Advertise on ChoralNet 
ChoralNet logo
The mission of the ACDA is to inspire excellence in choral music through education, performance, composition, and advocacy.

Roland C-230 organ

Has anyone used a Roland C-230 as a continuo instrument? If so, how did it work for you? Anything particularly good or bad about it? I haven't been able to find one to try out, but from what I have heard and read about it online, it seems like a good alternative to an actual portative organ. I'm considering purchasing one and renting it to the various groups I work with, since it can be so difficult (and expensive) to rent an actual portative organ. I know purists will consider it heresy to use an electronic instrument, so no need to go there in your responses. :)
Mike Driscoll
Replies (10): Threaded | Chronological
on December 9, 2013 3:25am
C-230 is, in my opinion, is a good alternative to an actual keyboard continuo instrument. It sounds good, looks fine, can be carried and tuned easily.
You need to hide the power cord well :)
I usually recommend:
Roland C-30 for those who want a harpsichord.
Roland C-230 for those who want a continuo instrument (organ/harpsichord).
Hoffrichter portable organ for those who need a portable 2/3-manual pipe organ with pedal keyboard.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on December 9, 2013 6:39am
I have used it extensively and think it's excellent. We purchased one when our church roof needed extensive repairs and our E.M. Skinner instrument had to be partially dismantled for protection.
As a continuuo instrument (say, only using flutes 8 and 4), it is very difficult to tell the difference from a "real" positiv.  It has far more capabilities than that, however; we used it as our only instrument for services for nine months (using external speakers) and it was very good at larger registrations as well. The better your external speakers, the closer to pipe organ sound.
For continuo work, playing with instrumental ensemble, the internal speakers will be enough.  There are four basic families of tone for each stop; if you're doing Bach or other baroque, I would use the "German" option--a little chiffier, but not overdone.  
Now that our roof is repaired and our marvelous Skinner is up and running, we still use it occasionally. We've done two organ duets, and used it for off-site performances. 
Roland has some YouTube videos demonstrating it, they give an accurate representation of it's sound. 
on December 9, 2013 6:50am
Hi Mike.  My concert choir purchased one and it is fantastic.  We have used it as a portative, harpsichord and celeste.  It is everything that it promises to be.  Just this past weekend, we lent it out to our accompanist.  He was directing a Messiah Sing-Along.  No tuning ever (unless you want to - it is adjustable for period insturments tuning).  In terms of it serving as an organ, if you want a different stop than the ones that come preset, it has many others in its memory that can be swaped in and out.  It will serve fine through Haydn.  If you have the money - go for it.  And this is coming from someone who used to be a purist.
David Spitko, Artistic Director
The Choristers
on October 16, 2014 12:41pm
Thanks, David.  I thought I kept the original information but I couldn't find it. 
on December 9, 2013 12:55pm
What type of cost are we looking at for the Roland?  We need to clean out our electronic closet here.  The current organ sound we use on the synthesizer is not really right.   I poked around the website but couldn't find a price anywhere.  Thanks. 
on December 10, 2013 7:25am
Where are you located?  Contact Rebecca Lowery at Romeo Music, in Dallas, but they sell & ship to schools and churches everywhere.
on December 10, 2013 9:10am
We just purchased a Roland C-30 for our local Oratorio Society and used the celesta and harpsichord for our holiday concerts. It worked like a charm--sounds great, is flexible, and quite portable, plus no tuning worries. It also features two chamber organ stops. I purchased it from Lazar's Early Music in California. Bill Lazar is very easy to work with. $3995 includes shipping. I wasn't actually aware of a Roland C-230. And, yes, the online video demonstrations are helpful and accurate. You will also enjoy the demos that come with the instrument--a long program of Bach played by various Japanese harpsichord players. It's like having your own player piano, only it's a harpsichord. It was recommended to me, and I would definitely recommend it to others.
Kathy Bowers
Estes Park, Colorado
on December 13, 2013 9:26am
We purchased one several years ago and I don't know how we lived without it before. Don't worry about the purists. Early music keyboard players are always more concerned with practicality and what sounds best. I have worked with early music groups who love the instrument and never balk at the electronic aspect of it because it sounds perfect. The audience never knows (not that this is an excuse). Also, the full size organs in the churches we use are either overpowering, unreliable, or sit too far away from the rest of the group to get proper timing and balances. I look for reasons to use it in performances as much as possible. We often perform too far away from a rentable portatif which is another reason to use the Roland. I think it lists for about $5,000 but you can get luckier if you poke around.
Andrea Goodman
Cantilena Chamber Choir
Saratoga Choral Festival
on October 17, 2014 3:34am
Consider the Roland C-200 -  it's even more portable. See
Jim Maroney
on October 19, 2014 7:08am
BTW, I ended up purchasing the Roland C-230. It's a terrific little instrument and very portable. (It easily fits in the trunk of my car.) The speakers that come with it are perfectly fine for continuo playing, but if you want a big sound, you can hook it up to an external keyboard amplifier. I've used for performances of the Mozart Requiem (professional orchestra) and the Vivaldi Gloria (student orchestra) and it worked really well in both situations.
If you're in the Boston area, I'm happy to rent it out...
Mike Driscoll
  • You must log in or register to be able to reply to this message.