🎹Roland FP-60X vs FP-90X Digital Piano Comparison & Demo - Top End of the FP-X Series🎹

Welcome to another piano comparison blog. My name is Stu Harrison, and today we will be comparing Roland FP-60X vs FP-90X; two siblings in the FP lineup. There are some similarities, but there are some very big differences in the playing experience.

We’re so grateful to be able to share some of these opinions and findings with you today. If you are in the market for a digital piano, an all-in-one instrument with built-in speakers, and a great set of sounds, you’ll want to stick around. So let’s get started with this comparison of the Roland FP90X and the FP60X right away.

We’ve already done the Roland FP90X versus the Kawai ES920 comparison. That was one that we did because we were behind on having this 90X in. The FP90X versus the FP60X was another comparison that we were really eager to do, so today we’re checking that box.

Roland FP-60X vs FP-90X – Comparison

FP-90X Digital Piano
FP-90X Digital Piano

It was very interesting to get these two portable digital pianos side by side because there are so many differences between them, even though they are both part of the FP series. They’re much more distant cousins than comparing the FP60X to FP30X or the FP30X to the FP10. The FP90X sits apart from all of them from a spec standpoint, and because of that, from a musical standpoint as well, they really are quite different.

This is deceiving because the user interface on the FP90X and the FP60X are so close, in fact, a quick glance and you’d be forgiven for mistaking the two. They have exactly the same user interface panel with one or two very subtle exceptions. Also, their shape is about the same and they come in the same colors. There is of course, depending on your market, anywhere from a $700 to$1,000 difference in price between these two so that you won’t mistake.

So what are the differences between them? We’re going to start with sound first, then we’ll move to action, and then we’ll move to other more functional features.

Piano Sound

Speaker System

Beginning with sound, the FP60X and the FP90X have two very different sound systems. If you are using this in a room and you’re not using headphones, the built-in speakers are going to present the tone in a very different way. We’ve got two speakers in the FP60X (2×13-watt main), and four speakers in the FP90X (2×25-watt main, 2×5-watt tweeters); 26 watts of rated output power versus 60 watts of rated output power. Can you hear the difference? Yes.

With both sets of speakers set to the same volume, it isn’t just the volume differences that you hear, there is definitely more ambience and volume out of the FP60X, but it’s beyond that. There’s a detail and there’s a tightness and there’s a cured sound, for lack of a better word, that you’re getting out of the FP90X, that you don’t get out of the FP60X. It’s just not nearly as refined. It’s like listening to a cheap set of speakers versus something where you’ve got so much more frequency response that’s even and just broader based.

Let’s break that down a little more specifically. I’m going to go back to the piano tone with the My Stage Hall Stage setting. For people who are really specifically wondering exactly what we’ve got set, we haven’t edited it, it’s just Hall Stage and we’re on the acoustic piano. There are a few things to note here. The trebles are a lot cleaner and a lot more detailed on the FP90X than on the FP60X.

It’s almost like there are a couple of frequency shelves that are missing in the FP60X, but there’s also a fidelity difference between the two-stage pianos. There’s a bit of a “sludginess” to the top end of the treble in comparison to the FP90X. For people who are used to doing any audio mixing, even at a basic home hobbyist level, it’s not dissimilar to listening to an MP3 that’s been encoded at a lower bit rate versus listening to some kind of a wave or even a lossless file format. There’s just an evenness to the decay, particularly at the very top of the sound on the FP90X.

Sound Engine

Now, some of that is the function of the speaker and the amplifier system, while some of that is the tone generator; so let’s get to the tone generator.

The FP60X uses Roland’s SuperNATURAL piano tone engine, but it does not have modeling. The FP90X has the newest incarnation of their Pure Acoustic piano modeling, the v piano technology as it’s sometimes referred to and so it is outputting at a higher fidelity and it’s being generated with a real-time computer algorithm versus drawing from a sample.

