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Best Roland Keyboards Reviewed: Reliable, Powerful & Iconic

Best Roland Keyboards Reviewed: Reliable, Powerful & Iconic

Over a 50+ year history, Roland has been a vanguard in keyboard and synthesizer technology. Founded in 1970, Roland began its product line with the TR line of rhythm machines. This was a revolution for modern music and not the only one for Roland.

TOP PICKS AT A GLANCE
  • Unmatched sound quality
  • Powerful functionality
  • Versatile for all users
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  • Excellent vintage synth sound and playability
  • Stackable effects
  • Works as a MIDI controller
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  • Impressive learning platform
  • Bluetooth and Alexa enabled
  • Built-in speakers
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Table of Contents

By the early 1980s, Roland had rolled out such iconic instruments as the TR 808, the Jupiter 8 synthesizer, the Space Echo machine, and the first line of BOSS guitar pedals, to name a few. Innovation has never waned, and they continue to lead the industry in quality and innovation.

While keyboard companies Like Yamaha have reacted to market needs and technical advancements, Roland led the way, making them a dominant keyboard company.

Here are some of the best keyboards that Roland has to offer. Many try, but no one can match Roland’s quality, extensive selection, and iconic sounds.

Our Top Picks for Roland Keyboards

Roland FA-06 61-Key Music Workstation

Best Overall: FA-06

The FA-06 is a 61 key, 128 polyphony keyboard from Roland’s FA line of workstation keyboards. Powered by the incredible Integra 7 superNATURAL sound engine, this Roland keyboard features velocity-sensitive and semi-weighted keys for a superior and responsive feel. 

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From soaring grand piano sounds to multi-timbral sequencing to arranging whole compositions, this keyboard can do it all. The FA-06 can even work as an audio interface or a MIDI controller for your DAW.

Sound

The FA series from Roland uses the incomparable Integra 7 sound engine. It is their most sophisticated processing ever, with literally thousands of customizable sounds to choose from. Add to that the 16 sample pads and MIDI-ready function for your DAW, and you’ve got a music-making machine with limitless possibilities.

Performance

Whether you are playing live, producing in a home studio, or practicing with your headphones on, the FA-06 is a joy to use. The navigation on its 5” LCD graphic screen is intuitive and easy to read.

Getting up and running is a breeze thanks to its function layouts. You can get as simple or complicated as you like with its customization options. Also, at under 13lb, it won’t hurt your back hauling it to gigs.

Value

While it is not the least expensive keyboard around, this Roland keyboard’s price is a screaming value for what you get. If you want to take a step up and like the feel of weighted keys, you can check out the FA-08. The FA-06 is that you get all the functionality of the 08 at half the price.

Pros

  • Unmatched sound quality
  • Powerful functionality
  • Versatile for all users
  • Lightweight
  • Feature-packed for the price

Cons

  • No drawbars
  • Keys are not full-weighted

Verdict

Simply put: this workstation keyboard does it all. There are thousands of preset sounds on the synthesizer. The DAW can also act as a MIDI controller, with intuitive pre-assigned keys and knobs. It has 16 programmable sample pads.

You can plug outboard instruments and microphones into it and use it as an interface. It has a 16 track sequencer. This is the definition of a desert island keyboard.

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Roland GAIA SH-01 37-key Virtual Analog Synthesizer

Best Vintage Style Synth: Gaia SH101

The Gaia SH101 is a Roland keyboard that harkens back to the early days of keyboard synthesizers. It’s powered by 3 virtual analog sound engines, each of which uses LFO, modulation, oscillators, amps, and envelopes to shape the keyboard’s voice.

With 37 touch-sensitive keys, 64 voice polyphony, and a slew of faders and knobs for sound shaping, the Gaia SH101 gives you a vintage synth feel along with modern convenience.

Sound

The Gaia SH-01offers three virtual-analog sound engines using LFO, Filter, Amp, Oscillator, and Envelope parameters to create personalized tones. The impeccable Roland vintage synth features sounds you can tune and tweak to perfection.

This is not the Roland keyboard to get if you want onboard concert piano sounds or crazy percussion sequencing. The Giai can do this when used as a MIDI controller for your DAW, but they built this Roland keyboard with a vintage-synth sound and feel in mind.

Performance

If you are looking to get a true, vintage Roland synth experience, but with modern conveniences like tap tempo arpeggiation and phase recording to USB, the Gaia SH-01 delivers. This plays and operates like a vintage synth.

You can shape the sound using synth toolings, like LFO selection, envelope, pitch rate, and attack/release rates.

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The vintage-style setup with its faders and knobs are perfect for on-the-fly creating in live and collaborative situations. Alongside the knob-twirling and fader-sliding are tools like tap tempo, phase recording, USB MIDI connection, and effects stacking. You can stack up to 5 tweakable effects per patch.

