Roland C-30 Digital Harpsichord

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2009 NAMM Show update: The Roland C-30 is a digital harpsichord with authentic sound and feel, but with features only possible in a digital instrument.

We had a chance to check out the C-30 at NAMM. While it’s clearly a digital instrument, it does a great job of packaging it up in a form that makes sense for people doing traditional music. I could also see this having a niche in electronic music similar to that of the Mellotron.

Features:

  • 61 keys with “click action” F-Scale touch
  • Four harpsichord sound-sets and two positive organ sounds
  • Plectrums and strings never need replacing, and no tuning is required
  • Five different classical temperaments with Baroque pitch support
  • Reverb effect enhances small room acoustics
  • Mahogany finish with optional picture board, decoration panel, and bench

Specifications:

Keyboard

  • 61 keys (F scale, haprsichord action mechanism)

Maximum Polyphony

  • 128 voices

Tones

  • 6 (8 feet I, 8 feet II, 4 feet, Lute, Organ I, Organ II)
  • (4 types : French type, Flemish type, Fortepiano, Dynamic Harpsichord)

Effect

  • Reverb (8 levels)

Controls

  • Volume knob, Reverb knob, Tone knob

Key Transpose

  • -6 to +5 (semitone steps)

Temperament

  • 5 types (Equal, Werckmeister, Kirnberger, Vallotti, Meantone)

Baroque Pitch

  • 415 Hz/392 Hz

Master Tuning

  • 440/415 Hz ±50 cents

Pedal

  • Damper/Tone change

Speakers

  • 12 cm x 2, 8 cm x 2

Rated Output

  • 13 W x 2

Connectors

  • Phones jack (Stereo), Output jacks ( L/Mono, R ), Input jacks ( L/Mono, R ), MIDI connectors (In, Out), Pedal jack, AC adaptor jack

Power Supply

  • AC Adapter

Power Consumption

  • 25 W (AC 117 V/230 V/240 V)

Cabinet Finish

  • Simulated mahogany

Accessories
Owner’s manual, AC adaptor, Power cord, Music stand, Damper pedal (DP-10), Picture board, Decoration panel
Options
Bench (BNC-29), Picture board (OP-C30PB series), Decoration panel (OP-C30DP series)

8 thoughts on “Roland C-30 Digital Harpsichord

  1. While the cherubim inside the lid were a little over-the-top, the c-30 is the first thing I’ve ever played that sounded and felt like an actual harpsichord… other than a real harpsichord.

    Also, that’s a nice picture of me. Doesn’t my hair look nice? 😉

    Do you really see it having a customer base among electronic musicians? I guess if there are electronic musicians developing Bluetooth-enabled viola bows, anything is possible.

    I imagine it would be a great find for college music departments. The harpsichords we had in school were ancient and hard to maintain.

  2. I just got one! It’s a really nice instrument, and gives me th ability to play harpsichord music without the need for the space that a double-manual instrument would take.

    I actually own a small Italian polygonal virginal, an unfretted late German clavichord, and a grand piano so fitting a French or Flemish double and a fortepiano in the house would be kind of difficult. 😉 The sound is very reailistic, and the touch is very close.

  3. Earlier today I saw a demonstration of the Roland C-30 digital harpsichord (or “clavecin numérique” as they say here in France) at the Musicora 2009 exhibition at the Carrousel du Louvre. Firstly, just as a disclaimer: I’m no expert, nor even an enthusiast; in fact, I had never put my hands on a real harpsichord until today. I was quite impressed by the sound of the C-30 under the hands of the talented player there today. I can imagine that this instrument (or should I say “device”?) is ideal for those who live in abodes with high temperature and humidity variations (which can reap havoc on the tuning of an authentic harpsichord) — such as Parisian apartments without air-conditioning in the summer! There’s something about the sound of a harpsichord; one of the only instruments where, if you close your eyes, it invariably transports you back several centuries. The fact that it has MIDI and other goodies almost makes a neophyte like me want to get one!

    By the way, there was also another device being demonstrated at this Roland session today: a Roland C-230. It’s a digital organ with a few harpsichord settings too. Apparently, or so it was claimed, it was bieng played for the first time today in front of a public audience. I can’t find any reference of this instrument on Roland’s site, so I would tend to believe that claim…

  4. I want to buy one and can’t find a dealer! I have however found used ones for sale. No one sells them, people don’t want to keep the ones that were sold. What does this mean?

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