bench. But the Kiyola is quite a bit more money at $4899 and definitely not worth that premium cost in our opinion. That’s probably why no Roland piano store dealer sells it expect for MoMa Museum of Modern Art in New York. Go to the following link to read more about the new HP, LX, and GP models: Detailed Review of Roland HP, LX, & GP digital pianos
The Roland HP704 – The Roland HP704 sells for about $3750 in Roland authorized piano stores and it is not available for sale at internet stores unlike digital pianos from the other major digital piano companies such as Yamaha, Kawai, Korg, Casio, and others. So that means you cannot buy a Roland HP, LX, or GP digital pianos on-line right now but only at local “brick & mortar” piano stores. In this day and age that is somewhat of a hassle as far as I am concerned, but that’s the way Roland wants to do it.
Nevertheless, I like the Roland HP704 in its price range for how it looks and how it plays as a piano overall. Is it the best digital piano in its price range? In my opinion the answer is no. I personally like the new Yamaha Clavinova CLP-745 ($3699) and Kawai CA59 ($3799), and the Casio AP-710 ($2699) because they play and sound more realistic to me for piano sound, piano key action, and pedaling along with more upgraded internal speaker systems. Check out my reviews of those pianos on this web site.
Roland has a lower line of digital pianos under $2000 which I talk about here and those pianos are available for purchase on the internet. The RP-701 ($1750) and F-701 ($1599) recently came out from the Roland company and have some nice upgrades from the previous models. However there are competitive models from Yamaha, Korg, and Casio out there so Roland needed to “up its game” with some RP and F series replacements this year in 2022.
Roland FP-90X Portable
Finally, Roland has 2 new higher end portable models between $1000 and $2500 called the FP-60X ($1249 price) and FP-90X at $2449 price. Both the FP-60X and FP-90X have internal speakers along with good key actions and piano sound chips. Both pianos are current models for 2022 and may be difficult to get for awhile because of product shortages do to Covid and computer chip shortages. This is also due to increased production costs, work restrictions, and shipping delays.
The FP-90X is the top of the line self-contained portable model for Roland and the newer FP-60X is the next one in the line and has a far different key action and piano sound engine as compared to the higher priced FP-90X. Below the portable Roland FP-60X is the portable FP-30X, the compact “cabinet style” RP701, F701, RP-107, and F-107. So Roland does have quite a few models to choose from.
Although the FP-90X is a good piano, for $650 less I believe the newer Kawai ES920 portable digital piano at $1799 price for 2022 is the better, more realistic digital piano. In our experienced opinion this model offers a more organic piano playing experience with a more piano-like key action and more natural stereo acoustic piano sound. You might want to check out the new Kawai ES920 before you consider ordering the Roland FP-90X. When it comes to the Roland digital pianos for the rest of 2022 and into 2023, I don’t expect to see any changes.
There are a few models I definitely would like to see get upgraded from what they are now including their newer LX home pianos because the “physical modeling” piano sound chip/engine in those pianos just sounds much too artificial and “digital” for my tastes and I hope that Roland can improve those pianos in that way, especially since they are their newer cabinet models.
Generally speaking I really do like the Roland digital pianos and their technology in a few of the models they have, but some of the “other guys” out there are giving them a big run for their money so Roland definitely needs to keep working hard to stay up with their competition and upgrade some of their deficiencies concerning the sound chip/engine in the LX models.
Lower price than Amazon or Internet