Today we’ll be reviewing one of Roland’s most popular portable digital pianos, the Roland FP-30.
The FP-30 is the latest “intermediate” addition to the FP-seires, which is known for its compact yet powerful keyboards suitable for home as well as stage use.
Moreover, the FP-30 it’s one of the few Roland digital pianos that you can buy for under 1000$.
The FP-30 has been considerably improved over the previous F20 model and comes with lots of new features including the new PHA-4 action, redesigned speaker system, Bluetooth MIDI connectivity and more.
Even though the FP-30 is not the most affordable keyboard in the FP-series, it’s the one that offers a perfect price-value ratio.
Unlike its bigger brother and more advanced brother, the Roland FP-60, this keyboard is also lighter and more compact, which is a big plus for musicians on the go.
Without further ado, let’s dive straight into the review and see what else this piano has to offer.
Roland FP-30 Specs
- 88 fully weighted keys
- PHA-4 Standard Keyboard: with Escapement and Ivory Feel
- Touch Sensitivity (5 types, OFF)
- Sound: SuperNATURAL Piano Sound
- 128-note polyphony
- 35 instrument sounds (4 pianos)
- Modes: Split, Dual, Duo (Twin Piano)
- 1-track MIDI recorder (3 songs)
- Playback: MIDI files (Format 0, 1), Audio files (WAV)
- 30 built-in songs
- Piano Simulation: String Resonance, Damper Resonance, Key Off Resonance
- Metronome (8 rhythm styles), Transpose, Fine-tuning
- Speakers: 11W + 11W (12 cm x 2)
- Connections: USB to Host, USB to Device, Bluetooth 4.0, Headphone jacks (2), Sustain Pedal jack
- 130 x 28.4 x 15 cm (51.2” x 11.2” x 5.8”)
- 14.1 kg (31 lbs)
Check the availability and current price of the Roland FP-30 in your region:
Like all the keyboards in the FP series, the FP-30 is designed to be portable and ideal for fitting into smaller spaces.
Indeed, the FP-30 is a very compact digital piano, which, if needed, can be put on a desk or a table without a problem.
The FP-30 has a very similar size to other portable keyboards in this price range. It’s 51.2 inches wide, 11.2 inches deep and 5.9 inches high.
At the same time, the piano is slightly heavier than most of its competitors and weighs around 31 lbs.
Take a look at the table below to quickly compare the FP-30’s size to some other popular digital pianos:
As you can see the piano is fairly compact and is even listed in the “Stage Pianos” category on Roland’s website, so it’s safe to say that the FP-30 would be a perfect choice to gig and travel with.
The appearance of the piano has been changed a lot over the previous F-20 model.
Now, it’s a contemporary-looking piano with a clean design and a row of nicely illuminated buttons, which give the instrument a fresh look.
The control panel of the FP-30 is pretty simple. There are 13 buttons, which allow you to access the main sounds and functions of the instrument.
To change most of the settings you’ll need to press one of the keys while holding a particular button.
It’s not very convenient because at first, you’ll have to look up those “Button + Key” combinations in the manual.
However, you can’t blame the FP-30 for that because this way of navigating is found in pretty much every digital piano in this price range.
So when it comes to controls, the FP-30 is an average budget keyboard and doesn’t offer anything special like an LCD screen, for example.
The keyboard is available in two colors, black and white.
The FP-30 features 88 progressive hammer action keys with Ivory Feel and escapement feature.
Progressive implies that the keys are heavier in the low-end and lighter in the high-end just like on an acoustic piano.
The action of the FP-30 is called PHA-4 Standard, which is Roland’s newly developed action of the 4th generation.
It’s a successor of the Roland’s Ivory Feel-G action (PHA-3), which comes with some significant improvements. In particular, the PHA-4 tend to produce less noise than PHA-3 action and have an improved mechanism.
The interesting thing is that the FP-50, which is almost as twice expensive as FP-30 has the PHA-3 action.
Roland’s PHA-4 together with Casio’s Tri-sensor Scaled Hammer Action II are the only keyboard actions that offer Ivory Feel keys in this price range.
Both actions feature 3-sensor key detection system, and provide precise and authentic playing experience. With that said, Roland’s action felt slightly heavier and more realistic to my taste.
The keys of the FP-30 are touch-sensitive, meaning the harder you strike them, the louder the sound. You can adjust the level of sensitivity to suit your playing preferences.
Most digital pianos offer 3 preset sensitivity settings to choose from. The FP-30 has 5 of them so that you can tailor the touch sensitivity more precisely.
There are Super Heavy, Heavy, Medium, Light, Super Light or Fixed touch sensitivity settings available.
Among all touch-sensitivity settings, the “Super Heavy” will provide the most dynamic variations from pianissimo to fortissimo and will allow you to play with great expressiveness (keys need to be stroke really hard to produce the loudest sound).
When the “Fixed” setting is selected, the volume will remain the same regardless of how hard or soft you strike the keys.
Wrapping up, the FP-30’s action is really hard to beat in this price range.
The 3-sensor technology, reliable hammer mechanism, and synthetic ivory keytops provide an incredibly realistic touch and feel of an acoustic piano.
The Roland’s famous SuperNATURAL modeling technology has become the main feature of all Roland digital pianos and the FP-30 is no exception.
About SuperNATURAL modeling
Each of 88 notes of an acoustic piano has not only a different pitch but also a unique tonal character, which changes depending on how hard or soft the keys are struck (dynamics).
