The Roland FP-10 Digital Piano is the latest model in Roland’s FP series of digitals. The FP-10 is an affordable light weight entry-level portable digital piano featuring many of Roland’s famous piano features normally found on high-end models.
The Roland FP10 is a digital piano that delivers the PHA-4 keyboard hammer action, a nice range of piano tones driven by the SuperNATURAL piano engine, convenient headphone support, metronome, bluetooth connectivity, and punchy onboard speakers, all for an entry-level price. It’s part of the FP piano series from Roland that generally include powerful onboard features that make it perfect for the living room OR stage use.
Stu Harrison will take you on a tour of the FP-10 piano and shed a little more light on this killer model from Roland, and leave you better informed and ready to make a great decision.
The Roland FP-10 Digital Piano Review – Video Transcription
I do a lot of playing, a lot of gigging, a lot of studio work and so I tend to be a bit of a snob when it comes to how the instrument feels – so I’ve always been a big fan of Roland Digital Pianos. If it doesn’t feel close enough to an acoustic piano to me, I just really have trouble engaging with the instrument musically. Not everybody’s like that, but if you’re anything like me, it’s important. And for my money, the FP-10 delivers a surprising amount of satisfaction. Because here’s the thing: the Roland FP-10 has the same action in it as the Roland FP-30, the FP-60, the F-140, the RP501, and RP102 digital pianos.
Let’s start here: The FP10 has an authentic piano touch for under $750. That is a ‘drop-the-mic’ claim right there for any digital model, but it’s entirely true. Roland has always been known for producing great 88-key hammer-actions, but to stick the PHA-4 in something at this price is kind of crazy (in a good way). You’d literally have to quadruple your budget from the FP-10 up to the FP90 before you are going to get any improvement in how the instrument feels and to me, that’s a huge win; features like ivory feel on the white keys, and escapement, for this kind of budget, was simply unheard of until the FP10 came along.
If all you’re looking for is 88-key digital piano that feels pretty good and you’re on a tight budget and you’re thinking about using this as a super basic stripped-down MIDI controller or something that you’re consistently going to be plugging into a small speaker to gig with or even just a practice instrument for home use and you don’t need a ton of features to go along with it – and especially if you’re going to be reinforcing with another speaker – the FP10 really has to be considered.
The PHA-4 action, which is what Roland calls this action, has touch sensitivity, escapement, and is a nicely quiet keyboard action (not super clunky when using it with headphones). When packaged in the FP10, is dollar for dollar the best action for the money that you’re going to find on the marketplace right now without spending thousands and thousands of dollars; it truly has an authentic feel. It responds really well and I I’d say that in a side by side comparison with some of Roland’s more expensive past models like the Fantom X8 or RD800, the FP10 is going to measure up no problem.
So I can get pretty nice and subtle with that response in the lower dynamic range. I mean you are dealing with something under a thousand so the musical computer or the tone generator on the other end of this, you can start to hear some of the limitations as you’re, you know, building up dynamic ranges from like, you know, pianissimo to piano or mezzo-forte, it’s like you can hear a little bit of stepping going on in there.
But I mean for anybody who’s using this for pop, for contemporary, even for classical but you’re not, you know, hardcore practicing and working towards an exam or something where you really have to have the level of control that, you know, it’s impossible that this is going to give you that level of control but for some nice casual playing really genuinely it’s a satisfying experience.
And like I said, for the money, it’s virtually impossible to beat on the market today. So the action is their 88-note PHA-4 standard keyboard action with Roland’s SuperNATURAL piano sound engine delivering authentic piano tones. As I mentioned, that’s exactly the same action that you’re going to get on the FP-30 and it’s the same action you’re going to get on the Roland F-140. And beyond the fact that I really like how they bounce the hammer and Roland is starting to solve one of my only really complaints of Roland actions in the past which is they bottom out a little bit hard when you hit the bottom of the key bed, that’s becoming nicely cushioned, the hammer action feels really nice and solid but they also have nice texture on the top that doesn’t feel super sticky and super plasticky.
