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The Dream Stage Piano, Roland V-Piano and RD-700NX

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Info Diary
Minhun Kang

Roland’s new technology has completely deconstructed and simulated the mechanisms of actual piano parts (keys, dampers, pedals, strings, frame, soundboard, hammer, etc.) to create a virtual piano.

Because it applies a physical modeling approach rather than sampling, it eliminates the concept of velocity, allowing one to feel as if playing a real piano. All parts of the piano can be adjusted to desired settings.

Listening to the sound, it surpasses the reality of existing piano sound sources. The keyboard adopts Roland’s new PHA III Ivory Feel keyboard, purportedly replicating the touch of an actual grand piano. The price hovers around ten million won.

The RD-700NX can be seen as a portable keyboard version of the V-Piano.

While the V-piano is a high-end stage piano solely for piano playing, the RD-700NX is a master keyboard optimized for portability and MIDI work. (Of course, it’s equipped with superNATURAL technology-based sound sources)

I had a chance to try this keyboard with Roland’s latest keyboard technology, the PHA III Ivory Feel keyboard, at Nakwon Arcade, and it provided a more vintage touch than many standard grand pianos.

It also features a sound module that integrates piano tone expression technology and multisampling technology used in the Roland V-Piano, which nearly made me surrender to the temptation of buying it.

What’s remarkable about this PHA III keyboard is the use of escapement technology, which replicates the weight and bounce of a string being struck by a hammer when a real key is pressed.

It’s a technology that creates a heavy, catching sensation when pressing the keys slowly. Overall, it’s said to most closely replicate the key action and touch of a grand piano. Moreover, the ivory feel keys are matte and textured, providing a natural ivory touch and fitting snugly in the hands.

Eventually, I purchased the lower model, the RD-300NX. Though a lower model, it’s a successor master keyboard released after the RD700NX and is equipped with the Ivory Feel G keyboard. This keyboard maintains the weight and touch of traditional keyboards while being lighter and slimmer in design. It also reproduces the unique touch of a piano by varying the weight between the low and high ends. The piano sound source is the same as that of the RD700NX.

Though it falls short compared to the extreme realism of the PHA III keyboard (which might be divisive among computer music composers), it’s still exceptional in touch compared to other keyboards.

What impressed me most was its cost-performance ratio. Being a latest product, yet reducing size and raw material costs, I was able to purchase it at about 60% of the price of the 700nx.

For MIDI work, it has become the best keyboard for me.