Digital sampling technology has been trying to capture the natural hammer-on-string sound delivered by fine concert pianos for decades. The debate continues and will likely continue well into the 21st century. Roland is one of the leading manufacturers that offer electronic pianos that are affordable, lightweight, and compact but offer lifelike acoustic sounds. In 2010, Roland introduces electronic pianos with SuperNATURAL sound and, from the response at the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) show, it seems that even active debaters were pleasantly surprised.
Electronic pianos are far less expensive than acoustic pianos. In addition, because they don’t require strict adherence to cabinet acoustics and soundboard features, electric pianos are smaller and lighter. When you add distinctive wood finishes, they appear as acoustics. The new Roland piano series offers promise that electronics can be shown in the same room as acoustics without fear of being detected.
Roland introduced a new chapter in the evolution of digital piano technology with the HP-Series SuperNATURAL Pianos, at NAMM 2010. Combining elements of the revolutionary V-Piano with Roland’s multisampling-technology, the HP-302, HP-305, and HP-307 SuperNATURAL Pianos truly deliver the unique sound, expressivity and rich playing experience of a traditional acoustic grand piano.
All the new HP models feature the new SuperNATURAL Piano sound engine, which unites Roland’s state-of-the-art V-Piano technology and 88-key stereo multisampling technology. This breakthrough sound engine delivers seamless variations in tone from pianissimo to fortissimo, decaying sounds that linger and fade naturally without looping, and authentic sound transition from note to note across the keyboard.
The natural touch of the PHA III (HP-307) and PHA II (HP-305, HP-302) keyboards come from the use of hammer mechanisms that accurately reproduce the unique touch of an acoustic grand piano. The PHA III keyboard interacts with the SuperNATURAL Piano sound engine to reflect the subtleties in a musician’s playing, and delivers superior rapid key-strike expressivity. The Ivory-Feel keys (featured on the HP-307, HP-305) replicate the natural appearance, texture, and moisture-absorbing properties of actual ivory and ebony keys.
To aid piano teachers, each HP-Series SuperNATURAL Piano model includes Twin Piano Mode, which splits the keyboard and pedals into two parts with the same octaves. This allows the teacher to play along with their student, greatly speeding up the learning process. Roland technology also enables the HP-Series to feature environmentally friendly, low-power consumption without sacrificing output level.
Roland has also paid close attention to the design elements of the HP-Series, coordinating cabinet details with simulated wood grain or matching colors, and adding the ability to cover the control panel with the fallboard for a more traditional look.
The new HP302 digital piano brings the SuperNATURAL Piano sound engine, which is the ultimate in piano expressivity, and a PHAII keyboard with Escapement, which reproduces the natural playing feel found in grand pianos, in a compact, high-quality cabinet. It also supports the “Classic Position” which creates a piano-like appearance, and comes with 3 pedals with traditional designs, sturdy front legs and convenient music rest with music Holders. While this is an entry model, discerning attention has been paid to its sound, touch, and design. Needless to say, it comes with a metronome function and 3-track recorder to help you make progress. The “Twin Piano” feature is convenient for one-on-one lessons. Centralized Control Panel with dedicated buttons assures intuitive operations. By connecting two headphones, two players can practice independently at the same time. The HP302 achieves low power consumption while delivering a dynamic piano sound that is above its class.
The HP302 is equipped with Roland’s newly developed SuperNATURAL Piano sound engine, which was born by bringing together V-Piano technology and 88-key stereo multisampling technology. This new sound engine is the product of Roland’s deep research of the characteristics of acoustic pianos, with the goal of faithfully reproducing the rich tone and expressivity of a concert grand piano. The maximum polyphony of 128 is more than enough for even the most complex pieces.
The HP305 is the standard model in the HP series, and all of its elements have been made compact. Its special speaker system reproduces the sound generated by the SuperNATURAL Piano sound engine as a clear and spatial sound to allow players to give beautiful and smooth performances true to grand pianos. Players can enjoy their performances to their hearts’ content on the PHA II Ivory Feel keyboard (with escapement) that provides a natural texture and tactile feel. The Classic Position and 3 pedals with traditional design make playing easier and enhances its piano-like appearance. It also comes with a metronome and 3-track recorder function, and can playback a variety of songs so you have all you need to support your progress. Playback your favorite built-in songs with accompaniment, commercially available music files, and music CDs to make your practice more enjoyable.
For the most authentic acoustic grand piano feel, the HP305 is equipped with the new PHA II keyboard with Escapement. This amazing keyboard technology offers the same natural response as a grand piano, with a heavier touch in the lower range and lighter touch in the upper, and with lighter resistance on pianissimo passages and stronger resistance on fortissimo just like a well-maintained acoustic grand. It even faithfully reproduces the escapement “click feel” of a grand-piano action. The keyboard also features Roland’s acclaimed Ivory Feel — a comfortable and realistic moisture-absorbent material that prevents slipping from perspiration during performance.
The new HP307 takes a giant leap forward with the advent of Roland’s SuperNATURAL Piano sound engine, a breakthrough technology that offers unprecedented sound, response, and feel. The piano tone changes seamlessly and naturally based on touch and key range, with perfectly smooth decay. The HP307 is equipped with a PHA III keyboard, which delivers enhanced expression and superior rapid keystroke performance. The combination of PHA III and SuperNATURAL Piano faithfully translates every nuance into accurate, natural sound. The HP307 is available in 3 colors (J&R accepts special orders for models and finishes not stocked), the elegant polished ebony finish, traditional rosewood finish, or the cool satin black finish. The innovative Individual Twin Piano feature allows side-by-side practice or performance. The three-track recorder enables you to record your performance and will also be a great help when practicing right or left hand parts individually.
Inherited from Roland’s flagship V-Piano, the HP307‘s PHA III Keyboard with Escapement offers maximum comfort, playability, and response. PHA III improves key repetition. The combination of PHA III and SuperNATURAL piano faithfully translates the most subtle performance nuances into natural, accurate sound. The keyboard expresses the player’s articulation perfectly from delicate to full-impact, as well as each independent note in rapid succession ? including sustained tones. The escapement mechanism recreates the authentic “click feel” of a grand-piano keyboard, which particularly enhances expression when playing pianissimo. The keyboard also features Roland’s acclaimed Ivory Feel ? a comfortable and realistic moisture-absorbent material that prevents slipping from perspiration during performance.
Granted, the HP302, HP305, and HP307 are manufactured and designed for home use and are not likely going to be used by a classical performer at any of the music halls. Yet, hearing believes. For sight, sound, feel, and playability, the Roland SuperNATURAL HP-series pianos will complement any music composition from classical to rock. Due for release by spring 2010, drop by at J&R on Park Row for a look, feel, and listen. You will be pleasantly surprised too.