Most digital pianos use multi-layered (3-4 layers) samples recorded in different dynamics so that an appropriate sound is played according to the force with which a key is struck.
The SuperNATURAL engine takes full-length samples of an acoustic piano and using modeling technology creates a smooth transition between different samples, notes, and velocities.
It also recreates the fine details of a piano sound nuances such as string, damper, and key-off resonance. As a result, you get an extremely rich and full sound of an acoustic piano.
First of all, digital pianos can’t be out of tune unless a manufacturer uses out-of-tune samples, which sounds absolutely ridiculous and definitely not the case.
The thing is that most of Roland digital pianos are tuned using stretched tuning, which makes higher-end notes slightly higher in pitch and low-end notes slightly lower.
It’s a common and totally acceptable way of tuning an acoustic piano and the FP-30 actually sounds the way an acoustic piano should sound.
Just take a look at the video below! The FP-30 sounds just amazing.
Overall, I’d describe the sound of the FP-30 as very rich and bright.
Apart from the piano sounds, the FP-30 offers a whole bunch of other instrument sounds, which will always keep you interested in playing and unleash your creativity.
The FP-30 doesn’t offer much room for sound customization. For example, you can’t control the amount of string, damper or key-off resonance (they are always on) or change the default temperament.
The things you can adjust is the brilliance of the sound and ambience (reverb effect). The latter effect will give you an impression of playing in a Concert Hall (5 adjustable levels).
With FP-30’s 128-note polyphony, you won’t have to worry about notes getting cut off, even when playing difficult passages or playing in the Dual Mode (two layered sounds).
The FP-30 is equipped with 2 x 12cm built-in speakers with 2 x 11W amplifiers.
The speakers deliver rich and natural sound with great resonance and bass response. They’re powerful enough for casual playing at home and even small performances.
The FP-30 is the only piano in this price range that has such powerful speakers.
Digital pianos from Yamaha, Kawai, Casio, have no more than 2 x 8W power output.
Therefore, the dynamic range (from fortissimo to pianissimo) on the FP-30 is much better, allowing you to be more expressive in your playing.
The thing I didn’t quite like about the onboard speakers is that they’re downward facing, which makes the sound a bit muted, but after an hour of playing, I totally got used to it.
Anyway, the speakers itself are very decent for such a compact instrument and loud enough to fill a medium sized room.
At the same time, a pair of high-quality headphones would provide an even more detailed and accurate sound as well as the ability to practice in silence without bothering anyone else.
The FP-30 offers two modes for playing two instrument sounds at the same time by either splitting or layering them.
Split Mode divides the keyboard into two sections and allows you to play a different sound in each of them. You can also adjust the split point where the keyboard is divided.
Dual Mode will allow you to layer two different instrument sounds so that they sound at the same time whenever you play a key. For example, you can layer a piano sound with strings or electric piano with harpsichord, etc.
For each of the modes, you can adjust the Mix (volume) balance to make one instrument sound more prominent than the other.
Another useful Mode available on the FP-30 is called Twin Piano (Duet Play). The mode splits the keyboard into two equal parts with identical pitch ranges each having its own middle C, which allows two players to sit side by side and practice together.
The mode is often used in the class environment where a teacher sits next to a student and plays some tunes, while the student follows along on the other side of the keyboard playing the same notes.
Recording and Playback
The FP-30 has a 1-track MIDI recorder, which you can use to record your performance and save it to the piano’s internal memory or a USB flash drive for a later playback.
Not only can you play back your own recordings and 30 built-in songs from the piano’s memory, but you can also play MIDI and WAV files directly from a flash drive. And this is what most of the FP-30’s competitors does not offer.
Since the FP-30 is capable of only 1-track recording, you can’t record each hand part (or instrument part) to a separate track.
However, you can still create multi-track recordings using certain music-making apps (e.g. GarageBand, FL Studio, etc.) on your computer or tablet.
Transpose, Octave shift, and Master tuning
The FP-30 offers a bunch of functions to adjust the pitch of the keyboard, for example, to match the pitch of another instrument or vocalist.
Transpose function will allow you to shift the pitch up and down in semitone steps.
You can use the function to facilitate playing songs written in a difficult key (e.g. many black keys) or if want to hear a song in a different key without actually learning it in a new key (without changing your fingering).
Octave shift function allows you to change the pitch of the keyboard in octave units.
Using Master Tuning, you can raise or lower the pitch of the entire keyboard in 0.1Hz steps.
The FP-30 offers 30 built-in songs that you can listen to and play along with.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to change the tempo or turn off one hand’s part to practice it.
The piano has an onboard metronome, which is a nice practice tool that will help you improve your time-keeping skills.
There are also 8 drum patterns that you can use as an alternative to the simple metronome count.
“Auto off” function will prevent unnecessary power consumption by automatically turning the FP-30 off after a specified amount of time (10, 30 or 240 minutes) of inactivity. The function can be disabled if needed.
On the front, right under the keyboard, you’ll find two headphone jacks, a 1/4” (6.35 mm) standard jack and a 1/8” (3.5 mm) mini jack.
So you can connect your headphones without using any adapters no matter whether the headphones have 1/4″ or 1/8″ plug.
I also appreciate the jacks are on the front of the piano as having them on the rear panel is quite inconvenient.
The FP-30 doesn’t have dedicated Line Out jacks, so to connect the piano to external speakers or an amplifier you’d need to use one of the headphone jacks.
