In recent years, Roland’s FP series has provided some of the most reliable keyboard pianos. 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 in this review, I’m focusing on the FP-30X.
About the author
- 88 weighted keys
- 256-note polyphony
- built-in speakers
- 56 voices
- two headphone outputs
- USB, MIDI
Final verdict on the Roland FP-30X
The FP-30X sounds and feels fantastic, but 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.
What I like
- SuperNATURAL sound engine.
- PHA-4 keys with escapement and ivory feel.
- Smart modes.
- Built-in recorder.
What I don’t like
- Lacks versatility.
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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 I 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 number of voices isn’t huge, but it’s respectable enough not to be a complaint. If I had one minor complaint, it might be that the selection of sounds could use some more diversity. 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-watt amplifiers and two 4.7-inch speakers. The speakers won’t be enough for larger gigs or playing with a full band. 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 crystal clear.
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. Very impressive.
The FP-30X is a simple instrument with no unnecessary features, but the ones it does have are handy indeed.
Piano Designer is an app that allows you to adjust different piano performance parameters 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 students or bedroom producers. It’s common for keyboards at home to be placed on desktops rather than keyboard stands, either for convenience or how 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.
It is 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 mode is a little different, and it’s great for student/teacher playing. It splits the keyboard into two identical zones, giving each player the same octave range.
Another simple feature that you don’t always get with keyboard pianos in this price range. Whether you are a complete beginner or a pro, practicing with a metronome will help you lock in perfect rhythm and timing.
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 a traditional digital piano look, Roland offers a three-pedal stand for the full piano experience. The stand is sold separately and not included with the original purchase.
It’s perfect if you use it to learn/practice piano at home. 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.
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.
If you work primarily with piano sounds, the FP-30X is ideal for stage performance, too. 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 six inches 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 I 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.
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: USB MIDI to connect to your computer/DAW and USB storage.
You get two pedal inputs, although the FP-30X doesn’t have 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-inch and one 1/8-inch.
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.
Roland FP-30X vs Casio PX-S1100
The PX-S1100 is the slimmest keyboard piano with fully-weighted hammer action keys; it’s stunning. I slightly favor the Roland sound, but it’s close, and the PX-S1100 is far lighter.
Roland 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.
Roland FP-30X vs Yamaha P-125
This comparison is tough because they are so similar. In my opinion, Roland takes it this time because the FP-30X offers more voices, higher polyphony, etc.
Who is the Roland FP-30X best suited for?
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.Buy Roland FP-30X at: SweetwaterAmazonGuitar Center