Roland is a big name in the digital musical instruments industry. They’re one of the top manufacturers of digital pianos, drums, organs, accordions, guitars and others. They have a proven track record of high quality products, and the new Roland F-130R digital piano is no exception. The F-130 is the new and improved version of the F-120, which was discontinued lately. Comparing the two versions, it’s safe to say that Roland made some noticeable progress with the latest model in many important aspects. The new F-130 sounds better, feels better, has more useful features and is overall above the former model. It offers a great playing experience and fits perfectly into any home, classroom, studio, or as a part of any band or orchestra.
Roland F-130R Overview & Features
What makes the new Roland F-130R better than its predecessor is the fact that they made quite an improvement in every area. From sound realism to the authentic experience of the keys, attention to detail is the main concept that connects every aspect. This new model is a real competition for other brands in its price range.
One of the most remarkable features that makes this version so much better is the key action. They managed to produce a really good weighted hammer key action, called Standard Keyboard action. First off, all keys are properly weighted, meaning that no matter what note you’re playing on this keyboard will feel very similar as an experience to playing it on an acoustic grand piano. The keys also have a good touch weight, which is the resting pressure of your fingers on the keys. But this is only half of the equation. The other half towards an authentic piano keys experience is what you feel when you touch the keys, and this is an aspect that they took good care about as well. They have an artificial ivory layer on top of them which makes them feel very authentic.
Another big difference when compared to the previous model in the aspect of keys is the noise that the keyboard of the previous model used to make when pressed forcefully. There was a certain ticking at the end when played hard. They eliminated this issue successfully. The other thing that they managed to eliminate was the slight insensitivity of the keys when pressed very lightly. It’s safe to say that in its price range, the new F-130R has one of the best key actions.
Continuing the series of improvements over the previous model, sound is another aspect that made some progress. Roland digital pianos have a 128-note-polyphony sound chip built into them, which they call SuperNatural. The 128 is the number of notes that can be played and sustained at once. This is great if you want to layer multiple sounds. Although Roland doesn’t say this clearly, there are slight differences in sound quality between their different models, although they all have the SuperNatural sound engine. This is somewhat normal, as a higher price is only justified by higher value.
The realism of the acoustic piano sound makes it a top competitor for this feature. The sound is smoother and much more balanced resembling the acoustic piano sound close to perfection. The sound is sampled from a Steinway grand piano. To obtain further sounds, they fine tuned it with their digital sound technology.
The pedals are a great addition that this model has built in. Not all digital pianos come with included pedals, and not all pedals do what they’re supposed to do at high standards. So that’s another aspect that Roland has treated with great attention to detail. The 3 pedals of a piano are: the right damper pedal, the soft pedal and the sostenuto. What they call continuous detection electronics is a feature that acts on the soft and damper sustain pedal. It makes quite a difference when you use the pedals. You’ll notice that when you push the pedals and lift your foot, the transition is very natural, and not like an on/off switch, which is superior to many types of digital piano pedals.
The thing with piano pedals is this: if the piano student is really young, and kids can start learning to play the piano even at 5-6 years old, pedals are not the most important thing to look for. But later, as they progress and grow, the pedals will make a big difference towards acceding a superior playing level. So, although pedals are not a necessity for every player, they are a nice addition to round up the whole package.
Abundance of tones
The nice pedals, with the great sound quality and touch of the keys alone could put this digital piano among the top 10 in its price range, but the sound variety puts it among the best. It has a total number of 316 different tones. All these tones are organized in 2 main groups: “piano” and “others”. The piano button gives you 6 primary acoustic piano sounds and a few more variations. The others button grants access to an extensive base of the following tones: strings, choirs, electric pianos, organs, harps, voices, guitars, accordions, banjos, brass, synthesizers, woodwinds, reeds and a whole lot more. There’s an abundance of tones to choose from, and their quality is excellent when compared to the original instruments’ sound. Whether you’re a beginner, or a more advanced pianist you can benefit a lot fro this wide variations available at your fingertips.
This is an important aspect today, in the digital age. The ability to connect other devices to your digital piano is something very useful, for both beginner and advanced pianists. You have the ability to record both wav audio files (like the ones on CDs) or MIDI recording. This is an extremely convenient feature as you can easily analyze and track your progress if you’re a beginner, or play around with your recordings if you’re more advanced. You can also easily send them to family and friends, if you want to.
A small weakness of design would be the lack of a 2-track MIDI recording and playback feature instead of the 1-track. This would have given you the possibility to record what each hand is playing independently, which would have enabled an even vaster range of sound customization.
The 1-track MIDI record and playback feature does give you the ability to separately record left and right hands, provided you split the 88 keys in two 44 key areas. This function makes it possible to play any 2 instruments each on half of the keyboard at the same time. For beginners, this is a very useful feature as well because it makes study sessions with teachers easier and far more interactive. Both student and teacher can use 2 equal 44 keys, making learning to play the piano more fun and efficient.
Through the Roland Partner iPad app you can access all the different features of your digital piano wireless. You have the ability to learn to play the piano like never before, and also access 200 famous & useful practice songs. The iPad app is an extremely simple and intuitive solution for an otherwise pretty complex situation, because of the sheer vastness of technological features of the F-130R. It’s possible to control everything from the buttons on the control panel, with the help of a small LED screen, but it’s much easier to just use the Roland Partner app.
The new Air Performer iPad app is another great app from Roland made for its new digital piano range that gives you the ability to play your favorite song files from your iPad right through your digital piano’s speakers, of course, wireless. It’s a pretty cool app that makes customizing sound or learning to play certain passages a breeze.
The Roland F-130R has a built in 2-speaker system that have a total power of 24 Watts. You should be aware that in this price range, other manufacturers have digital pianos with more powerful speaker systems, but, in usual conditions, you would seldom need more than the 2 speakers of this Roland can put out.
Overall, the new F-130R made a strong impression, and will further grow Roland’s reputation as being a high quality digital musical instruments manufacturer. They made quite some improvements in every aspect, compared to the previous model. The abundance of cutting-edge technology that is present in this digital piano truly makes it one of the best choices in its price range.