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Which Roland is best for me?

Chiara

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Hi. I’ve been playing the accordion for just over a year - So I’m still learning. I’ve used a “Chinese” accordion to test if I wanted to continue and decided I do and want to get a better instrument. I prefer traditional accordions. However, my personal circumstances have changed recently and I’m unable to play more than 20 minutes per day unless I get a digital accordion -due to noise. I was looking at Roland V accordions.
My question: is the 8x worth the premium price, when all I’m interested in is reproducing a normal accordion experience but with headphones? I understand the bellow effect is improved compared to previous versions. Given I’m still learning and eventually I’d like a nice traditional accordion, should I get a cheaper Roland For practice and study bellow dynamics in the other accordion I have, Or is the bellow effect so well made in the 8x that it’s worth paying the premium and use the Roland only?
Sorry that was a bit long - hope it makes sense.
Thanks.
 

debra

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If you want a normal experience but with headphones you can also opt to get built-in microphones. Good ones will eliminate a lot of the ambient noise. You can hook up the mics to a small pre-amp with phones output (like a simple small mixing table, costing less than a professional pre-amp). Of course installing good microphones in a cheap Chinese accordion may not be the best possible investment, but an accordion you buy for say 3/4 the price of a Roland FR4x will give you real accordion sound through the headphones, and good mics will be less than 1/4 of the Roland price, so you always come out (financially) ahead. Of course you will not just have real accordion sound but you will have *only* real accordion sound.
 

Chiara

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Hi Debra. Thank you for replying. I think I did not make myself clear- I need to play without being heard, rather than cutting the ambient noise. I’m guessing in this case there’s nothing I can do with a non digital accordion?
 

JIM D.

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A used 3x might fit your bill. --

 
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debra

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Hi Debra. Thank you for replying. I think I did not make myself clear- I need to play without being heard, rather than cutting the ambient noise. I’m guessing in this case there’s nothing I can do with a non digital accordion?
Haha! Funny how we can have misunderstandings...
Let me be clear though: when you play you produce sound, you produce music, you definitely do not produce noise!
That's why when you mentioned noise I could only imagine that you were bothered by noise coming from your environment.
New Roland models like the FR4x and FR8x give you bellow control that to some extent mimics playing an acoustic accordion. The Bugari Evo does this better, but costs even more (and produces the same sound through the headphones. (The sound from the loudspeakers is a little bit different.)
The FR8x does not offer all that much over the slightly less expensive FR4x but it offers more notes (more important for PA than for CBA).
As a CBA player the FR4x would be sufficient for me (if I were to go digital) but for a PA player the standard 41 key keyboard of the FR8x is a big plus.
 

Chiara

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Thanks. So the message I take here is: get a Fr8x if the number of keys is important. Otherwise don’t pay the premium just for the bellows since the difference is not that much.
 

debra

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Thanks. So the message I take here is: get a Fr8x if the number of keys is important. Otherwise don’t pay the premium just for the bellows since the difference is not that much.
There are several differences between the FR4x and FR8x but if your aim is to practice playing the accordion in silence and the number of keys is not important then an FR4x is a good choice, especially since you can create your own (accordion) sounds with an editor on the computer (whereas on the FR8x you have to do everything on the accordion itself).
 

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The FR8x also has its own computer editor.
There are so many patches already that it will probably be quite a while before you will need it. I’ve had my FR8 x for some years and I’m still rediscovering patches I had overlooked in the past. It is a vast instrument with lots to learn.
But as Paul hinted at, the bellows action is only an approximation to the real thing. It’s a good approximation though IMHO.
 

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Hi Chiara, Hmmm, I didn't notice if you play piano or chromatic button accordion, in which case the key/button discussion is different, as Paul noted above. I wonder if you have the ability to try the Roland to see if you like the digital experience. If not, consider the Fr1. If so, the Fr4.
 

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I'm with Tom.

If you're playing CBA, the FR-1xb is sufficient. And later on, if you upgrade to larger model, the FR-1xb can be used as a backup, or when traveling.

I wouldn't buy the FR-1x (PA version) because its 2-octave keyboard is a severe limitation.
 
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Chiara

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Hi Chiara, Hmmm, I didn't notice if you play piano or chromatic button accordion, in which case the key/button discussion is different, as Paul noted above. I wonder if you have the ability to try the Roland to see if you like the digital experience. If not, consider the Fr1. If so, the Fr4.
Tom, why 4 and not 7 or 8?
 

