I feel a strong need to update this Roland FP-30 review. There has been quite some amazing development in the digital piano industry in 2019. With the newly introduced FP-10 from Roland and PX S1000/S3000 from Casio, the FP-30 kind of sits in an awkward spot in the market right now. While still an excellent instrument, it is important to put the FP-30 side by side to its competitors to find out if this is the right model for you.
Roland has many models with a contemporary design. The FP-30 is no different.
The FP-30 looks clean, sleek and modern. This is an instrument that would fit in most modern decor styles.
When you put the FP-30 against a wall, the curved back end gradually leads to the wall and creates the illusion that the piano is mounted on the wall. Unfortunately, due to the ports at the back side, there will always be a gap between the piano and the wall.
There are two colors you can choose from, black and white.
The included music rest of the FP-30 is unfortunately very ugly to my taste and I find it a misfit for the instrument.
It is a solid piece of plastic that looks bulky. The music rest is quite tall, which is a good news for printed sheet music.
However, the music rest is not very wide and it doesn’t have a good view angel. Unlike many other models on the market, this one does not tilt backwards much. On the front side, it looks almost straight.
As a result, I sometimes find it hard to read notes especially on the bottom end of the pages.
Another issue I encounter with the music rest of the Roland FP-30 is that the bottom of the rest is a flat surface without any dents to keep the pages in place. My printed sheet would sometime just slide all the way down to the keys.
The Control panel on the FP-30 is simple and colorful. The buttons are well labeled and indicated with different colored LED.
Normally I don’t like colorful LED indicators. I find them a distraction. But on the FP-30, the colors are pleasant to look at and they are not too bright to cause distractions.
The 13 buttons on the panel is useful for quick access for those most often used functions. Other settings and functions will require a combination of buttons and keys. This is quite common on digital pianos of this price range.
The Roland FP-30 has all the 88 keys that you would find on an acoustic piano.
This keyboard features synthetic Ivory key tops. It gives the keys a yellowish tint. I personally dislike the look of that. It makes the keyboard look old and out dated.
I’m happy to report that the keys are evenly spaced and the gap between them are minimal.
There is also a red velvet lining at the back end of the keyboard to give it a premium feel.
Size & Weight
The Roland FP-30 is small and compact. You will be able to put it anywhere in your home or move it around between gigs.
It is however a bit heavy compare to other models at the same price range. But the difference is minimal and shouldn’t be a deal breaker to your.
It weighs about 14 kg (31 lbs).
After assemble, it has the dimensions of 130 x 28 x 15 cm (51″ x 12″ x 6″)
The Roland FP-30 uses Roland’s current generation key action, the PHA-4 Standard. It is a full 88 keyboard with actual hammer actions. The hammers are also weighted.
Just like an acoustic piano, the keys on the FP-30 feels heavy on the lower end and gets lighter towards the treble. They are also touch sensitive. The sound produce is in close relation to how hard you press the keys.
It features synthetic Ivory touch that mimics the look and the feel of Ivory. It is also designed to absorb moisture and help with grip during long playing sessions. However, I don’t experience any benefit of improved grip or moisture absorbing. This feature is in my opinion only cosmetic.
The PHA-4 is a triple sensor key action. It is one of the two only three sensor key actions at this price range. The other is Casio’s Tri-Sensor II Scaled Hammer Action. Using three sensors helps with key responsiveness and enables fast repetition.
Another feature of the PHA-4 key actions is the simulated escapement. It is a subtle notch feeling when you press the keys half-way down. The escapement is a mechanical necessity on acoustic pianos. They do not serve any purpose on digital pianos.
The weight of the keys are on the heavy side. I find it tiring to play for long sessions and I have to put in more force to get the right sound volume and timing.
The sound engine on the FP-30 is the famous SuperNATURAL from Roland. It combines sampling with computer modeling to create authentic, rich and dynamic reproduction of acoustic piano sounds.
On top of that, this sound engine adds simulated resonances that you would find on an acoustic piano. These are the string resonance, demper resonance and the key off resonance.
I have had some experience with Roland’s SuperNATURAL engine from their other models. Generally speaking, the piano sound is pretty close to what you would hear on an acoustic piano.
There are however discussions on the internet about the stretch tuning of the FP-30. It is the tuning practice that slightly lower the pitch of the low end and tune the high end slightly higher. Some argue it’s too much, others find it just fine. Personally, I do notice it but I wouldn’t consider it as a deal breaker.
The speakers on the Roland FP-30 is significantly stronger in power output compare to any models of the same price range. It is equipped with two 11 watt amplifiers while most of its competitors has no more than 8 watt.
The FP-30 is definitely loud enough to fill any room and even a medium-sized venue.
Quality wise, the sound is rich and dynamic. However, due to the downward facing of the speakers, it could sound a bit muted. I find the FP-30 sounds better at an audience position than the player position.
Being a mid range portable digital piano, the FP-30 doesn’t have tons of feature.
The good news is that it has Bluetooth. It is a very convenient and popular feature. You can connect the FP-30 to smart devices to utilize apps that are fun to play with and will keep you motivated to practice daily.
The bad news on the other hand is the lack of line out ports. To use the FP-30 with external speakers/monitors, you will have to use one of the headphone jacks. This could somewhat limit the sound quality outputted. Depends on your need, this may or may not be a big deal to you.
Another limitation of the FP-30 is the lack of customization of the sound. You can not change settings about the resonances nor the stretch tuning.
Here are some other features that you might find useful.
- Sound (35 total):
- Grand pianos x 3
- Ragtime piano
- Electric pianos x 3
- Pipe organs x 4
- Harpsichords x 2
- Strings x 2
- Bass x 3
- Choir x 3
- Polyphony: 128
- Key sensitivity:
- Super light
- Super heavy
- FIX (off)
- Reverb settings: 5 levels
- Brilliance: 3 levels
- Dual mode: two instrument sound simultaneously
- Split mode: split the keyboard to two different instruments
- Twin mode: divide the keyboard into two identical halfs
- Internal recording:
- MIDI: 1 song
- USB to Host
- USB to Device
- PEDAL x 2
- Headphones x 2
The Roland FP-30 comes with a music rest, sustain pedal and power cord.
You can purchase a stand and bench separately. There are also many different bundles around with a stand and bench.
The sustain pedal included is unfortunately a foot switch. It is a binary on/off switch that does not support half pedaling. I strongly recommend you upgrade the pedal to something that feels and looks like a piano pedal.
The speakers on the FP-30 is quite powerful. Thus, external speaker/monitor would not be necessary.
A good pair of headphones is always recommended for any digital piano.
WHO IT’S FOR
The Roland FP-30 is a mid range portable digital piano. It is mainly aimed at gigging pianists and beginners. You can also benefit by using the FP-30 as a secondary piano to practice at home or at difficult hours.
This instrument is quite focused on piano play experience. If you are looking for tons of voices, features, recording and mixing, the FP-30 is not for you.
Overall, the Roland FP-30 is a good value to consider. It provides solid key action and sound engine. Though they are not the best you can find on the market in my opinion, they are certainly adequate and good enough for any beginners.
The powerful speaker system and Bluetooth are strong points for your consideration.
If you can overlook the lack of line out port and limited recording capability, I would recommend the Roland FP-30. As always, I do urge you to try it out before purchase to get the feeling of the keys.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
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-30, please share with us in the comment below.