Great keyboard and greater service.
Great keyboard and greater service.
I was originally looking for a less expensive model (or manufacturer) but the wife asked me if I wanted to buy the wrong thing twice or get the right piano the first time... she was correct. This is a really superb keyboard. I didn't find the learning curve to be difficult. The sound is such that on the first gig when I used it, I overheard someone on the dance floor asking the person next to them, "Is he playing a REAL piano?" Well, it feels like I am, and it has a beautiful sound that I can adjust anyway I want to. I love it.
It really helps when you have a Sales Engineer that you've been dealing with for years. Mine is David Mikautadze. He's guided through everything from Pro-Tools, headphones, keyboards and now this piano.Thanks for always shooting straight and giving out the right advice!
I own a RD-700 and RD-800 which the RD-700 is my favorite. I bought the RD-300 because I had shoulder surgery and they don't want me lifting to much weight right now. Its a nice piano, weight is good and it sounds good to and it controls a sound module good just like my RD-700. I wanted something that I was familiar with it so it works find and it might be the one I carry all the time because of the weight.
This piano has great, chunky sounds, useful features, and a beautiful action. It's built like a tank, and I don't think any pianist would find it lacking. The only reason I'm not giving it five stars is the fact that you can only layer/split three sounds at once. If only it was capable of two upper and two lower layers, I'd give it six stars!
Really love my new RD-300... Sound quality is awesome, feel of the board is superb, and it's easy to navigate with a fairly gentle learning curve (give yourself a couple of hours to work through the manual, and you should have the basic functions down).
My favorite thing about this board: many great bass sounds (I play a lot of walking bass lines at gigs where I'm comping for myself), and it's easy to control the individual levels for patches you're using in split and/or dual modes (so i never have to worry about the bass getting swallowed up by the piano patch, or vice versa). It's also easy to adjust the EQ to fit a particular room I'm playing in or PA I'm using.
I'm not giving it the full 5 stars because it's not as easy to access sounds as quickly (for live gigs) as a previous RD-300 i used to have. HOWEVER, it has greater variety of sounds to choose from, so that's the trade off.
I have overcome the somewhat laborious sound accessing process by storing the sound combinations that i use most often in a "Live Setting" (basically, a user bank of sounds) where i can put my best-loved combos right next to each other, thus making it easy to dial between them.
ALMOST bought the Yamaha board in a similar price range... With all due respect to Yamaha (I own a Yamaha board as well), after playing both, I feel like i got WAY more instrument for the same money with the RD-300. Highly recommended.
Rd 300nx for the money is a good buy midi up to xk3c and leslie3300 makes for great live and studio rig. love feel of keys sounds great on recordings and out live in Sound system
brand new and still learning how to manipulate the midi implementation but as for sounds and programing - all great stuff. and it's light
But of course the grand feature is the piano sound and the Roland keyboard feel. Thank god for the easy keyboard splits and layers
replaces my RD 600; less than half the weight for stage and moving, easier to use with some presets of which i bought this piano for are used without any further adjustment or reservation. the piano sounds are always secondary to what you reproduce them through i.e. amplification, but all that being equal this piano and organ sounds from this instrument are as realistic as it can be when i play them through a bose double bass system. I am a multi-keyboardist, this one is the one i use primarily for piano, electric piano, organ, piano left- organ right split. It's the foundation to my performing live.
I am fortunate to have both the 300NX and 700GX. The 300 is a wonderful compromise between functionality and weight. At 38lbs the 300NX is the same weight as the PC3 Kurzweil yet the Roland delivers the same quality tones found in the 700GX model I have - with a few exceptions. Those exceptions are insignificant especially since the bread and butter tones of the 700 (i.e. the pianos) are in the 300 along with many other tones that can combine and layer just like on the 700. The action of the 300 is surprisingly good, though different from the 700. Moreover, it is not a spring loaded action like on the Kurzweil. Rather it is progressively weighted but employs a different mechanism (lighter and a bit slower) than the 700GX. Though tones are subjective I suspect this is the best bang for the buck as far as quality of tone and portability. If you're a 'pianist' (as opposed to a 'keyboard' player) you won't be disappointed. The reason I gave it a 4 star instead of 5 is simply because I have the 700 and was therefore not surprised at how good the 300 is - I got what I expected - it's great! The only downside is, in order to reduce weight, the power cord is external with an adapter - not a big deal. ~Best
A rating is obligatory here, yet in fairness, it's too early in the game to give a learned rating. I acquired this keyboard just a month ago to supplement my Nord Electro and "Ventilator" Leslie Speaker simulator, wanting a good weighted keyboard with good piano and other sounds missing in the Nord, which itself is an excellent board which I've had for 5 years and love it. Internet research seemed to indicated that the RD-300GX probably had what I wanted with the most bangs for bucks , and then the NX was announced so I decided to wait for it to come out. A comparison side-by-side in the music store had the NX sounding better, so I decided to plunge for it.
