🎹Yamaha P125 vs Roland FP10 Digital Piano Comparison, Review & Demo🎹

If you’re considering an entry-level 88-note digital piano in the sub $1,000 price range, along with digital models from Kawai and Casio, it’s virtually guaranteed you’ve come across the Roland FP-10 and Yamaha P125. After all, these are two of the piano industry’s most popular entry-level 88-key digital pianos and serve up a piano experience for a price that would have been unthinkable even five years ago.

In this article, we’re comparing the Yamaha P125 vs Roland FP10 for the first time at Merriam Pianos, covering their 88 key hammer actions, sound engines, speakers, and features. The Yamaha P125 is an Amazon online purchase that we bought for the sake of the review since we don’t carry new Yamaha digital pianos, and it’s been a great experience to play these two side-by-side.

Yamaha P125 vs Roland FP10 – General Overview

Yamaha P125 vs Roland FP10 - FP10 Dimensions
Yamaha P125 vs Roland FP10 – FP10 Dimensions

Tone Engines & Sound

The Roland FP10 includes a slightly limited version of Roland’s renowned Supernatural Piano Sound Engine that’s found throughout Roland’s entire lineup, and a much lower polyphony than the P125 has, but it really has no noticeable effect on the playing experience, and the Supernatural engine does seem to have a more dense, rich and expressive sound than the Yamaha.

The piano tone, synths, and all the other standard sounds are well-rendered, and particularly with a good set of headphones, the piano is altogether fully usable as a piano with a responsive tone, not some inexpensive substitute for one. There’s a total of 15 onboard sounds, and in terms of the onboard speakers, the FP10bk has two 6-watt speakers.

The Yamaha P125 has 192 polyphony and uses their Pure CF Sound Engine which is built off of the Yamaha CFIIIS 9′ concert grand piano sample set, though the number of tones that make up the piano ‘sounds’ seems more basic than Roland’s, which may explain the high polyphony. They use what they call “Intelligent Acoustic Control” and “Sound Boost” to manage the audio signal as it’s sent to the speakers…it’s basic signal processing that does a nice job of creating an enhanced stereo field with added reverb to give the player the sense that the piano is larger than it is. There’s also a Stereophonic Optimizer feature that enhances the headphone experience.

The tone seems to have less of a dynamic range to it than the Roland but has a clear, bright tone which is particularly satisfying in the mid-dynamic ranges. The speakers are slightly more powerful with two new 2-way speaker systems of 7 watts each.

In terms of other sounds (24 total onboard sounds), the electric piano sounds on the P125 are quite nice, along with a good selection of organs, and vibes, a whole string section, and a couple of bass tones. Generally, all of the various patches are high-quality.

Digital Piano Action

Roland FP10 PHA-4 Digital Piano Action
Roland FP10 PHA-4 Digital Piano Action

Moving onto the action, which is actually the category most piano teachers will care about more than any other user-friendly feature on the instrument. The reason for this is that forming a strong sense of touch is paramount to developing as a piano player, especially once a student has moved onto an acoustic piano and touch sensitivity is of greater importance. Ask your teacher what’s the most important consideration in choosing a digital piano, and they will likely say piano touch.

The Roland FP10 features their 88 note PHA-4 Standard Keyboard Ivory Feel action with escapement, which is a pro-level action found on Roland digital pianos all the way up to (and above) the $2000 price point. This feature alone makes the FP10 an absolutely incredible value for people seeking a highly portable piano where feel and overall weight are at the top of the priority list. This instrument is essentially a basic keyboard built around a stellar feel, for under $700 USD, which is simply incredible given what that amount of money got you just 5 years ago from digital piano manufacturers.

The PHA-4 keyboard is the exact same action that you’ll find in the Roland FP30 and FP60 piano series, but also the F140r and the RP501r. It has a very well-executed ‘faux’ ivory keytop natural texture on the white keys and ebony feel on the black keys, high-resolution sensing, a believable escapement simulation, a triple sensor, and rugged physical construction that doesn’t give off unreasonable mechanical sounds or ‘clunks’. Overall, this is a quiet keyboard action with an authentic feel, capable of fast key repetition.

The P125 features Yamaha’s GHS Action (Graded Hammer Standard). This is a fully weighted, touch-sensitive hammer action, but there are a couple of things that it does not have that the FP-10 does. For starters, the GHS only has a double sensor, which means the MIDI output (expressive potential) is not as good as the PHA4 in the FP10. Secondly, the GHS action does not feature escapement, but there is a nice matte finish on the black keys.

When it comes to actions, the player will get used to what they’re in front of. If you’ve already used the Yamaha action in the past, I’m sure the Yamaha P125 digital piano will feel very satisfying. That being said, for experienced players who have already spent lots of time with an acoustic piano, I’d have to give the edge in this particular comparison to the FP-10. Its heavier touch due to a heavier hammer weight feels more like an acoustic piano, has more potential for expressive dynamics, and also has a faster repetition speed.

Other Features

Roland FP10 Connectivity
Roland FP10 Connectivity

The Roland is definitely slim on features compared to the Yamaha, but it does still have standard features like a metronome and twin piano mode ( allows student and teacher to play side-by-side and play in the same key range/octave ranges), but not others such as duo split mode, which the P125 does have.

The FP10 doesn’t have a discrete audio output like the P125 does so you’d have to use the headphone jack. Also unlike the P125, the FP10 doesn’t have onboard rhythms, and also fewer tones. The FP-10 ‘ace-in-the-hole’ is of course the Bluetooth MIDI connectivity, which allows for massive feature expansion into the world of DAW software (digital audio workstation) and apps like Apple Garageband without cables and extremely easy setup and use.

Both instruments have USB Type A and Type B.

Both instruments come with a basic footswitch pedal that isn’t a true damper pedal, but the P125 is compatible with a 3-pedal unit, whereas the FP10 is compatible with Roland’s upgraded DP10 sustain pedal, which is capable of half-pedalling. Both are also available with matching keyboard stands (KSCFP10 for the Roland, L125 for the Yamaha) for the more authentic piano look, which is really important to some folks if the piano is going in their living room, or even a spare room for that matter. Both come standard with a music rest and power supply.

Compatible with the P125 is Yamaha’s Smart Pianist app support for iOS such as iPhone or iPad and also Android smartphone or other smart devices. On the Roland side of things, you’ve got Roland’s Piano Partner App and Piano Designer, which allows you to edit well over a dozen parameters to do with the piano sound, such as how high the (virtual) piano lid is open, the string resonance, ambience, and the damper resonance DSP.

Conclusions

FP10 Portability
FP10 Portability

For an affordable digital piano intended to replace a real piano for home use, for the purpose of a second instrument or as a first practice instrument, the FP10 is a hard piano to beat for the authentic piano touch, accuracy, and quality of the piano sound. As a general-purpose piano with great portability and a nice blend of introductory features and super easy to use, the Yamaha has an edge, though that comes at a bit of a price premium, and you have to sacrifice MIDI/USB connectivity.

Which is the ideal instrument for your wishlist?

Generally speaking, if whoever is going to be using this is primarily interested in using this as a piano (whether for piano lessons or as a secondary instrument), the Roland FP10 is probably the instrument for you. It has a stronger action and a more sophisticated tone engine which equates to a more accurate piano performance, but there’s not much more than that.

On the Yamaha side, the P125 is a more well-rounded set of features that are going to potentially contribute to a potentially more entertaining overall experience for someone who isn’t strictly looking for an instrument to learn piano. Either way, these are both great choices, and which one is better will ultimately come down to your own personal needs.

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