Digital pianos used to be expensive. Well, not as expensive as an acoustic piano but you would still be looking about above $1,000. There has been a few models under $500 and Roland launched their budget friendly model in 2019. This new model is the first attempt at this market segment from the world famous manufacture. In this Roland FP-10 review, I will show you the ins and outs of this brand new instrument and let’s find out if it’s going to establish a standing in this market segment for Roland.
The Roland FP-10 is consistent to the design of the FP product line. It looks clean, sleek and modern. I find it easy to fit in any decor style.
Unlike other models in the FP line, the Roland FP-10 is only available in Black.
The music rest that comes with the Roland FP-10 has had a new design. It is different from the one of the FP-30 or the FP-90. It is designed with portability in mind. With those hollowed area, it is much easier to carry and hold the music rest.
I’m happy to report that the music rest is very wide and also tall enough. It can comfortably display any score book or printed sheet music.
Unfortunately, just like the FP-30 and the FP-90, the bottom part of the music rest is a flat surface. There is no comb like stripes to prevent pages from sliding down. This can be quite annoying from time to time.
The control panel on the FP-10 is also consistent to the style of the product line. It has those transparent buttons that you would find on FP-30 and FP-90.
The difference is that the FP-10 has an extremely clean and simple panel. There are in total 4 buttons.
- A power button to switch the instrument on and off
- The volume down button and the volume up button
- The function button
Like many other entry-level digital pianos, the Roland FP-10 requires a combination of the function button and keys to access many of its features.
The good thing is that every function and feature is well labelled above the keys. You do not need the user manual to figure out how to change settings on the FP-10.
The Roland FP-10 comes with a full 88 keyboard. The keys are plastic with synthetic Ivory key tops.
Just like the Roland FP-30, this artificial material gives the keys a slight yellowish tint. Personally I’m not a fan of it. It looks old school and doesn’t fit well with the overall contemporary design of the instrument. I would much prefer a glossy white key tops.
The keyboard seems well-built and I haven’t noticed any uneven spacing between the keys. Since this is a newly launched model, we will have to wait and see if there’s any issue with the keyboard. But based on the reputation of Roland and their previous models, I’m quite confident about the quality of the FP-10.
Size & Weight
Being a portable digital piano, the Roland FP-10 is small in size and light in weight.
As a matter of fact, it is significantly smaller and lighter than the Roland FP-30. Compared to its competitors in the market, the FP-10 is one of the smallest.
It weighs about 12.3 kg (27 lbs).
After assemble, it has the dimensions of 128(W) x 26(D) x 14(H) cm (50.5” x 10.1” x 5.5”)
The key action you would get on the Roland FP-10 is the exact same key action on the FP-30. It is called PHA-4 Standard.
It is a full keyboard with 88 keys. The keys are weighted and graded. Each key is individually weighed. This creates the same feel of an acoustic piano. The keys are heavier on the left side and gradually becomes lighter towards the right side.
The keyboard on the FP-10 is also touch-sensitive. This means the volume of the note is in direct relation to how hard you press the key. It is a necessary feature to create a realistic feeling of the keyboard.
That PHA-4 is equipped with synthetic Ivory key tops. It is designed to help moisture absorption during long playing sessions. It is also supposed to help with grip when you move your fingers across the keyboard.
Unfortunately, just liked the FP-30, I find these synthetic Ivory material only cosmetic. I haven’t experienced any real benefit in terms of grip or moisture absorption.
Overall the playing experience on the Roland FP-10 is slightly on the heavy side compared to other models at the same price range. But it is definitely a lot more expressive and dynamic.
Same like the key action, you get the exact same sound engine of the FP-30 on the FP-10. It is the SuperNATURAL sound engine from Roland. They combine sampling with computer modelling to mimic the realistic sound experience of an acoustic piano.
What makes the Roland FP-10 stands out is that the sound engine has built in String Resonance, Damper Resonance and Key Off Resonance. These are features that you would usually find on much more expensive models. In fact the FP-10 is the only model at this price range that is equipped with these advanced features. As a result, the sound of the FP-10 is rich, dynamic and expressive. I would consider it the most realistic sound amount its competitors.
One thing I have to mention, just like the FP-30, the sound engine on the Roland FP-10 has stretch turning. This is the tuning practice from Roland where they slightly increase the pitch on the high notes and lower the pitch on the bass notes. The purpose is to create a slightly more dynamic and expressive sound experience. Some people has complained that it makes the sound less realistic. I would say it is noticeable but definitely not a deal breaker. It is a built in feature that you can not turn off though.
The Roland FP-10 is equipped with two 6 watt speakers. They are not very powerful and does not sound very loud. With this limitation, you can probably only use the built in speakers in a home setting. Any serious performance will require an external speaker/monitor.
Just like the FP-30, the speakers on the FP-10 are downward facing. This makes the sound somewhat muted from the player position.I find it sounds much better from an audience position.