Let’s move on to the rear panel of the instrument where most of the ports are.
USB to Host port. This USB (type B) port is used to connect the piano to a computer for transferring MIDI and taking advantage of various music apps for music production, learning, and entertainmen.
For this type of connection, you’d also need an A to B USB cable , which doesn’t come with the keyboard and can be bought separately for a few bucks.
Bluetooth MIDI. Alternatively, you can use Bluetooth MIDI connectivity to wirelessly connect the FP-30 to your laptop or tablet if it supports Bluetooth.
I think it’s a very convenient feature as it will allow you to exchange MIDI data without using any adapters, which can be quite expensive (esp. for Apple devices).
There are tons of interesting and useful apps that you can use with the piano for music recording, editing, notation creation and much more.
Roland has developed several apps for iOS and Android devices, which make the learning process more interesting and fun.
Unfortunately, not all of them are compatible with the FP-30.
For now, the Piano Partner 2 is the only app supported by the piano. The app provides several interactive modes for learning and enjoying music with different songs, accompaniments, and exercises.
With the PP2 you can also access the FP-30’s various parameters and functions using a intuitive on-screen interface.
USB to Device port. This USB port (type A) can be used to plug a flash drive into the piano.
You can record and save your performance directly to a flash drive so that you don’t lose any data (the FP-30 can only store only 1 song in the internal memory, and a new recording will delete all the previously recorded data).
Moreover, you can use this USB port to play MIDI and audio files (WAV) directly from a flash drive (you can also play along with them).
Sustain Pedal jack
The jack can is used for connecting the sustain pedal that comes with the piano. Sustain pedals from other brands should also work, but they should have 1/4” plug.
The FP-30 doesn’t come with a stand, so unless you want to put it on top of a table (which I don’t recommend due to the down-facing speakers), you’ll probably want to buy some kind of stand.
Specifically for the FP-30, Roland designed the KSC-70 furniture-style stand, which is a great stationary solution for home-based musicians.
A more portable and affordable option would be an X-type or Z-style stand, which are much easier to move around and put away when not in use.
Here are a few great X-type stands for the FP-30:
- 1. RockJam Xfinity Infinitely Adjustable X-type Stand
- 2. Plixio Adjustable Heavy Duty Z-type Stand
- 3. World Tour Double-X Stand
The FP-30 comes with the Roland DP-2 sustain pedal. It’s basically a box-like plastic pedal, which doesn’t look/feel very realistic and it doesn’t support half-pedaling.
While the included pedal would probably satisfy a beginner player, others might need something more realistic.
The hugely popular M-Audio SP-2 would be a great alternative to the included pedal.
The SP-2 is a piano-style sustain pedal, which looks and feels very similar to an acoustic piano pedal and has a durable metal construction with a slip-resistant rubber bottom.
For those who are going to buy the KSC-70 stand we mentioned earlier, Roland also offers the KPD-70 3-pedal unit (attaches to the stand), so it makes sense to buy them together to get a full-fledged home setup.
While for home use a keyboard bag would be absolutely unnecessary, it’s an essential accessory for on-the-go musicians that will make the transportation of the keyboard safer and much more convenient.
For its 88-key instruments, Roland has designed the CB-88RL carrying bag, which is quite expensive and quite hard to find in the US.
So here are some great gig bags I’ve found for the FP-30 from other brands:
- 1. Gator 88 Note Keyboard Gig Bag
- 2. Kaces 15-KB Xpress Series Keyboard Bag
- 3. Casio PRIVCASE Privia Case
Headphones come in very handy when you want to practice in private, focusing solely on your playing and not disturbing others nearby.
Moreover, a good pair of headphones will provide a clearer and more detailed sound compared to the onboard speakers.
Check out this guide to learn how to choose the best-sounding headphones for your digital piano.
In conclusion, I want to say that the Roland FP-30 is one of my favorite portable digital pianos under 1000$.
The piano offers a lot of value for the money, and I’d still recommend it even if the price was $150-200 more than it is.
The instrument offers an excellent fully weighted action, which feels realistic to the touch and is perfectly suitable for playing and learning the piano on.
The FP-30 is equipped with a good amount of features, including 35 built-in sounds, Dual, Split, and Twin Piano modes, 30 internal songs, an onboard MIDI recorder and more.
These are the features that will always keep you interested and make playing and learning even more enjoyable.
Another and probably the most important aspect of any digital piano is sound. Well, in this case, you don’t have to worry about that as the FP-30 sounds amazing.
Thanks to the powerful 22W speakers and the SuperNATURAL modeling technology, which as it turned out isn’t just a marketing gimmick, the sound of the piano is indeed very full and rich.
There are also a few more things that make the FP-30 stand out from its competitors.
Firstly, the power output from the FP-30’s speakers is considerably higher than that of its competitors. As a result, the FP-30 tend to provide a wider dynamic range and more room for expression.
Secondly, the piano supports Bluetooth MIDI connectivity, which will save you time and money on buying additional adapters and cables.
In this price range, the Kawai ES110 is the only digital piano that has this feature.
Just take a look at this beautiful performance by Tom Crouch filmed in session at London’s Lightship95 Studio:
Check the availability and current price of the Roland FP-30 in your region:
The Kawai ES110 and the Yamaha P-125 are the closest competitors to the FP-30. So let’s see what they have to offer compared to the Roland keyboard.
