Nord Stage 3 VS Roland RD 2000 (Comparison)
Our pick: The Nord Stage 3
Though both keyboards are have advanced functionality and are considered high-end, we like the Nord Stage 3 a bit more for live performances, and the RD-2000 better for those transitioning from an acoustic piano and or playing mostly in the studio.
The Nord Stage 3 and Roland RD-2000 are two of the more popular and feature-rich 88-key keyboards on the market.
In this comparison, we're using a two tables to look at all the specs and some of our own grading. This will give you an idea of which keyboard will be better for you and or which one has the features that you're looking for.
We've found that keyboards are difficult to purchase, because there's so much technical functionality that you have to think about.
In this article, we've done the research and put it all in a table for you to easily cover.
First, we'll look at some of the main differences between the two and try to put them in a clearer picture of strengths and weaknesses. To be fair, both keyboards are incredibly well-designed and sound fantastic. You'd have a hard time making an argument against either one.
Instead, we'll try and get to the nuanced differences and see which one would be the most optimal fit for your situation.
Though both keyboards have a similar spec sheet, there are some notable differences that should be broadly helpful for prospective buyers.
Acoustic Piano Feel
We like the RD-2000 better for those transitioning from an acoustic piano because it's heavy with a more realistic weighting used in the keys.
Non Piano Sounds
Non-piano sounds and effects are a little better and more versatile in the Nord Stage 3.
Overall, we like the Stage 3 for live performances and those who are more about effects as opposed to pure piano.
Studio or Formal Playing
The RD-2000 we like for the opposite scenario, for someone who is a true piano player and who will be playing in more of a formal sense, perhaps in the studio.
These are things we noticed, but keep in mind that both keyboards can be used in a wide variety of scenarios and situations. Again, we're just trying to pin down where they are most optimally applied.
Compare to Similar Keyboards
In this section we've linked to the Nord Stage 3 and the Roland RD-2000 along with a couple other comparable keyboards. Note that we link to Sweetwater as a way of supporting our site, but at no extra charge to you. If you shop through our orange button links, we might get a commission that helps us keep producing content. Thank you in advance for your support.
Nord Stage 3
Roland RD 2000
Nord Stage 3 VS Roland RD-2000: The Basics
In this section, we've created a table to compare specs that we've identified in each keyboard. For the most part, they're similar in terms of their sound engines, keys, fading/blending capabilities, and input/output options. One thing we noticed is that the RD-2000 gives you more presets to work with, but the Stage 3 has more onboard memory. They're little things, but this table gives you an easy and quick way to see both the similarities and differences.
Digital stage piano
Digital stage piano
Pianos, Organs, and Synthesizers
Dual independent sound engines (acoustic and electric pianos, synth, organs)
Onboard Audio Interface
Zones, Splits, and Crossfades
88 weighted hammer action
PHA-50 keybed (weighted Progressive Hammer Action)
Load Simultaneous Instruments
120 notes piano, 34 notes synth
400 programs with 8 banks
1,000 tones, 200 rhythm patterns
Number of emulations unspecified but available from the Nord Piano Library
1 x 1/8" (monitor in)
1 x 1/8" (aux in)
4 x 1/4", 1 x 1/4"(headphones)
2 x XLR (main out), 2 x 1/4" (main unbalanced), 2 x 1/4" (sub out), 1 x 1/4" (headphones)
1 x Type B
2 x Type A, 1 x Type B
4 x 1/4" (channels 1-4), 1 x 1/4" (headphones)
2 x 1/4" (foot controller), 2 x 1/4" (damper, external)
2 x OLEDs
1 x LED
2 GB (gigabytes)
USB outputs are more limited in the Stage 3, though it does a lot better with the non-piano sounds it provides. Again, these are small differences, but important to note if you're spending the type of money required to get either of these two digital pianos.
In this table, we've given some grades to each keyboard for different categories, based on our own experience and research. Again, it doesn't mean that one is "bad" where the other is "good" but it does give you an idea of where one might be stronger or just a better fit.
Feel of a Real Piano Grade (playability)
Nuance capturing grade
Ease of use/learning curve grade
Non-piano sound grades
Effects and sounds
You can see that the RD-2000 grades a lot better if you're looking for more of a piano experience. It's heavier, with better weighting on the keys and - in our opinion - is better designed for formal playing.
In contrast, we like the Stage 3 for live performances, churches, and those who would use more sound effects and synth sounds.
In this section we've posted an audio demo of each keyboard. There's no talking in the RD-2000 demo and just a little bit in the Stage 3 demo.
Nord Stage 3
In this section I'll answer a few questions about the scenarios that are best suited for one of these two keyboards. If you have questions that I don't address directly, feel free to leave them in the comments section below and I'll do my best to help out.
Which one is better for people used to acoustic piano?
As I mentioned earlier, the Roland RD-2000 is a better option here, especially if you're planning to use it more as a formal piano, perhaps in a living room or in an educational capacity. Those transferring will appreciate the weighted keys, how they feel, and a response that's more like a traditional acoustic piano.
