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Acoustic & Electronic Instruments, Musicians, News, Tutorials, Videos & Interesting Finds

Roland intros HP500 Series of digital pianos [NAMM12]

Hot on the heels of Roland’s LX-15 announcement come three upright digital pianos in the new HP500 series.

By now you’ll be fairly familiar with Roland’s SuperNATURAL sound technology. It’s appeared in many of Roland’s newer digital pianos including all in the HP300 series (the HP302, HP305 and HP307) as well as the HPi-6F and HPi-7F.

In the HP500 series, the HP503 seems to be the more entry level model. It features an Ivory Feel-S keyboard with escapement, while the HP505 and HP507 feature Roland’s PHA III (Progressive Hammer Action III) ivory feel keyboard. All three keyboards feature keys with moisture absorption properties, making them feel much more like authentic ivory and ebony.

Other features include:

  • Natural, organic multi-dimensional sound field of an acoustic piano produced by Acoustic Projection technology (HP505/507)
  • SuperNATURAL Piano sound engine with seamless tonal changes according to touch, plus beautiful decay and faithful reproduction of the differences in tone between each key
  • PHA III (Progressive Hammer Action III) Ivory Feel Keyboard with Escapement (HP505/507) and Progressive Damper Action Pedal
  • Play classical piano masterpieces using the authentic sounds (such as true fortepiano) they were written for
  • Elegant and bold design; HP500-series pianos are perfect for traditional or contemporary interiors
  • Onboard LCD offers user-friendly operation with straightforward front-panel layout
  • Energy-saving technology achieves powerful and dynamic sound with lower power consumption

Although we don’t have the detailed specifications yet, we expect to see at least 128 note polyphony (possibly 256 on the higher models).

Read more on the features below:

Innovative Acoustic Projection Sound System

The unique sound space that is created when you play an acoustic piano — the resonance between strings and the resonance from the piano’s frame or body — is realized through a complex and yet harmonious combination of elements. The HP507 and HP505 create this realistic sound space through innovative Acoustic Projection technology, which marries the multi-dimensional sound system found in the flagship V-Piano Grand with our SuperNATURAL Piano sound engine. Acoustic Projection delivers its magic though a multi-channel speaker system, with each speaker located properly to project each sound element in its natural position. The sound elements from each speaker are intelligently blended to reproduce the true soundfield of an acoustic piano.

SuperNATURAL Piano Engine

All three of the new HP-series pianos incorporate Roland’s SuperNATURAL Piano technology for seamless velocity response, natural note decay, and authentic key-range behavior to reproduce perfect piano sound and expression. Tone color changes seamless in response to touch, accurately translating the player’s emotions. Tone decay is natural and organic, with the decaying sound not only decreasing in volume, but also gradually changing in color to a softer tone. Each note has its own character, which creates variations in tonal color and resonance of each note.

Authentic Fortepiano Tones Onboard

In addition to the selection of onboard grand-piano sounds, the new HP500 series features a newly added Early Piano category containing four fortepiano variations and two harpsichord variations. Masterpieces composed by maestros such as Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin can be played with the original sounds from the period. The appreciation and understanding for the piece is heightened when using the instrument that was actually used by the composers. You can also play these early piano sounds with built-in historic temperaments which are ideal to play with other classical instruments.

Real-Feel Keyboards

The HP507 and HP505 are equipped with Roland’s flagship PHA III (Progressive Hammer Action III) Ivory Feel keyboard with Escapement. The HP503 contains an Ivory Feel-S keyboard with Escapement. With fast key-repetition and sensitivity, these keyboard faithfully translates into sound the subtle differences in tones from different playing styles and force at which they are played. The keys are finished with material that provides moisture-absorbing properties, resulting in a keyboard with the natural texture and tactile sensation of real ivory and ebony.

Progressive Damper Action Pedal

The HP500 series is equipped with “Progressive Damper Action Pedals” that have light resistance at the beginning of the stroke and more resistance the instant they begin to take effect, just like real acoustic pianos. This makes it easy for the performer to know when the pedals begin take effect, and also allows half-pedal techniques for subtle control of aftertones and resonance. This pedal can accurately convey the techniques of the most demanding pianists.

Built-In Audio/MIDI Recorder with Flexible Control (HP507/505)

The built-in recorder lets you capture your performances as audio and/or MIDI data — a convenient feature for pianists as well as students who want to evaluate their playing (HP507/505/503). Connect an external digital music player to the input jacks, play a song file, and the HP507 and 505 can transpose it in real time. You can even minimize the melody of an audio song using Center Cancel function. Play along and capture your performance as audio data. Recorded audio data can be saved onto USB Memory, and copied to an external computer for making audio CDs or for uploading to the Internet.

* USB memory is required for audio recording.

** The HP503 captures your performance as well as play backed SMF data as audio data.

Ease of Use

The simple and intuitive control panels afford quick and easy access to the HP500 series’ numerous features and applications. LCD panels provide the ideal visual interface with the instrument.

Environment-Conscious Design

All HP500-series pianos achieve low power consumption while still delivering high-impact performance. They also feature an Auto Off function, which, when activated, automatically switches the power off after a specified period of inactivity; inactivity time is selectable from 10 minutes, 30 minutes (default), 240 minutes, and off.

Exact pricing and availability is still to be confirmed.