Value

The Gaia SH-01 gives you three powerful sound engines with virtual analog processing, precise controls for superb playability, and iconic, old-school Roland sound.

For anyone looking for a vintage-style synth keyboard made for modern times, the Gaia is an easy decision.

Pros

  • Excellent vintage synth sound and playability
  • Stackable effects
  • On-the-fly tweaking for live situations
  • Tap tempo and other modern upgrades
  • Works as a MIDI controller

Cons

  • Keys are not weighted
  • Onboard voicing limited to synthesizer sounds 

Verdict

This is hands-down the best way to get your hands on a powerful and versatile vintage synth machine in a tidy package. 

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Roland GO:PIANO 61-key Digital Piano Keyboard

Best for Beginners: GO: PIANO 61P

Roland has developed the GO: PIANO 61P as a one-stop solution for learning to play the piano. It has 61 full-size keys, 128 voice polyphony, and a learning platform that can be voice-controlled using Alexa.

You can power The GO: PIANO with batteries or its built-in speakers and Bluetooth connectivity and it is the lowest-priced Roland keyboard on the list.

Sound

The GO: PIANO 61P uses the same premium piano and organ sounds that Roland has for its pro-line. For beginner students, the 61P will give you a terrific organic piano sound

that you can hear through a solid pair of speakers.

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Although they didn’t skimp on sound quality, this entry-level keyboard has a limited selection of sounds. There are over 40 sound options, including a drum kit and an SFX bank.

Performance

The best thing about this keyboard is the instructional platform. With Alexa connectivity and Bluetooth speakers, you can stream instructional videos from the app that let you play along with your favorite tunes like piano karaoke. It’s a fantastic learning tool, and it sets this Roland keyboard apart from other entry-level keyboards.

Considering that this is a beginner learning keyboard, the keys have a decent feel with a natural velocity. Hit and soft feathers once you get the feel of the keys. This is also the only keyboard on the list with Bluetooth connectivity and built-in speakers.

Value

This device represents a significant value for the student eager to learn from the count-in. You get top-notch sound quality and a decent piano feel, along with a powerful, fun, and interactive learning app. 

Pros

  • Impressive learning platform
  • Bluetooth and Alexa enabled
  • Built-in speakers
  • Great sound/feel for an entry-level price

Cons

  • Limited versatility of sounds
  • No way to customize sounds

Verdict

For those budding musicians looking to get started on their musical journey, the Roland GO: Piano61 is an excellent choice. You can connect the instrument to a virtual learning platform with a shout to Alexa. This setup makes learning fun and easy. 

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Roland RD-2000 Premium 88-key Digital Stage Piano

Best for Piano: RD2000

If you want the very best that Roland, or any other company for that matter, has to offer, then you want to look at the RD-2000. It is Roland’s premier stage piano, but it is so much more as well.

It features 88 full-weighted, velocity-sensitive keys with aftertouch, 128 polyphony voice, thousands of sounds, and two separate sound engines, the V-piano and Integra 7 superNATURAL engines.

Sound

The RD2000 is Roland’s flagship model for stage and recording. The instrument uses the V-piano sound engine for the piano sounds, which are gorgeous and full. They generated all voices from the superNATURAL and are the best Roland offers.

It’s no wonder this Roland keyboard is the choice for many of today’s most in-demand pros.

Performance

Its fully weighted, touch-sensitive keys feel and play like an acoustic piano. You may customize each key for feel, sound, and response and program the sliders and knobs for different scenes to save, and those controls are velocity-sensitive.

Pretty much any parameter you can think of is yours to customize. The RD2000 has six reverbs, five delay types, tremolo, modulations, amp simulators, built-in compressors, and so much more. They designed this keyboard for serious players who need to control every aspect of their sound and playing experience.

Value

The RD2000 is the most expensive Roland keyboard on the list. If you have the means, it is worth every dollar.

Pros

  • Unmatched sound quality
  • Expansive customization
  • Full-weighted keys for authentic piano feel
  • Sturdy build

Cons

  • Expensive
  • heavy

Verdict

If you need the absolute best and cost is of no concern, the RD2000 is the premier keyboard with an authentic piano feel and sound.

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Which Roland Keyboard is Right for You?

For an all-around workhorse, easily portable, powerful, and priced well, go for the FA-06.

boy playing roland keyboard

If you have the means and want a natural piano feel with all the best features and customizations around, the RD2000 is top of its class.

For the beginning player looking to enjoy realistic sounds, the portable GO: PIANO is a perfect choice.

Anyone looking for the feel and function of vintage synthesizers will fall in love with the Gaia SH101.

Final Thoughts

When you see the name Roland, you’ll get a serious instrument, even with their student model keyboards. These are among my favorite instruments Roland produces. Whatever your needs are, Roland has viable and affordable options that will work for you.

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