Roland’s FP series has provided some of the most reliable keyboard pianos in recent years. Their typically streamlined design and easy-to-use features made them a go-to choice for music students and gigging professionals alike.
The latest update to the series brings us the Roland FP-X keyboards, and we are focusing on the FP-30X. In this review, we will break down the good and the bad to see if it lives up to the FP name.Table of contents:
The Roland FP-30X is the entry-level in the series, coming in around $750. It’s an 88-key keyboard piano with hammer-action keys that focuses on a realistic playing experience rather than a huge variety of sounds.
The FP-30X is a simple instrument with no unnecessary features, but the ones it does have are very useful indeed.
Piano Designer is an app that allows you to adjust different parameters of the piano’s performance with surgical precision. The idea is that you basically get a virtual piano technician.
With Piano Designer, you can fine-tune individual notes and change physical details like the piano lid position, hammer noise, and cabinet resonance. The app has some ready-made presets put together by world-class piano technicians.
The FP series has always been popular amongst home users, whether it’s students or bedroom producers. It’s common for keyboards at home to be placed on desktops rather than keyboard stands, either for convenience or the way it looks. But, it sometimes hurts the sound quality from the built-in speakers due to surface vibration, and so on.
The FP-30X has a dedicated mode that optimizes the sound for desktop placement.
A simple but often overlooked feature that helps you shape your sound exactly as you like it.
The first two modes to mention are Dual mode and Split mode. Dual mode allows you to layer sounds to create a different patch, like piano and strings, for example. Split mode lets you split the keyboard into two different preset zones, with a different sound in each zone.
Twin Piano mode is a little different, and it’s great for student/teacher playing. It splits the keyboard into two identical zones, giving each player precisely the same octave range.
Another simple feature that you don’t always get with keyboard pianos. Whether you are a complete beginner or a pro, practicing with a metronome will help you lock in perfect rhythm and timing.
When it comes to connecting to external devices, the FP-30X has a few options. It has Bluetooth connectivity, making it easy to hook up to compatible apps or stream backing tracks through the built-in speakers.
There are two USB connectors: one for USB MIDI to connect to your computer/DAW, and the other for USB storage.
You get two pedal inputs, although the FP-30X doesn’t come with a sustain pedal included, which is slightly disappointing.
If you want to connect to a PA system/mixer, there are a pair of stereo (left/mono, right) outputs.
That’s it for the back panel; on the front, you’ll find a couple of headphone outputs, one 1/4″ and one 1/8″.
Piano Partner 2 app
Roland’s Piano Partner 2 app is a fun and intuitive learning application. It provides fun challenges where you can track your scores for game-style learning while developing serious skills.
The built-in recorder saves your playing in the standard MIDI file format. It allows for approx 70,000 notes with the option to add USB storage.
Optional 3-pedal stand
If you want to go for more of a traditional digital piano look, Roland offers a 3-pedal stand for the full piano experience. The stand is sold separately and not included with the original purchase.
As far as sound engines go, few are more respected than Roland’s SuperNATURAL engine, and that’s what powers the FP-30X. The acoustic and electric pianos are undoubtedly the stars of the show, especially the grand pianos. They are convincing, expressive, dynamic, and anything else you need them to be.
What we mean by that is that they do what all good sounds do, which is to allow your playing/personality to shine. There are 12 acoustic pianos, 20 electric pianos, and an additional 24 voices, including organs and strings.
The FP-30X has a max polyphony of 256 notes, so you shouldn’t have any trouble, whatever style you play.
The sound is delivered via two 11 W amplifiers and two 4.7″ speakers. For larger gigs or playing with a full band, the speakers won’t be enough. But they fill the room enough for smaller performances like piano recitals, etc. If you are just using the FP-30X at home, the speakers are more than enough, and more importantly, they sound very good.
Roland is always amongst the best when it comes to creating a realistic piano feel. The FP-30X features Roland’s PHA-4 keyboard with escapement. PHA stands for progressive hammer-action, which means the keys get lighter as you move up the keyboard, like a real piano.
The keys feel great with a simulated ivory feel, and the escapement allows notes to ring out naturally. There are five levels of touch-sensitivity available.
The FP-30X is one of those keyboards that you’d never complain about the feel unless you start to compare it to something at several times the price.
The layout of the functions and buttons was very important with this keyboard because it had to stay true to the typical FP style. Thankfully, it does. The top panel is almost entirely bare aside from a handful of simple buttons.
From left to right, there’s a power button, volume controls, a function button (Bluetooth), tone selection buttons, tempo/metronome controls, and play/stop/record buttons; that’s it.
There’s nothing fancy and nothing complicated.
The FP series’s streamlined look has always been suitable for any room in the house without looking out of place. On top of that, the optional stand provides a complete piano look.
If you are using it to learn/practice piano at home, it’s perfect. If you are using it in a home studio setup, it will make a great master keyboard. Just remember, it won’t come with the wide range of sounds you’d get from something like an RD-2000.
It comes down to the range of sounds again. If you work primarily with piano sounds, the FP-30X is perfect. It sounds excellent, and even though it’s not light, it’s lighter than many alternatives. It’s not going to give you the versatility of a Nord Stage or anything similar.
The FP-30X is a pretty sleek-looking keyboard, but from the right angle, you’ll see it’s around 6″ in height. That means it’s bulky enough to feel secure and robust.
The casing is plastic rather than metal, and that’s a bit disappointing. If we had one more slight complaint, it’s that the buttons don’t have the premium feel of more expensive models. But, overall, it feels pretty solid with no serious cause for concern.
Compared to other keyboard pianos
Roland offers FP-60X and FP-90X models if you have the budget and want to stick with the FP series. If not, here are some similar competitors that are worth a look.
FP-30X vs. Casio Privia PX-S3000
The PX-S3000 is the slimmest keyboard piano with fully-weighted hammer action keys; it’s stunning. We slightly favor the Roland sound, but it’s close, and the PX-S3000 is far lighter.
Check out our full Casio PX-S3000 review
FP-30X vs. Yamaha DGX-670
The DGX-670 blows the FP-30X away when it comes to versatility, so if that’s what you need, go for the DGX-670. If you want a streamlined keyboard piano, it will be too busy for you, so stick with the FP-30X.
Check out our full Yamaha DGX-670 review
FP-30X vs. Yamaha P-125
This comparison is tough because they are so similar. In our opinion, Roland takes it this time because the FP-30X offers more voices, higher polyphony, etc.
Final verdict on the Roland FP-30X
There are a couple of minor complaints, like the lack of onboard rhythms that might bother some users (rhythms are available via compatible apps). It’s not the most versatile either, but it’s not supposed to be. If you know that all you need is a realistic keyboard piano that doesn’t cost a fortune, you can’t go wrong. The FP-30X really does sound and feel fantastic.
Who does it suit?
The FP-30X is ideal for players of any skill level, thanks to its reasonable price and realistic sound/feel. However, if you are a gigging musician who needs a wide range of sounds, it’s not the one for you.
- SuperNATURAL sound engine.
- PHA-4 keys with escapement and ivory feel.
- Smart modes.
- Built-in recorder.
- Lacks versatility.
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- May 13, 2021: Minor text and structure updates.