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#341423 - 03/05/12 08:06 AM Roland BK-5 first impression
Oscar1 Offline
Member

Registered: 03/05/12
Posts: 33
I spent some time with the bk-5 at home, but I assumed I can use it same way as bk-7m that is I can plug in my keyboard and use its arranger... I assumed I have it as cheaper and finally updated BK-7m....well, not so. The BK-5 will not trigger the arranger over external midi keyboard... or maybe it is just me? I tried everything, it will play all the 16 channels like a module but never trigger the arranger no matter what I tried to set up.
Anyhow, for the money it is pretty good board, with plenty of nice styles.
I was first pretty disappointed by the sound - the speakers are just wrong! Compare it to PSRs it played like a radio. Plugged my senheiser 598 headphones and the sound was all muffled, like if you listening to piano on a cheap board and the high harmonics were missing...

Then I pluged it to speaker system and got a lot of fun hours out of it. It sounded pretty good actually on PA. Didn't like the pianos and strings but the brass and winds are pretty good on those rolands!
The styles are also interesting bag, I listened to some youtube videos before and they sounded like overarranged midi files, but hands on (or speakers on) I was actually pretty pleased with many of them. They give pretty good "live" vibe. I have PSR910 and you can easily recognize the PSR sound with closed eyes but some of the roland styles (jazzy) were a breath of fresh air! I think maybe the roland simply needs to play live on PA (hence the disappointed youtube videos - it is too quiet)

At the end I ended up returning it as I couldn't make it work as a "module" and I didn't care much about the keyboard itself. Still thinking about bk-7m.... but are they ever going to update the firmware or the bk-5 is the "firmware update"?

Anyway for the $1k it is pretty good board I think. Lot of fun for sure!!! I don't know why my headphones didn't like the BK-5...
It isn't PSR910, but I don't think it is meant to be one, rather like some lower priced PSR.
Not sure about the speakers... I definitelly didn't like them..but..

One thing: I really think they SHOULD have midi sequencer or at least chord sequencer in the BK's. The audio recording is just too "nothing", an ipod with some simple multitrack would do a better job I guess, maybe they should just add an ipod dock connector...

Anyway, interesting key this Bk-5. Maybe too little, too late would be my total impression. With yamaha putting kitchen sink in PSRs maybe roland can step up in the game... like the chord sequencer which is sort of staple feature in arrangers - even the microarranger has it for half the price.
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#341456 - 03/05/12 04:51 PM Re: Roland BK-5 first impression [Re: Oscar1]
Jose Pereira Offline
Member

Registered: 06/27/02
Posts: 214
Loc: Funchal Portugal
Hi Oscar!!
Thanks for your review of BK-5
Im following this keyboard with a lot of interest. Im a Tyros4 owner, but, Im tyred of the out of phase sound yamaha has (yes, I tested anything possible: cable, conectors, DI, balanced, unbalanced, etc. etc. definitelly, yamaha sounds suffer from bad sampling techniques or overprocessing) and so repetitive and boring styles.
Oscar, how you compare sound and styles between PSR910 and BK5? (I used to have PSR3000, then Tyros2, now Tyros4, so, Im very familiar with Yamaha sound. I miss my Roland XP60 and XP30 keyboards).
What dont you like about BK-5 pianos?
Thanks in advance for your help!!!
Regards
Jo

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#341459 - 03/05/12 07:15 PM Re: Roland BK-5 first impression [Re: Jose Pereira]
Oscar1 Offline
Member

Registered: 03/05/12
Posts: 33
As for the piano, there isn't that "signature" solo piano sound that would be simply live piano. In fact on the headphones there was no brightness to the piano, but once plugged in PA, the piano was there, just not the sweet brilliance of solo piano. The PSR has more refined piano sound.
But many instruments are pretty good on BK-5. I like the brass and saxes, there is something not so sterile (as with PSR) on the Roland with them and they sound pretty live. Also Roland is not shy with dirty sounds on various synths, organs or even electric guitars. Again, Yamaha would be a bit sterile there. With roland many sounds like synth or organs would have for example that bit of tiny distortion in the tail - a small but nice touch.
The strings were nothing special (but I play real strings, so I am not very easily impressed by most keyboard strings, neither on the PSR, they all lack dynamic depth - but for example the kurzweil PC3 strings do sound good). And instruments like violin don't sound like violin at all on neither.
I remember I played some wild random styles on the BK-5 and got a banjo sound by accident. Well this was maybe the first passable banjo I heard for long time...

What bugs me a bit about PSR is that the instrument in styles do not necessary blend, but are sort of standing sharply.
I could hear much more "blending" in the roland on many of the styles and sounds. Also the orchestration seems bit less flowery and more real than in yamahas.

But then.... well, the PSR910 does have far much "fun" included (well it does cost 70% more). The yamaha is more of this decade board (with all the gadgets, tricks and whats not) while the BK-5 sort of feels like a bit last decade board. There is no sequencer but there is a style pattern editor unlike the bk-7m, but its usability is dubious.

At the end I returned the BK-5, but I think the module version may be probably better suited for other keyboard owners. Once you use BK-5 as module, things do not sound that great and it become far more fiddly and too much button pushing. The BK-7 use external keyboard to trigger the layered sounds and accompaniment and I couldn't make BK-5 behave that way (it behaved like a normal 1-16 module and for that money there are better modules)

And last thing, playing midi, I liked the PSR rendering of GM and XG bit more. The roland would need constant tweaking of sounds, while the PSR usually work reasonably ok straight from the file.
Anyway, it is $999 board and there is plenty of that in it but one would always think - why they didn't charge hundred more and add this or that.... honestly, at least sequencer.


Edited by Oscar1 (03/05/12 07:16 PM)
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Oasys, Karma, PSR 910

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#342298 - 03/18/12 08:30 AM Re: Roland BK-5 first impression [Re: Oscar1]
Oscar1 Offline
Member

Registered: 03/05/12
Posts: 33
as an end note, I got BK-7m instead and this works for me better with my existing keyboard.
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Oasys, Karma, PSR 910

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