Roland FP-30 Digital Piano Demo & Review | Merriam Pianos

Roland FP-30 Digital Piano Demo & Review | Merriam Pianos


♪ [music] ♪Hi, everybody. Welcome to another
piano review. My name is Stu Harrison. We are here with Merriam Pianos and today we
are going to be looking at the Roland FP-30 portable 88-note digital piano. Thanks so much for joining us. This is one
of three that we’re looking at in the thousand-and-under category. The other two, of course, are the
Yahama P-125 and the Kawai ES-110. The Roland FP-30 is an instrument that I am also quite
familiar with, along with the other ones, and we’re going to be looking at some critical
key areas with this piano today. We’re going to be talking about the action.
We’re going to be talking about its sound quality, sound, you know… my general subjective
impressions as a musician, and of course we’re going to be going over sort of the critical
features that differentiate this from some of the other ones in the marketplace. And
we’re going to get started for sure with the number one topic that I always choose to focus
on, which is the action. As piano players, how it connects to us as
an instrument has so much to do with our sense of its mechanism and how we physically communicate
with the instrument. So, we’re going to get started. Here we go. ♪ [music] ♪The action
on Rolands have always been one of their strong suits. I’ve been playing Roland for many,
many years, both personally and professionally. The instrument that I gig with right now,
full-time, is the RD-2000 Stage Piano, and I’ve played FP-50s in professional settings,
FP-80s. The FP-30 is one that I haven’t yet used on a performance itself, but I’ve played
it plenty of times in the showroom. I’ve used it a few times on a couple of sort of impromptu
recording sessions. So, I’ve spent many, many, many hours behind this instrument. One of the things that I notice between playing
a Roland generally versus, say, a Kawai, generally, digital piano, is that I do find the Roland
action to be a little more forgiving. And this has both good implications and maybe
for some people bad implications. It’s forgiving, because I am able to be a little less accurate
with it. So, when I’m playing in, let’s say, a non-classical
setting, like, I’m playing in a pop setting or I’m playing in a jazz setting, I find that
I can focus a little less on my fingers and on what I’m doing, and the Roland just intuitively
feels like it’s following me a little bit better, and quite frankly the number of wrong
notes just sort of seems to somehow reduce itself. It is a very forgiving action. They’ve designed
it that way. I don’t think Roland is per se going after the hardcore acoustic classical
piano market so much as Kawai is trying to intercept that customer. I think they fully
realize that the majority of people who are purchasing and considering Roland pianos are
definitely musicians, but perhaps not a classical pianist first and foremost. It’s probably more of a contemporary musician,
or a new student perhaps who is looking at these instruments. So, first of all, the texture
of the keys is nice. This is something that Roland does, probably at a lower price range
than most others. They actually give it a bit of an ivory feel and an ivory look. So,
there’s a texture there. It’s nice and comfortable for the fingers.
And no matter how quietly or how loudly you press the key, the range of dynamic output
is well-controlled. So, whether you’re really banging on it or… Oh. We’ll talk about that
later. But…or playing quietly, it really does give you a very nice almost slightly
compressed dynamic output to it. The physical feel of the key is definitely
different than the Yamaha or Kawai as well. When you’re playing the Roland, one of the
things you do notice is that the key tends to hit the bottom of the keybed with a bit
more of a thud than the Yamaha or the Kawai. Now, again, in some settings that’s actually
something that… The tactile sensation is pretty satisfying, to know that you’re really
connecting well with the key, and it’s not something that’s feeling mushy or inaccurate. So, there’s definitely a rhyme and a reason
for why they’ve designed the keyboard that way. Now, the other thing that this does have,
I believe, because I am feeling it a little bit, is this does feel like there’s a bit
of escapement on it. And the other thing that I notice is the keys compared to, say, an
FP-90 or an FP-60, that just the key action overall is a little bit looser. I’m not sure whether that’s by design or whether
it’s just simply because for, you know, under a thousand dollars it’s hard to get perfection
every single time, but it does have a bit of a looser feel. So between, say, an ES-110,
the Kawai, and this one, if I was to be doing anything that required some precision, and
particularly anything if I was going to be doing some solo piano work, think I might
default to the Kawai, whereas if I was going to be playing in a band setting or an ensemble,
or something where the absolute precision wasn’t going to be quite as particular, the
Roland would be a strong consideration for me. So, that’s the action. So, now let’s get into
sound. Roland really prizes itself, and it should, on its ability to create really quite
authentic, realistic tone and sound across a huge instrument rage. I mean, they do everything from virtual accordions
to organs to pianos to drums, and their piano sound has definitely continued to improve
over the years. I mean, I think one of the biggest Roland products that I’ve ever used
was actually the Fantom-X8, which was this huge monstrous workstation, and that was back
in the mid-2000s, and at that time, the piano tone on it was absolutely fantastic. Had lots of color, had lots of dynamism to
it, and it’s something that I still think that the Roland FP-series delivers very, very
well. I think the range of color that it gives, so I’m talking about specifically the shape
of the sound as it changes from playing softly to playing loudly, is probably not quite as
broad as what I might get on the Kawai ES-110. However, there are times in which you just
want a really nice, consistent, easy-to-mix tone through a board or through a set of headphones.
So…♪ [music] ♪And specifically, if you’re talking to a sound engineer and you’re looking
at the Roland curve, what tends to be intentionally omitted there is a lot of mid-range sort of
thickness to the sound. So, this is designed to cut through a lot
of noise quite easily. It’s designed to be clear in your ear, but what you might feel
a little bit is a lack of warmth. And so, this really comes down to personal preference.
