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Roland RP30 review: A new standard for Roland’s RP series?

Roland’s RP series digital pianos are very popular among students and teachers and have been for some time. We can attribute much of that popularity to the consistent performance of these pianos; you know what to expect from an RP digital piano, and it’s generally good value for money.

But, now and then, a model comes along that looks like it might be setting a new standard or foundation, and that could be the Roland RP30. In this review, I’ll discuss whether the RP30 is just another good RP piano or if it’s something more special.

Roland RP30 with bench
Image: Roland

Final verdict on the Roland RP30 4.5

I wanted to love the RP30; I’m not quite there, but I like it a lot. It could have been better in a few areas, but it shines in others and is excellent value for money. If you want an authentic acoustic piano feel/touch, few will do it better at this price; it’s lovely.

What I like

  • Great sound.
  • Fantastic keyboard action.
  • Simulated ivory feel.
  • Solid build quality.
  • Easy to use.
  • Value for money.

What I don’t like

  • Acoustic piano tones could be richer with more depth.
  • Speakers could be better.
Buy Roland RP30 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Why you should trust me

Over the last 20 years, I’ve spent countless hours in practice rooms, studios, and on stage as a pianist and composer. I’ve played just about every kind of keyboard and piano in just about every scenario.

James Nugent, author and contributor at Higher Hz

The experience I’ve gained in that time helps me choose the right instrument for any given project.

More importantly, in my position here, my experience allows me to help others avoid some of the mistakes I made in the early days.

Contents

Use these jump links to navigate to the desired section of the review.

Sound quality 4.4

The Roland RP30 has 15 onboard sounds and a max polyphony of 128 notes. Aside from the acoustic piano voices, there are electric pianos, strings, organs (including a reed organ), a harpsichord, a celesta, a vibraphone, a choir, and no real surprises.

There are four acoustic piano voices: Grand, Ballad, Mellow, and Bright. The Grand and Mellow voices are the best of the bunch and sound lovely for classical music and any singer-songwriter material, whether it’s pop, country, etc.

While the piano sounds are excellent, especially in the mid-high range, I wanted to be more impressed. I hoped for more depth in bass and more of a wow factor because there are some very impressive things about the RP30.

The electric pianos are far from the best I’ve heard at this price, but some of the remaining sounds are fantastic. The strings and choir voices are great for layering with a piano, and I really like the reed organ.

It’s important to listen to the RP30 because my high expectations may be unfair on a piano that otherwise sounds very good.

Built-in speakers 4.2

Roland typically goes for a pair of 4.7-inch speakers and dual 8-watt amplifiers in digital pianos of this kind, but the RP30 comes with an upgrade.

The built-in speaker system features two 6-inch speakers and a pair of 10-watt amplifiers, which is a pretty decent increase.

Again, my opinion is slightly mixed; the sound is good, it’s clear, and you have plenty of power, but something is slightly off compared to other models.

The acoustic piano sounds are more convincing in headphones or when recorded into a DAW, and that’s normal, but I don’t think the speakers give the best representation of the piano sounds in the room.

There are no major red flags, even at louder volumes, but I’m not sure the RP30 delivers the richness and clarity that some competitors do. It’s not a huge difference, but I’d take a rich low-end over extra power any day.

Keyboard feel 4.8

If there’s one aspect of the RP30 that doesn’t leave me with mixed emotions, it’s the keyboard feel (the main reason for my high expectations across the board).

The Roland RP30 has graded hammer action keys with a simulated ivory feel and escapement. I know the RP30 isn’t too far from $1000, but it’s still a beginner piano, and it’s rare to see one with such an authentic touch and action.

Roland RP30 keyboard feel
Image: Roland

There are three touch sensitivity levels, and the general weight is pretty accurate; it’s a realistic start for beginners and authentic enough for more advanced players.

The simulated ivory feel is excellent; it’s easy to take for granted, but the added grip makes playing the RP30 much more comfortable. Escapement will not be a deal-breaker at this level, but it’s certainly nice to have it add to a more realistic touch.

If compared to more expensive pianos with regular hammer-action keys (no ivory feel or escapement), the RP30 feels far better.

Features 4.0

The RP30 doesn’t pack many features; it’s more about creating an authentic playing experience, but here are the highlights.

  • Metronome. I know it’s not a standout feature, but it’s always worth highlighting for beginners.
  • Built-in effects. The built-in effects include four reverb types, four chorus types, and master EQ. Although that may not seem like a lot, it’s an upgrade from previous models with only ambiance and brilliance controls.
  • Demos. Roland’s RP30 features one demo song and 15 voice demos.

In use 4.9

When a digital piano doesn’t have many onboard sounds, one of the first things I want to know is how you select each sound. I might sound incredibly fussy, but when we have to cycle through 10 sounds rather than going directly to the desired sound, it’s more tedious than it has to be.

Thankfully, the Roland RP30 doesn’t present that problem. The RP30 utilizes a simple Function button to pair with corresponding keys to trigger the desired voice, effect, or function.

Roland RP30 Function button
Image: Roland

You can do everything in an instant; there’s no learning curve, and more importantly, no frustrated players. As far as a user-friendly piano experience goes, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Build quality 4.7

The build quality is another element of the RP30 that impresses me. It’s a nice-looking piano that combines a traditional upright style with a reasonably slimline stand.

The RP30 comes with a sliding keyboard cover and a matching piano bench, and it looks great in any room.

Roland RP30 sliding keyboard cover
Image: Roland

The unit is about average height, but the depth is a few inches more than most digital pianos in its class. Another statistic beyond the average is the weight, around 20 lbs heavier than many similar pianos.

The weight isn’t an issue (after the initial setup) since the piano is unlikely to move often; a bit more weight is more than acceptable for an excellent keyboard action and solid build quality.

Connectivity 4.4

Digital pianos don’t typically come with an abundance of connectivity options, but there are some things I always like to see, such as dual headphone jacks and an audio input.

The Roland RP30 has those things, offering two 1/4-inch TRS headphone jacks and a single 1/4-inch TRS audio input. It also features a 1/4-inch TRS audio output and USB type B to connect to a DAW or other software.

Compared to other digital pianos

The Roland RP30 comes at a very reasonable price but has some stiff competition; here are a few alternatives to consider. You can also check out my updated pick of the best digital pianos under $1000.

Roland RP30 vs RP107

The Roland RP107 sounds a little better, but the extra cost is not worth it to beginners.

Roland RP30 vs F107

Similarly, the Roland F107 sounds slightly better, but I’d stick with the cheaper RP30 unless you prefer the smaller, more modern design of the F107.

Roland RP30 vs Yamaha YDP-105

I like the YDP-105, but the newer RP30 has a better overall value for the money.

Roland RP30 vs Kawai KDP75

I prefer the feel of the RP30, but I love the sound of the KDP75 and find it difficult to pick against it.

Who is the Roland RP30 best suited for?

The Roland RP30 digital piano suits beginner to intermediate players who want a very authentic keyboard action at a reasonable price; it is excellent for students and teachers.

Buy Roland RP30 at: SweetwaterAmazon
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