Introduction

In this article we are going to solve the the age-old question – how do you get your device connected through Bluetooth to your Roland digital piano? When it comes to mobile devices, whether Android devices or iOS/iPad/Apple devices, we have a lot of people who come into our showroom who want to know the quickest, simplest way to hook up their device to their Roland digital piano. Whether you own a Roland FP-10, 30, 60, 90, the DP603 – virtually the entire Roland lineup has Bluetooth connectivity potential. And if you’re not using the Bluetooth connection, you’re missing out on a huge part of the experience that the latest digital technology provides.

How to Connect Your Roland Digital Piano to Bluetooth Review Video Transcription

The first thing to keep in mind is that there are two separate Bluetooth functions available on most of the Roland products. The first Bluetooth function is being able to stream Bluetooth audio to the piano, which allows you to use the instrument’s speakers as if it was a Bluetooth speaker system. Function number two is having a two way MIDI connection between the device and your piano. Almost all of the Roland 88 note digital pianos have that second function. Only some of them have the Bluetooth Audio function. Make sure that you know which of these functions apply to the instrument that you have at home because there’s the potential for frustration if you’ve got an FP-10 and you’re expecting to get Bluetooth Audio working since that function isn’t available on the FP10.

For the purposes of this article, we’re going to use a Roland FP-90 as our example, because this is a model where both of the Bluetooth functions are available. We’ll look at Bluetooth MIDI first because this function applies to almost all of Roland’s digital pianos. I have spent many hours figuring out a consistent way that I use to get this connected and while it might not be the only way, I can tell you that this method works pretty much without fail.

Connecting With Bluetooth MIDI

Step One

Let’s start with step number one, which is making sure that your Bluetooth radio is activated on your piano. If you’re using an FP-60, FP-90 or DP603 for example, or any other model that has a graphic display, it’s pretty easy to navigate because the function is right in front of you. In the case of the FP90, if you press the ‘Function’ button, you can use your left and right cursor keys to scroll through the different function options. Eventually, you’ll turn over to the Bluetooth MIDI function, which is function number nine on here. From there you’ll press ‘Enter, which is again the function key, and you can use your left and right cursor to find all the different settings for the Bluetooth MIDI. The very first setting is Bluetooth MIDI ‘on’ or ‘off’ and you can use your plus or minus keys to flip it on or off. Once you’ve switched it to ‘on’ you’re good to go. From there you can exit back out of that menu and we are now ready to connect the device.

If you are using an FP-10, FP-30, or something from the RP series, it’s a little more complex in that there’s no visual indicator on the screen for you to see the functions. On the FP-10 for example, you are going to hold the function key, and then press C#7 to turn Bluetooth MIDI on, or D7 to turn it off. The combination of Function button plus specific key will depend on which instrument you have, so you’ll want to double check the user manual for that.

Step Two

Once your Bluetooth radio is turned on, grab the mobile device you want to connect the piano to. I’m using an iPhone 10 in this case, but the Roland software will connect with any Android device and any relatively recent Apple iOS device as long as the device itself has a fairly current Bluetooth radio system inside it.

The first thing I’m going to suggest you do, and Roland doesn’t necessarily tell you to do this but I’ve seen this come up so many times while troubleshooting which is why I’m mentioning it here, is to turn your Bluetooth radio on in the settings of your mobile device, and even if the piano is showing up as a nearby device you can connect to, you’ll want to select ‘forget this device’. This avoids some potential problems down the road.

Step Three

Next, get out of the Bluetooth menu, and go into Roland’s Piano Partner 2 app (if you haven’t done so already, download this free app). Just a heads up, you need to be connected to Wi-Fi or cellular data needs to be on for the Roland Piano Partner 2 app to work.  Once you’re in the app, go to the top right corner where it has the settings menu option, and then you’ll see three boxes here. Bluetooth MIDI device, connection and initialize app settings. Now, the connection will not list anything so you want to press Bluetooth MIDI device. This is going to pull up all of the devices in the area that you can potentially connect to. You’ll see the piano, in this case FP-90, and it will say it’s set up for input and output but not connected. Click on that and it will say Bluetooth pairing request, and then click yes to pairing. Now you will see your device is connected. On the piano itself, the little Bluetooth symbol will blink a couple of times which indicates that these two are now ready to talk to each other.

Another useful thing to know is that you can always connect the Piano Partner 2 app to your Roland piano via a hard-wired connection. This connection needs to go from the USB port on the back of your piano (sqaure shaped port), into your USB device.  This will likely require an adaptor, as you’ll need to be able to plug a standard USB cable, or USB flash drive into your device.

Step Four

Once the connection is established, Roland Piano Partner 2 detects which model you’ve connected to, and will download the relevant data so that it offers up all of the different menus settings. This is a really deep app with all kinds of features such as a variety of rhythms you can play along to, and various demo music you can sit back and enjoy. One of my favorite wireless features within the Piano Partner 2 is the ability to wirelessly record MIDI information and play it back as a MIDI track. It’s very easy to organize recordings and you have virtually unlimited capacity if you’ve got a fairly modern smartphone or tablet. One of the most useful applications of that Bluetooth MIDI connection, is being able to use the Piano Partner 2.

Piano Designer

There’s another Roland app which should touch on as well which is called Piano Designer. This app is compatible with virtually all of the digital piano models as well and allows you to completely customize the acoustic piano sound of your instrument with parameters like, how open the lid is, cabinet resonance, soundboard type, hammer noise, and many more. You can spend a lot of time tinkering in here to get your ideal piano sound. The Bluetooth MIDI connection also allows you to send MIDI information in and out of popular DA software such as Logic, GarageBand, some educational software, such as Notejoy, Piano Maestro, and things like that.

Connecting With Bluetooth Audio

Now, let’s talk about the other type of connection – Bluetooth audio. Again, on the device that has the Bluetooth audio enabled, the FP-90 being the one for this example.

  1. You’re going to want to go into the menu make sure that Bluetooth Audio is turned on and enabled, just like we did for the Bluetooth MIDI.
  2. Now, there is no Roland app specifically for Bluetooth Audio as it works directly through the native Apple iOS software, and so you actually need to go to the iOS Bluetooth app within your normal settings.
  3. This is where the FP-90 audio is actually going to show up. Once you’re there, you’ll simply click on FP-90 on your device and now they’ll be paired.
  4. That permits us to go into something like iTunes, select a song, and listen to it as it’s streamed through the speakers of your piano. This makes for super easy play along.

Summary

So, let’s just quickly review. We’ve got two different types of functions – Bluetooth Audio, which will only work on some models, and Bluetooth MIDI which almost every Roland digital piano is equipped with. If your piano has a visual menu it’s quite easy to turn the Bluetooth on, and if not, you’ll need to press the function key and another model specific key on the keyboard itself. For connecting the Piano Partner, make sure you’re not connecting through the iOS menu, but rather the software itself. This will be the same when connecting to Piano Designer but for the audio function, you will use the menu on your mobile device.

If you’re an Android user, a lot of the tips in this article will also apply. However, there’s a known issue with Roland’s connecting with Android through their two pieces of software, namely the Piano Partner 2 and the Piano Designer, with some of the features not quite working correctly. That’s something both companies are working on and can hopefully get resolved soon.

I hope you’re able to enjoy your Roland product a little bit more now. Thanks for being here, and have fun connecting your Roland to your mobile device!