Russell is a sound producer and songwriter. He deals with digital pianos and MIDI controllers on a regular basis so no wonder he knows everything about them.
Last updated: March 18, 2021
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Are you looking for a digital piano? If so, you have likely come across several notable brands. One of these brands is Roland. The company makes some of the best musical instruments and equipment, and their keyboards are no exception. There are several keyboards from the brand, so which are the best Roland keyboards? We answer that question in this article.
Choosing the right keyboard is hard work when you are researching the market by yourself. In making the correct choice, do you have to test every keyboard that you find? Well, not anymore. We have considered scores of models and have come up with the best options. In picking these models, some of the features we kept in mind include a keyboard, polyphony, tones, dimensions, and weight. Later, you will find that information in detail. For now, let’s consider our top-rated options. At the end of this article, you should have enough information to make the correct purchase.
"This is the top pick. It comes with a formidable sound engine, durable parts, and lovely velocity-sensitive keys.61 keys with velocity.SuperNATURAL acoustic, synth, drum kit, PCM synth, and drum kit.16-track MIDI sequencer."
"The Roland GO-61K offers excellent value for the price. Thus, it is a great first keyboard for any beginner. It is portable, lightweight, and durable.61 box-shape keys with velocity.554 built-in tones.Song recorder with a USB backup."
"This might be expensive, but the benefits make it worth the cost. It comes with a premium design and excellent sound.88 full-sized weighted keys (PHA-50).1100 built-in tones.Two independent sound engines."
"This is a portable model that excels as a stationary model and a traveling keyboard. It is durable, compact, and has 88 weighted keys.88 weighted keys (PHA-4).6 tones for piano, 7 for E. piano, 22 other tones.Quiet keyboard action."
"This is a unit with full synthesizer features. Also, it is powerful and gives you quality sound performance. The connectivity is also excellent.61 velocity-sensitive keys.1,172 built-in tones, 60 drum sets.LCD screen with a friendly graphical user interface."
"This lightweight model features some of the best sound performances found on a 66-key keyboard.61 velocity-sensitive keys.Over 1200 built-in patches, 30 drum kits, 64 performance presets, and user memory.Unique vocal effects."
"This model has a powerful sound engine that gives you excellent performance. It is sturdy, portable, compact, and lightweight.61 velocity-sensitive keys.Over 1500 tones and 100 drum kits for presets, 256 user tones and 128 drum kits.Onboard sampling."
"This model comes with a nice, lightweight design. It has the Piano Partner 2 app that helps you learn how to play even better.61 velocity-sensitive keys.10 built-in piano tones, 7 E. piano, 7 organ, and 16 other tones.Bluetooth."
"This model is a powerful and valuable option for anyone looking to play on the stage. It feels great on the fingertips and has good customization features.73 semi-weighted keys with velocity.268 built-in tones.Expandable onboard sound library."
Since we are talking about Roland keyboards, you should be well aware that this is one of the most popular manufacturers of musical equipment on the market today.
The Fantom series from the brand has been around for a while now, and it has proven to be one of the best lineups from the brand. The Roland FA-06 is one of the best options that you’ll find on the market. It comes with several features, including a change in design.
Weighing 12.6 pounds, this is one of the lightest options we have found. It is much lighter than other keyboards on the market. The weight is more remarkable when you realize that it comes with full-functions.
The keyboard has 61 unweighted keys that boast of velocity sensitivity. But it doesn’t have aftertouch. Using the keyboard is quite pleasant as the keys are very responsive and solid.
Under the hood is a 128-note polyphonic engine that is responsible for the impressive sounds from the unit. It comes complete with several incredible tones. There are sound modifiers and effects as well that contribute to the overall quality of this affordable keyboard.
What we liked: This is the top pick. It comes with a formidable sound engine, durable parts, and lovely velocity-sensitive keys.
What could be better: A few people say that they wished it had more knobs and sliders.
Are you looking for a portable, lightweight model for a beginner player? If so, you will likely enjoy using the Roland GO-61K. This model is primarily made for travel. Therefore, it is not surprising to find that it comes with a low weight of around 6 pounds. It also has compact dimensions, which means that you can pack it up quickly and easily.