As far as I can see, I didn't go wrong.
My only gripe is that the instruction book is skimpy and I've really had to sweat and guess through trial and error to figure this board out. Something with all the features and the intricacies that this board has, should have at least 200 friendly pages to guide you through it, and the 300 NX's book is about 60 pages, very skimpily worded, and not very well explaining itself.
It's chock full of sounds (about 900 if you go deep into the menus) albeit probably most of them are not keepers. The pianos are very good, and you can go deeper into the parameters and do a lot of fine tweaking to get that sound you want. Indeed, like the previous reviewer said, forget about the organs if you're serious about Hammond sounds, yet this is no problem for me, as my Nord is a superb Hammond clone. I didn't buy the RD300NX for its organs, tho I had hoped that they would be better or at least usable. The Nord also has superior Fender Rhodes samples than the 300NX, and using the MIDI output of the RD300NX weighted keyboard really makes the Nord EP's sing even better! Having said this, you can get some good acceptable EP's out of the 300NX,. Very good bass voices, a few uncanny horns, and the "scat singing" voice is a lot of fun, tho probably no more than a novelty. Thee is a great sounding French Accordion - also a lot of fun. The bottom line, the meat and potatoes, are the acoustic pianos, and no complaints here. Of course it'll never be the real thing, yet it's very good with all the fine resolution details that have been put into the sounds.
The drum samples are very nice on the 300NX, and also tweakable.
I've just done some presets for the 300NX to split its keyboard so the left half becomes the MIDI'ed lower manual for the Nord's Hammond, and the right half plays a nice piano sound which I've transposed 2 octaves down, so it's like playing a two manual Hammond and having 4 octaves of excellent middle range piano to add riffs and solo melodies on to the organ playing, and coupled with a nice drum rhythms, you can do some very convincing one-man band stuff.
It looks to me at this stage of the game that the way to go with this board is to program as many of the 60 available presets to do the combinations you want, as this board doesn't seem to be made so you can do that easily on the fly.
A blind musician friend of mine dropped in to "see" the board, and immediately commented on how it felt like ivory piano keys, being totally unaware of Roland's advertising!
I bought this because I wanted a relatively light carry-able weighted piano keyboard, at an "affordable" price with enough bells and whistles (which are amongst the sounds in it :) to make it more fun, with professional quality, and this keyboard seemed make the most sense.
This is not a professional review, and I'm not a professional musician - rather a serious amateur playing an hour or two a day, and participating in regular jam sessions and gigging occasionally. I await to see the reviews of the more seasoned players, and it would be great if there was a users forum someplace to compare notes and give a helping hand where the user's manual seems to fail.
Well... Roland giveth and Roland taketh away. Some of their design choices going from the GX to the NX leaves me scratching my head.
First, the piano sample is an improvement. If you like a light-weight gigging kbd with a decent pno sample and improved touch (the keys feel like it has some weight associated with it - piano tuners call this "momentum" - vs. oil damping used by most).
When you bear down on the kbd - fortisimo - the sample goes into harmonic overdrive/opening, just like on an acoustic piano. It's not perfect (the overdrive is either on or off) but it does add to the realism. For me, the better piano sound made the upgrade from the GX to the NX worthwhile.
(One of my beefs with the GX: when you run a mono cord from the kbd, the L/R stereo samples were merely combined - which resulted in an unpleasant phasing effect. They fixed this on the NX. When you run the kbd mono - which is most of the time for gigging musicians - the phasing is gone on the NX).
Now - some odds and the bads.
- The took away GM soundset and drum sound access from the front panel. Most of us probably won't miss it but it was, for me, nice to have on occasion on the GX.
- As others have reported, the organ sound set totally suck. There are 18 organ samples, the bulk of which are comprised of distorted rock organ, church/pipe organ or cheesy 70s organ. C'mon Roland. Would it that hard to included some warm jazz organ, or some punching R&B organ? Or just a round B3 round? And - none of the samples, at least in the factory preset, have variable leslie rotary control (which the GX did have). There are a lot of user-created sound bank space so I suppose one can create some custom organ sound sets with variable leslie but why not provide this from the word go. Organ sounds are a staple part of everyday gigging. Why fall so short here?