Now in the most extreme cases, the best modeler and the best incarnation of sampling out there, which is really what you get when you get into the high-end VSTs, those plug-ins that you can work with on Pro Tools and Logic, it really is quite a horse race. You’ve got things like Pianoteq versus Vienna Symphonic Library, or Garriton, or the Ravenscroft, or any of those ones where the sampling really does put up a really big fight, and there are some things to like and prefer about sampling, but we’re not even apples to apples here because this is not exactly the best version of sampling you can get.

This is downgraded. Just keep in mind that for $1,500 to $1,800, depending on your market, you’re getting an action, a case, speakers, amps, a tone source, and all kinds of things thrown in there for $1,500. So you’re not going to get everything for that price point, but there is that difference in the tone generator. When you listen to this with headphones, so you’re eliminating the speakers as a factor, what you hear from the FP60X samples is actually more “trebly” and a little more piercing in the top end than what you get on the FP90X.

So, even though on the FP90X speakers the treble sounds more detailed, and you’re not getting as much treble out of the FP60X speakers, the treble is very prominent, but just not nearly as refined and not as sculpted as what you get on theFP90X. So there’s a difference between the speaker experience, and there’s also a difference in the signal experience between these two pianos.

They’re both trying for, for lack of a better expression, a Roland piano tone. Roland has a specific sound, Yamaha has a specific sound, and Kawai has a specific sound. They all have unique signature acoustic grand piano tonalities or timbres that pianists like or don’t like. Both of these electric pianos are going for that, but in execution, they both wind up with slightly different results.


In piano mode, because of that modeler, you have unlimited polyphony on the FP90X, and you have a polyphony limit of 256 notes on the FP60X, which in both cases, in most practical settings, doesn’t mean much to anybody because you’re not going to hit either one of those limits with any kind of realistic playing capacity. What I’ve often said is the maximum polyphony is more of a benchmark, more of a gauge of just generally how well equipped and how fast the tone generator generally is. So it’s like a maximum speed limit; even if you never hit that speed limit, a car’s maximum speed limit can be a predictor of how it behaves at other speeds. That’s how I see it.

Non-piano Tones

The selection of tones between these two instruments is quite similar. There are many other acoustic pianos on here other than concert piano; Ballad piano, Mellow piano, Bright piano, Upright piano, and Rock piano. A lot of these are older patches that Roland has carried on from earlier models, like the Bright Forte and SA piano. Then we get into e. piano, Wurlitzer, synthesizers, drum sets, and so on; a few really beautiful full tones.

If we include the General MIDI 2 patch bank, it’s well over 300 sounds that you get on both of these keyboards. Once you get out of the acoustic pianos, both are using the same BMC chipset, so aside from acoustic piano, most of these should actually sound the same when we output the signal. If we go to the 1976 suitcase, and just take a line out here so we’re eliminating the speakers, we should essentially have the same thing.

Sound Summary

FP-90X Speakers
FP-90X Speakers

We’ll be dealing with many other functions in our third section, but in terms of sound, those are really the critical points to be aware of. We’ve got the speaker system difference, 26 watts versus 60 watts, two speakers versus four speakers, and a much clearer and better sculpted tighter sound presentation out of the FP90X than we get out of the FP60X. We also have the tone generator difference when we’re talking about the core acoustic piano sound. We’ve got pure acoustic piano modeling on the FP90X, we still have the perfectly usable, perfectly good SuperNATURAL piano tone engine happening on the FP60X, but quite a difference in how it presents the treble.

That’s where I hear the greatest difference in the acoustic piano tone between these two-tone engines is what’s going on in the treble and what’s going on in the decay and the bloom of the note when you’re hitting it. The difference is really quite remarkable particularly when you have the advantage of a side-by-side comparison.

Besides that, there are some really great EP pads, some great organ and string pads, as well as guitars. Those are identical between the two. Once we get out of that acoustic piano thing, as I just said, no difference in the tone engine.

Of course, there are some great synths. There are hundreds of other sounds, as well as effects such as a compressor, modulation, and reverb. We have done individual reviews of both these instruments where we do get a little more detailed; particularly the one that we did on the FP60X.

