If you are in the market for any of these fine high-end stage pianos, you might have thought about which keybed is better or which piano sounds better. Well, I finally went to a local Music store and took an hour to test them both next to each other.
So I tried the 700 NX by Roland first. The keybed (SPH-III) felt and played itself awesome, very light and defined. It had a very nice touch to it.
The sounds are very easily modifiable by the equalizer and basic hall, echo and reverb effect knobs. The wheel to select differnet sounds worked great. It was really easy to skip through many different sounds in seconds.
I thought immediately it sounded great and expensive. The Grand S Piano Sound is best described as Omnipresent and sourroundish sounding. Some musicicians call the sound of the 700NX Grand the Frankenpiano, because its samples are based on many different acoustic pianos instead of just a single one. I would even say that this rumor is true, although you are most certainly able to alter the frankensound by making use of the great user interface of the Roland.
The keybed of the Yamaha is certainly great, a bit more strenghts was necessary to press down the keys. In the end it's up to personal preference of course, yet I have to say, I felt the keys of the Roland are more gentle to the hand and moved up even quicker. Both keybed's came in some kind of artificial ivory on top of real wood. That's inspiring if you ask me, certainly high-end.
We then moved to take a look at the user interface. Horrible at first. I was not able to switch sounds with one button press. I needed at least two buttons to switch to an electrical piano sound. After a few days (I bought the CP5) I figured out the logic behind it, and were able to alter the sounds significantly, but it was without a doubt more difficult compared to the Roland.
Then we went to the CP5. Boom! Out of the box I knew, the sound was more natural and laid-back. I compared both pianos with the same headphones. I leveled out the equalizer to the same settings. Yet the Yammie's sounds sounded much more refined to me. Since I come from a Yamaha acoustic piano background, I preferred the dark-woodened sound of this japanese contender.
The Yamaha lovely rhodes-like EPs sounded beautiful
Overall, I must say it would have been a draw if not for the sounds. The Roland acoustic pianos sounded just too bright, too present and mixed to me. The Yamaha acoustic piano and especially the lovely rhodes-like EPs sounded more raw and beautiful to me.
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