Roland FP-30 vs Kawai ES-110 (Full Review)
The Kawai ES-110 (successor to the ES100) was released at the beginning of 2017 and has since become the main competitor to the FP-30. Indeed, the pianos have a lot in common, including the price.
Both instruments have an excellent piano sound and realistic hammer action – the two most important aspects of any digital piano.
The ES110 is equipped with the relatively new RHC action, which uses 2-sensor detection technology and matte keys (both black and white).
The action is a bit lighter than the FP-30’s PHA-4 and feels a bit less realistic to my fingers.
That said, it’s still safe to say that the PHA-4 Standard and the RHC are the best keyboard actions you can get in this price range.
When it comes to sound, it’s hard to name a winner here.
Both keyboards use high-quality samples of a concert grand piano and reproduces subtle details of piano sound such as damper resonance, damper noise, fall-back noise, etc.
But it doesn’t necessarily mean that the FP-30 sounds better than the ES110, it all comes down to your personal taste.
The video below is a great sound comparison between these 3 pianos, which will help you decide which sound you like better:
When it comes to features, the FP-30 beats the ES110 for the most part.
The FP-30 has more instrument sounds (35 vs 19), Twin Piano mode (Duet Play) and adjustable split point in the Split Mode.
The Kawai doesn’t have USBs, while the Roland has two USB ports (type A and type B), one for connecting Flash drives and the other is for connecting the piano to a computer.
The FP-30 is capable of playing MIDI and audio (WAV) files directly from a Flash drive, while the ES110 doesn’t offer that (has no USB ports).
In addition, the FP-30, just like the ES110, has Bluetooth MIDI connectivity for even more convenient connection with your smart devices.
I should also mention that the ES110 provides more options for sound customization, allowing you to adjust various aspects of the instrument such as damper resonance, fall-back noise, voicing, temperament, etc.
Roland FP-30 vs Yamaha P-125 (Full Review)
The Yamaha P-125 is a hugely popular intermediate keyboard from a well-established Japanese brand.
The piano is equipped with Yamaha’s Graded Hammer Action (the same as in the P-45 model) with fully weighted keys, which provide a fairly realistic playing experience.
The Pure CF sound source uses samples of the famous CFIIIS 9′ Concert Grand and delivers Yamaha’s distinctive mellow sound appreciated by many pianists.
And here is another fun and interesting blindfold challenge, which compares the sound of the FP-30 to that of the Yamaha P-125 and Casio PX-S1000.
Both pianos offer Dual, Split and Duo modes, an onboard MIDI recorder (the P-125 can create 2-track recordings, while the FP-30 can’t) as well as a metronome, transpose, and tuning functions.
However, for a little bit extra, the FP-30 will provide you with more features and, most importantly, and a more realistic keyboard action.
Moreover, the FP-30 is capable of playing MIDI and audio (WAV) files directly from a flash drive, which I find to be a very useful feature.
Ultimately, it’s for you to decide if those extra features are worth the extra money, because we all have different needs, and some players might not need the FP-30’s extra features anyway.
Hey there, i just wanted to say what an amazing, comprehensive, and helpful review you’ve done on this website! Yours is the only review I found that goes so far in depth on all three of the keyboards I was considering buying, and even though I did excessive research before I purchased my Fp-30 (should arrive on Monday!) I wanted to know a bit more about it and I learned about so much on this page. It really made me confident about my decision, and I was even pleasantly surprised about many features that I didn’t know my $699 had bought me! Anyway, thank you so much for spending the time to put this together. Cheers,
Thanks Jessie. I appreciate that! The FP-30 is actually one of my favorites in this price range and I hope you enjoy playing it too.
Thanks for the review! It hasn’t been said that FP-30 also comes with string resonance which is pretty much audible. It is the only piano under $1000 with string resonance modeling.
Hi Dmitri, thanks for your comment! I do mention this in the Sound section right after the “Stepless tone variation” picture.
The Casio PX-360 and the newly released PX-870 are another two pianos under 1000$ that reproduce string resonance. Unlike the FP-30 they also allow you to adjust the level of string resonance (4 preset settings).
Sorry, didn’t notice the mention. Casio PX-360 and PX-870 are priced above $1000 in my country. Yamaha P-115, Kawai ES110 and Roland FP30 sell at the same price though.
This is a great article, super useful and I want to thank you for taking the time to make it. I ended up buying the FP30 for a really awesome price this past week. I wonder if you also do some reviews or recommendations on what websites or things to practice for beginners. Thank you for your hard work.
First of all, thanks for the comprehensive review in great details! I am researching for my first piano for my 6-year kid to start learning piano. Before I spend $5000~6000 for the upright or $20K for the grand piano, I would like to try a cheaper digital one to see if the kid likes playing or not. So I prefer the one which has action and sound close to the real acoustic piano, so that the teacher won’t complain the keyboard not good for kids to learn. In another review you wrote about Kawai ES110, you mentioned regarding action “Kawai’s RHC > Roland’s PHA-4 Standard”, it sounds to me you vote Kawai ES110 for action, which made me hesitate to buy the Roland FP30. FP30 is on sale now for $480 while ES110 is $729 and rarely on sale. But should I get Roland FP30 for my kid to start, or could I possibly ruin my kid’s learning to go with FP30 with less piano-like action? Please advise. Thanks again!
Thanks for your comment, Beeth!
First of all, the fact that I like the ES-110’s action slightly more than Roland’s FP-30 doesn’t really tell much because although digital pianos have different actions, the difference is usually is not significant within a particular price range.