I have virtually an equal amount of people who sit down in front of a Roland FP-30 and
the ES-110, and they’ll, you know, fifty people will say, “Oh, the Roland sounds more authentic,”
and fifty people will say, “Oh, the Kawai feels more authentic.” So, of course these are all very subjective
things, but I do think for tone production, those two, although they are different, they
focus on different things, really are the strongest offerings within this price range.
Now, that’s the acoustic piano we’ve talked about. There’s of course a number of different
acoustic pianos that you can play on here. They’ve got several options. ♪ [music] ♪And I should also mention that
this is being recorded actually through a couple of condenser mics on the floor. One
of the things that is a little bit annoying about this model, and it’s not going to apply
to some people, it may apply to others, is there’s not an independent audio out. So, in other words, the only way to get a
line out of this, is to take it out of the headphone jack, which automatically defeats
the local speakers. So, you either have it plugged in and you can’t hear it, or you don’t
have it plugged in and you can hear it. And, of course, I need to hear it so that you and
I can, you know, have this little FP-30 chat. And so, we can’t have it directly plugged
in. So, we’re actually using an external microphone to plug it in. Besides that, no effects, no EQ, no reverb.
It’s just what you’re getting straight out of the instrument. So, beyond the acoustic
piano you’ve got some really great electric piano sounds. ♪ [music] ♪It’s got a nice
decent crunch to it. And, of course, there’s a whole other set of sounds that fall into
the ‘Other’category which you can access through that, but we’re going to lead right into one
of the things that Roland really kind of helped to pioneer in the industry, which is the integration
with other digital products like an iPad or an Android tablet. So, I’ve got one down here. It’s very, very
easy to connect, and Roland has a set of apps that you can download for free off the App
Store or the Google Play Store. And I’ve got one called Roland Piano Partner, and wat this
allows me to do, is instead of having to fiddle with the buttons on the menu, it actually
allows me to select the sounds that I’m playing right off an easy-access screen. So, if we’re looking at…I want to play the
Grand Piano, it’s right there. If I want to play ragtime…♪ [music] ♪So on and so
forth. Or if I want the e-piano…♪ [music] ♪Or a synth bell. This one reminds
me of Frozen. ♪ [music] ♪Okay, enough of that. Or of course the ‘Other’ category we’re just
mentioning. You’ve got a lot of strings. ♪ [music] ♪Which is like a harp. Or…♪ [music] ♪Wish they’d just angled that a little bit
more. Roland, if you’re watching, five degrees more. That’s all it would take. So, integrating
an iPad into this instrument turns what might’ve been a bit of a restrictive interface into
a very easy-to-use, easy-to-understand, easy-to-connect digital interface that you can use within
a device you already have. So many of us already own smartphones or iPad
or Android devices, so it’s important to know that this isn’t just working with tablets.
It actually also works with smartphones. So, you don’t need a big device. You can even
use this with a relatively small device. On top of that, the FP-30 has the usual suite
of other, let’s call it, like, fundamental basic features, such as transpose, you can
split the keyboard. You can turn on sort of two piano modes. You
can blend two sounds together at once, and also a nice feature, you have the ability
to actually play, like, MP3 tracks off of a USB-key. So, people who use this for some
live performance, or even as a practice tool, you can throw a USB-key in there and have
sort of an audio backing track and you can play along with it, which is also pretty cool. The FP-30 is very light, so, as an additional
feature this is something that works well for people who need portability. And just
like the ES-110, it’s in the 30-pound range, so whether you are taking this to a gig or
whether you are, you know, at home and you just need to save on a little bit of square
footage, that part also works very well. The FP-30 comes in a slab-format like we’re
seeing right here, but you can also get it with the matching furniture stand and three-pedal
system, and Roland offers all of those, I believe, for 200 dollars a piece. So, for
an extra 400 or 300, depends on what country you’re in, you’re able to add that. Just obviously contact your local retailer.
They will give you the pricing on what it costs to add the stand and add the pedal,
but for people who really like the price range, this is a nice way to get a Roland product
in your house even looking like sort of a permanent digital piano for just over a thousand
dollars. So, here’s the Roland FP-30. Thank you so much for watching. Again, here’s an instrument that is quite
ideal for people who are either just starting out, wanting to keep the price point low.
I’d say it also works really well for professional musicians that this compared to another one
of the other two, you know, Yamaha P-125 or ES-110, for whatever reason. You don’t need
a reason other than it’s your own preference. You like just a slightly crisper, slightly
sharper tone overall. It isn’t too warm and it cuts through really
nicely. I think that’s where the FP-30 really shines. A nice, clear, crisp tone. Very forgiving
action, and generally an all-round versatile instrument for a very attractive price point.
So, thank you so much for watching. Again, my name is Stu Harrison, and this is
Merriam pianos. ♪ [music] ♪

3 thoughts to “Roland FP-30 Digital Piano Demo & Review | Merriam Pianos”

  1. I’ve got one recently. Superb key action. Dislike the music rest stand though. It’s too vertical positioned. Pretty hard for manuscripts to stay in place. Would be much better if the rest is aligned slightly tilted to the back.

  2. Roland includes clear rubber dots that stick on the music holder's base to keep tablets from slipping off ⚪️⚪️

  3. Where is the organ sounds, grand piano sounds and harpsichord sounds not that electronic crap.

    I have a cheap yamaha p 60 and it has everything I mentioned with only 10 different sounds. It's not too much to ask for, for the price of this keyboard. I only paid 99 dollars for the one i bought, it retailed for 250 dollars at sams club. I don't mind having extra sounds but don't eliminate the most important sounds on a keyboard. I probably like the nord 3 out of all keyboards I been looking at. Thanks for the demo video on this product.

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