Hammer Action

I feel like we’ve made this comparison multiple times on multiple reviews, but I have to remind myself that there are a number of people for whom this could be the very first time that they’re accessing any of our reviews or potentially the very first review of this kind at all. They’re fresh to the piano market and they are just diving into this information, so we are once again going to talk about the differences between the PHA-4 and the PHA-50.

Depending on your perspective and your background as a player, these are either pretty subtle academic differences or these are monumental differences that might completely sway your decision.

PHA-4 Hammer Action

The PHA-4 standard keyboard from Roland is an all-plastic action. That’s not unusual as pretty much every action on the planet underneath about a $2,000 price point, with only a few exceptions, is plastic. The PHA-4 hit the market in the mid to late 2010s, and there were a few things about this action that made it stand out. One, it was a triple sensor. So triple sensors are basically the way in which a key action, or sensors in general, translate physical motion into ones and zeros. For pretty much all cases, because it’s part of the MIDI language, the values fall between 0 and 127. This is how all of these things communicate with one another and the triple sensor really means that there are three points at which that key gets measured.

That really helps for times when there’s a lot of single-note repetition going on. It’s going to be more accurate with a triple sensor than a dual sensor for sure. It also happens when you have really quickly repeated notes like with octaves, and then there are some instances where it can also help with normal playing in terms of the accuracy of the MIDI information you get.

So it had that, and that was pretty unusual for the price points that you could get a PHA-4 action. The FP-10 may be the most notable example because this is well under a thousand dollars; $600 or $700 for that piano and you’re getting a triple sensor.

The second differentiator was that it had escapement. Some people consider escapement to be a big factor. Other people are sick and tired of hearing about escapement from reviewers like me or reading about it. It’s like, “Ah, geez, get over the escapement thing.” So again, this depends on your background as a player.

Can you feel it? Yeah. Is the fact that you can feel it unto itself a big deal? Probably not. It’s more of a novelty thing. Oh cool. It feels the same as when you play the acoustic piano, but the practical benefit that I have found, and I’ve mentioned this in many videos now, is that that extra little bump actually translates into better, lower dynamic control.

And I really only became aware of that after playing honestly thousands of hours on digital pianos that had it and didn’t have it, and started to become acutely aware that I had much better control in my pianissimo range on pianos that had that escapement. So I’m saying that’s where the benefit is. I have no idea if anyone else shares that opinion, but that’s where I see the benefit.

So the PHA-4 had that triple sensor and had the escapement. It’s a plastic action, so the cost is lower. It’s a lighter keyboard as well, so, like all plastic actions, it’s not adding weight. It probably means at some point that this is not going to be as durable or last as long as some of the longer key stick wooden key actions that are out there like the ones that Kawai have in say the VPC one or MP 11. These actions are literally just a stick of wood. There’s no hinge, it’s just balancing on a rail. Those are going to last for thousands and thousands of hours. Even the original one, like the Kawai MP 9500, I think it was, that had some of the first wood actions. They’re still out there 20-plus years later.

So there’s a good chance that something like this in an action won’t last as many hours of use as a wood action, but it’s still quite durable and it’s been doing very well out in the world marketplace. So that’s what the FP60X has.

PHA-50 Hammer Action

The PHA-50 is a hammer action that was released I think at about the same time as its predecessor was; the PHA-4 concert. Roland standardized the PHA-4 as it used to have a whole bunch of different levels. So Roland’s been working on this version for a while and they keep extending the key length and extending the key length to get it more and more like a grand piano.

The PHA-50 now goes in their RD-2000, the FP90X, the HP704, the LX705, and the Kiyola; their upper midrange digital pianos. It has a wood core and the key is quite a bit longer so the geometry is now mimicking that of a larger upright, or a very, very small grand piano, but it isn’t quite the same pivot length as a grand. There are stabilizer pins that sit right in the middle of the back of the key, just in front of the hinge that really increase the lateral stability of the key.

You can feel it when you play, but because of that extended key length, you generally don’t feel the mechanics nearly as much as in the PHA-4.

