🎹Yamaha P45 vs Roland FP10 Digital Piano Review, Comparison, & Demo🎹

Welcome to another piano comparison at Merriam Music. Today, we are comparing the Yamaha P45 vs Roland FP-10, two absolute titans of the entry-level market, both with tons of fans and lots of potential shoppers all around the world.

This comparison has been requested many times by our readers and viewers so we’re happy to cover it here, and in the accompanying video. In a part of the market that also has compelling options from Casio (Privia and CDP series) and Korg, the P45 and Roland FP-10 still manage to be among the best sellers, the P45, particularly on Amazon.

We’ll be comparing the actions, sound engines, and main features to see exactly how these two oft-compared pianos stack up to one another.

Opening Thoughts

Roland FP-10
Roland FP-10

These two pianos are very similar in some respects, the most obvious being price. These are both priced in the United States for under $500, and in Canada, both are available for under $750. Visibly, they appear to be very similar in terms of their size and stature.

At a quick glance, you might think to yourself, “Well, the Yamaha P45 and the Roland FP-10 are essentially equal offerings from two different companies, and, I’ve always gone Yamaha before, so I’m not really missing anything by not taking a serious look at the Roland,”  This is where you would be very wrong.

Hiding under the hood of these two instruments are some remarkably different specs that ultimately result in divergent musical experiences. Let’s start by checking out the sound engines.

Piano Sounds: Yamaha P-45

The piano sound consists of some different aspects when we’re in the digital piano realm. The first factor is of course the computer that functions as the tone generator. The second aspect is the onboard speakers.

We’ll start by checking out the sound on the Yamaha P45 88-key digital piano first. Right away it’s clear, even in spite of its affordable price tag, that it’s a pretty responsive piano.

P-45 Advanced Wave Memory (AWM)

The P-45 features the Advanced Wave Memory (AWM) stereo sampling sound engine here.

The grand piano sound is certainly on the brighter side, but that’s fairly expected since apes the timbre of their real pianos. Yamaha tends to have a brighter, clear sound on both their acoustic pianos as well as digital pianos.

Speaker System

The speakers on this are 6 watts apiece, so it’s a total of 12 watts of power. For an instrument of this price and size, that’s plenty. In fact, it’s hard to build an instrument that’s this light with much if any more power.

The speakers on the P45 are on the bottom of the instrument, so they are downward-facing. The sound quality is good, but you do get a better playing experience when playing with headphones.

64-notes Polyphony

We’re getting 64-note polyphony here on the P45 which is definitely quite dated considering what most other options in the price point are offering.

In terms of other instrument sounds, the P-45 has 10 on board. Accessing them is really easy with a very user-friendly interface. There are a couple of nice electric pianos, organs, strings, harpsichord, and vibraphone. The pipe organ is particularly nice.

Piano Sounds: Roland FP-10

Let’s now move over to the FP-10. If you’re a Yamaha person and have never thought of a need to look outside of the Yamaha lane for a product, this particular matchup should give you some pause. We try and be as objective as possible in these reviews, but to be honest, the FP-10 blows the P-45 away in virtually every respect.

96-notes Polyphony

The FP10 has a polyphony of 96 versus 64. This 32-note difference gives the Rolan

d a bit of an edge, especially if you’re going to be doing some layering, but it’s also indicative of a more complex tone generator.

 

The FP10 has a polyphony of 96 versus 64. This 32-note difference gives the Roland a bit of an edge, especially if you’re going to be doing some layering, but it’s also indicative of a more complex tone generator.

Super Natural Piano Sound Engines

 

 

 

SuperNATURAL Sound Engine
SuperNATURAL Sound Engine

The FP-10 is using Roland’s SuperNATURAL Piano Sound Engine, and it’s actually incorporating and allowing you to access and tweak all kinds of synthesis parameters such as damper resonance, string resonance, and others. The SuperNATURAL sound engine is available in different levels throughout the Roland lineup, but even this more basic version has a lot going on.