The design is really nice, and it looks great for the price. The 61 keys here are velocity-sensitive and are great for beginner players.
On top of that, it boasts a relatively powerful sound engine. It comes with 128-note polyphony, which is really nice for a model of this size and price.
Apart from that, it comes with excellent connectivity that we found to be pretty useful. The Bluetooth function, for example, allows you to connect this wirelessly.
It is highly recommended for anyone looking for a portable, cheap, and lightweight Roland keyboard. As it is built for travel, all the parts are durable, and it should serve you for a long time.
What we liked: The Roland GO-61K offers excellent value for the price. Although it is affordable, the features make it a great first keyboard for any beginner. It is portable, lightweight, and durable.
What could be better: The key-bed is not with weighted keys. Therefore, it lacks the authentic, realistic feel of acoustic keyboards.
More features: two independent sound engines, 300 programs, 200 rhythm patterns, LCD screen, USB ports, acoustic voice is richly detailed, ideal for live performances, can save 100 snapshots of the keyboard setup and recall them
If money is no issue, then the Roland RD-2000 is the best option that you can find on the market right now. It comes with virtually every feature that you might want from your keyboard.
Right from first glance, you can see that this is not your average keyboard. Roland is known for the high quality and durability of its products, and this unit is certainly no exception. The chassis and body are made of high-quality materials, and the product will survive years of travel. All the knobs, sliders, and keys are well made and designed to last for a long time.
The 88 keys on this model are fully weighted and give you the feeling of an acoustic piano.
Away from the feel and appearance, the performance of the Roland RD-2000 is impeccable. It should be noted that this model doesn’t come with built-in speakers. Still, the sound is impressive. The sound engine is one of the most powerful options on the market and does a wonderful job.
The unit also comes with fantastic flexibility. There are an effects engine and the V-piano modeling sound engine that make this one of the most versatile options out there.
What we liked: This might be expensive, but the benefits make it worth the cost. It comes with a premium design and excellent sound quality.
What could be better: The faders and knobs are close and might cause some problems during playing. The display is also rather small.
While this is an 88-key keyboard, it comes with a portable design. It is easy to move around and is quite versatile. You’ll find that this keyboard can be set up on a stand or can be packed up and carried with you on your trips. Also, the keys are fully weighted, which certainly gives you the feeling of playing on a real piano.
As a portable unit, it is quite lightweight. Nevertheless, the 31-pound weight is one of the heavier options that we have considered so far. You will still find it handy to take along with you on your gigs.
Aside from the portability, we like this model due to the connectivity. It is designed with a Bluetooth function that lets you connect to other devices. It also has a USB port for that type of connectivity.
The engine is not as powerful as those we have considered so far. It offers just 30 sounds, which is rather limited.
What we liked: This is a portable model that excels as a stationary model and a traveling keyboard. It is durable, compact, and has 88 weighted keys.
What could be better: Well, one problem with this is that sound quality isn’t the best as the speakers aren’t optimally placed.
The Roland BK-5 has a somber appearance and a powerful engine. It is made with full synthesizer functionality, which makes it one of the most powerful options from Roland.
The specifications that you first come across are likely the 1172 sounds and 128-note polyphony. Therefore, there are plenty of tones that you can use to make your music.
The panel has 61 keys, which makes for an excellent unit for anyone that is starting to play the keyboard. Apart from that, you also have One Touch buttons. These come in very handy and let you save and access sounds with just a touch.
The design is excellent, and it weighs around 16 pounds, which makes it quite lightweight. Thus, you will find it easy to move around when that is required. But we do not recommend that as this is not as durable as the other models that we have considered so far.
The connectivity is also excellent – you get MIDI output and the ability to connect a USB drive with the keyboard. There is the AUX input too.
The keyboard is velocity-sensitive, which is great. But it doesn’t come with Hammer Action.
What we liked: This is a unit with full synthesizer features. It is powerful and shows excellent performance. Apart from that, connectivity is also impressive.
What could be better: Although this is portable, it isn’t the most durable option out there.