Besides the solid key action and the excellent sound engine, the Roland FP-10 also has some unique features. Being a newly released model, the FP-10 is equipped with Bluetooth. It is the only model at this price range that has Bluetooth. This enables you to connect the FP-10 with your smart device and utilize Roland’s Piano Partner 2 app. There are many things you can do with this app. You can change settings, get more voices, tweak performance and utilize many learning features as well.
The Roland FP-10 does not have any internal recording capability. This is usually considered a disadvantage. The problem is somewhat mitigated by the fact that the FP-10 has built-in Bluetooth. However I still considered it slightly inconvenient to have to connect to a smart device to be able to record my performance.
At the back of the FP-10, there is a USB type A port. You should not confuse this as a USB-to-Device port. It is only for firmware update. You cannot connect a USB stick using this port and transfer files with the FP-10.
Here are some other important features you would find on the Roland FP-10.
- Sound (15 total):
- Grand pianos × 4
- Electric pianos × 2
- Pipe organs × 2
- Harpsichords × 2
- Strings × 2
- Jazz Scat
- Synth Pad
- Polyphony: 96
- Key sensitivity: 5 levels, fixed
- Dual mode: two instrument sound simultaneously
- Twin mode: divide the keyboard into two identical halfs
- USB to Host
The Roland FP-10 comes with a music rest, sustain pedal and power supply unit.
Depends on the bundle you purchase, you may need to buy a separate stand and bench. Just like any other portable digital pianos, you can choose between furniture style and portable style.
The sustain pedal that comes with the Roland FP-10 is unfortunately a foot switch. It is a binary on off switch that does not support half pedaling. It is in my honest opinion a garbage. It doesn’t look or feel like a real piano pedal. This is something I would strongly recommend you to upgrade.
Due to the weak speakers on the FP-10, you will need external speakers/monitors to fully utilize the excellent sound engine on this instrument.
And as always, a good pair of headphones is recommended for any digital piano.
WHO IT’S FOR
The Roland FP-10 is designed for beginners with a tight budget. It tries to compete in the entry-level market segment. It is also a good choice for gigging musicians thanks to its small size and lightweight.
However if you are more experienced and/or has a bigger budget, there are better choices on the market.
Overall I’m very happy and excited about the Roland FP-10. It has the same key action and sound engine on the much more expensive FP-30. For around $500, I would consider that a steal.
I think it is a successful attempt from Roland to tap into the entry level market segment. The FP-10 offers realistic key action, excellent sound engine and some unique and advanced features. At the time of this review, I feel confident to announce Roland FP-10 the new king of the entry level digital piano.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
Roland FP-10 vs. Yamaha P45
Both are capable portable digital pianos. However, the Yamaha P45 has been around for a few years now.
Compare to the P45, the Roland FP-10 has a much more realistic key action as well as a much more superior sound engine.
The PHA-4 is a triple sensor action while the GHS on the Yamaha has only two sensors. It also features the synthetic Ivory key tops and escapement. The SuperNATURAL sound engine on the Roland has built-in string resonance and key off resonance. It also has a slightly better polyphony number of 96 compare to the P45’s 64. One more advantage of the FP-10 is the Bluetooth connectivity.
They both have terrible foot switches as sustain pedal and they both are equipped with weaker 6 watt speakers. Neither the Yamaha P45 nor the Roland FP-10 has any internal recording capability, dedicated line out or USB to device port.
Being a much newer model, I do believe the Roland FP-10 is a better choice than the Yamaha P45.
Roland FP-10 vs. Casio PX-160
First of all, the Roland FP-10 looks better! One thing I don’t like about the Casio PX-160 is that it looks like a toy.
They both have very solid key actions. Both are triple sensor with synthetic Ivory key tops. The FP-10 does have escapement, which may or may not be an advantage.
The SuperNATURAL sound engine on the FP-10 has some extra resonances compare to the Multi-dimensional Morphing AiR Sound Source. But overall, they are both excellent. With headphones, I find the FP-10 slightly more dynamic while the PX-160 slightly more detailed. You really can’t go wrong with either of them.
Feature wise, they each has their own advantages. The Roland FP-10 has Bluetooth while the PX-160 has internal recording capability. The PX-160 also has a polyphony of 128 compare to FP-10’s 96.
They both have pretty weak speakers and terrible foot switches as sustain pedal. The Casio PX-160 does have dedicated Line Out port as well as an extra headphone port.
Roland FP-10 vs. Korg B1
The Roland FP-10 wins on key action and sound engine compare to the Korg B1. It also has much more features and internal songs and voices to choose from. Again, the FP-10 is the only model at this price range with Bluetooth.
The advantages of the Korg B1 are the larger polyphony number of 120 compare to FP-10’s 96 and its slightly more powerful speakers. The speakers on the B1 are also upward facing, which creates a much better listening experience at the player’s position.
One thing that Korg does right is to include a proper sustain pedal with the B1.
Leave a comment to let me know what you think of this review. And if you happen to have some experience with the Roland FP-10, please share with us in the comment below.