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Roland HP504 Reviews

Graham Howard, Piano Advisor

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"The following reviews are from owners of the Roland HP504 digital piano. The most
recent review is at the bottom of this page", Graham Howard, Piano Advisor

1) "It sounds and feels a lot better than the cheaper models"

My 18 month old loves the sound of the church organ and the choir, making me want to buy a piano and get her prepared in the long term – I could dream seeing her playing the organ in a cathedral – no pressure.  I wasn't looking for something high-end in the digital market, as I never played the instrument that well myself (I barely passed Grade 8) and I am just not sure how interested the little one will be in a few years' time.  However, growing up playing a Steinberg made me a bit fussy, and I want my digital piano to sound and feel like a real ('acoustic') one. My natural choice is a Roland (sorry, never a Yamaha fan for some reason!).

I thought I would get a F-120, as it is slim, seems good for the purposes I need, was within my budget of less than £1,000, and sounds quite good on YouTube videos. 

Went into the UK Piano Store in Enfield, got my hands on the F-120, it really sounded great….. until I touched the HP504 that is.  The sound and the touch was just SO MUCH better on the HP504 and it felt so much more natural that I couldn't help but bought it.  It is another £470, almost 50% extra to the F-120, but for me it is totally worth it.  Not only it sounds and feels a lot better, but also the technology swayed me.  I always believe if you are to get something electronic you are meant to buy the latest model/technology, otherwise it will be out-dated in two months' time.  The HP504 has it all; it was just out this year, whereas the F-120 has been around for a couple.

I have had the HP504 for two weeks now and I cannot tell you how much I am enjoying it.  The grand piano mode (Concert 1) sounds good for 'performance' pieces, and the Upright piano mode (Upright 1) sounds just like my good old Steinberg.  I even start to add on other voices when I play the theme tune of Laputa, which is great fun.

I tend to put the key touch to its heaviest (H2), probably spoiled by the Steinberg that I am so used to; and I like putting the brilliance on high (7), even when playing softer music.  My preference in ambiance differs: if in grand piano mode I prefer it higher (7-8), if in upright mode mid-level is good enough for me (5-6).

All in all, I cannot fault the instrument.  It is a pleasure to have, it looks wonderful, and it sounds and feels enough like a real piano.

I would also like to thank the sales team at UK Pianos.  They are so busy, but they are so knowledgeable.  I thoroughly enjoyed the discussions with the ladies during both of my visits; of course Graham's help on the scores, prices etc contributed to it tremendously as well.  A couple of suggestions to make it even better would be to include discontinued models on the Howard Score chart – at times I wondered how the HP504 fairs with its predecessor – the HP503.  Also, as the world has gone crazy on YouTube, why don't you share your own demo videos on YouTube, Graham?

Many thanks for your help and discussions, Graham!
With kindest regards

Review by Angela Tye-Galichet, Mill Hill, London (06/05/2014)

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 Graham Howard, Piano Advisor
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