The Juno line of products from Roland features the best-rated options, and this 61- key model is certainly no different. It is fitted with several really cool features that we like.
For example, it weighs just 11 pounds. This means that you have a piano that is ready to take on the go. You can take it to your gigs and live performances. Additionally, it comes with recording capabilities. Therefore, if you want to make and record music on the fly, you will find this to be a very useful option to have. Whether playing alone or for an audience, you will find this to be one of the best keyboards on the market.
Another thing that sets this apart from the others is the addition of the expansion slots. These slots come in very handy and let you download the waveforms you want from Roland’s website.
All of these features are topped by the full synthesizer functions.
Sound quality is an important factor that you also need to think about when making a buying choice. Well, this unit comes with outstanding sound. You can enjoy the music played via high-quality speakers.
What we liked: This lightweight model has some of the best sound performance found on a 66-key keyboard.
What could be better: Although the 66 keys are velocity-sensitive, they are not weighted.
If you want a model with an excellent screen and lightweight design, then you’ll likely enjoy using this model. It features a 61-key keyboard with velocity keys, although not weighted. Also, it offers a nice design that will look great in your setup.
The build is sturdy, and the unit will certainly last for several years. It weighs 17 pounds, which is heavier than some of the others on this list. Still, this should make the Roland E-A7 easy to carry around.
One of the best things about this model is the dual-screen layout. This shows you information that you might need for playing your music.
Under the hood, you have a relatively powerful sound engine that comes with good memory and features. You get over 1500 built-in tones and 100 drum kits for presets with over 250 user tones. While this isn’t the biggest that we have seen, it is surely effective and appealing to many intermediate players.
What we liked: This model has a powerful sound engine that gives you excellent performance. It is sturdy, portable, compact, and lightweight.
What could be better: While the keys are great thanks to the velocity-sensitivity, they are not weighted.
Earlier, we reviewed one of the options in the GO series from Roland. The Roland GO-61P-A is another excellent example of how great the brand is. The model is a budget option and boasts innovative features, especially when it comes to effects and looping.
Although this is the lightest and most compact of the models that we have reviewed here, the Roland GO-61P-A certainly punches way above its weight in terms of performance.
The design here is portable and is a 61-key keyboard. It weighs around 8 pounds, which is very lightweight and improves portability. Also, the feel is great, and the screen is quite useful. You get plenty of information without feeling overwhelmed.
Sounds here are decent as well. On top of that, the product comes with 40 sounds of good quality. You also get 128-note polyphony, which means you will always have notes.
What we liked: This model comes with a nice, lightweight design. It has the Piano Partner 2 app that helps you learn how to play even better.
What could be better: The build quality is poor, so this is not a keyboard that you should carry around without adequate protection.
Are you a live performer? Then the Roland VR-730 is the right keyboard for you. It is particularly designed for gigs and comes with plenty of features to support you on the stage.
It is unique on this list as it comes with 73 keys. While this isn’t the full 88 keyboard that can be found on other options and the acoustic piano, it is sufficient for playing songs that you want.
The design is quite nice because there are no protruding keys or stuff that might cause a snag while playing. The keys are semi-weighted, which is quite excellent if you prefer the feel of such keys. If you are looking to learn how to play fully-weighted keys, though, you should look for something else.
Next, the Roland VR-730 has more than 250 sounds, which are each marvelous. The sound engine is decent, and the unit has 128-note polyphony. You can also customize the sounds via the companion app.
What we liked: This model is a powerful and valuable option for anyone looking to play on the stage. It feels great on the fingertips and has good customization features.
What could be better: It is a bit complicated for beginners. Therefore, it is best for experts or intermediate players.
Things to Consider
Digital pianos have become more popular than ever before. Therefore, you might be thinking of getting in on a piece of the action. In the section above, we considered some of the best Roland keyboards that you will find on the market right now. Well, by providing you with that list of the best models, we help you to narrow down your choices. In this section, we now discuss the important factors to keep in mind when you are buying a Roland keyboard.
Advantages of Roland keyboards
As you already know, Roland keyboards offer exceptional functionality. In this section, we consider some of the most impressive reasons to go for one of these products.
