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Roland RD-2000 True Eyecatcher

Roland RD-2000 True Eyecatcher

Roland’s digital stage piano surely hit the first day of NAMM 2017. Roland entitled it a “Stage Revolution” and we’ll try to find out whether it’s something new or the modification of something familiar and most important whether there is any point for Kurzweil to panic about its Artis/Forte series.

Roland RD-2000Let’s begin with the interface and overall looks of RD-2000. It might seem usual, but in this case it’s not because it’s kind of a common thing to do. First of all, Roland didn’t try to make an RD-800-like instrument he went back to a bit more archaic series presenting something closer to RD-700 or even RD-1000 which actually came out in 1986. But then these backlit encoders strike the eye and we see that they are quite identical to those of this year’s Yamaha Montage: the same location, almost the same function. RD-800 definitely gives way to RD-2000 in its interface – 9 sliders, more than 60 buttons, 2 assignable wheels, pitch/ mod stick. Though it surprises with much smaller resolution of the dispay. While Kurzweil provides Forte with a big full-colored one, Roland alloted a paltry monochrome sort of display to its top stage synthesizer knowing that we’re so tired of this 320x80 dots screen that indwell many budget models. Now move on to the keyboard proving that predictability is something good. And it really is, because we did expect the keyboard to be fully weighted, dynamic, 7,5-octave PHA-50 (88 notes, wood+plastic, concert piano behaviour emulation). Panels which embrace this splendid keyboard remind of Jupiter-80 making us happy enough to forgive them for JD-XA and System-8 with frankly cheap appearance. Metal chassis with an aluminum front panel and plastic sides are of almost the same size and weight as RD-800 is. Basically RD-2000 leaves you with a feeling that you’ve just seen a Jupiter-80/ Yamaha Montage/ Kurzweil Forte hybrid.

Anyway it’s the technical part what really matters. In fact is nothing else but updated RD-800 sound engine. Roland took SuperNATURAL and V-Piano technologies which create incredible sounds comprising all the keyboards, wind instruments, organs (using Virtual Tonewheel Organ technology as well) and percussion/ drums. The count of presets is more than 1100 – as much as RD-800 has – but there are more multitimbral programs (300 vs 200). Roland introduced a new idea named “Scene” which is similar to the multitimbral program, there are 100 of them. Rolands sticks to the tradition of having a quite big drum set – 600 patterns. SuperNATURAL polyphony gives us 128 voices, V-Piano engine programs offer full polyphony which can be limited only with the amount of virtual “strings” and there are 264 of them. We have a 16-part multitimbrality which turns into an 8-part one when in the Program mode. RD-2000 inherited from RD-800 the whole effects unit, EQ, recorder, player, USB audio and other types of commutation (4 MIDI, 4 pedals, audio ins/outs including XLR). Nevertheless RD-2000 excels at operation with its parts (8 are available instead of 4) and external ones (8 as well and moreover, you can mix external&internal parts at the same time) and that makes RD-2000 a powerful master-controller.

So what is RD-2000? Is it something new? Our preview makes it seem nothing more but RD-800 with a perfected interface, smaller display and higher price. Why cutting down on a display? Is probably a secret. But all in all this is a stunning stage piano and a serious contender together with Kurzweil Artis, Kurzweil Forte SE and Yamaha CP4 Stage. The owners of the top Forte models may not worry too much because Roland RD-2000 has a clearly inferior display and doesn’t live up to the desirable sample memory of 16 Gb which all the most expensive stage Kurzweil pianos sport.

Published: 20:15 19.01.2017
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