- For those of use who use drum machine on gigs, the drum patterns are easier to access (front panel start/stop) and it looks like one can assign drum patterns to one of the sound selection buttons. So you could foreseeably create your basic working drum pattern set for quick access on gigs. However, if you're in the drum section, you can't change instrument sound (Ac. Pno to EP for example).
- Some of the design UI and language is strange. For example, you can STORE user settings or you can REGISTER user settings. It's not clearly explained what the difference is.
- Having 3 equalizer knobs is nice. However, these are "soft" knobs, which means their last position is not stored at power down. In another words, if you had the treble knob at, say, 3 o'clock position and then shut of the NX, it won't be at that setting when you turn the NX back on. You have to twist the EQ knob to reset it. A drag.
- There are now about 200 samples in the NX - a big jump up from the GX. However, most of the samples sound like a typical $300 budget sound module, i.e., mostly unusable. They took away the sample that combine ac. bass with cymbal ride. No big loss but it did come in handy at times. Then, one of the samples is a split pno/ac.bass. Huh? You can get this by simply hitting the split button.
- I'm not sure if the new system of accessing split/layer sounds is an improvement. You now have to select the sounds via a menu by hitting the "layer edit" button. I think the GX system was better and faster in this regard.
So them are my two cents. If you already have a GX and want a better, more real-world, acoustic piano sound, I think the NX is worth the upgrade just for that. All the other stuff is.... "meh."
I wanted to add an 88-key keyboard to my live rig, which consists of a Korg M3 and Hammond XK-1C. What drew me to this board was the weight and the SuperNatural engine. At the price point, it was the best option. After living with it for a few months, I have a more informed list of pros and cons.
The keyboard feel is good. The texture of the keys and the action feel remarkably good considering the price point. The rebound of the keys is a little on the sluggish side, but unless you're playing "Flight of the Bumblebee" or something equally rapid, it shouldn't be a major issue.
The weight is AMAZING. An 88-note, weighted 'board that weights in at under 40lbs but is still built fairly well -- it's worth a look if you play live.
I like the one-touch piano and EP buttons, and the front-panel EQ is a nice touch.
The piano, Rhodes and Wurli samples are good, especially considering the price point.
I love the easy key transpose function.
Sound selection is a pain. You have only the category buttons, and then you have to is the INC/DEC keys to cycle through the various sounds within a category.
I am more of a keyboard player than a piano player and differ a bit form one of the reviewers here as I find some of the non piano sounds almost/if not better than the actual piano sounds. The piano sounds are good and have a lot of shaping aspects but I still find that boxy, mid range tone a bit too extreme from middle C down and despite all the shaping aspects, it never totally goes away. Almost more like an upright piano tone as apposed to a grand piano. In stereo it sounds it's better and sounds quite good but in mono, to me, it's more so so sounding and that includes the mono piano sound. The vox sounds are great, the brass is better than average, there are some killer synth leads on board including the Classic GR lead which was my favourite on the Roland JP8000! The strings are also very good. The EP'S are good but when put side by side with my Yamaha Motif ES sounds, I would still pick those in that category. I do like the 3 part split/layer but the Master FX only applies to part 1. I would also have to say the Organs are by no means Roland's better offering as I have also checked out the new Roland FP50 and I found the organ tones there were a notch or two above those on the RD300NX and to me the FP50 is more of a lounge/home keyboard. I am certainly not meaning to be negative towards the RD300NX as this is a quality keyboard with some really good features. It's a good master keyboard for sound modules and there is plenty of storage for edited sounds. In terms of portability, it's in the middle, close to 40 pounds but unfortunately this keyboard is extra long but thankfully not to deep or bulky. These weighted keys are excellent quality but a little sluggish when playing fast repeated notes. Of course these things are all subjective as we all will relate in different ways and for me this is what I have found with my RD300NX. I find it has some really strong points and a few but still significant weaker ones. Thanks for reading this and happy playing!
I was given the task of finding a great performance keyboard at a reasonable price for our local Teen Center. I have been a professional gigging keyboardist for many years and I was excited (and hopeful) that the Roland RD300NX would be the answer for us. Wrong. I spent a couple of hours with the keyboard yesterday and in the beginning I was very impressed. I loved the feel and sound of the acoustic piano patches. I did a side by side comparison with an older Roland RD700GX. I really like the 700GX and figured the 300NX wouldn't stand up in comparison. I was wrong in terms of the acoustic piano. In regards to sounds and feel, I think Roland got it right when it comes to the acoustic piano. It was very nice. Powerful and sweet. I love it when you can back off and play a very subtle mellow tune with heavy emotion and then hammer it and have it come to life. The 300NX does that very well. But....