So it’s a very different playing experience between these two hammer actions. They both have escapement and they both have triple sensors, but the physical motion of the key is different. If you’ve never played piano before, if this is your first weighted 88-note digital piano, or maybe you’re moving up from another keyboard, there’s a very good chance that you’ll probably grow into and really enjoy any action from any company that’s well built and well designed. I think the PHA-4 fits into that category.

If you already have acoustic playing expertise, or you’ve already been playing digital pianos for a while and really have a refined sense of what you enjoy, the PHA-50 I think is a standard that you are going to want to get at a minimum, in my personal opinion.

Both actions have a textured ivory feel. It’s not too extreme. It’s not as extreme as what Casio has done but it does have a nice glide to it while still giving you some texture. Even in the hottest, sweatiest playing situations, it still manages to absorb some of that moisture, which is great.

The black keys have a bit of a texture to them as well. So that’s the action.


FP-90X Connectivity
FP-90X Connectivity

In the first section, I mentioned that these two have very similar interfaces. In fact, they are virtually identical with a few very minor exceptions. Let’s just go across the interface and talk about that.


Besides the volume slider, which I think is probably fairly self-explanatory, you have a three-band equalizer and there are going to be some people who are unfamiliar with the benefits of a three-band equalizer.

There is a dramatic effect on the sound that just bringing one of those bands down can have. By bringing down the high, or rightmost slider, it just suddenly sounds more dull. Lowering the mids sounds like a cheap set of computer speakers from the 1990s, and then lowering the lows kill your low frequencies, and now you’re dealing with an AM radio.

I think this is an awesome feature, and it’s available on both keyboards. The first time I ever saw this, I think, was on a Yamaha CP300; those gigantic tanks of a keyboard. I had a gig playing keyboard at Second City, which is a comedy club, and one of the boards they had was this huge CP300 thing. It had the low, mid, and high equalizer there on the left side, and I found it so handy.

I’m very glad to see that this is starting to proliferate across many of the other brands. Kawai now has it, and the first incarnation of the Roland FP60X and Roland FP90 have it, I know Yamaha continues to offer it on several of their keyboards as well. It’s just such an easy way to quickly tweak a piano tone to your liking, especially if you’re dealing with a PA or some other kind of a sound situation where something’s just too “boomy” or too “peaky” or whatever it is. No mucking in a menu, just quick tactile controls. Both of these keyboards have it.

Voice Control

They both have the ability to manage lower and upper voice control; that is when you are blending two sounds together, or you’ve split the keyboard into two, which both of these models have the ability to do. You’ve got the split dual and also the transpose button which is right next to it.

We’ve already talked about the sounds themselves. You do have some registration features, which means you can save your own presets for easy and quick recall.


Both of these have Bluetooth audio and Bluetooth MIDI, which means that you can broadcast Bluetooth audio to these instruments from your mobile phone or tablet. If you’ve got Spotify or Apple Music or something else, and you want to play something through the speakers, you can. There are so many scenarios where this actually makes a whole lot of sense. If you’ve got this in a bedroom, a dorm room, or even sometimes at a gig and you want to play along with a sequencer, or a track, and you don’t want cables, you can have it come through the speaker system. Bluetooth is so easy to pair. It shows up in your list as a separate FP90X audio instead of the data connection.

Bluetooth midi, which means it’s a two-way communication protocol, so it’s just like plugging in a MIDI cable.

Recording and Digital Audio

You’ve got metronome control and you’ve got a basic recorder. You can record in both MIDI as well as WAV formats. You can’t record an MP3 though. That’s something that Kawai offers that I think is kind of handy, but Roland has a really big advantage in that department, which is that these are also equipped with a USB midi interface. This means that you can plug this in with a USB cable to a computer and it will pick this up as a digital sound source. You do not necessarily have to use audio cables to get this into your computer or to play digital audio from your computer back to this either.

So if you’re using this at a gig and you have this mated with some sort of a DAW on a laptop, no cables are needed besides of course the one USB cable, but there’s a lot you can do with that USB cable.

