Great all around keyboard
I have been a keyboard player for about 40 tears, and have owned quite a variety of instruments. I started out as an organist, and carried a Hammond X-5 around for a number of years, because I "kicked" the bass in the bands that I was in. Currently I play keyboards in an 8 pc horn band, and have been using a Kurzweil PC3. I also play organ for a fraternal organization, and when I need to supply my own I use a Hammond SK-2 with a Hammond 20 note pedal board.
I have picked up a few solo gigs, and was looking at the Roland BK-7M that I was planning to use with my Hammond, primarily so that I would have a great sounding "drummer" and also I could have some electric bass sounds instead of the organ bass. The more I watched the demos on Youtube, and read thru the available articles, the more I was influenced to try the BK-9. At first the Youtube videos were pretty "cheesy", but then I found some videos with professional musicians using the keyboard, and I decided to go ahead with the purchase.
I have been working with it now for about six weeks, and I have to say that at first I was "underwhelmed". I had trouble with notes hanging up, the volume pedal (Yamaha FC7) wasn't working well, and the backing rhythms were just way too cluttered to sound the way I wanted to sound. But I pressed on, finding solutions one at a time for each issue. The volume pedal problem was solved by using the Roland EV5 (as stated in the manual) and the hanging notes were fixed also by changing to a Roland sustain pedal.
I downloaded the free App for my Ipad, and that is really the thing that brought everything together. It is now a very strait forward process to edit the backing rhythms, remove all of the clutter, and get just the sound I was hoping for. I have created a performance list for the sounds I need for my 8 pc band gig, and I have connected my Hammond pedals so that on solo gigs I can play bass, the performances I edited allow me to use just as much of the backing band that I want, and it is an easy process to edit out what I don't need. The end result is that I really do sound like a quartet on a solo gig, and the result is very tasteful and professional.
The sounds are really very impressive, I can't describe just how playable this keyboard is! It also weighs less that half of what the Kurzweil weighs, so it will be easier to bring to a gig. 76 keys is just enough for working with piano settings, the keybed is responsive, with typical synth action. The flashing blue buttons are a bit of a distraction, and my own opinion is that the distract from the otherwise professional appearance of the keyboard. Also, color displays would be nice, but in all fairness, using the iPad along with the keyboard gives me a nice big color touchscreen, and I don't think I would like the keyboard as much if I wasn't able to use the iPad along with it.
The organ is almost as good as the Hammond clone, certainly good enough in a real world setting to use for almost anything that would call for it. I still will use my Hammond for real "organ" gigs, because of the advantage of having dual manuals, but for solo gigs and band gigs the Roland BK9 should be a great all around keyboard.
Oh yeah...great service from Sweetwater too!