Photos 4: Roland RD800 Stage Piano

A sophisticated electronic keyboard with good pipe organ samples meets a great many needs these days, especially for those performers who travel and are required to bring their own organ, orchestral sounds, sound effects, and all the bells and whistles, with them.

While there are several good makes and models out there from which to choose, the pipe organ samples aboard this little Roland RD800 stage piano are the latest technology, superior, and very realistic in many ways to the real thing, almost startling.

This board, with its adjustable equalizer, reverb, and key touch settings, can be made to sound and feel under the fingers just like a one manual, mechanical action pipe organ. 

Tones may be used singly or as many as 4 may be combined at a time, using sliders to adjust the blend of each one, making it possible to color the finished sound of any combo to any desired degree.

Organists are going to like the fact that it has a bank of 10 programmable "live set" buttons which function as general combination pistons to store preselected combos, which make instantaneous changes possible.

There are 10 original scores for organ offered pro bono for free download and printing on this blog [See menu bar, Free Stuff, 2 Staff scores Op. 1-9) which have no pedal part which can be performed on this type of instrument with its superior pipe organ samples [See menu bar, Free Stuff, 2 Staff].

This board also has a flash drive record feature which can store and play back the organist's recordings.  By detaching the flash drive after making recordings and reattaching it to a computer having the right software, it can be used to burn a CD of any or all of these recordings, on the spot.

For the best fraternal (Masonic) work, you need something more than a piano ... something with adjustable touch that can not only provide good pipe organ sounds with a 32 foot octave but has the "feel" of a mechanical action pipe organ ... something that can produce a good orchestral effect with tympani, horn calls, and sound effects, such as a thunder roll ... something with adjustable EQ and reverb ... something that allows individual samples to be mixed and their volumes individually controlled ... something with an expression (volume) pedal, transposer button, and a row of presets to store selected combinations. 

With all of these features, plus 5 separate sound engines, 200 rhythms, 7 different pipe organ sounds which can be mixed, and over 1,100 separate sampled tones aboard, there's honestly very little, if anything, this board cannot do, to meet this type of need.

Having a full 88 keys to work offers the advantage of being able to perform a Joplin rag or any other piano piece if they decide to, without having to move the music to a different octave to squeeze it inside a standard 5 octave (61 note) organ manual. 

A KC-150 keyboard amp, KCW-1 powered subwoofer, volume pedal with adjustable sensitivity, keyboard stand, dust cover, and padded bench (all made by Roland), plus a Manhassat conductor's music stand (holding 4 pages across) and some kind of traveling case (Gator, for example, makes a good one) rounds out the needed accessories.

Another helpful feature is that, when this board isn't being used, both of these keyboard amps may be connected to the main console at home, if there is one, to provide it with another 350 watts of power amplification.

A nice system for a traveling organist.  Very nice.  Cool