The Roland Go:Piano88 is a budget keyboard piano primarily aimed at beginners. It has 88 non-weighted keys, with a focus on delivering that classic Roland sound in a cheap and lightweight package.
In this review, I will look at everything that’s good and everything that could be better about the Go-Piano88.
About the author
- 88 full-size keys
- 128-note max polyphony
- built-in speakers
- 4 voices
- headphone jack
- pedal input
- USB/Bluetooth MIDI
Final verdict on the Go:Piano88
The Go:Piano88 is a lot of fun for beginners and delivers some seriously good sounds. It does come with a significant setback, and that’s the lack of weighted keys.
It’s a difficult instrument to score because it does the main things very well, despite the keyboard feel. Ultimately, I think it’s a fantastic keyboard for beginners, especially younger players, but older learners may be better looking elsewhere.
What I like
- Premium Roland sounds.
- Very easy to use.
- Impressive built-in speakers.
- Piano Partner app.
What I don’t like
- Limited voices/features.
- Non-weighted keys.
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Sound quality isn’t an issue at all with the Roland Go:Piano88, and it includes some premium Roland sounds usually reserved for keyboards in the $800-1000 range.
Like most things with the Go:Piano88, there is a downside: it only has four voices. The simplest way to put it is that the Go:Piano88 beats many in its class on sound quality but loses to most on versatility.
I have to put sound quality first, so I score it pretty high here, but it depends on what you value most. If you want lots of voices, you should look elsewhere. If your main concern is the acoustic piano sound, you will not be disappointed.
The included voices are a Grand Piano, E. Piano, Organ, and Strings. Roland is known for realistic piano voices, and this one is very rich and detailed. It’s especially good for young aspiring singer-songwriters who love pop music.
The other voices are of a similarly high standard, I just wish there were more of them. If you love this keyboard but want more voices, a good compromise could be the Go:Piano (61-key model), with 40 voices.
The Go:Piano88 has a max polyphony of 128 notes, which is high for the price.
The built-in speaker system consists of two 6-inch speakers, powered by two 10-watt amplifiers. As far as volume/power is concerned, there’s more than enough to fill any room in the house.
Some budget keyboard pianos struggle with extreme dynamics at certain volume levels. If you go from playing very softly to very loudly, some speakers can lose clarity or start to crack. The Go:Piano88 performs very well in this area and accurately translates your dynamic performance from fingers to sound.
Like most cheap keyboard pianos, the built-in speaker system isn’t designed to fill large performance venues, but it does very well at home.
In a way, I feel terrible applying such a low score here because it’s not an awful keyboard by any means. However, I have to take into account the fact that there are other keyboards around the same price that offer fantastic hammer-action keys.
Now to the positives, the keys are full-size and velocity-sensitive with various levels of touch-sensitivity (light, medium, heavy, and fixed). When compared to other touch-sensitive keyboards, the Go:Piano88 performs better than most. The keys don’t feel cheap, and they are very responsive.
So, if you don’t need a keyboard with fully-weighted keys, the Go:Piano88 is one of the best in its class.
Roland’s Go:Piano88 isn’t the most feature-packed keyboard on the market, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The primary aim of this keyboard is to deliver a realistic piano sound and a lightweight, easy-to-use instrument; it has the right features to do that.
Layer mode is a feature that you won’t find on the 61-key version of this keyboard. It lets you layer two sounds to create a new sound, most commonly used with piano and strings. While it’s a great feature to have, the four available voices leave you with limited options.
Twin Piano mode
Twin Piano mode is a feature designed for student and teacher practice, and it’s a feature that I see on many beginner keyboard pianos, often named Duet mode. It splits the keyboard into two identical zones so the student and teacher can sit side by side and play with the same pitch range.
A built-in metronome is a simple feature that I don’t always mention, but for a beginner keyboard, it’s so important. One of the easiest bad habits to develop as a learner is to play like a train, getting faster and faster as you go. A metronome will help you develop perfect timing and great phrasing.
I was a little disappointed not to find more built-in effects like you get from the 61-key version. But, the Go:Piano88 offers an adjustable reverb as a lone effect. In fairness, with limited sounds, there’s less need for more effects.
Piano Partner app
The Piano Partner app is an excellent learning tool. It lets you do things like display MIDI scores, make a diary of your progress, and it even offers game-style challenges. This type of learning is perfect for younger kids because it makes learning fun.
I have been quite harsh in my judgment so far, harsh but fair, I would say. However, it’s time for me to highlight some of the best things about the Go:Piano88.
As a beginner keyboard, you want it to be easy and intuitive to use: it ticks both boxes. The simple layout is easy to navigate, and dedicated voice selection buttons mean you can switch sounds quickly.
It’s also extremely lightweight, which wouldn’t be the case if it had weighted keys. Being so light means it’s portable, and you can move it around the house for practice as needed. You also get the option of it being battery-powered, which enhances the play anywhere experience.
I have criticized the lack of voices, but sometimes too many voices can distract young students from proper practice. The Go:Piano88 has the right balance of fun and seriousness to make it a fantastic first instrument.
Build-quality isn’t an area that I get too caught up in when it comes to cheap keyboard pianos, and the reason is that they tend to be very similar in this department.
For the most part, this keyboard isn’t much better or worse than any other option under $500. However, being so light does give the illusion of not being as robust. I would also say that it has a slightly more obvious plastic feel than some other choices.
There are no significant design flaws, and if used for practice/learning as intended, you won’t have any problems.
Connectivity is pretty standard, with a single 1/4-inch headphone jack that can double as an audio output, a 1/4-inch pedal input, and USB (Micro-B). DP-2 pedal included.
The not-so-standard part is that it has Bluetooth connectivity for streaming music from other smart devices. You can also control MIDI over Bluetooth, which means you can connect to the Piano Partner app without a cable.
Compared to other keyboard pianos
It’s always important to look at alternative options, and I’ve picked out a few for you. I should say before you read on if you prefer non-weighted keys, the Go:Piano88 is better than the selections below.
Roland Go:Piano88 vs Alesis Virtue
I’m starting with another choice with non-weighted keys; this time, it’s a proper digital piano setup, wooden stand, bench, etc. It’s a great choice if you want that playing experience, but the Go:Piano88 is better on sound and feel alone.
Roland Go:Piano88 vs Alesis Concert
There’s no denying the fact that Alesis does an amazing job in this budget price range. It offers a step up to semi-weighted keys and might be the perfect weight for some players.
Roland Go:Piano88 vs Casio CDP-S160
The CDP-S160 is one of the best options around $500. It comes with scaled hammer-action keys that deliver an outstanding, authentic feel for the money.
Who is the Go:Piano88 best suited for?
The Roland Go:Piano88 suits beginners, especially younger learners.Buy Roland Go:Piano88 at: SweetwaterAmazon