Song Volume

We come to the only difference in the user interface between these two, which is that the FP90X has a song volume slide on it for song playback. That would usually be for a song that you’ve got plugged in through a USB stick, or something like that, so you can mix that in separately.

Other Connections

They both have microphone volume controls as well as microphone gain controls on the back next to the mic input. So that’s a full review of some of the front-end features.

In terms of ports, both the FP60X and FP90X have USB A and USB B connectors. Those are for sending data to a computer or plugging in USB drives.

It has support for a three-pedal unit consisting of a damper pedal, a sostenuto pedal, and a soft pedal.

It also has a 3.5-millimeter audio input, so if you don’t want to send Bluetooth audio for whatever reason, you don’t have to.

It’s got the old-school five-pin MIDI ports in case you want to use those for any reason. If you’re dealing with some older equipment it’s going to be backwards compatible that way.


Both of these instruments are available with matching keyboard stands (KSC-72 or KS-20X for the FP60X and KSC-90 for the FP90X) and matching three-pedal units (KPD-90). You can also get a floating three-pedal board (RPU-3) that works with both of these keyboards.

Of course, both keyboards have music rests and headphone jacks, with the FP60X featuring Headphones 3D Ambience and the FP90X showcasing Headphones Acoustic Projection.

Apart from the physical connections, both of these keyboards come with Roland’s Piano Designer app onboard that allows you to fine-tune the tone of each individual note; including the string resonance, touch sensitivity, key-off noise, and damper noise.

So that’s a rundown of how these two Roland digital pianos compare.

Final Thoughts

For people who are looking at one or both of these portable pianos, or other instruments in this price range, this is not going to be the easiest decision because I think Roland has appropriately priced the gap here for the difference in the features. If this was a lot closer in price, I’d be like, oh yeah, no brainer, just spring for the FP90X, forget the FP60X. There are so many other things in the FP90X that outgun the FP60X, but it’s a significant gap.

We’re up here in Toronto, Canada. That means in Canadian Bucks it’s a thousand dollars difference between these two pianos. That’s not insignificant. I have a feeling that in the States that means the gap is probably somewhere in the $700 to $800 range; also not insignificant.

We have a difference in the action; PHA-4 versus PHA-50. If you have previous experience with acoustic pianos, you are probably not going to settle for anything less than the PHA-50. That’s my thought.

You’ve got a difference in speakers. If you’re thinking about using the FP90X for gigs in a professional setting, the 60 watts is strong enough that you could probably get away with no sound reinforcement in certain settings; whereas with the FP60X you’re going to be pushing the speakers for anything except personal use in a small or maybe a medium-sized room.

You’ve got a fidelity difference in the chipset. If you want to use the FP90X for recording as a sound source, the quality and the sound out of this keyboard is just better objectively to my ear, either through the speakers or through headphones. I’m not getting into the sampling versus modeling debate because as I said at the beginning of this, this isn’t exactly an apples-to-apples comparison. The FP60X is not the best version of sampling and the FP90X is a slightly better version of modeling, but still not the best that you can get out there.

There’s a slight difference in weight, but I don’t think meaningful enough that anybody is going to choose one versus the other for being too heavy or because one is a whole lot lighter than the other. They’re not dramatically different.

So there’s some chunky stuff in there to figure out whether it’s worth the extra money or not. The FP90X is, I think, the most expensive all-in-one unit that’s currently out on the market. So it is the primo or at least Roland would like to think of it as the Cadillac of this category. You are getting a lot there, especially if you really like the action.

So there is our comparison between these two digital pianos. I hope that it has been helpful. Certainly, you have been very patient in waiting for this comparison and we are so grateful to finally be able to do it; to explore these two instruments side by side ourselves.

My name is Stu Harrison. This is Merriam Pianos, and we really sincerely appreciate that you’ve joined us for this review and hope you’ve found it helpful. We are always coming out with new piano-related and piano music-related reviews, and we hope you’ll enjoy others in the future with us. Thank you so much. Have yourselves a great day.