Roland RD-300NX price / comparison with FP-7F

Posted: January 23, 2011 in Audio
Tags: , , , , ,

As RD-300NX is now listed on some shops (here and there), we now know it will be priced 1699$ (1585 euros) – also see brochure here -, that is 200$ or euros less than FP-7F (1777 euros).

Considering FP-7F’s amplifier section, that may cost close to this price difference (at least 150 euros), and its harmony FX processor (derived from Boss VE-20 Vocal Performer, at least 50 euros), mic input, Onboard Looper, Chord Progression, audio input and sequencer, the FP-7F would have cost around 1500 euros without these features (instead 1777 euros).

So how can the RD-300NX price be so close to FP-7F’s one while providing additional SuperNatural electric piano, Sound Focus and Piano Designer features, 3 live multitimbral parts (and 16 parts multitimbral for GM2 sounds). Here are some likely answers when we are used with Roland’s trimmed down models (JV1010 sounding less good than JV2080, XV5050 sounding less good than XV88, RD-300GX’s piano – derived from previous RD-700SX one – sounding muddier) :

– its keyboard is of Ivory Feel-G keyboard type, that is not PHAIII. It incorporates Roland’s most advanced sensor, escapement mechanism, and Ivory Feel features. The keyboard provides the superior touch and sensitivity of Roland’s flagship keyboards, in a compact and lightweight design.

RD-700NX’s PHA III keyboard with escapement offers maximum comfort, playability, and response. PHA III improves key repetition and perfectly conveys dynamic, velocity-based tonal changes. The escapement mechanism recreates the authentic “click feel” of a grand-piano keyboard, which particularly enhances expression when playing pianissimo.

FP-7F’s PHA III Ivory Feel-S keyboard with escapement provides the same progressive hammer action and escapement as the top-line PHA III, and offers unmatched expression and performance authenticity, capable of transforming the most subtle finger nuances into sound. It also provides incredibly fast key-repetition action. FP-7F’s action is then of same quality as RD-700NX, despite being a bit lighther, and so seems a perfect compromise. In fact it was obviously the best action of all digital pianos, master keyboards and workstations tested in many shops, and exactly what I was expecting/had hoped for. It also provides 100 levels for touch setting, and 10 setting levels for hammer response (not found on RD-300NX).

– From video presentation of RD-300NX, the SuperNatural piano sounded somewhat muddy compared to FP-7F. So converters may be less punchy. However the sound engine is more likely to be less powerful (as was XV5050’s one, that also sounded less good than XV88 when using digital output, and really cold – so more tied to a trimmed down soudn engine, and also perhaps more compressed samples – than its converters).

In RD-300NX video we don’t see Damper Resonance and Cabinet Resonance parameters for example in the editing screen, while there are present on FP-7F. There is to know if these editing parameters found in the RD-300NX correspond to the Piano Designer feature, or not (in that case Piano Designer feature would provides deeper editing parameters, allowing more variations than FP-7F). However there is to consider that RD-300NX only provides one SuperNatural Piano model, Concert (same as the one in FP-7F), while the RD-700NX provides additional Studio and Brillant models.

– RD-300NX electric piano didn’t sound so great (just ok) in the presentation video. In fact is seems (as reported in a forum) that RD-700NX’s Rhodes doesn’t sound/react as expected (more like old 80’s Rhodes than more used 88’s ones). So not having this one in FP-7F wouldn’t be a problem.

– PF-7F provides great organs, that sound as good as RD-700NX’s Virtual Tone Wheel Organ based ones. In fact PF-7F provides a Rotary Speaker Effect for these (and also displays Tone wheel settings for each Organ patch, despite not allowing editing – at least no button found for that), that seems to achieve same (or at least very close) result. RD-300NX does not provide such Tone wheel based organs, nor Rotary Speaker effect. Finally FP-7F’s church organ is really great, some of a mix of Kontakt2’s one and D-50 ones. These sounds are then very likely to be more important than RD-300NX’s SuperNatural electric piano, that may not be so much better than FP-7F ones.

– RD-300NX’s 17,5 kg (compared to FP-7F’s 24 kg) is very welcomed, however there is to know if it can justify overall less good sounding piano and less good keyboard action. It is also 10 cm larger, due to its pitch bend/modulation lever.

Finally RD-300NX isn’t expected until end of March, so the FP-7F may be the best choice. There is still to know whether a FP-4F will be announced (not likely, at least not during this winter NAMM’s first days), however it would have to provide an even more downscaled keyboard and sound engine (besides same lighter amplification as before), and 1000 euros price point to compete with RD-300NX.

UPDATE : the RD-300NX action is finally somewhat deceiving (not really better than with on the previous RD-300GX, and far more less realistic than FP-7F’s action). Moreover buttons look cheap.

The RD-700NX features a slightly heavier touch than the FP-7F, however the later reacts more smoother and realistically, and looks better (ivory soft colour contrary to white on the RD-700NX).

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Comments
  1. al-ch-i says:

    good insight. thanks. it’s a quite difficult to choose a nice sounding digital piano… i had a chance to play on v-piano and i would say it was the best sound of acoustic piano i ever heard on synth. i would get it if it was 1/2 of the price. now i’m going in circles between kawai mp6, roland rd300nx, fp4f, sometimes looking on kurzweill, hopelessly mad, considering i don’t like any sound so much to spend such a pile of money, taking into account roland juno even it is a desperate choice. the sound is not bad, it has nice color if we count it is no multisampled and cheap… now i’ve discovered Zarenbourg by Waldorf, seems nice, but unsure about the sound of piano as they do not publish samples. i dont like nords, new mox, the korg sv1 (i’ve had a chance to play the keys and they moved not just vertically but horizontally…) it seems to me samples on yama and korg are lifeless. the new korg computer, the kronos, sound interesting, but not the way i would be thrilled. i’ve had yamaha cp300 and had to sell it as it wont fit into my lended appartment and was heavy and i was not to impressed with the sound. so, i’ll wait probably, till 2012. the next year may bring some new hw and end of the world so the search for digital piano will be finally over :).

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