Review of the Roland E-09 Portable Keyboard

a white Roland E-09 keyboard

Image Courtesy of Roland

First off, the voices on the Roland E-09 are fantastic. They’re well-rounded and clear, and even the brass tones (which are notoriously artificial-sounding) are balanced and pleasant. This would make a great secondary instrument, particularly for a keyboardist in need of an arranger. The keys are light and hollow, but this model (along with its voices) can always be slaved to a heftier keyboard with a wider range of notes.

Key Features

  • Keys: 61
  • Polyphony: 64-note
  • Touch Sensitivity: Yes; cumulative adjustments from 1-127, or off
  • Reverb/Chorus: 8 reverb settings; 8 chorus
  • Metronome: Yes; 20-250 BPM
  • Available Colors: Black; white (E-09W)

The Price


The Pros

  • Beautiful voices; among the best I’ve heard on a 61-key
  • Two headphone jacks on the front panel
  • Chord generator
  • Pitch bend/modulation control in-one
  • 32MB sampling RAM

The Cons

  • No sustain pedal included
  • Custom recordings cannot be looped
  • Layering & splitting cannot be combined (see Keys & Action)

Keys & “Action”

The keys on this model are thin and unweighted, but lack that dreaded hollow and markedly artificial feel common on other 61-keyers (although I did find the accidentals a tad slippery). The keyboard stays quiet during play – a must-have during external recording sessions.

The degree of touch-sensitivity is adjustable by increments from 1-127, whereas other keyboards generally have fixed numbers of presets, each quite unique. So, it should be noted that there are not 127 different velocity curves, but one curve whose intensity may be adjusted.

Splitting is supported (two different voices can play on either end), and the split point is adjustable by octave; you cannot set the split to a specific note.

Transposition from -12 to +12.

Voices & Tones

There are 614 voices, 70 drum kits, as well as an additional 256 GM2 tones. Voices include:

  • 18 Acoustic pianos, including various harpsichords & clavichords
  • 15 Electric pianos
  • 34 Organs & 15 accordions
  • 19 Acoustic guitars; 19 acoustic & 34 electric
  • 55 Bass guitars
  • 47 String & orchestra ensembles
  • 79 Brass, synth brass & woodwind
  • 12 Vocal & choral

Tones may be “dual-layered” so that two different voices can be played simultaneously; however, splitting and layering cannot be used at the same time.

Keyboard Speakers & Quality

The speakers are quality. Usually, you can detect a faint whisper when the speakers of a portable keyboard are on, but these were completely silent. In use, they proved to be a perfect match for the voices: they handled pitchy trebles and rumbling basses played at high volumes with no cracking or modulation issues.

The speakers automatically turn off when the headphones input jack is in use – whether by earphones or an external amp – which prevents feedback, interference, or startling noises.

Included Accessories

  • 9V AC power supply (model # )
  • Music rest

Optional accessories which may be purchased separately include:

  • Sustain footswitch (model # ) – $12-$18
  • Piano-style sustain pedal (model # ) – $30-$35
  • Keyboard stand (model # KS-12)

Back Panel

  • 2 x audio OUT (R, L mono)
  • MIDI in/out
  • Sustain pedal input, 1/4"