From sound to design, the Roland-800 was born for live performance, with features that join the musician’s needs and the audience’s expectations at the forefront of its capability.
Performing live requires the musician to call upon the versatility of the instrument so that his audience isn’t disappointed. Whether it’s a solo performer or a group making the music, the RD-800’s selection of grand piano sounds suits all styles of performance, with five acoustic piano types and 34 variations from which to select.
This Roland digital piano review will explore the unique qualities and features of the Roland RD-800, and we’ll also end up comparing this piano to its Yamaha counterparts, especially the Yamaha CP4.
Our Piano Guide
Below, please enjoy our interactive guide that was created to make your piano purchase easier. Here, you can compare the Roland RD 800 to other pianos in its class, like the RD 700NX and Yamaha CP4, based on weight, price, and even customer reviews from Amazon.
$ = $500 or less | $$ = $500 – $1,000 | $$$ = $1,000 and up
Roland RD-800 and SuperNATURAL Technology
But when Roland developed its SuperNATURAL technology, everything changed because instead of recording individual notes, Roland developed a keyboard that managed to recreate the sounds of a piano from the inside.
The touch of the musician’s fingers on the keys conjures a musical sound that’s so authentic that it lifts the digital piano up to the level of the acoustic piano. To make the effect complete, the ivory-feel hammer action keyboard challenges the listener to tell the difference between the acoustic piano that’s been in your family since your great-grandmother handed it down, and the digital piano that you’ve been thinking about buying.
But there are also some practical reasons why you’ll be leaning toward the Roland, too.
Whether the stage is set for a dark atmosphere, or brighter than the rainbow, the colored LCD of the RD800 is a user-friendly interface, and all the knobs for the panel have LED indicators to enhance visibility.
Below, please take a look at some of the best selling stage pianos currently available for sale on Amazon:
The PHA-4 Keyboard
The RD-800’s keyboard delivers the most authentic rendition of a grand piano-style keyboard of any digital piano on the market. The key design makes them adept at absorbing moisture from your fingers without any slips, no matter the temperature or the tempo. With its intuitive layout, not only are you the master of the keys, but you also have swift access to your most used piano sounds.
And, of course, you’re able to purchase a Roland keyboard stand should you need to prop up your piano’s keyboard in a more professional manner.
Features of the Roland RD-800
Here are a few great features of the RD800, which really make it stand out against some of the competition.
1) Concert grand tone can cut through a live performance, and modify sound immediately
2) Customize piano sounds to suit a performance venue or your personal style
3) One touch piano buttons give instant access to standard piano and electric sounds
4) Piano designer gives the performer the ability to adjust tonal elements
5) Note voice allows the adjustment of pitch, level and tonal character
6) Live sets provides access to prepared set-ups that include keyboard split points and tone layers
7) 88-note keyboard with hammer-action design
8) Five acoustic piano types with 34 variations
9) Over 1100 additional sounds
10) Storage for 200 live sets
11) PHA-4 Concert Keyboard with touch-detection technology
12) Weighs 47 pounds
Roland RD 800 vs Roland RD 700
The Roland RD-700NX and 800 share some similar traits: the SuperNATURAL technology, the Roland tradition for delivering on life performances, but the Roland 800 is the newer version of the model, with many of the 700’s flaws worked out.
It has five acoustic piano types with 34 variations, compared to the 700’s three grand piano types with 30 variations. Both have the ivory-feel PHA keyboard. The RD 700 noise issues with the thumping of the keys was resolved in the 800 model.
Digital Versus Acoustic
In the beginning, there was the digital piano, which basically meant that every note of an authentic piano had been recorded. And then, when the musician played a note on the keyboard, the speakers transmitted the recorded sound. As digital pianos advanced, this technique improved, but not to the point that the digital piano could be anything more than a playback device.
In general, some will knock the RD800 for being a digital piano, but let’s actually dive into the pros and cons of digital and acoustic pianos, and you can be the judge of what you feel is the better musical instrument for your needs.
An acoustic piano is just what it says it is: acoustic. It has no aspirations to be anything else which is fortunate, because it can’t be anything else.
But a digital piano can be an acoustic piano playing a ballad, or a blend of dynamic sound that adds choirs, strings, and other features. The digital piano’s versatility gives it the edge for musicians who want to play music, not just piano music.
Digital pianos don’t need to be tuned. Digital pianos play in different keys just by touching one of the buttons. An acoustic piano must be tuned every year if it’s going to be able to work, but digital pianos don’t, which represents a savings in money and time.
Digital pianos allow you to play in silence so that only you and your headphones hear the music. This is an attractive feature for musicians who don’t want to wake up the entire household when they want to practice their piano skills.
A grand piano looks so, well, grand. And so the obvious question will of course arise: How do you fit all of the rest of your furniture comfortably in your house or condo or apartment when television screens are wider, entertainment centers are bigger, and sofas are sectional?
A digital piano takes up far less space, and best of all, if your employer transfers you to another state, or you have to get ready to move into (or out of) your college dorm room, you don’t have to hire a crew of movers on human growth hormones to come move your piano.
Roland Versus Yamaha Digital Piano
When it comes to stage pianos, the Roland RD 800 and the Yamaha CP4 are two of the best digital pianos on the market. And of course, the pianos expectedly are similar in a variety of ways.
The Roland weighs 47 pounds compared to the CP4’s 38 pounds. The Roland has its SuperNATURAL technology and its PHA-4 Keyboard, the CP4 is the portable version of the Yamaha CFills grand piano.
The bottom line for musicians comes down to the Roland or Yamaha brand: if you like one, you’ll probably stay loyal and like the next in the series. Either way, you cannot go wrong with either piano.
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And finally, check out the video below where you can watch (and more importantly, hear) the actual comparison between the Roland RD 800 and the Yamaha CP4:
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