Often it’s just a matter of personal preferences , and it’s important to remember that from instrument to instrument, acoustic piano actions also feel different, which makes it even harder to tell which digital piano action feel closer to a real thing.
For that reason, some might actually like the FP-30’s (or Casio’s or Yamaha’s) action better.
But these are all hammer actions and, if we’re talking about well-known, reputable brands like Kawai, Yamaha, Roland, Korg, or Casio, they all provide a fairly realistic feel of an acoustic piano.
So either of these hammer actions will be perfectly suitable for your kid, especially considering that he or she is only a beginner.
Moreover, in this price range, the ES110 and the FP-30 have arguably the best keyboard actions as far as authenticity is concerned, so there is no wrong way to go.
Since you’ve found the FP-30 for $480, I definitely recommend going for it, because it’s an amazing price for this piano. And even without the discount, it’s one of the best digital pianos in its class and a great instrument to start on ( with a lot of room to grow actually).
Thanks for the advice Lucas!
The main reason why I asked is because I saw some one claimed in another place “Roland FP-30 – $800 retail – Limited features and sounds. Consider the 2nd best keyboard action for under $1000, however, many teachers and experienced piano players do not like the action”. This matches what you said about less piano-like action, which made me worry about buying the FP-30. If the teacher I hire complains about the action on FP-30, then I will have to buy another one.
Does the 192-note polyphony on ES110 better for beginner to learn, in comparison with the 128-note polyphony on FP-30, from teacher’s perspective?
I plan on investing an upright later on if my kid likes playing, but considering the move/relocation in the coming year, I would like to hold on buying the upright now, but I don’t want to postpone my kid to start learning. Should I just spend the extra money for a digital one now or should I just go for an upright, then worry about the move and tuning later? Thanks again!
1) If the piano teacher doesn’t like the action of the FP-30, I don’t think the ES110 will do any better. But, in the end, it’s your child who will be playing it. And from the playing standpoint, the FP-30’s action isn’t going to limit your child’s potential in terms of learning and developing good finger strength and technique.
Also, I don’t think that it will be a problem to transition from the FP-30 to an acoustic piano since the PHA-4 action is heavy and realistic enough.
I haven’t heard about “teachers and experienced players” not liking the FP-30’s action. In fact, it’s quite the opposite! I’ve heard some great feedback about the action and liked playing it myself.
As I said, for the price the FP-30 has an excellent action. Moreover, unlike the ES-110, the FP-30 has Ivory feel keys, which feel very nice to the touch.
The PHA-4 is also pretty quiet (the main improvement over the 3rd generation).
2) For piano playing, 64-note polyphony is more than enough even for an experienced pianist. More polyphony may be needed only when layering multiple instrument sounds, using backing tracks, etc.
3) I don’t think that buying an upright at early stages is required and reasonable because as it sometimes happens a child may lose interest quickly, and you’ll be left with a bulky piece of furniture that’s not being used.
In your case, I’d recommend to buy a digital piano first and see if your kid will stick with playing it. Then, over time, you’ll see whether an upgrade is needed.
Thank you for the very detailed review on the keyboard!
This blog is really great. I was looking for information of FP30 everywhere, and this review was really helpful.
Anyways, I finally bought FP30 and received it yesterday. I was needed a second giging ‘keyboard’ other than synthesizers. This one was my #1 appealing product, but I was hasitated because of the price, weight, no line out, no volume slider or pedal jack etc. But I found a very good deal and wanted to try out.
The first impression on the keyboard was a bit dull in everyway. Sound was little dull (plus a bit of metalic sound at the top), touch was little bit heavier than other keyboards I have been using. And Heavy itself (than what it looks). But I found this keyboard was great in touch-with ‘almost-perfect’ weight to fingers and gives more dextability on playing. Piano sound is deep and not much distortion on high-low ranges. The sound doesn’t easily tired, and makes me more playing.
Also the bluetooth app was great. If you pair with the instrument, it will record what you played automatically and measure the playing time. And you can control sound/rhythm changes from the app without hold-pressing keys to change.
But one thing that made me seriously considering a return is the ivory-feel key. I found it is much slippery than normal plastic keys. It supposed to give more resistance to fingers. I have played the pianos that made with the real elephant ivories, it felt great. And also have played their V-piano and other products that emulated the feeling, it was ok. But this one is called, ‘ivory-feel’ key, but it was actually the opposite what it supposed to be. I can compare this to nail polishing. If normal plastic keys are the bare finger nails, this one feels like granited/sandpapered nails. It ‘looks’ like ivory keys, but when you actually try to touch it, it’s really slippery. I am really not sure if it gets better with more using. But for now, I found myself trying to stablize fingers with extra weird strength.
Do you know if it gets better as time goes by? I really like this, but I don’t think I can play long with very slippery keys…)=
Hi Kate! Thanks for your comment. I’d like to point out that your comment wasn’t erased. To prevent the blog from spammers I have to approve all comments manually, that’s why you didn’t see your comment right away.
Regarding the Ivory-feel keys…
I guess your feedback once again proves that when it comes to the feel of a keyboard, it all comes down to the personal taste of the player.
Although it’s been a while since I played the FP-30, the keys seemed very fine, and I certainly liked the ivory textured keys more than regular shiny keys found on many other digital pianos in this price range.
To me, the FP-30 Ivory keytops felt a bit nicer and more authentic than Casio’s Ivory texture.