It does kind of fool your finger into thinking that you’re on an acoustic key with an ivory feel – or certainly a natural texture rather than just plastic – again, as much as it’s possible to do so for under the $1000 range.
Roland’s Renowned Supernatural Piano Sound Engine & Speakers
Roland has equipped the FP10 with the Supernatural engine, something that they’ve been continuously developing for many years, that delivers a responsive tone even in their less-expensive models…which already leaves you in good shape. The polyphony on the instrument is 96, which is plenty for basic piano use (classical use actually will start to push this limit). It processes nuances like string resonance, and gives a great natural ambiance to the tone.
You probably heard me say that this is a great instrument if you’re going to be using it with some sound reinforcement and the reason I say that is that these speakers that they put on this although I think they’ve done a really nice job of balancing the speakers so you can’t overdrive them, they don’t break up, they’re not distorted, despite the fact that they’re small.
This is a light keyboard, so to have this supported with a small amplifier or even driving it through your home stereo system I think you’re going to get a lot more satisfaction if the only thing you’re using this with is just the onboard speakers. You are going to be left feeling like it might be a bit hollow but don’t despair. That’s not lack of good, full, rich signal that’s leaving this thing. It’s just that the speakers onboard are pretty small.
I think they’re six watts apiece, so there’s only so much you can do with a pair of six-watt speakers particularly when you get into the low registers. However, throw them through a nice set of headphones, throw them through even a $50 or $100 you know like a 2.1 computer speaker system and all of a sudden you’ve got something that’s got quite a bit of low-end and something that I think you’re going to really enjoy.
Now besides the rich piano sound which you’ve already heard a little bit of, this is equipped with several dozen other expressive sounds, such as electric piano sounds, pads, and – you’ve noticed I’ve got an iPad here in front of me – the FP-10 has Bluetooth capability. So, whenever it’s an option, I always love being able to use this interface rather than the push button interface because it just is a little easier to understand and see where you’re navigating with the within the instrument. Of course a lot of these apps are compatible with smartphones as well.
You’ve already heard the grand piano #1 tone. Nice tonal palette. It’s got most from sort of a dark to a brighter sound as you increase your velocity. I feel generally it’s a really well-captured sample. Grand Piano 2 and 3 are going to take you through a few different shades of acoustic piano tone. It’s kind of darker than number one.
Number three is even darker. It’s like a ’90s pop piano. Or, a rag. Harpsichord, of course. Somebody, please send me a video of you using harpsichord in a tasteful way. I mean honestly, I still don’t know why that winds up on digital piano but it is kind of fun every once in a while to have it on there. It’s even got some e-piano and synths sounds.
And a few others like harp, organ. And you can play through all of these yourself. The thing that always impresses me about Roland as the company and the FP-10 is just is another good example of this is any sound they’re going to put on there is a good sound.
They don’t throw anything on there that doesn’t meet certain standards of professional use. So even though this is an FP-10, I would not have a problem hooking an FP-10 up to a logic rig or a pro-choice rig. If I had to throw down a quick sample maybe not for $100,000 record project but this is usable in so many professional contexts even for, you know, the price $600, $700 for a keyboard like that.
That to me is it just speaks to generally the commitment Roland has not only to the professional community but just delivering good value all around.
Other Features And Connectivity
Besides the sound that you can select you also have the option to split the keyboard into two sounds. You can lose a lot of time with these things.
Dual-mode allows you to get two sounds at once, you can sort of hear the strings in there. Pretty nice lush sound. So a lot of things that you can play around with and, as I said, if you have the option of using the interface, it makes it so easy to navigate the sounds and the features and how they’ve got them connected. Twin Piano Mode lets learner and teacher sit side-by-side and play in the same key range.