One of the best advantages of having this keyboard is that they are very convenient and portable. If you compare them to acoustic models that come with a cabinet, these often come in a heavy design. Well, Roland keyboards are lightweight and easy to carry around. They offer much better portability. If you often hit the road with your keyboard, you will find these products very useful and handy.
Some keyboards are quite expensive, especially if you are looking to buy a high-quality model. The advantage of the Roland keyboards is that they often come at a much lower price, especially when compared to your typical acoustic piano. Also, they don’t require as much maintenance. With digital pianos like the Roland keyboard, you don’t have to tune them.
Roland keyboards are very versatile. While cheaper keyboards have a narrower range depending on the brand, Roland keyboards are much better in this regard. They are easy to control and give you a wider range of performance.
Additionally, with the Roland keyboard, it is possible to practice silently, something members of your household will likely appreciate.
Roland keyboards have extensive sound and come with the ability to play different instruments.
The Roland keyboard has the ability to let you record your playing. If you are a beginner, the ability to playback is invaluable and can certainly help you to get better at playing. You can note your progress and see where you need to make adjustments. The Roland GO-61K comes with a recorder.
Another factor that sets Roland keyboards and other digital keyboards is connectivity. This brand offers plenty of connectivity options. You can connect it through USB, Bluetooth, and can transfer files to other devices. A great example here is the Roland FP-30-BK.
A great thing about digital keyboards is that some of them come with learning tools. These tools range from exercises to metronomes and access to different resources online.
All of these, when combined, make it clear that an electric piano or keyboard is better for some people than a regular acoustic keyboard. The Roland GO-61P-A comes with useful learning tools.
Features to consider when searching for the best Roland digital piano
Since there is a large number of models that you can find on the market today, it is important to know the features to check so that you can find the best option. Here are the key considerations.
Before you decide to buy any model, it is key that you look at the features and the capabilities of the unit as well as your ability.
If you are a newbie, you will be best served by a budget model that has a nice list of features that you can easily use. As you get better, you can then start thinking of getting a more expensive or advanced model.
If you are an experienced player, the features that you’d want from your Roland keyboard would be more advanced. For instance, you might think about stuff like touch response and velocity sensitivity.
Number of keys
There are several keyboard sizes that you can choose from. These range from the 88 keys to 61 and 76 keys. Some are even smaller and offer 25 and 49 keys. So, which should you choose? Well, it depends on the purpose of the keyboard.
If you are just starting out, then a lower number of keys on your keyboard will be enough for you. As such, we recommend 61, like seen with the Roland FA-06, or 75-key digital pianos.
On the other hand, if you are performing live or want the best from your keyboard, then the 88 key keyboard is a good choice. An example is the Roland RD-2000.
Action and touch response
There are several features that differentiate electric keyboards like Roland from the cheaper options. One of these is the action and touch response of the keys. Just like the acoustic keyboard has resistant keys that contain wooden hammers that strike against the piano to produce sound, you can find that imitation here. If you have been playing on an acoustic piano, then you might be rightly concerned about the action of the keyboard’s keys.
There are weighted, semi-weighted, and non-weighted keys. To get the response as that of a regular piano, you should go for weighted and semi-weighted keys. This type of keyboard has a small hammer action that stimulates the response of an acoustic piano.
The best options are fully weighted keys like with the Roland FP-30-BK. These feel superb and almost exactly like the keys on an acoustic piano.
Apart from the action, another thing to look out for is the touch sensitivity of the keys. The best options on the market come with this feature. Touch sensitivity means that the volume of the keyboard increases or decreases based on the amount of force that is applied to the keys. Some of the models that we have included here come with this feature.
While the keys feel and other features that we have considered so far affect your experience, the sound quality is another factor that is super important.
These models employ technology to reproduce the sounds from an acoustic piano or other instruments. The sound quality largely depends on the quality of build and electronics used.
The major factor that affects the sound quality of the digital piano is digital memory. The higher digital memory means that there are more samples for the product to draw from. This, in turn, will improve the quality of sound from the unit. Apart from that, the quality of the amps and speakers will affect how good the keyboard sounds.