I personally haven’t tried the Roland V-Piano, which uses an older generation key action (PHA-3), but I assume it has very similar if not identical Ivory texture on the keys.
In fact, most new models from Roland have the same ivory texture as the FP-30, and I haven’t heard any negativity about the slipperiness of the keys.
Of course, it’s hard to compare it to the actual ivory keys, which aren’t something you’ll find on modern pianos (acoustic or digital) but it should still feel comfortable under the fingers.
I’m not sure whether it’s going to get better over time. I can only recommend playing the keyboard for a few more days to see whether your fingers adjust and get comfortable with the touch because chances are your fingers just aren’t used to this type of texture.
But if you still don’t find the keys effortless and comfortable to play,
I’d probably return the unit and look at other keyboards like the Kawai ES110 or the Yamaha P-115, which don’t have Ivory textures on the keys.
I’m so sorry Lucas, I misunderstood. I apologize.
Thank you for your kind comment/suggestion. I may try Kawai, but not sure if it is available at a store near me. But it looks like a good keyboard too! I appreciate your thoughtful comment. I hope my finger get comfortable soon.
Happy new year!
What a great review. The only thing I needed to know is the USB can be used to plug into a computer. I’m more of a record producer but would love all my piano tracks to be recorded in midi with the fp30. Do you know if this digital piano works with the leading production software like cubase, logic , pro tools etc? If the USB is to connect to the host to send and receive midi data this should work in theory right,
Hi Ferah, yes absolutely, you can use either its USB to Host (type B) port or Bluetooth to connect to a computer and work with music-making software running on it.
I own this nice keyboard since one year. I am not a pro and I play mostly by ear, but the one thing I really don’t like about this keyboard is not the action which is quite good (I also own a Petrof upright piano) but the tuning! I get my Petrof piano tuned by a professional tuner and believe me this keyboard has something “wrong” in my opinion. A “cleaner” tuning would have been better.
I realy wish roland could make a firmware update with a different tuning but I asked them and they have no intention to do so. Fortunately I am good with computers and I already got the instrument bank out of the keyboard. Unfortunately I don’t know the format of this bank otherwise I would provide myself a better piano.
Great review! I have one question which has kept me at bay from deciding which digital piano to buy, that is, does the Roland FP-30 have any auto-accompaniment function (pianist styles) like the Yamaha p115? For example the P-115 has 10 different Pianist Styles such as Boogie, Swing, Blues, Rag, Arpeggio, Slow Rock, etc. Does the FP-30 have anything similar to this?
Hi Mukut, no, unfortunately, the FP-30 doesn’t have an accompaniment function onboard.
But if you connect it to the Piano Partner 2 app via Bluetooth, you’ll get access to 21 rhythm styles that will accompany your perfomance following your chords.
You can watch a review of the PP2 app here.
Thanks for the great review. I just got my FP-30 to practice at night (I also have a real Yamaha acoustic piano).
Here are my first impressions:
– The keyboard is ok. Feels different than the acoustic action, but not a problem.
– The piano sounds are a bit dull. It might be because of the small, undermount speakers, but even with headphones it can’t get near the quality and feel of the acoustic piano. To be fair, I also tried a few competing digital pianos in the price range (and more) and was not happy either (I am probably spoiled).
– Bluetooth MIDI is a blessing, and that’s why I got the Roland: I use a software piano emulator on my computer, which gives me a more realistic sound.
– The lack of line-out connectors on the back is annoying. To connect the unit to a mixer, one needs to use one of the headphones out connectors on the front. Not a big problem for me, as I use this piano as a MIDI controller, but might be a showstopper for other people.
– There is no support for USB audio I/O, which could fix the audio connectivity problem. USB audio-out could be implemented as a firmware update, and would also allow the use of USB headsets most people use with their computers. Roland should put this on their todo list.
– I got the white version, but the color is actually ivory-white. Looks nice, but not near white-white stuff.
– The iOS app is nice, and can be used as “the missing display”. Hopefully it will be expanded with more functionality.
– The pedal is a cheap plastic on-off switch that does not even look like a piano pedal. That was an unexpected sour note. Do you know if the alternatives you suggested are “continuous controllers” (i.e. they transmit “how much” the pedal is down, not just on/off, and thus allow half-pedaling) ?
Hi Dan, congrats on your purchase and thanks for sharing your impressions about the FP-30. I’m sure it will be very much appreciated by those considering the FP-30 for purchase.
As for the pedal, the M-Audio SP-2, which I recommend as an alternative to the included footswitch, is a great pedal for the money, but for continues control (half-pedaling) capability, you should take a look the Roland DP-10 , which is compatible with the half-pedal functionality of the FP-30.
Hi. I went to compare the Kawai ES110 side by side with the Roland FP30, thinking based upon reviews online and on YouTube that I would prefer the Kawai. The only problem, and one that I do not see mentioned in most of the reviews, is the noise of the Kawai keyboard when keys are released…I think they call that rebound noise. I find when I release the keys, let’s say when I play a chord with my left hand and then release the keys, the “THUD” I hear is quite prominent. I do not notice this on the Roland which is very quiet on key release in comparison. I was wondering if you could comment on this. Thank you!
I’m not sure what piano will meet my needs.
Beginner taking lessons (but played drums guitar bass etc for 15years).
-I want the three pedal set up for home use
-down the road to play live with band plugged in
-mainly interested in piano sounds and electric piano
-want best touch to eventually just rock out on, playing very dynamically
-to cut through for solo with band (Yamaha sound boost feat.)
