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User Review

Denys's review - Roland RD-700SX

Read other reviews or look online for the features. I always find everything or almost everything I'm looking for.

It has no metronome, which is pretty nasty given the price, Mr. Roland... The SMF reader is limited in terms of capacity (1 Mb, 20-something midi songs) and usability (to delete a track or modify the sound to which it is assigned), there's no possibility to transfer files to a PC running Win 98, you need NT or XP.

You can only save 100 configurations (=setups), including 40 that can be assigned to a button for a fast recall. That's enough for me, but it might not be for certain people. It lacks a couple of things but no real deal-breakers.

A good point is that you can play four layered or split sounds.

Built-in compressor (it's nice to have a homogeneous level when you play in a band), 3-band parametric EQ.

UTILIZATION

I play in a '70s blues/rock band. I wanted to replace my D50 and was looking for:
- 88-keys: I'm not a trained pianist, but I think that the 700 SX resembles a real piano a lot. I wouldn't have accepted a mediocre keyboard 10/10
- A broad palette of good sounds in relation to the music I play: Acoustic and electric piano, B3-like organ, brass, pads and strings. They all deserve 10/10
- One single instrument (no master keyboard + expander (neither in hardware nor software)). I bought a Stagg case with casters ($110), but you need two people to take it in and out of the car and then take it upstairs (it's probably around 70lbs, including the case), plus you need to fold down the rear seat of your car to fit it in. 6/10
- The possibility to add sounds: 2 SRX. 10/10

SOUNDS

Acoustic pianos: Above my expectations. I know the sound I want and the RD-700SX has it. Lots of lows and heaps of settings to fine-tune the sounds (which is surely very useful to play classical music, but that's beyond my abilities). For Piano A I use the superior grand (the default preset), while for Piano B I use piano rock, both of which have been sampled for 88 notes. 10/10
Electric pianos: I use a rhodes for Piano A and a wurli for piano B. Impeccables! 10/10
Organs: I have my doubts here. I tested a clavia nord electro 2 during 10 minutes and its sounds seemed better. A real B3 player will not benefit much from them (and anyway, the heavy keyboard doesn't allow for the same type of playing). The drawbars aren't very practical. A good point for the multi effects: leslie, chorus/vibrato, distortion. I think the 10 tonewheel sounds are virtually the same (I couldn't notice any difference with the same settings for TW1 and TW2...) 7/10
Brasses/pads: Good original sounds to make a pseudo brass section. By layering up to 4 sounds, you can achieve really punchy results... 10/10

Multi effects: Lots of choices available, but you can only use two at a time, tops (I don't know how to split the keyboard to have and effect for the upper register and another effect for the lower one...)

OVERALL OPINION

I've had it for a month, but it took me a year to make up my mind. I'll update my review once I have more experience with my band. It was the only one that met my expectations. I think this is the real deal.

Update after three months of use (January 2009): Indeed it is the real deal! I definitely don't regret my choice. Just one single flaw: I still haven't found a rock organ sound that suits me (in the Santana "Samba pa ti"-style)