Introduction

Today we’ll be comparing the specs and performance of two entry-level models of the Roland FP lineup as we see how the FP-10 and FP-30 compare.

We’ll cover all of the critical differences between these two pianos that really do much of the heavy lifting for Roland’s digital piano lineup considering how affordable they both are so that hopefully if you’re looking within this general category for your next instrument, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision.

With that in mind, we’ll jump in to see exactly how the piano actions of these two pianos measure up to one another.

Discontinued Model: The Roland FP-30 Digital Piano has been replaced by the FP-30X, please see our YouTube review here.

Piano Action

Roland PHA-4 Piano Action
Roland PHA-4 Piano Action

This will actually be the easiest and most straightforward part of our comparison because the action utilized in both pianos is literally exactly the same.

Roland puts the PHA-4 Standard Keyboard action with escapement and ivory touch into both the FP-10 and the FP-30, and there’s really no difference between them.

The PHA-4 hammer action is equipped with a triple sensor, although some of the marketing literature doesn’t necessarily make that very clear. This means both pianos will have exactly the same MIDI accuracy and touch sensitivity, so the real differences are going to come down to sound-related aspects and some of the features.

Interestingly, you’ll also find the PHA-4 action in the next model up in the FP series – the FP-60. Roland also uses it in the F-140R, the RP501R, and the RP-102.

Basically, it’s the go-to Roland action for their beginner and mid-range lineup. This means you would need to spend almost three times as much money as the FP-10 before you got any sort of meaningful improvement in the action.

For people out there who are focused on a good feeling practice instrument or something that’s going to deliver the best touch in as portable and as inexpensive a package as possible, it’s really hard to dispute that either instrument, but especially the FP-10 as delivering fantastic value.

We’ve got a lot of experience with this action over at Merriam Music, and it’s an action that we’re very fond of it.

It’s not at all a clunky action so there isn’t an overabundance of mechanical noise or anything like that, it hits the key bed a little bit harder than say a comparable Casio, Kawai, Korg or Yamaha action.

We really like some type of texture on the keys when it comes to digital piano actions as it adds some extra grip, which is especially helpful in more humid playing environments. The ivory feel here actually winds up absorbing a little bit of that extra moisture that sometimes gets generated.

The escapement, feature or some people call this let-off, is a simulation of the feeling you get on a real acoustic piano when the hammer comes off the knuckle. When you’re playing in the softer dynamic ranges such pianissimo, the escapement is a nice feature to have. It actually adds a lot of authenticity to the experience.

There’s no question we’ve got a great-feeling action here that we would say is well suited for contemporary repertoire, and it works really well for jazz. For somebody just starting out in the classical world, we think you’d have no issues working up to medium difficulty repertoire with this action until you might want to consider an upgrade to an acoustic piano or high-end digital piano.

Piano Sound

Roland FP-30
Roland FP-30

Now we’ll be able to get into some real differences between the FP-10 and the FP-30. Let’s start with the speakers.

The FP-30 has 22 watts of speaker power while the FP-10 has 12. Given the FP-10’s size and price, those 12 watts actually give quite a bit of horsepower – certainly more than what any of us were expecting the first time we sat down at one.

There’s actually a fairly decent amount of body and depth to the sound, along with some adjustable reverb settings. It’s probably only going to be sufficient for situations where you’re really playing by yourself or maybe playing along with one other person as it’s not enough sound to fill up a medium room nor would it be enough for a performance situation.

Ideally, you might want to get amplifier setup going or invest in a solid set of headphones to take advantage of the SuperNATURAL sound engine that the FP-10 is equipped with.

The FP-30 is also equipped with the SuperNATURAL Piano sound engine, but there is a slight difference in the chipset between the FP-10 and the FP-30.

The FP-10 has 96-notes of polyphony, whereas the FP-30 has 128. What does that actually mean for someone playing both pianos? For starters, you will hear a slight difference in the richness or complexity of the tone. The FP-30 sounds a little bit thicker, and you can especially hear that difference once you compare the treble ranges.

Unless you’ve got them side by side comparing the default grand piano tone though it’s going to be pretty hard for an average listener to tell the difference between these two in terms of the piano sound that it produces aside from the extra volume the FP-30 has at its disposal.

When it comes to the sheer quantity of the different types of sound presets that each instrument has on-board, there are about three times the number of tones on the FP-30 than on the FP-10. There are a few more acoustic pianos, electric pianos, and definitely more in the generic “other” category which is going to include things like strings, pads, vibes, synths etc.

Features & Connectivity

Roland FP-10
Roland FP-10

When it comes to features and connectors, both pianos are equipped with Bluetooth MIDI. Roland makes a few of their own music apps which both pianos are compatible with, and while they work with both Apple iOS and Android devices, things seem to run a little bit smoother with Apple devices. Bluetooth wireless technology isn’t a given in the price range, so kudos to Roland here.

Roland’s Piano Partner 2 and Piano Designer are compatible with both pianos, but you’re given more parameters to work within Piano Designer on the FP-30.

There are of course other great apps out there such as Garageband as well.

Standard functions like a metronome and twin piano mode are covered on both instruments, but while the FP-30 also has Split, the FP-10 does not.

In terms of other features, the FP-30 has a recorder function and the ability to playback USB audio (SMF, WAV) through the USB flash drive on the back while the FP-10 doesn’t have either one of those functions.

Another difference – we’ve got two headphone jacks, a 1/4-inch, and 3.5-mil on the FP-30 to choose from while the FP-10 has a single 3.5 mil headphone output.

Neither instrument has a line out to connect to an amp, so you’ll need to use the headphone port if you plan on doing that.

Another important difference has to do with the pedals, and this is probably going to be one of the biggest deals for people with piano experience or who plan on taking piano lessons. The FP-10 does not have a port for the three-pedal unit option, whereas the FP-30 does.

While you need the KSC-70 designer keyboard stand for the KPD-70 triple pedalboard to function, just having that as an option will be a huge deal for some people.

At the very least with the FP-10, you’re going to want to upgrade yourself to the DP-10 Roland sustain pedal since it only includes a basic switch pedal in the box. A proper damper pedal makes all of the difference.

Both instruments come with a music rest for your sheet music as well as a power adapter.

Closing Thoughts

So, we’ve covered all of the key areas where these instruments are similar and where they depart from one another. The one that’s probably going to be the biggest sticking point for a lot of folks is the fact that the FP-10 doesn’t have the triple pedal option.

Both instruments are extremely good value, and for folks that just need as good action in as affordable and compact a package as possible, the Roland FP-10 will really stand out here.

If some extra sounds, more speaker power, a few extra features, and that triple pedal option are important, the FP-30 is well worth the extra few hundred dollars.

If there’s one area we’d like to see improved in the future, it would be to have each instrument have a dedicated line output as a traditional stage piano or synthesizer does.