Objectively, you can argue that there’s just more technology going on here behind the piano tone itself. But then we get into the number of tones, and instead of 10, as long as you’re using the piano partner app wirelessly, you’re given access to more than 30 on the FP-10, including some really nice synths. The quality is definitely higher across these other tones as well.

Speakers

In terms of onboard speakers, you’re not getting much of an improvement. They’re literally the same with 12 watts of power on both. Still, it’s pretty hard not to come away feeling that the FP-10 is delivering a much more realistic piano tone, that also happens to offer more polyphony and more sounds.

Piano Action: Graded Hammer Standard vs PHA-4

Now let’s talk about action because if you are a parent enrolling your child in piano lessons, the action is probably going to be the most important thing to get right to ensure that the new student is building good habits right away.

Fortunately, we’re dealing with two weighted action digital pianos here with full-size graded hammer actions, which is crucially important if you actually intend to learn piano.

Yamaha’s Graded Hammer Standard (GHS)

The action on the P-45 is Yamaha’s Graded Hammer Standard or GHS for short. This is an action that Yamaha has been using on their instruments for quite some time. There are things that are likable about it, and others that are undoubtedly drawbacks at this point in time.

The GHS action has polished white keytops, so that gives it a good grip in some situations, but it also makes it a little less comfortable to play in more humid situations. Fortunately, there’s a matte finish on the black key which feels nice.

It’s missing escapement, but for somebody who has never played piano before, this will be a non-factor. But if you are using this as a practice instrument and going back and forth between it and an acoustic, it would be a little more helpful to have both instruments with escapement for familiarity.

The other thing about the action which is a bit of a knock against it is the presence double sensor. If you had any intention of using this as a MIDI controller, and you were wanting to trigger some really high-quality samples on a DAW, the double sensor does not really deliver a particularly accurate MIDI output for professional use. For beginners, it shouldn’t really matter, but of course, it will be less sensitive than a triple sensor action.

Some positives are the weighting which feels good, as is the repetition speed. They also use this action in the Yamaha P125.

Roland’s PHA-4 Standard Keyboard Action

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

Over to the FP-10. If there’s one thing that set’s the FP-10 apart from everything else in the class, it would be the action. The PHA-4 Standard Keyboard Action that the FP-10 has is the same action that Roland puts on their RP-501, F-140, FP-60, and FP-30, which in the case of the RP-501, is an instrument that’s 3x the price of the FP-10.

That’s an incredible value that you’re receiving on the FP-10 for this price because it’s not some stripped-down version of the PHA-4. You are getting a triple sensor for better touch sensitivity, escapement and nice ivory feel on the keys.

On paper and in practice, despite both being weighted key actions, the PHA-4 simply outguns the GHS action as a borderline high-end action available at an entry-level price.

Yamaha P45 vs Roland FP-10 | Features & Connectivity

There’s quite a bit of overlap between these two when it comes to features and optional accessories.

They both come with an included music rest, footswitch style sustains pedals, and power adapters for the power supply.

Both are available with a matching keyboard stand for an additional cost, though neither one has an option for a 3 pedal unit.

Bluetooth MIDI vs USB to host port

Now, a big difference between the two is that the FP-10 has built-in Bluetooth MIDI connectivity. The Yamaha P45 does have a USB to host port, so you can hook this up to a computer and output MIDI to it, but it’s really nice being able to do things wirelessly.

Headphone Jacks

Neither one of these instruments has official audio line-outs. They both are equipped with headphone jacks though,  so you can use the headphone output to connect to an amplifier.

Both pianos have all the basics covered like a metronome, dual mode, duo mode, and transpose.

Closing Thoughts

Here are some closing thoughts and general takeaways on the comparison here. First of all, you may just have a subjective preference between the tone P-45 or the tone of the FP-10. There’s nothing invalid about that.

But beyond that, the FP-10 really does pack an objectively superior piano sound, both in terms of specs and how it works in practice, and the same can be said about the piano action. The Bluetooth Connectivity for connecting to Apple and Android devices might be a big deal too.

That said, the P-45 is a tried and true instrument, and the fact that it’s almost impossible to find in stock really says something.

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out the accompanying video to hear these 2 in action! Visit Merriam Music for more piano reviews and article