I do have an iPad so P125 features are looking good.
I’m currently between FP30 and P125
Which would suit my best in your opinion?
Thanks again for the awesome in depth reviews!
Hi, did you decide what you gonna to buy? FP30 and P125?
I’m having the same problem here, cannot decide which one is better.
Hi, did you decide? I am faced with the same dilemma, and do not know which to choose. and as a beginner I don’t know what to think. To put it in simple terms, the choice seems to be between authenticity in modelling or sampling. I would have liked to see a objective detailed comparison between the two, of key action etc. Which is the best likeness of an acoustic and what acoustic would that be?
Today i went for Fp30 instead of P-125. I played both at the store and somehow i like the keys of the FP30 a bit more and the design was also a bit cleaner. But it was really pretty close. As the retailer told me that i could carry the P-125 away instantly whereas the FP30 needs to be ordered, i nearly changed my mind 😉
As to the sounds. I like both. I owned a Acoustic Piano form Yamaha before so it was not easy to switch manufacturer. A downer was the missing out jacks at the rear of the FP30. But Bluetooth is a plus… But i never had such a close decission. Most likely you wont make a mistake whatever model you chose.
Hi Mark, thanks for sharing your experience! In my opinion, all three digital pianos (Roland FP-30, Yamaha P-125, and Kawai ES110) provide similar value and are in the same price range. So ultimately, it all comes down to your personal taste. There’s no wrong choice here.
I have my FP30 connected via USB to a Macbook Air running Pianoteq 6. The headphones jack of the Mac is connected to a JVC soundbar with sub-woofer. Result = stunning realism. The FP30 action is perfect for precise control of dynamics and is a joy to play. The native FP30 sounds are easily good enough for playing directly with the piano giving Pianoteq a good run for the money, just not quite the realism and sense of “actuality”. The bluetooth Piano Partner 2 app is excellent and makes changing FP30 settings childs play, plus it comes with some very usefull extras. All in all the FP30 is a superb piano and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it. How these manufacturers (Roland, Yamaha, Casio, Korg etc) manage to make these pianos at these prices is astonishing, they cost many times more a few years ago yet were nowhere near as good. We’re spoilt for choice!
Hi Rob! Thanks for your input. It’s very much appreciated. I agree, today you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to get a good sounding (and feeling) digital piano, which is a big plus for those who are only beginning their musical journey and are not yet ready to invest in higher grade instruments.
Thanks for the info, especially the tip about the JVC soundbar. Which JVC product are you using?
Also I’m curious about the dimensions of the FP30—particularly on the wooden Roland stand. I’m thinking about back access for a USB key and the USB -A port. Roland lists the depth on stand as 28.4 cm, but that is the piano’s depth. What would you consider a practical depth to consider when evaluating the instruments size on stand?
I’m so happy to have found your site! I recently purchased the FP-30 for my 12 year old daughter that’s just starting piano lessons. She loves the realistic feel and sound, but wants something that feels less portable. By the time I purchase the matching stand, sustain pedal and bench, I will have spent the same as the Casio Previa PX-870. Would I lose any benefits/features by returning the FP-30 and purchasing the PX-870? Or do you think keeping the FP-30 and buying all the accessories is a better option for her?
Hey Lisa, first of all, congratulations on the new instrument. It’s great to hear that your daughter enjoys playing it.
My personal opinion is that the process of returning the FP-30 getting the PX-870 instead is just not worth the hassle.
The FP-30 is an excellent digital piano and, in my opinion, is not inferior to the PX-870. In fact, it has arguably the best key action in its class , which to my taste feels and plays slightly better than the Casio action.
Another thing that the PX-870 doesn’t have is Bluetooth support, which is not really that big of a deal, but the Piano Partner 2 app makes it much easier to navigate the FP-30 and adds some extra features such as accompaniment styles, flashcard game, etc.
Also I don’t think that the Yamaha YDP-143 would be a real upgrade over the FP-30 (maybe only look-wise). Its GHS action is pretty basic compared to the PHA-4 Standard in the FP-30. Sound is a quite subjective matter but personally I’m on the FP-30’s side here as well.
You say that your daughter loves the sound and feel of the FP-30 but wants something more traditional looking.
My advice then would be to either buy the matching stand and the pedal bar for the FP-30, or consider the RP-102, which is very similar instrument to the FP-30 but in a furniture cabinet. You could consider buying the Casio PX-870 or the Yamaha YDP-143, but what if your daughter end up liking the Roland better? Another great option would be to go to a music store and let her play all these models you mentioned so she can decide for herself which one she prefers.
March 3, 2019 at 1:38 am
re: Roland FP-30
Definitely a lot of bang for the buck. It’s worth trying out various arrangement of piano settings, keyboard touch and reverb (hall ambience) to arrive at the precise combination to suit your individual playing style. For being on the road I take along two good monaural keyboard amps, and, using the 1/4″ headphone jack, i wired up (and then bought — there some some available on eBay), the 1/4″ stereo splitter (which takes 1/4″ stereo male plug and converts it into two MONAURAL 1/4″ jacks — one for each channel). This arrangement works out well for driving the two monaural amps in stereo. I also own a Roland FP-90 and a Roland V-Piano (the king of the castle!). The feature set on the FP-90 is richer and tweeky-er, but, at 52 pounds plus extras, it’s a bit of a lug to carry around. On top-notch gigs I would do it, but the FP-30, at 32 pounds = a world of difference in transportability, and is a very capable keyboard for meeting the needs for most playing environments. One more thing to mention: The music rack lacks a “comb” to keep lead sheets from sliding off it. I remedied this by getting some really good “tube” epoxy, squishing it into a long, thin snake, and applying the snake as a bead at the edge of the rack. After it set, I spray-painted the rack a very nice navy blue. Voila!!