As you check out the market looking for the best Roland keyboard, one of the things that you find is that many of them specifying is polyphony. Well, what is this, and why is it important?
Polyphony is the number of individual tones that the keyboard can produce at the same time. The typical product comes with 32-note polyphony. In our opinion, the higher the polyphony number is, the better for your music will be. That is why it is great to have models that have up to 64-polyphony or even more. Some of the best options on the market can even offer up to 128 note polyphony.
Tones and sound
The typical Roland keyboard comes with the ability to play different sounds. Pianos today have the ability to play hundreds of sound samples from a variety of instruments. If you are looking to produce music, the ability to choose from hundreds of tones and sounds comes in very handy. You can tweak the effects to good use, creating unique sounds. With more tone and sounds, you’ll discover that you’ll enjoy playing more.
To imitate the sound of an acoustic piano or some other instrument, digital keyboards have samples that have been recorded from an actual instrument. Well, as might be expected, this is no small feat. It takes plenty of effort and time to get all of the samples from real instruments. It will also require that the piano comes with enough memory to accommodate all the samples.
To that end, digital sampling is arguably the most important feature to consider when making a purchase. This factor also affects not just the sound quality of the keyboard but also the price.
One of the reasons why we love the electric keyboard is that several models come with learning tools. These tools range from notes to online courses and so on. By following these, you can learn how to play the keyboard and get much better at playing.
Some models make learning fun as they might come with displays that show the notes that are played. You can find products with backlit keys that light up depending on what you press. Also, other units can even be sectioned off in two, so the teacher and student can play from the same keyboard simultaneously.
Are you looking to use the piano at home? If so, you will require a keyboard that comes with the right amplifiers and speakers. Armed with these, your music would be delightful.
Some options have other connectivity options like the ability to hookup to headphones or your computer. An example is the Roland FA-06.
Another important consideration is the size of the unit. You should compare the dimensions of the keyboard with the dimension of the space you plan to use. You should also check stuff like the keyboard height.
In addition to the size of the unit, you also need to check how easy it would be for the keyboard to be broken down into easily transportable sizes. This is especially important if you are often on the move and prefer to have the keyboard along with you. The Roland GO-61P-A is the lightest option we reviewed.
Another thing to consider is the accessories. The accessories that your keyboard would require depend on what you plan to use the piano for. Some of them come in the package, and you should find out what is coming with the keyboard before you make a purchase.
Some of the accessories that you might find very useful include stands and seats, cables, covers, and others. Check out the accessories that will come with your keyboard before you buy it.
Playing on a keyboard with weighted keys is great because it recreates the feel of a real piano. It gives you a realistic experience. Additionally, it makes it possible for you to play the actual piano without feeling strange or confused. Thus, there should
not be much difference between learning to play an acoustic piano or a digital keyboard. At the same time, if you are a beginner, you might want to consider keyboards that lack weighted keys because they are much cheaper.
Yes, you can. Roland keyboards come with the ability to record. Therefore, you can make your song and playback them to monitor your progress. It also allows you to transfer your files to other devices. If you wish that your instrument lacks some sounds, you can check the manual and see if you can download new tones from the official website. This might make your experience much more enjoyable.
As with other musical instruments, Roland digital pianos come in a variety of prices. For example, the Roland GO-61K costs way less than $500. Others are more expensive. For instance, the Roland RD-2000 can be purchased for more than $2000. Other options can be found in-between, so you can get one that suits your needs and budget easily!
If we are to name our winner, the Roland FA-06 is the top pick. It comes with a formidable sound engine, durable parts, and lovely velocity-sensitive keys.
For budget shoppers, the Roland GO-61K offers excellent value for the price. Although it is affordable, the features make it a great first keyboard for any beginner. It is portable, lightweight, and durable.
Lastly, the Roland RD-2000 might be expensive as the premium pick, but the benefits make it worth the cost. It comes with a premium design and excellent sound.
These are just three of the best Roland keyboards that we reviewed. Go through our list to find the best one for you!