If you don’t have the iPad to use and you’re just using the onboard controls, even though some people might consider this an eyesore, I actually like the fact that Roland has printed the little shortcut commands right over top of the keys. You don’t have to consult the manual, almost everything is intuitive. Without having to jump to page whatever, you can easily just take a guess.
Chances are your first guess is going to be the right one. You’ve got a function button here. You’ve got all of your different sounds right here. So, if you want piano one, two, three, or four, you’re just pressing the function button, you’re pressing the piano button, and there you are. If I want the metronome on, you guessed it, function. And if I want it faster, so on and so forth. And even the Bluetooth function itself which sometimes you have to dig for is pretty simple as well. You get this, you start to connect, you just press and hold the function button, that activates the pairing and then you’ve got just a nice Bluetooth over MIDI connectivity which you can get for free to make sure that you’re connecting your instrument with whatever you want.
For people who are wanting to use something like this and even experiment or start to play around with some of the more basic versions of DOS software or recording software, you’ve got stuff like Apple GarageBand, or Roland’s Piano Partner for an iPad or iPhone (or any other smartphone that runs android). Even that will connect to the FP-10 again just through the Bluetooth MIDI usings its Digital Audio Workstations (DAW). So if I want to record this and then playback.
Even something as basic as this with a with an iPad and a simple Bluetooth over MIDI connection, you can already start doing the recording. So you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars. So where are the limitations for this instrument? Well, I’ve already kind of implied a couple of them.
Besides the Bluetooth, the FP-10 comes with the basics like a footswitch (as I mention below), a music rest built right into the body of the piano, and of course Midi/usb connections as well and a matching power supply.
The FP10 also comes with an optional keyboard stand called the KSCFP10 which gives the FP-10 more of a piano look than it would otherwise have. Please keep in mind that there is no triple-pedal that is available for this, so unlike the FP30 or the FP90 where you can get the stand and three pedals all integrated as one, you’ll still have a dangling sustain pedal with the FP10…but as I mention a few times, it’s worth upgrading to the DP-10 sustain pedal over the basic foot switch that it comes with.
If you’re an experienced player and you’re looking for an instrument, a practice instrument for example at home, and you don’t want to have to hook up the stereo, you want something to be nicely self-contained and you’re tackling some serious repertoire, particularly the classical repertoire, you’re going to get over this really really quickly. You’re going to need to grow into something either from the Roland line into either their RP series or HP series or the DP-603 digital piano which I happen to think is another super high-value model that they offer.
Or something, for example, from the Yamaha, Casio, or Kawai line, their CA series digital pianos has been very very popular with classical musicians needing a digital alternative for home. Also if you need a ton of onboard features and you don’t have the option to connect this to an iPad, you’re looking for any kind of a sequencer or you’re looking for a few hundred sounds onboard that’s easy to use with tactile function, obviously this is not going to give you that either.
My one biggest complaint and I was like, “Roland, seriously for the extra $20 or $30 it would have cost you,” the sustain pedal that it comes with you are going to need to replace right away with the upgraded Roland pedal. Your patience is going to last about five minutes with this tiny little thing, and unless you upgrade, you won’t get the half-pedaling capability either. I get why they’ve done it, they’re trying to get the best price point they possibly can but spoil yourself, spend the extra dollars, get the Roland standard, heavy-duty single damper pedal.
It’s fully compatible with this, you’ll be glad you did. Otherwise, have some fun. Get to a showroom. Try the Roland FP-10 Digital Piano. If you’re in the market and you have already decided that you’re comfortable spending $400 or $500 for example, it’s going to be totally worth it to go and check out this affordable digital piano. Get yourself in front of one, compare it, you won’t be sorry that you did.
Anyway, have fun with the shopping, thank you so much for joining us. For another video, you can check out more on our channel. Check out the description below for some extra links and possible offers that we might have on this instrument right now. And we’ll see back for another video soon. I’m Stu Harrison with Merriam Pianos.