Chiara

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The FR8x also has its own computer editor.
There are so many patches already that it will probably be quite a while before you will need it. I’ve had my FR8 x for some years and I’m still rediscovering patches I had overlooked in the past. It is a vast instrument with lots to learn.
But as Paul hinted at, the bellows action is only an approximation to the real thing. It’s a good approximation though IMHO.
Hi Glenn. Have you played the FR4x too? What do you think of those bellows?
 

debra

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The FR8x also has its own computer editor.
There are so many patches already that it will probably be quite a while before you will need it. I’ve had my FR8 x for some years and I’m still rediscovering patches I had overlooked in the past. It is a vast instrument with lots to learn.
But as Paul hinted at, the bellows action is only an approximation to the real thing. It’s a good approximation though IMHO.
Interesting. I didn't know there is now also a computer editor for accordion sounds on the FR8x. I never heard about it before. I have only seen demos of the editor for the FR4x.
 

dunlustin

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The FR4x has a huge number of features which you are unlikely ever to exhaust.
Some people struggle with the bellows whatever the version. The FR4X is lighter and a more recent development than the FR8X.
I second the comments on the PA1X - a shame 'cos of limited range - the button version is a keeper - wish I'd kept mine.
The used FR3X is a good idea - but they're 'hen's teeth' - lots of sounds/features, downloadable extensions.
Old stock in England was sold off at bargain prices but you don't seem to see them for sale as second hand.
In a word - given you are starting out, get a button version and you'll save the effort of converting when you decide it's the only way to go! (small grin)
 

Tom

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Chiara said:

"Tom, why 4 and not 7 or 8?"

Because of cost. Since you are just starting out, your tastes in accordion may change radically once you get into it. You may go with acoustic vs. electronic, piano vs. button, unisoric vs. diatonic, 72 vs. 120 bass, etc.
 

Alan Sharkis

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I have an acoustic accordion and a Roland FR-4x. At this stage in my development I only use the acoustic for running scales and Hanon exercises. The missing keys on the 4x as compared to the acoustic are not a problem for the kind of music I am playing. By the way, my acoustic has midi in it, so I can lock up the bellows, control volume with a pedal, and plug in earphones. But I can plug earphones into the 4x and still use the bellows and nobody else can hear me play.
 
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Hi Debra. Thank you for replying. I think I did not make myself clear- I need to play without being heard, rather than cutting the ambient noise. I’m guessing in this case there’s nothing I can do with a non digital accordion?
I bought a Roland FR1X for the same reason. I then sold my Hohner Verdi V, which I really miss. With the FR1X I found I ran out of keys on the right hand and had to sometimes jump from the upper-middle to the bottom in the bass. I like the register sounds that I can explore on both R and L and have edited some for fun. I do recommend Roland, just not the FR1X.
Fortunately, a friend gave me a Petosa "ladies" model with the full 41/120 last week and my wife and I just did a "social distancing" loudness test, allowing me to play the Petosa in the den while she reads in the bedroom. The sound from the Petosa is massive and alarmed me when I first tried it out.
Craig
 

JerryPH

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4X, 7X, 8X.

The 7X has been discontinued a long time now and does have known issues that you would have to deal with (ie: the screen has a defect that makes it very hard to read and dies in time. You can replace it, but that's extra money, aggravation and inconvenience for nothing). If the choice is the 7 or the 8, my opinion (and that's all it is), don't waste good money on the 7 and go straight for the 8 unless you perhaps found a 7X for 3-digit prices and is in "like new" condition... which by now, you won't ever find.

Choice between a 4X and an 8X in your case becomes a little more of a challenge.

- How old are you?
- Is your health/strength good?
- What are your future intentions (ie: ever wish to perform in public or gig)?
- What is your budget, can you afford the 8X without additional difficulties?

Compared to the 8X, the 4X is a bit lighter, but has fewer keys. It also has a less intuitive screen and is limited in terms of capability (ie: the 8X can layer 2 orchestral sounds and the accordion, the 4X cannot, 8X can play for longer periods of time, etc...).

The 8X is the replacement for the 7X. The 4X is the replacement for the 3X, but because it came out after the 8X, many think that it is "better" than the 8X. It is not. IMHO the only thing that the 4X does better is the weight and lower price, absolutely nothing else.

Right now, I'm hearing that you only want to play accordion sounds, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that... but one day you will play and add a digital instrument, or add drum effects or reverb, and your entire perceived musical world will flip up side down and open up to the near endless possibilities within that box you have and you just might like it. That is where the digital accordion lives... capabilities that no acoustic accordion has. Run through the registers of an acoustic and that's it, in terms of different sounds... you are done (yet for some, that is the beauty of acoustic. Me, I am about as evenly split on this as anyone I know. I *love* acoustic, will even add to my collection of acoustic accordions one day... but am not blind to the charms and near endless possibilities of the 8X and currently my musical journey is on the digital accordion path).

If you can afford it, and plan to really get in to the nuts and bolts of the capabilities of the accordion, even if it is in the longer term, get the 8X. If this is something that won't ever interest you and you don't need the extra functionality or budget is an issue, the 4X lies in your future.

No matter which, keep in mind that there is a small market for used instruments and a well maintained 4X or 8X can save you a nice chunk of change. My 8X was bought used... well, it was literally used about 2-3 times... and was still on it's first battery charge and showing full when I picked it up and I paid well below 1/2 the cost of what a new one was priced at. As I said before, look around... "the deals are out there".
 
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