Hi Stephen, I appreciate you sharing thoughts on the FP-30. I agree it’s a great choice for gigs (although it would be nice to have dedicated line outputs, it’s easily fixable by a stereo splitter as you mentioned). The Kawai ES8 and Roland FP-90 are no doubt superior instruments, but they’re nearly not as light and compact as the FP-30 (or the new FP-10, which is even slimmer).
It’s really difficult to design a digital piano that will feel and sound very close to an acoustic piano and at the same time will be ultra-portable and light. In most cases, higher-end actions will have longer keys, with longer pivot points and a more sophisticated action mechanism that are difficult to fit into a slim chassis. Counterweights inserted in the keys and keys made of wood also don’t help, making the instrument heavier and less portable. So we always have to sacrifice something…
Hi Lucas, thanks a lot for writing this detailed article on FP-30; it was very insightful. I would just like to ask for an advice from you here.
I am really confused between FP-30 and DGX-660. In my place, stores do not have instruments to check out before buying, hence my only source is watching videos or reading posts like this. While I do understand that DGX-660 has loads of additional features to play with, but, soleley in terms of piano action, the sound and the feel while playing, which one do you think will be better in the long run? Also note that, my primary goal is to work on improving my piano technique so as to be able to play difficult classical pieces (hopefully) in the near future.
While I was almost certain to go with FP-30, but then I am seeing some comments here and there, from people claiming that FP-30 is not a suitable instrument for classical music due to its metallic kind of sound, and that it gets difficult to do fast trills and quick repetitions, particularly on this piano, while playing difficult pieces.
So I would like to hear from you on my concerns. Please advise.
I have exactly the same concern as raised by Vishal. I also want to learn classical pieces and worried if it has a metallic kind of sound. There’s no store here which has this instrument on display. So please help. And thank you so much for your wonderful reviews. Keep up the good work 🙂
Thanks for the kind words, Anuj! Have you tried listening to demos online? That’s pretty much how the FP-30 will sound when listening through headphones.
Personally, I don’t think the sound on the FP-30 is metallic. The default tone Grand Piano 1 tone may indeed seem a bit too bright to some players (again it much depends on your taste), but you can always switch to the Grand Piano 2, which is a mellower tone.
Plus, you can adjust brilliance to make the sound softer. I’d definitely refrain from saying that the FP-30 is not suitable for playing classical music.
Moreover, the PHA-4 Standard key action featured on the FP-30 is really good for its price. I didn’t have any problems repeating notes on it or playing trills (as mentioned in the previous comment), so I wouldn’t be concerned with that either.
With all of that said, I’d definitely recommend trying it out in person to see if it suits your taste and playing style.
I can hear static noise/hiss from speaker or headphones. Quieter in headphones, worse from speaker.
Is this normal? If so, is it better in higher end modules?
Hi SJ, try using different headphones and you’ll notice that the amount of noise changes depending on what model you use. The noise you hear via headphones is likely because you’re using headphones with lower impedance (earbuds?), which are more sensitive to noise.
As for the noise from the speakers, that’s definitely not something new, especially in lower-end digital pianos. Manufacturers often have to cut corners here and there, and speaker/headphone amps often suffer from that.
However, while lower-end digital pianos may not have top-notch components, this shouldn’t affect your playing and listening experience! So, if you hear the noise from the speakers while you play and it bothers you, I’d definitely contact Roland or the service center to see what they have to say.
Before attempting anything, make sure nothing interferes with your instrument, try moving it to another room and check if there are any other electronic devices connected to it or are close to it. Also, make sure nothing else is connected to the same wall outlet or power bar (if you use one).
I hope this helps some. It’s good to know how these problems are solved, so please keep us updated.
I have become used to to the eletronic noise now 😉
It mostly obvious while playing certain pieces such as Bach’s Preclude in C major, BWV 846. It’s less an issue while playing some other pieces.
Since I use it mostly for learning piano, so I haven’t bother to contact Roland. Besides I have planned to buy acoustic piano this year while using Roland-fp30 for practicing in the evening.
Thanks for you review, It helped a lot!
How is this rated below Korg D1 when it is substantially better?
About stretched tuning : It does sound horrible on a digital piano. The idea works on an acoustic instrument, but only because of the way overtones work together naturally. This process is not the same on a digital piano. Roland has an amazing piano sound, but the fact that one cannot switch to standard tuning on the FP30 makes it an easy no-no for the trained ear.
Hi Michael, thanks for your input! Well, we all have different ears, and personally I didn’t find anything wrong with the tuning on the FP-30. To my ears (and most other ears out there), it doesn’t sound unpleasant or out-of-tune, otherwise, there would be hundreds of complaints about it online. Digital piano manufacturers often add stretched tuning to their piano tone by default, and some higher-end models allow you to adjust it, others don’t. It’s very unlikely that a digital piano manufacturer would make a digital piano that is “out of tune”.
With that said, I agree that it’s very difficult to reproduce the same complex harmonic interactions of an acoustic piano digitally. Therefore, the result you get on a digital piano may not always be what you would’ve hoped for, especially if you mainly played acoustic instruments before.