Though both can handle well in a recording context, we like the Roland RD-2000 a little better here, though it doesn't seem to focus as much on effects or non-piano sounds as the Stage 3. Both are good fits in the studio.
For live performances?
In a live performing capacity, the Stage 3 is about seven pounds lighter and has functionality that is better suited to a stage keyboard. With more effects and a heavier focus on non-piano sounds, it's useful for anyone that wants to use it as an additive, perhaps for more padding and layering with the wealth of effects and synth options.
For churches/worship bands?
The Stage 3 with its effects and synth sounds make it a better fit for churches that employ a modern worship band.
Concluding our Comparison
Both these keyboards are what we'd consider advanced and extremely functional.
Neither of them lack in terms of features or sound quality, in any measurable capacity. But we still think the subtle differences and nuance should be noted and understood by those who are thinking about purchasing either one.
Hopefully these tables and our comparison has helped with that process.
Good luck with your choice.
Questions about these two Keyboards
Do you have any questions about the Nord Stage 3 or the Roland RD-2000?
If so, leave them in the comments section below. I'll check in and help out as much as I can.
Thanks for reading.
Written by Bobby on Keyboards and Roundups
Written by GC Editorial on Interfaces and Roundups
The dude says
What is the ease of transposing? On any Roland board I have used it was hit a dedicated transpose button and using an arrow button to move up or down. Very easy to do on the fly while playing live .
So you’re asking for the Nord? I think it’s one button that turns on and is then set to a specific position. You can see it pretty clearly in this picture: https://www.nordkeyboards.com/sites/default/files/files/products/nord-stage-3/images/models-stage3-88-revb.jpg
To be honest, I think what you described in the Roland sounds easier.
Alfredo zottipianist says
Absolutely I mean their own article does not lead to a co n clusion that nord e is better. They are different. For studio work and for real piano feel the Roland is best and these are pretty j.poryant criteria for selection where the n3 fails here. Whatta??
, I personally have more fun playing the nord three stage, and I feel like the piano sounds are pretty good, the Roland tone is a bit to “woody” and acoustic , not great to cut through mix. But my question is this. The Roland piano seems to have more midi mixing capabilities as far as a controller is concerned right? For example if you’re running any exterior modules? Can the Nord stage 3 do similar things? Ie; do the drawbars become midi volume controls for external sources? It’s a bit of a quandary for me because I think the Roland has more sounds that are overall useful in performance area , better horn patches or cool 80 synth stuff . The Nord feels better but you are limited by their Nord line of keyboard tones.
Alfredo zottipianist says
Absolutely nord 3 very limited particularly for adding other midi sounds and modules.
Thanks for your response, have you looked at the Yamaha CP 88 and the YC 88? The piano tones seem to be pretty great. Action seems pretty solid a bit heavy in the left hand overall. But I think that’s what they’re going for? The internal sounds seem pretty comparable to any Roland unit. Oddly they have stepped up the game and seem to be a worthy competitor at this point. My last Yamaha unit was the KX 88
It’s seems that the writer of this artist is a fan of the Nord keyboard. Probably getting kickbacks. “The RD2000 is better for those transitioning from an acoustic piano because it’s heavy with a more realistic weighting used in the keys.”. Be truthful, it’s way more than this. My friend has the Nord 4. Most of the sounds are too thin, tinny sounding. Not realistic.
I tried both when looking to upgrade from a Roland rd700 GX. I used with Hammond’s SK2. My goal was to lighten up & potentially get by with 1 keyboard using splits.
One important factor was ease of using layers live & having been used to the RD’s 4 sliders everything was right there,where on the Nord stage 3 you’d have to activate engines A& B simultaneously pressing both buttons in order to have 2 sounds available from each engine.
Then I saw a slightly used RD2000 & the improvements over the Rd700 which I bought (& then sold my 700.) The RD 2000 with 8 sliders for layering meant I could have all the layers I’d need right there – though I don’t.) The V piano engine & PHA50 keybed we’re also great. Having 88 keys for splitting still left enough to not limit vs the Nord’s 73 – though I did like the Nords crossover choices at the split points vs the Roland’s.
I decided to keep the RD2000 & sole the Stage 3. Then Hammonds SK Pro series came out in 61 & 73 with 4 engines & “desktop” faders for each engine- which I thought worth the effort to try the 1 keyboard approach with the 73 & the easier access fading vs the Nord. The SK Pro dramatically improved on the pianos & organs from the SK series so I sold my SK2. Again I tried the 1 keyboard & while better than the previous try I resigned myself to needing 2 keyboards & am now days away from receiving Hammonds SKX Pro which will give me 3 keybed to assign – where I’ll always have a 61 space for organ & plenty of space on either the RD2000 or 2 nd bed of SKX to enjoy more playing & less programming
And…the Nord is 5 grand….That’s slot of gigs for your average working musician