As a gigging keyboardist, I look for a few important things in a keyboard:
1. Great acoustic piano patch with realistic "feel"
2. Nice Hammond organ patch with realistic Leslie
3. Decent Electric Piano patch
4. Decent analog synth patch
5. Decent strings
6. Ability to change between patches without issue
7. For me, the rest is window dressing
The Roland RD300NX satisfies all of my sound requirements except the organ patch. To be blunt, the 70s organ patches suck. I mean, really suck. The Leslie simulator is on par with the very early organ patches one would find on the 1st generation Casio keyboards (you know, the keyboards someone's parent would buy at Walmart for $39 twenty years ago). How could Roland create a such a sweet sounding board and fail so poorly on the organ/Leslie? I really don't understand it and I figure it must have been designed by a young, very average, keyboardist that doesn't have a clue about gigging. I'm very disappointed.
As a side bar, I'll add that I also test drove the Yamaha CP4. Personally, I much preferred the acoustic piano on the Roland RD300NX but the other patches were superior on the CP4. To me, the feel on the CP4 was the worst part. It seemed much less realistic and didn't sound as sweet as the Roland. I personally gig with a Yamaha S90 and (depending on the venue), either a Nord C1 or Hammond B3. My complaint regarding the S90 is that the feel is way too heavy for Piano. The CP4 has a very similar feel and I wouldn't buy it because of that heavy feel.
So, if your only interest is acoustic piano, I recommend the RD300NX. If you're looking for anything more, forget it and keep searching. I might add that I would much rather gig with the older RD700GX than the 300NX. I don't think the piano is quite as good on the 700 but it's close. And everything else is far superior. The 800 is out of our price range so I'll keep looking. I understand the Kawai is a nice board but I can't find it locally to "test drive".
The 300NX may be superior to its predecessor the 300GX in updated patch quality and touch which would make it fine for sitting in a studio or home but in terms of gigging practicality the 300GX is far superior in terms of patch changing / volume control / splitting and layering.
The 300GX is a pleasure to use in regards to these essential gigging categories where it is necessary to frequently adjust parameters and make patch changes. The reason for this is that the 300GX has simple buttons built onto the hardware that makes adjusting any of these a simple click or two away. Unfortunately on the NX this is not so. Layering, splitting and even volume control require that you sift through digital menus in order to make changes.
My biggest problem with the NX comes with frequent patch changes. On the GX let's say you're playing a song where you need to switch between E.Piano patch #12 and Synth patch #6 frequently throughout the piece. Well on the GX this is simple, select #12 in the E.Piano and #6 in the Synths and then you can easily jump back and forth between them just by pushing their respective category buttons. This easy and intuitive function does not exist in the NX. Instead every time you change between E.Piano and Synth categories it will send you back to the beginning of the category where you will have to sift through to the one you were using, hope your setting wasn't in the end of the memory bank or it could take a while.
To add insult to injury when it comes to patch changing let's stay with the current hypothetical situation. I'm playing a song that requires I change between a synth and an e.piano multiple times. It seems intuitive that you would want the volume of the two patches to remain consistent to the sub fader that these are assigned to. This is the case on the 300GX you set your max volume level on the master fader and then control patch volume with the sub faders which remain consistent from patch change to patch change. Well on the 300NX every time you change the patch the sub faders are completely ignored and the volume is reset every time to the max of whatever you have the master fader set to. This can result in unwanted volume EXPLOSIONS if you change the patch without re adjusting the sub faders before playing the new patch.
Need to make a layer or split? With the 300NX you can be prepared to ask the band to wait on you while you sift through the appropriate digital menus while on the 300GX both functions can be accomplished with as few as two button clicks.
The 300GX was and is a great keyboard, I really looked forward to the 300NX but was horrified after gigging with it nightly for 7 months. The hoops I had to jump through to generally approximate the fluid ease of the 300GX were by far not worth the improved patch sounds or slightly better touch. I found a used 300GX in perfect condition and could not ask for more. . . except for a Nord. . . but that's another story!
Sweetwater's Sales Engineers are regarded as the most experienced and knowledgeable professionals in the music industry, with extensive music backgrounds and intense training on the latest products and technologies. They are available to offer you personalized product advice any time you need it.