Having a quality piano in your home or apartment is great motivation for continuing to hone your skills. It’s essentially a piece of playable art that lends a sophisticated aesthetic to any living room or den. Years ago, if you wanted a nice looking and highly playable piano for your home, satisfying that desire would have entailed spending up to $30,000 on an acoustic grand piano. While a genuine acoustic grand is a simply beautiful instrument, when it comes to weight, size and logistics, it might be impossible to fit one in your residence. That’s provided you can even get it there as the days of swinging cranes dropping pianos through the window of high rise buildings probably violates several city safety codes.
Thankfully, over the last 15 years we have seen the proliferation of the Digital Grand Pianos. Offering a more compact form, coming in at a significantly lighter weight, and carrying a much more reasonable price tag, the Digital Piano revolution is breaking down the barriers to owning a beautiful instrument in your residence. Digital pianos also offer several benefits including lower maintenance costs as they don’t need a yearly professional tuning. Other standout features include the ability to split the keyboard for lessons with a teacher, USB connectivity for direct recording on computer software and of course preset sounds that let you churn out everything from exotic synths to sophisticated string symphonies.
One of our favorite digital grand pianos is the Roland RP102. Lets take a look back through digital piano history to understand why Roland is the perfect candidate for bringing you an incredible upright grand piano.
Electric Piano Legacy:
Roland’s quest to build the ultimate electronic piano started soon after the company was founded in 1972. At that time, much of the technology didn’t exist so Roland invented it. Roland introduced the first touch-sensitive electronic piano to the world in 1974, followed by a series of other innovations in the field including….
- First digital stage piano in 1986 with the release of the RD-1000. Not only did it feature Roland’s proprietary “Structured Adaptive Synthesis,” it also featured a wooden keyboard.
- First digital pianos in colors (red, white, gray) with the introduction of the FP-8 in 1991.
- In 2001 Roland released the HPi-5 featuring the first digital piano with on-board scoring capability and automatic page turning on a built-in display screen.
- Roland continued to blur the line between acoustic and digital pianos with the introduction in 2009 of the V-Piano. The sound engine in the V-Piano was based on another Roland proprietary technology. Composite Object Sound Modeling, or “COSM”. In 2012, this technology was combined with another Roland technology, “Acoustic Projection,” to create the V-Piano Grand. Acoustic Projection moves various elements of the piano sound throughout the sound field in real-time, just as in an acoustic grand.
- The technology of the V-Piano and V-Piano grand was incorporated into a new series of Roland designed sound chips to create the next generation of home pianos that were released in 2015.
- And in 2017 these technologies were incorporated into the new RD-2000, one of the industry’s best-selling stage pianos.
In addition to pioneering several important digital sound technologies, Roland also strives to design pianos that look as good as they sound; from classically-styled grand and upright pianos, to contemporary pianos with a stylish flat-top cabinet or a cutting-edge metallic body.
Why the RP102
The Roland RP102 upright digital model combines authentic piano performance and onboard practice features in a compact and affordable design. It’s filled with technologies derived from Roland’s award-winning premium upright and grand pianos—including a luxurious and supremely playable weighted-action keyboard—providing a realistic feel that translates well to playing on genuine acoustic grand pianos. It even includes 3 pedals for further authenticity. The RP102’s traditional upright look that fits nicely anywhere space is at a premium.
The RP102 never needs tuning or regular maintenance thanks to its digital sound engine. Convenient modern features like onboard Bluetooth® let you sync the keyboard with a smartphone or tablet where you can run Roland’s free Piano Partner 2 app. This app hosts hundreds of digital sheet music files, custom backing rhythms for accompaniment and more convenient performance and practice features. The RP102 is an exceptional value, at the ready to bring a touch of style and musical enjoyment for many years.
Digital Technology for Supernatural Sound
The great grand piano sound in the RP-102 comes from Roland’s proprietary Supernatural, hybrid technology that combines the advantages of High-Definition sampling from Roland’s high end acoustic pianos with advanced modeling algorithms that allow dynamic sonic changes depending on your playing style and technique. The result is rich, expressive tone you’d expect from an acoustic grand piano. Loud on board speakers offer natural projection so you can entertain several guests while a headphone output allows for quiet practice without disturbing the rest of the household. Additional audio outputs allow you to connect to a larger sound system if you want to invite the full band over to jam.
The exclusive PHA-4 Standard keyboard inherits the progressive hammer action and Ivory Feel texture of keyboards found in Roland’s premium and grand pianos and includes advanced sensing technology to take full advantage of SuperNATURAL Piano’s enormous tonal range. This highly responsive keyboard follows every nuance of your developing touch, allowing you to easily hear improvements in your technique and timing.
The piano’s three pedals are made of metal for an authentic feel, and also support half-pedal control. This technique is required to play more advanced piano pieces, and is not possible on typical entry-level instruments that employ less sophisticated pedal switches.
Piano Partner 2 Application: Expanded Features
Roland’s free Piano Partner 2 app for iOS and Android mobile devices offers seamless navigation of additional features. Via a wireless Bluetooth® connection to the RP102, it shows digital notation for the piano’s internal songs on your device’s display, and pages even turn automatically as a song plays. You can practice each hand individually by muting the left—or right—hand part, and freely adjust the tempo as needed. The app also provides access to backing rhythms and flash card games that help you build skills with intelligent accompaniment and engaging music exercises
You Can Move It
At only 85 pounds the RP-102 is easy to move by two adults when desired, while the space-saving cabinet is about the same width as a 60-inch TV on a stand. With its modern digital approach, the RP-102 is a great choice for families, beginners, hobby and advanced players looking to add a piano to their home. It’s also perfect for use in lesson studios and school practice rooms, making the RP102 an excellent choice for music educators as well.
Sam Ash Difference:
At Sam Ash we have a huge selection of both upright digital grand pianos and portable digital stage pianos for touring musicians. Come in to any of our stores and our experts will be happy to explain all the different features of the models we carry as you experiment with what feels and sounds naturally to you. We also have experts standing by ready to take your call at 800-472-6274. So please visit us or go to samash.com for more information on how you can join the club of digital piano owners.